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Thule Classic Hitch Rack Review

 

Who likes putting a bike on the roof of their car?  Not this guy.  I usually just chuck my old Surly in the back of my pick’em up truck and haul ass to the liquor store on the way to the trail head.  If you haven’t noticed, Surly has started making their newer bikes all sparkly and pretty.  So in an effort to hang on to a little more of that resale value that I’ll never ever come to appreciate – it would make sense to acquire a proper hitch mounted rack instead of letting my bike roll around and bang into my chainsaw, firewood, empty cans of Milwaukee’s Best Black Label Ice and whatever random junk my rowdy friends left in the pick’em up bed.


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The Thule Classic T2 rack looks, performs and just simply is rugged.  The paint job is some kind of rhino liner type material.  In the spirit of longevity, this will prove to be beneficial in the winter months when you’re hauling ass down the interstate in January and coating your rack and bikes with snow and salt like whipped cream on a slice of pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving.  Thanks thor the thorward thinking Thule!

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The rear wheel strap has two different settings.  There is an extended strap length for Fat-Bikes and it can be shortened for whatever other kind of bikes that must exist somewhere.  This rack does minimally come in contact with the front fork, but all the tension is on the front tire and the contact points are padded by a high density foam to protect your paint job.  So Shine On, you crazy double diamond frame.

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The most neato feature this rack offers is the lateral movement of the bike trays.  Have you ever been on a 13 hour trip to Colorado and stop for gas and realize that Jeff’s bike is rubbing on your bike and now there is a hole in his handle bar grip and a spot of bare metal where the handle bar was rubbing on your seat tube?  Worry about that no more.  With your standard No. 5 hex wrench, you can slide these trays left to right and adjust the bike spacing so they do not touch at all.  No more trying to fashion some kind of padding out of a burger king wrapper and your only spare tube to save whatever paint that you can for the next 5 hours.

Is it weird that I don't like my bikes rubbing up against each other?

Is it weird that I don’t like my bikes rubbing up against each other?

Fixed! Like a high school dance chaperone!

Fixed like a High School dance Chaperone!

A few other features that you’ll come to appreciate is the small lever for folding the rack up or dropping it down out of the way.  This might not sound like a huge deal, but it sure beats the hell out of scrouching down and trying to pull a pin before adjusting the rack and trying to fit that damn pin back in the tiny holes that never seem to line up the way they should.  And the folks in Thule are aware of the N+1 rule, so this rack is add-on compatible.  Also it fits fat bikes, plus bikes, 29ers, 5 inch tire bikes, hoosker doos, hoosker dont’s… you get the idea.

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The only reservation I have about this rack is the threaded hitch pin, meaning that a portion of the pin is threaded like a bolt and screws into the hitch.  I understand the purpose behind the threaded hitch pin to be that the rack is tightened up in the receiver and this should reduce vibration and wobbling.  The reason I don’t like this is set up is that it is the only hitch pin you can use with the rack.  It’s definitely not a deal breaker, but more a matter of personal preference that I like the option to just throw whatever pin I want in there and go.  That being said, the Thule pin does come with a lock and a couple of cores, so if you so desire you could  match the lock up with all of your other Thule locks and use a single key for all your Thule locking type mechanisms.  Now that I do appreciate, because none wants to feel or see a huge jingling wad of metal (or anything else) in your pocket.

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To summarize:

Likes:

Rugged – with a ruggedized rhino liner like paint job

Frame Free Mounting

Add on compatible

Expandable rear wheel straps

Not extremely heavy

Folds up nicely when not in use.

Drops down and out of the way to access vehicle

Lateral adjustment allows the user to protect from bike on bike vibrations

Dislikes:

Lack of options for the hitch pin.

4.5 of 5 gnomes

I give the Thule Classic 4.5 out of 5 gnomes

Learn more about Thule Racks at – www.thule.com

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4 Responses to Thule Classic Hitch Rack Review

  1. Bryan November 28, 2016 at 10:52 am #

    A ghost fat bike? I certainly hope the owner knows better than to ride it

    • Spinner December 1, 2016 at 4:15 pm #

      Don’t fear the Reaper

  2. JD November 28, 2016 at 3:13 pm #

    I have this rack and used it extensively throughout this past summer and fall season and moving into winter now. So far I have zero complaints with it at all. It is by far the sturdiest bike rack I’ve ever owned/used and I expect it will continue to do it’s job for a long time.

    The rack sits up high on the hitch, even with the bumper on my Xterra so I have plenty of clearance on back country roads and when things get off the pavement. I know you mentioned the threaded pin but with that extra threading in there it sure makes this a solid rack on the hitch, very little movement at all, it seems to “move with the truck” if you know what I mean? Trays are nice and secure and I really liked how I DID NOT have to buy special trays for fat tires. I’ve had 26ers, 650B’s, 29+ and fatties from 4″ to 5″ on this rack and they all set up really quickly and hassle free.

    I like how the arms lock down on the tires with the locking device but don’t let this fool you. It will lock your bike secure for short trips and keep them locked down in place but it does not completely secure your bike. If you flatten the front tire and put some elbow grease into it you can remove a bike while it’s locked on there. The front wheel trays are bendable plastic and they are only attached with two screws in the bottom so someone with some ambition will get a bike off this rack pretty quick. The same holds true for other racks of similar design too so it’s not a design flaw with Thule, just be aware that just because you have a key and a lock doesn’t mean your rig is safe and sound on there from the evil banditos of the world!!

    I run a heavy cable lock through my hitch receiver and then through the bike wheels and frame and with that little “extra” security, the bikes stay where they are when left unattended.

    I love this bike rack and would recommend it to anyone. It won’t disappoint…

    JD

  3. Brian November 28, 2016 at 7:46 pm #

    I have this rack’s predecessor: Sportsworks. Thule bought the design from them. Mine is 10+ years and still going strong. It is durable and couldn’t be faster or easier to use. The Thule fatbike adapter package fit it perfectly and it works just as well with my fatbike as it did with my tri bike. Perfect for a carbon frame too since the rack doesn’t touch the frame at all. Can’t say enough about this rack – well worth the investment.

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