The Thule T2 Classic is a standard hitch style bike rack with few outstanding features. The bike rack does fold up nice and close to the vehicle but did not tip bikes back far enough for rear hatch access in our test scenario.
Setup The Thule T2 Classic has one little extra step beyond the standard setup process compared to other racks in this test. Because the T2 Classic has a double hinge folding system, the way it’s packaged for shipping requires a little unpacking move so it’s ready to go. The instructions are clear and once that’s done, set up is pretty standard. The kit requires four tools to set up, three of which are included and only a flathead screwdriver needs to be supplied. The instructions do later call for a ½ inch socket wrench, but the included closed wrench can be used for the job. Thule instructions do have the assembler insert the backbone of the rack onto the vehicle for assembly raising it all off the ground and a little easier to work on and build out.
Stability The T2 is available in either a 2” (model #9044) or a 1.25” (#9045) hitch. A spacer sleeve can be purchased separately for the 1.25” model to share this rack with 2” hitch receiver if that kind of versatility is needed. Using the spacer increases a little wobble at the hitch if the threaded pin isn’t tightened down completely. Even so, this common style of hitch pin tightening still allows for a little up/down wobble. The double hinged pivot arm is very solid and does not wobble.
Ease of Use Like most racks in this test, the T2 release lever is at the front of the rack (closest to the vehicle). This isn’t a problem when there are no bikes on the rack but requires reaching through the bikes, or squeezing between the bikes and the vehicle to tip the bikes back to access the rear hatch of the vehicle. Also, Thule (like the Yakima rack) has one more step to tip the bikes back for rear hatch access—a safety pin sits under the lever that needs to be removed first and replaced afterwards.
Versatility The 2” version can be expanded to carry up to four bikes. The bike trays themselves can be moved a few inches forward/aft and left/right to clear handlebar and seat interference as needed. No adaptors are needed to carry fat bike tires up to 5” wide.
Features The standout feature of the T2 is the double hinge folding system which brings the rack the closest to the vehicle when in the stowed position. Unfortunately, it does not provide enough tip-back clearance to clear our rear hatch using our test scenario bike. The T2 comes with a hitch lock but the bike locks are sold separately. The bike locks are easy to install and are built into the ratchet arms, a much easier system than wrangling cables. But the security risk is quick release front tires will allow someone to get the bike out from under the lock. If you order locks for the ratchet arms, be sure to match the lock code with the one already included on your hitch lock so one key does it all. If you already have other Thule products with locks, you can order the full lock set to match your other Thule products for one-key convenience.
Cameron Martindell is the Gear Institute's Gear Test Director, responsible for coordinating our gear testing team, recruiting new experts, and maintaining the Gear Institute's editorial standards for product testing.