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Thule Outway Hanging 2 Review

A quality trunk mount rack that stands out for its security features, stability, and adjustability
Thule Outway Hanging 2
Editors' Choice Award
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Price:  $380 List | $379.95 at REI
Compare prices at 4 resellers
Pros:  More security features than other trunk racks, comes in 2 and 3 bike versions, lightweight, folds small for transport or storage, more stable than other trunk racks
Cons:  Some assembly required, 33 lbs per bike weight limit, may not be compatible with all frames styles and shapes
Manufacturer:   Thule
By Jeremy Benson ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Dec 1, 2021
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more
69
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#18 of 25
  • Ease of EveryDay Use - 20% 7.0
  • Ease of Removal and Storage - 20% 8.0
  • Versatility - 20% 5.0
  • Security - 20% 7.0
  • Ease of Assembly - 10% 9.0
  • Durability - 10% 6.0

Our Verdict

Thule broke the trunk rack mold with the Outway Hanging 2, giving it a clever design that aims to solve some of the problems that plague other models. This lightweight rack folds small for transport or storage, and it is notably easier to install and remove, after the initial installation, than the competition. The Outway fits on a wide range of vehicles and has a very stable and secure hold thanks to its unique attachment system. It also has security features like steel cables that lock the rack to the vehicle and bikes to the rack. The support arms are also adjustable laterally, giving it a wider range of fit, though it is still limited to bikes under 33lbs and works best with horizontal top tubes or the Thule Frame Adapter. Despite its limitations, we feel this is the best trunk mount rack we've tested.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award 
Price $379.95 at REI
Compare at 4 sellers
$431.96 at Amazon
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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros More security features than other trunk racks, comes in 2 and 3 bike versions, lightweight, folds small for transport or storage, more stable than other trunk racksReasonably priced, highly versatile, solid construction, user-friendly tilt release, comes with locksVery secure hold, no frame or fork contactHigh-end construction, capable of carrying a wide range of bikes, slightly easier to load than wheel on modelsVery inexpensive, no assembly required, lightweight, folds small for storage
Cons Some assembly required, 33 lbs per bike weight limit, may not be compatible with all frames styles and shapesSits slightly closer to vehicle than some, some assembly requiredDesign seems a little over-complicated, limited to vehicles with low roof height, you have to lift bike to height of roof to loadEase of assembly could be easier, have to lift bike to roof level to load/unloadNot adjustable, support arms may not work with all frame shapes/styles, no security features
Bottom Line A quality trunk mount rack that stands out for its security features, stability, and adjustabilityA versatile hitch-mount rack that provides a high price to performance ratioA roof-mount rack with an exceptionally sturdy and secure hold of your bicycle with no frame contactThis is an awesome fork mount roof rack that can hold almost any type of axleA very affordable, bare-bones trunk rack for the infrequent rack user on a tight budget
Rating Categories Thule Outway Hanging 2 RockyMounts MonoRail Thule UpRide Kuat Trio Allen Deluxe 2-Bike...
Ease of EveryDay Use (20%)
7.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
5.0
Ease of Removal and Storage (20%)
8.0
7.0
8.0
5.0
8.0
Versatility (20%)
5.0
9.0
7.0
7.0
4.0
Security (20%)
7.0
8.0
8.0
9.0
2.0
Ease of Assembly (10%)
9.0
6.0
10.0
7.0
9.0
Durability (10%)
6.0
8.0
7.0
9.0
6.0
Specs Thule Outway Hanging 2 RockyMounts MonoRail Thule UpRide Kuat Trio Allen Deluxe 2-Bike...
Style Trunk Hitch (tray) Roof Roof Trunk
Bike Capacity 2 2 1 1 2
Lock? Yes Yes Available but not included Yes No
Rack Weight 17 lbs 1oz 44 lbs 2 oz 17 lbs 7 lbs 7 lbs 9 oz
Max Weight Per Bike 33 lbs 60 lbs 44 lbs 45 lbs 35 lbs
Other Sizes Available? Yes, 3 bike Yes, 1.25" reciever, single bike add-on sold separately No No Yes, 3 and 4 bike versions
Cross Bar Compatibility N/A N/A Round, Square, Aero, Most Factory Most factory N/A

Our Analysis and Test Results

Thule is one of the biggest players in the bike rack market, and they make some of the most highly regarded models available. The Outway Hanging 2 is the top-of-the-line hanging model in their line of trunk mount bike racks. We were very impressed with a previous model of trunk rack from Thule, so we were excited to try the latest and greatest. We feel that they did a great job designing the Outway, and came away impressed by this lightweight and easily storable new model. Like any trunk rack, it has weight limitations and won't work with all bikes, but it stands out for its enhanced security features, stability, ease of removal and storage, and adjustability.

Performance Comparison


Thule Outway Hanging 2 bike rack - the outway hanging 2 loaded with 2 bikes. this rack is easy to load...
The Outway Hanging 2 loaded with 2 bikes. This rack is easy to load, very stable in use, and comes with more security features than other trunk models.
Credit: Jeremy Benson

Ease of Everyday Use


Once the Outway Hanging has been attached securely to the vehicle, it is relatively easy to use. There are several steps in the loading process, and using it proficiently takes a few practice runs, but once you get the hang of it, it's pretty straightforward. When installed correctly and loaded with bikes, the Outway is very stable on the vehicle as the steel cables don't tend to stretch or sag the way that nylon webbing can. The bikes themselves are also held very steady as Thule includes some stabilizing anti-sway spacers and a frame/wheel strap to keep the bikes from moving around.


The first step in the process is folding the support arms up into position, horizontally to cradle the bikes, and laterally for the appropriate width. Two large plastic levers, one on each arm, lock and unlock the arms in place. Once the arms are extended, open the inner set of ratchet straps and lift the first bike up onto the firm rubber cradles closest to the vehicle. Pull the ratchet straps over the top tube of the frame, and tighten them down. Attach one of the anti-sway spacers between the bike frame and the bike rack, this keeps the bike steady while driving and helps prevent damage to your vehicle and the bikes.

The ratcheting straps secure the bikes on the rack. This system is...
The ratcheting straps secure the bikes on the rack. This system is intuitive and easy to use.
The rack comes with spacers that stabilize the bike against the rack...
The rack comes with spacers that stabilize the bike against the rack and separate the bikes from each other.

Repeat the loading process for the second bike, but with the bike facing the opposite direction to reduce handlebar conflict. Depending on the size/shape of the bikes, they may still make some contact or be challenging to fit side by side; one of the drawbacks of trunk racks. Attach the second anti-sway spacer between the two bikes to keep the outer bike steady. Loop the frame/wheel strap through the rack and the front and rear wheels of both bikes to keep the wheels from spinning and the bikes steady. Reverse the process to remove the bikes from the rack.

Thule Outway Hanging 2 bike rack - this rack is very lightweight and easy to move around.
This rack is very lightweight and easy to move around.
Credit: Jeremy Benson

Ease of Removal and Storage


Installation and removal of the Outway Hanging trunk rack is relatively straightforward and simple, and storing it when not in use couldn't be easier thanks to its small collapsed size and light weight. The initial installation takes a little bit of time, but once the rack has been adjusted to fit the dimensions of your trunk and you've become familiar with the process it is quick and easy to put on and take off the vehicle.


Thule has made it easy to install and remove the Outway Hanging, but you'll definitely want to follow the instructions the first time around. There are 4 connection points, 2 that hook under the bottom of the trunk door, and 2 that hook over the top (there are also additional spoiler straps for vehicles with plastic spoilers). The first time you install the rack, you'll need to adjust the lower hooks, they move vertically and get locked in place, to the correct position for your vehicle. Two feet in the middle of the rack rest on the trunk door or window that support the majority of the rack's weight, and you may need to swap them out depending on the type of vehicle you have (it comes with 2 styles of rubber feet). The angle of the feet also needs to be adjusted to match the angle of the surface they are resting on.

Thule Outway Hanging 2 bike rack - torque limiting knobs ensure that you get the tension of the cables...
Torque limiting knobs ensure that you get the tension of the cables just right. The steel cables also stay nice and tight, ensuring excellent rack stability.
Credit: Jeremy Benson

The steel cable straps extend up to the top of the trunk, and hook over the top. The steel cables coil inside the rack and their tension is controlled by a knob on each side of the rack. The knobs have a torque limiting feature so that they can't be overtightened, as well as locks so that the rack can't be removed without the keys. To remove the rack, all you need to do is unlock the knobs and release just enough cable tension that you can slip the hooks off the top of the trunk door. The next time you install it, you will need to extend the cables, but the torque knobs will be close to the correct tension, and it only takes a couple twists of the knob to tighten them down again.

Thule Outway Hanging 2 bike rack - when folded down, the outway hanging 2 easily fits in the trunk of a...
When folded down, the Outway Hanging 2 easily fits in the trunk of a car, or takes up very little space in your storage location.
Credit: Jeremy Benson

Ease of storage and portability are other benefits of trunk racks, and the Outway Hanging does well in that regard. This rack is very lightweight at just over 18 lbs, making it easy to carry and move around. The support arms of the rack also fold down, and the rack is quite small in its collapsed position. With folded dimensions of 30.7 x 20.9 x 9.5 inches, this rack can easily be stowed in the trunk of your vehicle, and it won't take up too much room in your garage or storage space, especially when compared to larger, heavier hitch mount racks.

Thule Outway Hanging 2 bike rack - the support arms can be adjusted side to side to work with different...
The support arms can be adjusted side to side to work with different frame sizes, a nice touch that gives it more fit versatility than some other trunk racks.
Credit: Jeremy Benson

Versatility


Versatility is one metric where most trunk-mount racks suffer compared to other styles of racks, and the Outway Hanging is no different. Due to the design of the rack and the fact that the support arms hold bikes by the top tube, it works best with bikes that have more traditional frame shapes with large, open front triangles and horizontal top tubes. Thule thoughtfully designed the support arms of the Outway to have some lateral adjustability, however, so they can be moved side to side to fit bikes of various sizes, such as kid's bikes. Unfortunately, many full-suspension mountain bikes or those with oddly shaped frames may be difficult to fit or incompatible. Thule does, however, sell a Thule Frame Adapter, a horizontal tube that attaches between the seatpost and stem, for those situations. The 33 lbs per bike weight limit is another consideration, as it can't carry heavier electric bikes or enduro or downhill mountain bikes.


Vehicle compatibility is another important consideration in a rack's versatility. Trunk racks like the Outway Hanging do work with a large number of sedans, minivans, hatchbacks, SUVs, and station wagons, and don't require either a trailer hitch or roof bars like other styles of racks. They don't work with all vehicles, however, so it is important to use the Fit my car feature on the Thule website to determine which racks will be compatible with your vehicle. Additional considerations like spoilers may also affect the fit on certain vehicles, as this rack is held on the vehicle with straps that attach to the top of the trunk door.

Thule Outway Hanging 2 bike rack - there isn't much assembly required, but we found it odd that it...
There isn't much assembly required, but we found it odd that it doesn't come fully assembled.
Credit: Jeremy Benson

Ease of Assembly


Most trunk racks score quite high in our ease of assembly metric because they typically come fully assembled. That is not the case with the Outway Hanging. This rack arrives in several pieces, and there is some assembly remaining that can easily be done at home. What makes this confusing though, is that the fully assembled rack fits neatly into the box the rack is shipped in. This left us wondering why Thule couldn't just finish the job themselves?


Finishing the remaining assembly of the Outway Hanging isn't particularly difficult but it involves a few simple steps to get it ready for use. The process involves attaching the two support arms to the main body of the rack along with one ratcheting strap per arm. Thule includes the tools needed and an instruction manual, although the instructions are in the form of drawings. We understand that it would probably be a hassle to print written instruction in 20 different languages, but some words would probably be helpful. Regardless, we put our test rack together in around 15 minutes without too much hassle. Once the rack is assembled, you may also need to swap the rubber feet depending on the style of vehicle you will mount the rack on.

Thule Outway Hanging 2 bike rack - the knobs that control the cables can be locked to prevent theft.
The knobs that control the cables can be locked to prevent theft.
Credit: Jeremy Benson

Security


In our opinion, trunk mount models are among the least secure styles of bike racks. That said, the Outway Hanging offers more in the way of security features than any other trunk rack we've tested. The rack itself can be locked to the vehicle, and the bikes locked to the rack. That said, the security features of this rack aren't foolproof, though they should provide a little more peace of mind and theft deterrent compared to other racks of the same style.


One thing that sets the Outway apart from other trunk racks is that it has steel cables for straps. These metal cables feed into the rack and are controlled by locking knobs on both sides. This allows you to lock the straps so they can't be loosened without the key, and the metal cables are much harder to cut than the nylon webbing straps used on other racks. The lower feet of the rack also hook under the trunk door and should not be removable unless the door is opened. There is also a cable lock that extends out of one of the support arms that can be looped around the top tubes of the bikes and locked into the rack. All of the locks on the rack use the same key for convenience. While these features are undoubtedly a good theft deterrent, we still wouldn't leave our bikes unattended on this rack for an extended period. The cables are all relatively thin and could easily be cut with a bolt cutter or something similar.

Thule Outway Hanging 2 bike rack - the cable lock for the bike stows neatly into the end of the support...
The cable lock for the bike stows neatly into the end of the support arm. It extends over the top tubes of the bikes to a lock at the end of the support arm.
Credit: Jeremy Benson

Durability


The Outway Hanging seems to be a well-made and durable trunk-mount rack. That said, there is a good amount of plastic used in its construction, though we feel if used with care and without exceeding its weight limit it should provide the user with many years of faithful service. One thing that stands out about the Outway is how stable it is in use which should help to prevent moving parts and contact points from premature wear when compared to other racks that don't seem quite as sturdy.


Unlike other trunk racks that use nylon webbing straps to secure them to the vehicle, the Outway Hanging has steel cables and fixed lower feet. This system feels more solid, and won't break down from the sun or weather as quickly as webbing straps. The aluminum tubing used in the construction of the body of the rack and support arms is lightweight but feels plenty sturdy to support the loads the Outway is designed to handle. The plastic or rubber parts on the rack will be susceptible to wear or damage over time or if used carelessly, like overtightening the ratchet or anti-sway straps, for example, but feels rugged enough to handle regular use. Another consideration would be using this rack on rough dirt roads, as the increased vibration could wear on the plastic parts more quickly than on smooth pavement.

Thule Outway Hanging 2 bike rack - the outway folds down when not in use and has a relatively tidy...
The Outway folds down when not in use and has a relatively tidy appearance.
Credit: Jeremy Benson

Value


The Outway Hanging 2 bike rack isn't exactly cheap, but it is one of the best trunk mount bike racks we've ever tested. It's well made with a thoughtful design and useful features. We'll let you decide if you can justify the expense for this rack, but if we were using a trunk rack, this is the one we would choose.

Conclusion


The Outway Hanging is a quality trunk mount rack that stands out for its stability, security features, and adjustability. It suffers from some of the same limitations as other trunk-mount racks in terms of bike fit and bike weight, but some clever design features help to make it more versatile and stable than other models on the market. We wouldn't call it perfect, but this is the best trunk mount rack we've tested.

Thule Outway Hanging 2 bike rack - trunk mount bike racks have inherent limitations, but we feel the...
Trunk mount bike racks have inherent limitations, but we feel the Thule Outway is the best we've tested.
Credit: Jeremy Benson

Jeremy Benson
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