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Thule T2 Classic Review

This rack has been around forever but is still as functional today as it was 10 years ago
Thule T2 Classic
Photo: Thule
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Price:  $500 List | Check Price at REI
Pros:  Low loading height, relatively affordable, high weight capacity
Cons:  Heavy, Tools needed for install and adjustment, no remote tilt release
Manufacturer:   Thule
By Curtis Smith ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Apr 29, 2019
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71
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#15 of 23
  • Ease of EveryDay Use - 20% 6
  • Ease of Removal and Storage - 20% 6
  • Versatility - 20% 9
  • Security - 20% 7
  • Ease of Assembly - 10% 7
  • Durability - 10% 8

Our Verdict

The Thule T2 Classic is a tray-style hitch mount rack, similar in function to our Editors' Choice, the Thule T2 Pro XT. A favorite among our testers, it is the less expensive, blue-collar option when compared to the more refined and visually pleasing modern racks we tested. The T2 Classic can carry nearly any type of bike regardless of wheel size, fork dropout style, or frame design. It offers a high level of versatility. A ratcheting arm clamps the front wheel and tire of the bike, eliminating frame contact, plus cable locks provide security for the bikes, and a hitch lock secures the rack itself. While there are better racks on the market, the T2 Classic stands the test of time and is still a solid option to consider.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Thule T2 Classic
This Product
Thule T2 Classic
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award 
Price $500 List
Check Price at REI
Check Price at REI
Compare at 3 sellers
$450 ListCheck Price at Backcountry
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$32.44 at Amazon
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Pros Low loading height, relatively affordable, high weight capacityEasy tilt release function, durable, fat bike compatible, tool-free installationReasonably priced, highly versatile, solid construction, user-friendly tilt release, comes with locksVery secure hold, no frame or fork contactVery inexpensive, no assembly required, lightweight, folds small for storage
Cons Heavy, Tools needed for install and adjustment, no remote tilt releaseHefty, priceySits 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 loadNot adjustable, support arms may not work with all frame shapes/styles, no security features
Bottom Line This rack has been around forever but is still as functional today as it was 10 years agoImpressively easy to use and highly versatile, we think this is the best hitch-mount rack on the marketA 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 contactA very affordable, bare-bones trunk rack for the infrequent rack user on a tight budget
Rating Categories Thule T2 Classic Thule T2 Pro XTR RockyMounts MonoRail Thule UpRide Allen Deluxe 2-Bike...
Ease Of EveryDay Use (20%)
6.0
9.0
8.0
7.0
5.0
Ease Of Removal And Storage (20%)
6.0
7.0
7.0
8.0
8.0
Versatility (20%)
9.0
9.0
9.0
7.0
4.0
Security (20%)
7.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
2.0
Ease Of Assembly (10%)
7.0
7.0
6.0
10.0
9.0
Durability (10%)
8.0
9.0
8.0
7.0
6.0
Specs Thule T2 Classic Thule T2 Pro XTR RockyMounts MonoRail Thule UpRide Allen Deluxe 2-Bike...
Style Hitch (tray) Hitch (tray) Hitch (tray) Roof Trunk
Bike Capacity 2 2 2 1 2
Lock? Yes Yes Yes Available but not included No
Weight 56 lbs 2 oz 51 lbs 44 lbs 2 oz 17 lbs 7 lbs 9 oz
Other Sizes Available? Yes, 2" receiver Yes, 1.25" receiver and rack add-on for 2 additional bikes Yes, 1.25" reciever, single bike add-on sold separately No Yes, 3 and 4 bike versions
Cross Bar Compatibility NA N/A N/A Round, Square, Aero, Most Factory N/A

Our Analysis and Test Results

As the name implies, the Thule T2 Classic has been around for years and helped to set the bar for tray-style hitch mount bike racks. Now that a new crop of competitors has joined the fray it doesn't quite top the charts from a performance standpoint, yet the T2 Classic remains a highly functional and worthy option.

Performance Comparison


The hitch mount Thule T2 Classic loaded and ready to go.
The hitch mount Thule T2 Classic loaded and ready to go.
Photo: Curtis Smith

Ease of Everyday Use


This rack comes close to our Editors' Choice Thule T2 Pro XT or previous Editors' Choice, the Kuat NV, regarding ergonomics, but lacks some of the refined features found on the latest hitch racks such as a remote tilt release lever.

The Thule T2 Classic  tilts down even when fully loaded, providing...
The Thule T2 Classic tilts down even when fully loaded, providing access to rear vehicle compartments.
Photo: Curtis Smith

A low loading height and easy-to-use ratcheting arms make loading and securing bikes a simple task. When loading and unloading bikes multiple times a day for shuttle runs, no other type of rack can equal the tray mount style of the T2 Classic and the T2 Pro. Tilting down this contender when loaded with bikes is a much more complicated process than the T2 Pro XT or the RockyMounts MonoRail because it requires the user to briefly un-weight the lowering mechanism by lifting up on the rack while pulling the release lever. Not a huge deal, but we have to give other models the nod for ease of lowering, due to the user-friendly load release handles on the end of the main support arm.

Ease of Removal and Storage


Like most of the hitch racks we tested, the T2 Classic is relatively heavy; it weighs 56.1 lbs. It's not a model that you want to carry too far. Thule relies on the old threaded hitch pin design to remove wobble and secure the rack, it works, but is much more time consuming and difficult to manipulate than the expanding wedge designs found on most of the new high-end contenders like the T2 Pro XT and the Yakima Dr. Tray. Like most similar racks, the T2 Classic is an awkward shape and takes up a fair amount of space in your storage area.

Versatility


More versatile than a support arm style hitch mount rack, this model receives top scores for versatility/capacity. It has a weight capacity of 100lbs, (note: the 2" receiver version has a 160lb capacity) less than the 120lb capacity of the Kuat NV, and the Thule T2 Pro but this is due to the 1.25" receiver not the construction of the rack. The T2 will accommodate almost any bike with a wheelbase of 48" or less and wheels from 20" to 29". The only limitation is tire size. Fat bike tires and some of the new 29" plus tire and wheel combinations are too tall, or wide for the ratcheting arms to clear.

The design of the Thule T2 Classic allows the trays to be adjusted...
The design of the Thule T2 Classic allows the trays to be adjusted laterally and fore and aft, to provide optimum spacing between bikes.
Photo: Curtis Smith

The Thule T2 Pro XT has design features that address tire width issues. Otherwise, the Classic secures the bikes with no contact with the bicycle frame. The bicycle trays are adjustable both fore and aft and side to side on the hitch base, allowing the trays to be positioned in an offset manner to eliminate bike-to-bike contact. The adjustable trays allowed us to configure the rack in a manner that prevented the handlebar/saddle interference that was an occasional issue on other models.

Ease of Assembly


This model comes out of the box in multiple pieces and requires a bit of time and patience to assemble and properly adjust. The directions for assembly are excellent, and Thule includes two wrenches and a 5mm hex key. In addition to the included tools, you'll need a ½" socket for assembly of the wheel trays and a flat head screwdriver. Set aside a little time and patience and the T2 Classic comes together with relative ease.

The Thule T2 Classic uses a threaded locking hitch pin for security...
The Thule T2 Classic uses a threaded locking hitch pin for security and to prevent wobble between the rack and hitch receiver.
Photo: Curtis Smith

Attaching the T2 Classic to a vehicle is a bit more involved than some of the other models we tested. With a weight of 56.1 lbs, it is heavy and a bit awkward to carry around. The rack slides into the receiver, and a threaded hitch pin must be tightened with the included wrench to eliminate wobble in the receiver. Both the threaded hitch pin and the expanding insert anti-wobble systems are very capable, but our top-rated models require no tools to take the rack on and off the car, which makes them easier to use.

Security


This contender comes with a locking hitch pin, as well as cable locks that deploy from the wheel clamp arms. Both the hitch pin and the cable locks take the same key, and Thule includes two keys and a blank key that allows you to pull the lock cylinders for replacement if necessary.

Cable locks deploy from the wheel clamps on the Thule T2 Classic and...
Cable locks deploy from the wheel clamps on the Thule T2 Classic and loop through the bicycle frame for security.
Photo: Curtis Smith

The T2 Classic utilizes individual cables and locks for each bike. The cables pull out from the wheel clamp arms and are designed to be looped through the front triangle of the bicycle frame. We wish that the cables were long enough to be looped through the front wheel for additional security, but that is not the case. The cables are thinner in diameter, but they are substantial enough to act as a deterrent to opportunistic thieves. We would consider these cable locks to be little more than a deterrent, however, and we would recommend using a tough aftermarket lock to secure your bikes further.

Durability


This competitor is a well-constructed, durable rack. The body of the rack is steel with long-wearing black paint. The trays are sturdy, and despite the use of plastic wheel trays, we had no issues with durability. The design of the rack allows for easy replacement of the individual trays should one become damaged. Some of our testers have been using previous versions of this rack for several years with no durability issues.

Value


This rack is the blue-collar answer to the higher-priced and slightly more refined competition. You get most of the function and save a significant amount of cash. This rack is a good value, although we found the RockyMounts MonoRail to provide more bang for the buck and have awarded it our Best Buy.

Conclusion


The Thule T2 Classic is a solid, durable product, with a time-tested design. Few products retain relevancy for more than a year or two in the cycling world, but this rack bucks that trend. Despite strong competition from nearly every rack manufacturer, the T2 Classic remains a quality option.

Curtis Smith