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Thule T2 Pro XTR Review

Impressively easy to use and highly versatile, we think this is the best hitch-mount rack on the market
Thule T2 Pro XTR
Photo: www.thule.com
Editors' Choice Award
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Price:  $650 List | Check Price at REI
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Easy tilt release function, durable, fat bike compatible, tool-free installation
Cons:  Hefty, pricey
Manufacturer:   Thule
By Curtis Smith ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Apr 29, 2019
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82
OVERALL
SCORE


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

Our Verdict

The Thule T2 Pro XTR sets the standard for hitch-mounted tray-style racks. The original version of this model was the previous favorite, and despite an aggressive influx of new models from competitors, the T2 Pro XTR maintains its position as the best hitch rack on the market. Smart features like an easy-to-reach tilt release handle at the end of the rack and a tool-free vehicle mounting system show Thule's commitment to user-friendly design. The design of the T2 Pro XTR isn't perfect, but the execution of the design principle is superb, every feature works as intended, and the result is a hassle-free rack that will handle nearly any bike on the market.

Thule has recently updated the T2 Pro XT and added two small wheels to the rack which can be used to roll it when it is not attached to the vehicle. This should make it much easier to move to/from its storage location when not in use. It is otherwise unchanged from the XT model we tested, although it is now called the T2 Pro XTR and has seen a slight bump in price. May 2021

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Thule T2 Pro XTR
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Thule T2 Pro XTR
Awards Editors' Choice Award  Best Buy Award  Top Pick Award 
Price Check Price at REI
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$599.00 at BackcountryCheck Price at REI
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Pros Easy tilt release function, durable, fat bike compatible, tool-free installationLow loading height, easy tray adjustment, lightweight, tool free removalReasonably priced, highly versatile, solid construction, user-friendly tilt release, comes with locksLightweight, simple, foot pedal tilt mechanismVery secure hold, no frame or fork contact
Cons Hefty, priceyHigh price, sticky tilt release handle, cable locks are difficult to use, questionable durabilitySits slightly closer to vehicle than some, some assembly requiredLacks versatility, expensive, 40 lbs per bike weight limitDesign seems a little over-complicated, limited to vehicles with low roof height, you have to lift bike to height of roof to load
Bottom Line Impressively easy to use and highly versatile, we think this is the best hitch-mount rack on the marketA lightweight hitch rack with unrivaled adjustabilityA versatile hitch-mount rack that provides a high price to performance ratioA lightweight hitch rack with some nice features and a good-looking powder coat finishA roof-mount rack with an exceptionally sturdy and secure hold of your bicycle with no frame contact
Rating Categories Thule T2 Pro XTR Yakima Dr. Tray RockyMounts MonoRail Kuat Sherpa 2.0 Thule UpRide
Ease Of EveryDay Use (20%)
9
8
8
8
7
Ease Of Removal And Storage (20%)
7
9
7
9
8
Versatility (20%)
9
9
9
6
7
Security (20%)
8
6
8
8
8
Ease Of Assembly (10%)
7
8
6
8
10
Durability (10%)
9
7
8
8
7
Specs Thule T2 Pro XTR Yakima Dr. Tray RockyMounts MonoRail Kuat Sherpa 2.0 Thule UpRide
Style Hitch (tray) Hitch (tray) Hitch (tray) Hitch (tray) Roof
Bike Capacity 2 2 2 2 1
Lock? Yes Yes Yes Yes Available but not included
Weight 51 lbs 34 lbs 44 lbs 2 oz 32 lbs 17 lbs
Other Sizes Available? Yes, 1.25" receiver and rack add-on for 2 additional bikes Yes, 1.25" receiver and rack add-on for 1 additional bike Yes, 1.25" reciever, single bike add-on sold separately Yes, 1.25" receiver No
Cross Bar Compatibility N/A N/A N/A N/A Round, Square, Aero, Most Factory

Our Analysis and Test Results

Thule could easily have left the T2 Pro alone — it was a great rack and our previous favorite. Instead, they took an amazing product and made it even better by increasing the spacing between the trays and growing the lateral tray adjustment range. These changes are barely noticeable without comparing the old and new versions of the model side by side; but when we put the new T2 Pro XT to the test, the increased clearance between bikes was noticeable.

The T2 Pro XT maintains all of the groundbreaking features that established it as the benchmark hitch-mount rack; remote tilt release handle, and a tool-free vehicle attachment system. Its innovative features are what vaulted it into the top position in our previous review. Our current round of testing includes some racks that have copied some of the Thule design features. Despite many other racks now employing the same features, Thule maintains the top spot due to its impeccable execution compared to its competitors.

The Thule T2 Pro XT is the best hitch mount rack we've tested.
The Thule T2 Pro XT is the best hitch mount rack we've tested.
Photo: Curtis Smith

Add on the Thule T2 Pro XT 2 Bike Add-On and this becomes our favorite 4-bike hitch rack.
Add on the two bike extension, the the Thule T2 Pro become our...
Add on the two bike extension, the the Thule T2 Pro become our favorite 4 bike carrier.
Photo: Chris McNamara

Ease of Everyday Use


The T2 Pro XT is hands down the most user-friendly rack we've ever tested.

Thule was the first brand to bring a hitch rack with a remote tilt release handle to market and despite intense competition from other brands, the T2 still has the smoothest and most user-friendly release mechanism on the market. The two factors that have the greatest impact on ease of everyday use are the tilt mechanism and ease of loading bikes. We tilt our rack every day whether we're out riding or running errands, access to the rear of the vehicle is always a priority. The low loading height and easy one-handed front wheel clamps make loading bikes simple and easy. The Dr. Tray has tool-free tray adjustment which is a great feature especially for those who frequently load different combinations of bikes. However, we seldom needed to move the trays on the T2, due to the generous, 13" of tray spacing, and we set the rack up with the greatest lateral spread possible, so bike-to-bike interference was rarely an issue during testing.

The Thule T2 Pro XT is one of the easiest to use racks on the market.
The Thule T2 Pro XT is one of the easiest to use racks on the market.
Photo: Curtis Smith

Ease of Removal and Storage


The T2 Pro uses a tool-free system to secure the rack to a vehicle. Just slide the rack into the hitch receiver and release the stinger pin, which drops into the hole that traditionally would hold the locking pin. Then, a knob is turned on the body of the rack that secures the rack to the vehicle and prevents wobble. One of the included keys is used to secure the knob, preventing theft. This may seem like a trivial feature, but if you're removing your rack from your vehicle on a regular basis it can be a huge time saver. Other racks, like the first generation Thule T2 Classic, use a threaded hitch pin to prevent wobble that requires a wrench for attachment and removal. While the threaded pin system works quite well, using a wrench can be frustrating and time-consuming due to the cramped working space.

The Thule T2 Pro XTis easy to attach to a vehicle using the knob at...
The Thule T2 Pro XTis easy to attach to a vehicle using the knob at the lower portion of the rack.
Photo: Curtis Smith

The T2 Pro XT takes up a lot of space when stored, and moving it around on a regular basis is not all that enjoyable since it weighs 51 lbs. The Kuat Sherpa and the Yakima Dr. Tray are both lighter and easier to carry to and from the garage. If limited storage is an issue than the 1Up USA Heavy Duty Quick Rack packs up smaller than any other platform hitch rack in the test.

Versatility


The T2 Pro XT is one of the more versatile racks we tested. Wide V-shaped tire trays effectively hold any tire, from skinny road tires up to monster 5" fat bike tires. Other contenders are limited to 3" tires making them incompatible with fat bikes. Some tray racks will work but may require modification such as extending the rear wheel straps. The T2's individual trays are adjustable laterally on the main mast arm of the rack, making it easy to avoid bike clearance issues by straddling the trays. Other competitors we tested have fixed tray positions and do not allow for this adjustment. Our only complaint is that the trays are not adjustable fore and aft, so the distance between the trays is fixed.

The first generation Thule T2 Classic and the Yakima Dr. Tray feature trays that are adjustable both laterally and fore and aft, a feature we've always liked and one of the reasons that the Thule T2 Classic has always been a favorite with OutdoorGearLab testers. That said, the T2 Pro XT has more clearance from the back of the vehicle to the inside tray than many racks we tested, which decreases the likelihood of vehicle clearance issues.

The Thule T2 Pro XT is a versatile hitch rack which can accommodate...
The Thule T2 Pro XT is a versatile hitch rack which can accommodate a wide range of bikes by adjusting the trays to prevent bike contact.
Photo: Curtis Smith

Ease of Assembly


The T2 Pro XT requires tools for assembly. The trays must be attached to the main support mast, and some work is also required to attach the plastic front wheel baskets and the rear wheel straps. When compared to racks like the 1Up USA which comes fully assembled or the Yakima Dr Tray which requires very limited assembly, this rack is a bit of a project. We were able to assemble this model with one person, using the included tools and the addition of a Philips screwdriver.

Attaching the trays is best accomplished with the support arm of the rack attached to a vehicle. Four hex bolts secure each tray to the support mast. If you're averse to assembly, there are many easier racks available, but we feel that the end product is worth the extra assembly time with the T2 Pro XT.

The Thule T2 Pro XT requires some time and patience to assemble.
The Thule T2 Pro XT requires some time and patience to assemble.
Photo: Curtis Smith

Security


Securing your bikes during transport is a major concern for most riders, and the ability to secure the rack you're using to transport the bikes is equally important.

The T2 Pro XT attaches to your hitch receiver with an expanding wedge that is forced against the inside portion of the receiver tube, this prevents wobble and prevents the rack from falling out of the receiver. Thule has a novel approach to security for the T2 Pro, the knob that is turned to expand the wedge that holds the rack in place can be disabled by turning a lock within the knob. Once the lock is secured, the knob just free spins and it's impossible to release the wedge. We feel that this system is just as secure as a locking hitch pin and much easier to use.

The cable locks extend from the end of the ratcheting arms on the...
The cable locks extend from the end of the ratcheting arms on the Thule T2 Pro.
Photo: Curtis Smith

The T2 Pro XT also comes with cable locks to secure bikes. The cables are housed in the front wheel clamp arms and can be pulled out to wrap around a bike in the rack. While this system is straightforward to use, the short length of the cables only allows you to loop around the front fork on most bikes. When carrying road bikes we were able to get the cable through the front triangle, but the geometry of most mountain bikes we used in the test prevented us from attaching the lock to anything but the fork. These cables may work well as a theft deterrent, although we feel a determined bike thief would make quick work of them. For an additional level of security, we would suggest adding a sturdy aftermarket lock to the mix.

Durability


We felt that the first version of the T2 Pro was exceptionally durable, and the new XT version improves on the design with bombproof black paint that was impervious to scratches during testing.

The previous version had a silver finish which scratched easily. The overall construction of the T2 Pro XT is stout, and it feels that way too at 51 lbs. The T2 Pro has some plastic pieces that are prone to degradation from sun exposure. The moving parts are almost entirely made of metal, and despite some pretty serious abuse, the T2 Pro functioned flawlessly during testing. If anything we would describe it as being overbuilt, if durability is high on your list of required attributes, then this rack should be on your shortlist.

The Thule T2 Pro XT is a heavy duty rack with a durable black...
The Thule T2 Pro XT is a heavy duty rack with a durable black finish, despite months of abuse we were unable to find fault in this awesome rack.
Photo: Curtis Smith


Value


Like most quality hitch-mount bike racks, the T2 Pro is relatively expensive. Despite the high price, we feel that it represents a good value due to its versatility, ease of use, and durability.

Conclusion


We've tested a lot of hitch racks here at OutdoorGearLab. Every time a new model comes out with a host of impressive features, we can't help but get a little excited. Despite having a pile of the best racks on the market in the garage, 99% of the time, the T2 Pro XT is the one we grab. There are lighter competitors, better-looking racks, and racks with better security features, but when it comes down to it, this rack is the easiest and most intuitive model we've ever used, and the one-handed tilt feature is better designed than the competition. Frankly, ease of use trumps every other factor for us, and it doesn't hurt that it's impressively durable and reliable to boot. If you want the best all-around hitch rack on the market, we think this is it.

Despite challenges from other manufacturers the Thule T2 Pro XT...
Despite challenges from other manufacturers the Thule T2 Pro XT holds onto our coveted top award.
Photo: Curtis Smith

Curtis Smith