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  1. #1
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    Saris Thelma 3-Bike: Good rack?

    How good of a rack is the Saris Thelma 3-Bike?

    I have a 1.25" Receiver, Class 1 hitch in my sedan. The Saris Thelma has a 31lb/bike rating (no problem by me... i ride XC/Road bikes and won't be carrying more than 1x DH bike at a time.

    I mostly worry about carrying 3 bikes and cruising at 60mph on the highway. How safe/secure is it with only straps holding the wheels down?

    Also is there an integrated locking mechanism to lock the bike rack to my hitch and another lock to lock the bikes to the bike rack?


  2. #2
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    I've been using the two bike one for over a year now with no problems with a 1 1/4" hitch on a pretty small, tight car. Love it! Saris does make a locking hitch pin and I use a chain through the wheels/frame to the safety chain loop on the hitch to lock the bikes to the rack. I've done a few long road trips and never worried about the bikes only being held by the two straps BUT the straps are too short for 2.4's or bigger. A little creative mods solve that problem pretty quick though.

  3. #3
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    Great, I just need a reason to get rid of my 2 month old Sportrack 2 bike tray that is in perfect working condition. My only excuse is that the hooks on my current rack ride up when i hit bumps (small and large) which can result in catastrophic failure on the highway (or anywhere.) For now i use safety precautions: sportrack bike lock that locks the bike frame to the rack & bungee straps to hold down the hooks (not really strong enough)

    Is it worth the $275 upgrade just to store my current rack in the garage?

    Anyone want to pick it up from me in NJ/NY (NYC/LI)?

  4. #4
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    I got an email back from my rep this morning already and he said that the new wheel holders are big enough to fit much bigger tires so the straps should be long enough for a 3.0 now.

    On your old rack I think if you use the bungees over the top and strap the wheels down too the bike should be stable enough not to push the hooks up. Don't know that I would trust a double jury rigged setup with my bike but I'd probably trust it with someone elses

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by gravitylover
    BUT the straps are too short for 2.4's or bigger. .
    contact Saris and they will send you extra straps ... I just put 2 of them together to fit larger tires

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    and yes just get a locking pin to lock the rack to your hitch and a cable thru the safety chain loop of the hitch to lock the bikes to the rack

    I have the 2 bike Thelma and take long road trips with it and have never had a prob
    I used to ride to Win ... Now I ride to Grin

    While my guitar gently weeps, my bike sits there mocking me

  6. #6
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    i see, thanks for the replies, Gravity and Zoke.

    Nearly everyone is in love with the Thule T2 for its sturdiness and design, what makes this rack just as good as the Thule T2?

    Although i like this saris rack, its pretty hard to justify upgrading to it when i have a reasonably working Sportrack 2 bike Tray. =\

  7. #7
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    Initially I got it because it is the lightest hitch rack out there and I usually leave it on from mid March until it snows so I don't need something big, rattley and heavy hanging off the back of the car for 6 months or more. The other thing I really like is when it's folded up it doesn't block the license plate, catch a cop on the rag and a blocked plate is a guaranteed to piss you off ticket. Now that I've been using it for over a year I don't think I'd even want anything different. It has been easy to use and bombproof. What more do you need.

  8. #8
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    I have the Thelma 2 that fits 29ers. The straps are plenty long for my 2.55 front tire if that helps. I love the rack. Easy to load and very simple.

  9. #9
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    Where are you guys buying your thelma?

    so far i have 2x 700c bikes + a 26" mtb w/ big knobbies. unsure of what my future holds but a 29er with big knobbies wouldn't be a surprise. i see the Saris Thelma 3-Bike rack on Amazon for 2 different prices: $277 shipped & $340 shipped

    http://www.amazon.com/Saris-Thelma-B...6134885&sr=8-2
    This link says the Hitch is "universal". I thought Saris made individual models for 1 1/4" and for 2"?
    $277

    http://www.amazon.com/Saris-Thelma-3...6135097&sr=1-5
    $340 shipped
    has the individual hitch size options to select

    Whats the difference and is one of these the 2009 model?

  10. #10
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    The 09 (4203) doesn't fit 29'ers. The new one (4239) fits 29'ers.

    I bought mine @ ORS racks direct. Right now there is 10% off and free shipping.

    About the hitch size the Saris comes with both sizes.

  11. #11
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    Looks like $315 is about the best price for it online. Can anyone get it cheaper? Does anyone run any shops in the NJ/NY area and can do a better final price than $315? Please PM me, looking to purchase soon. Unless someone has a better rack to suggest.

  12. #12
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    One more important factor:

    Where i live, things get stolen left and right. What can i use to lock the bike rack to my car? I know it has a locking pin: http://www.saris.com/p-376-locking-hitch-tite.aspx but that just locks the 1 1/4 or 2" receiver to my hitch. Here is the video proving that the main bike rack can be separated at the pin joint pictured below.The rest of the bike rack can be removed with just a single pin seen here:

    How do i keep my rack from being stolen?

  13. #13
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    If that pin in the picture is removed you still cant steal the rack. You would have to disassemble the whole rack to steal it if you have the locking bolt to lock it to your hitch.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by skyliner1004
    Looks like $315 is about the best price for it online. Can anyone get it cheaper? Does anyone run any shops in the NJ/NY area and can do a better final price than $315? Please PM me, looking to purchase soon. Unless someone has a better rack to suggest.

    If you put it in the cart at ORS racks and apply the Extra10 coupon code it comes to $284 shipped

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dropout33
    If that pin in the picture is removed you still cant steal the rack. You would have to disassemble the whole rack to steal it if you have the locking bolt to lock it to your hitch.
    thanks for this, it makes me feel a lot better. But just so i can visualize, is it only the quick release pin + 1x screw with an allen key to install/remove the main body from the 2" receiver as shown in the video?

    And i take it you have the exact same Thelma 3-bike? Do you have the 1.25 or 2" receiver?

  16. #16
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    I have the Thelma 2 for the 29er. Same assembly and all. I have the 2" receiver.

    You are correct about the quick release and 1 x screw with allen key.

    I live in NY also and can understand your worries about this but I dont think anyone is going through all the trouble. I could be wrong though.

  17. #17
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    I have removed the plastic stuff from mine so you can see what it takes to take it apart, I'll get a picture up tomorrow when I have time. Not too difficult really but I don't worry about it and leave it on all the time in NYC with the locking hitch pin. When the bikes are on it I lock them to the car though.

  18. #18
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    Another review of this rack...disappointing.

    I bought this rack for its ability to work with both 1.25 and 2" hitches, ability to carry up to three bikes varying in wheel size, folds up when not in use, and doesn't touch the frame. Unfortunately, it is mostly plastic and lightweight tubing, and the bikes are not stable...they bounce around a lot and get into each other. The "stinger" part (the part that goes into the hitch) on my rack also bent after a couple uses with much less weight than it is marketed as being able to handle and on normal driving conditions. Saris customer service wasnt helpful.
    Giant Team Bike & Bean-Marin Co., CA

    https://www.facebook.com/GiantBikeandBean

  19. #19
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    I will say i bought this rack and used over 3,000 miles with only one issue.I use to rubber bungie straps to help on the bouncing. Never had the bikes bounce into one another. I had one of bolts fall out and saris was very helpful with bolt info.

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