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  1. #1
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    REVIEW: Sportworks T2 Transport

    Talk has surfaced on the Turner boards occasionaly regarding Sportworks' bike rack offerings, particularly the Transport, so I thought I'd write up a brief review of Sportworks' T2 Transport bike rack which I've coveted ever since I saw it at iBike back in October, and the recent announcement that Sportworks sold its Quick-Load Bike Rack Division to Thule was ample justification to shell out the clams while I could still pick one up.

    The first order of business was to sell my previous generation Transport bike rack (we'll call it the T1), which I quickly moved with the help of MTBR's Classifieds in less than 24 hrs! So today I rolled into the LBS picked up the new T2 and happy day! The pangs of UGI were momentarily cured.

    Once assembled, I loaded up the two Turners and detailed a quick list of the Pros and Cons of the new T2. Before I proceed let me say that I've always been a fan of hitch mount racks because they keep my truck bed free for gear, particularly when camping/road tripping, and it's just easier to deal with a bike at hitch height rather than roof rack height. So anyway...

    PROS
    1. The T2 has the same great death grip "Wheel Only" bike retention as the T1 preventing the need to remove the front wheel and making any contact with the frame. Bikes literally mount up in seconds.
    2. Same great build quality with a heavy and durable powder coat finish, with the ability to carry up to four bikes.
    3. The Front Wheel Cradles and the Rear Wheel Lock Downs offer the ability to securely carry anything from skinny road tires, to 3.0 DH tires, there's room to spare on either side of my Kenda 2.35 Nevegals. The Cradles even have the radius to support you 29'ers. Those of you with the T1 know it was always an issue getting the bigger tires to fit within the front hoops and rear locking ring. Problem solved with flying colors.
    4. The T2 encorporates an adjustable bracket which allows you to adjust the pitch and offset of each rack independently from one another eliminating the T1's tendency to allow the bikes to interfere with each other, particularly handle bars to opposing saddles. Again, huge improvement.
    5. The "4-Bar (no there isn't an ICT patent sticker on it... yet) Link Folding Mechanism" is much easier and smoother than the T1 to operate as you fold the rack up/down to stow/load it.

    CONS
    1. The T2 seems heavier than the T1 which was already a little cumbersome to get on and off the vehicle, a minor issue at best.
    2. The T2 includes a second anti-wobble bolt (for the 2" hitch only) in an attempt to further reduce rack movement, but I won't be able to tell you if it works because it isn't far enough down the rack's hitch base to allow it to insert within the truck's hitch receiver. It's shy by just under an inch. Bummer .

    In short Sportworks took a great product and made it near perfect. If you're in the market for a hitch mount rack pick up a Sportworks while supplies last. As the rack gets a few more miles under its belt, I'm heading to Moab in May, I'll post any additional thoughts, and if you want 'em pictures.

  2. #2
    Huh?
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    I'll second that

    I have the Transport, which has been the best rack I've ever used. Of course it makes my full size pickup that much longer now so I only use when heading out with more than two bikes. The best Rack money can buy..IMO. Just don't forget to secure the back wheel, I'm still suprised the bike survived being dragged like that

  3. #3
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    I have one of those things. It has been great! absolutely no problems. I think I may have the old school one? I don't know, I don't care it works and it kicks ass.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Quite possibly the slowest single speeder on earth.
    Now skating 'cause its cheaper.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by aixelsyd
    Just don't forget to secure the back wheel, I'm still suprised the bike survived being dragged like that
    I've been know to do that... once.

    Hey Smokey, which Specalized tires are you running? When I was in picking up my rack I started looking at their tire offerings and a couple looked pretty tempting. They sure offer a lot of them in a wide range of sizes.

  5. #5
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    LOL! In that picture I have some roll-x 2.0" tires! I know tscheezy thinks I should use those on a road bike, but they have actually held up nice....up until a few days ago when a sharp rock ended all that. I don't care what those fools on the wheel and tire forum say, they roll fast enough! Faster than my 2.35 nevegals. I can notice. But I learned my lesson. They ARE XC tires, not extreme trail rubber.
    Quite possibly the slowest single speeder on earth.
    Now skating 'cause its cheaper.

  6. #6
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    I was thinking more along the lines of the Roller Pro and the Enduro Pro in a 2.4.

  7. #7
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    I was thinking about getting one of those, but I leave the rack on for a long time...meaning it would rust. So I went with the 1Up USA bike rack for $450. All aluminum, pretty burly and it came with a 1 1/4" adaptor for my Accord. It's pretty nice with all the aluminum bits, plus it folds down smaller than its steel competitors. If you have a garage, you probably won't care, but for us apartment dwellers who like to put the rack in the car trunk, it works quite well.

    My buddy just smacked his garage with his bike in his Yakima roof rack....ouch.

  8. #8
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    Anyone notice anything about the two-bike setup?
    Look at the seats and bars...
    There needs to be more stagger between the bikes!
    Mounting and dismounting one is easy as heck though...
    Big hoopy.
    Turner Sultan / On One Inbred

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by RedRocker
    Anyone notice anything about the two-bike setup?
    Look at the seats and bars...
    There needs to be more stagger between the bikes!
    Mounting and dismounting one is easy as heck though...
    I've got a couple friends with this rack, and we've noticed the same thing if people are riding the same size bikes -- the handlebar of one bike jabs the seat of the next bike. We've all got QR seatpost clamps, so we just drop the saddles if there is interference. If the bikes are wildly different sizes (like my small Spot and my friend's large Epic) then there isn't any interference.

  10. #10
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    Must be luck of the draw. My Burner is an XL and sees to be a little better than my L NRS was next to my friend's M (I think) Pantera.
    Big hoopy.
    Turner Sultan / On One Inbred

  11. #11
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    Here's what I use..

    I had a bad experience with having a hitch mounted rack. I got rearended one time with my bikes mounted on the back. Ever since, I don't like transporting mine that way. Here's my solution ...plus I still have room for gear in the bed of the truck and it stays dry at the same time.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by RedRocker
    There needs to be more stagger between the bikes!
    Ya, that was an annoying problem with the T1, but the T2 solved this...


    Quote Originally Posted by CrashTheDOG
    4. The T2 encorporates an adjustable bracket which allows you to adjust the pitch and offset of each rack independently from one another eliminating the T1's tendency to allow the bikes to interfere with each other, particularly handle bars to opposing saddles. Again, huge improvement.

  13. #13
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    Similar, but Simpler

    I have a Sportworks roof-top mount. Works great, but weighs a ton (I take the rax off/on a fair bit).

    While in Moab recently for a week (gloat, gloat) I saw a hitch rack at Chile Pepper Bike Shop that seemed to offer the same performance, but in a much simpler manner.

    Basically, the bikes sit like they do on the Sportworks T2, but instead of the big front wheel holding apparatus, you slide the crank arm/pedal spindle into a small rectangular tube, then strap both front and rear wheel into the rail with a Thule-like strap.

    The crank-holding tube is sort of like the stand that some bike shops use to hold up bikes in the showroom.

    It really looked cool (provided you don't care about a few scuffs on your crank arm. Apparently, most of the Moab shuttle services use this type of rack on top of their vans.

  14. #14
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    An additional 1st impression of the T2

    Thanks to Crash's great review I was inspired to upgrade my T1 as well. I figured I was tired of trying to stuff my Fat Albert and Sturdy into the rack and I did the math on the Mad Phat Hoops and figured it would cost the same to sell the T1 and get the T2. So I did:

    Mine showed up yesterday. So I bolted it right up and played with it a bit.
    [size=1](Yes that's a Turner hitch cover)[/size]


    I particularly like they have my truck on the box. How did they know?

    It did not feel heavier than the T1 but I didn't weigh it.
    The fold up/down latch is greatly improved. The linkage reduces the leverage in lifting and lowering the rack into position.

    The new tire holding mechanisms are much wider, and where I had to force my Fat Albert 2.3 into the front hoop, and push down on the bike to compress the Sturdy 2.3 into the rear lockdown on the T1, both tires dropped easily into place on the T2.


    Niggles compared to the T1:
    The Front tire hook is wider and the ratchet release sits lower than on the T1. I don't think that makes any difference. BUT the hook now reaches farther around the wheel so, at the moment It rests against the fork on both sides. On the T1 I was able to compress the hook down on tire far enough away from the fork to keep it from rubbing against the fork legs. Today put a towel on the legs to keep from getting friction marks on the fork.

    Part of the reason I did not set the hook farther from the fork is the front wheel holder is open. Great for bigger tires and wheels, but now the wheel can rock back and forth unless I put the hold down hook against the fork. I'll have to play with this a bit and see if I can work around it.

    The rear tire lockdown is neat. It uses a flexible ratchet strap that reaches over the tire and cinches tight. Sort of like the top buckle on a pair of SIDI dominators. But then it's not a one hand operation anymore. Before I could hold the bike with one hand and spin the rear tire lockdown hoop with the other. Now I have to secure the front tire hook first, because without it the bike will not stand on it's own as it did with the front tire hoop on the T1. That's not a real problem, but it does take more futzing to get the rear tire locked down. I guess I need some practice to make it a quick operation like the spin-lock was.

    The other thing with the rear tire lockdowns is that they are bigger and slide much more easily than the T1 ratchet rings. The 2T lockdowns slam on the end-stop and make a clatter when going around corners when there's no bike on the rack. It'd be nice if there were a way to secure them when not in use.

    I have no idea what the 2nd anti wobble bolt is for. It sits way in front of the mouth of my hitch reciever.
    The rack still twist/rocks from side to side some. But the bike sits very securely .

    Of course I didn't just sit it in the driveway:



    And of Course I actually rode my bike once I got to where I was going:
    (Gratuitous ride shots just to keep it interesting)






    Improvements over the T1:
    It's MUCH easier to raise lower or drop the rack.
    It's MUCH easier to use fatter tires.
    You can now OFFSET each rack so the handlebars of one bike don't hit the seat of another bike.
    You can now adjust the SPACE between the bikes as well.("pitch") Nice indeed.

    About the Transport Series in general:
    Niggles aside, this is still one of the best racks on the market. Being able to lower the rack w/o removing the bikes to get to the rear hatch is a big plus. It's a no-fuss quick deal. Pull a pin, grab the latch and let the rack down. It's that simple.

    The bikes don't bang and rub each other while on the rack, and you don't have to spend 15 minuets fussing with bungies and such to make sure they are secure.
    The load operation should take 15 seconds once a person is used to it.

    If you frequently mount and unmount the rack as I do (keeps it in good condition and avoids parking lot issues) get the locking anti-wobble bolt. It's easier to install than the stock bolt which is shorter and is a tighter fit. You can spin the locking bolt on with your fingers and torque it with 2-3 strokes on a ratchet. The stock bolt requires a ratchet the whole way in.

    I've seen the kind of rack that the bike rests on it's BB, though I've never tried them, I 'm not entirely comfortable with that idea. It means all the shock and vibrations are focused in one very small area.(the blade that the BB rests on.) I prefer the bike to sit on it's tires. They're rubber and are going to get beat on anyway. The other kind, Saris, is very sweet looking. But it cannot be lowered, thus the bikes have to be removed to access the trunk. I got spoiled with this feature on the T1 so that took the Saris off my list.

    If you're shopping for a rack: Consider how much time you spend mounting and unmounting your bike. Think how nice it is to whip the bike on and off in just 15 seconds. It's no luxury once you've had it for a while let me tell you. The brief period between when I sold the T1 and was waiting for the T2, I had to put my bike in the truck. It only took 2-3 minuets but it seemed like forever in comparison. You spent top dollar on a spanky bike, don't short yourself on the rack that is going to be the only thing keeping it from getting run over by the semi following behind you.


    Yeah, yeah I know how often does this sort of thing happen? not one thousandth as often as you'll be looking out your rear view mirror checking for it.
    Last edited by Bikezilla; 07-22-2005 at 12:14 PM.
    Faster is better, even when it's not.

  15. #15
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    I'll soon be in the market for a tow-bar mounted bike carrier & this one looks great. Anyone know if/where they're available in the UK? Cheers.

  16. #16
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    One more opinion,,,

    I've been using my Transport T2 since March....and I absolutely LOVE it. It was one of the best $300 bike purchases I've ever made. It is rock solid, and contrary to some others experience, my anti-wobble bolt sits effectively inside the receiver and works quite well. (2003 Toyota Tacoma DC).

    The T2 stays on my truck 24/7. It has the ability to rotate down and away from the tailgate allowing me to load large items in the bed (roto-tillers, mulch, commercial lawn mowers) while keeping the rack on the truck. Finally, the few times I have removed the rack from the truck, I did not find it to be very heavy or cumbersome. It removes easily and happily sits on my garage floor waiting to be put back on.

    Enjoy!
    Mike

  17. #17
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    Great review 'zilla!
    I got my T2 about a month ago (thanks to Crash's original review) and didn't realize what I was missing. It is quite comforting to look back at my pack just resting in her rack, just waiting to hit the trail. The bike and rack are completely solid back there. I was lucky that my top anti-wobble actually mates up with the receiver perfectly.

    --rip

  18. #18
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    Saris

    I just got my Saris Cycle on last night, which is a similar design. I will post images asap, and give you my opinion.
    My buddy has one, and he likes it..he uses it for his Moment and Dare...which has 3.0 tires on it.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by TONYACCURSO
    I just got my Saris Cycle on last night, which is a similar design. I will post images asap, and give you my opinion.
    My buddy has one, and he likes it..he uses it for his Moment and Dare...which has 3.0 tires on it.
    My Bro Fatty-B runs the Saris. It's a swanky rack for sure. It'd be good to read your thoughts on it too.

    Speaking of EW's, I wonder if the 4-bar design of the T2 will require some kind of ICT sticker?
    Faster is better, even when it's not.

  20. #20
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    Love the Sportworks T1 that I've had for nearly 2 years. It's seen a ton of miles with no problems. Yes I either remove ar lower my saddle but that's only a couple of extra seconds. Still the easiest rack I've ever used.

    Quote Originally Posted by CrashtheDog
    Hey Smokey, which Specalized tires are you running? When I was in picking up my rack I started looking at their tire offerings and a couple looked pretty tempting. They sure offer a lot of them in a wide range of sizes.
    Crash, not to hijack the thread but I have that Enduro 2.4 (pic shows it in the mad phat hoops) and love the way it tracks. Rear tire is Roll-X 2Bliss.

    peace.............


    edit: damn, thought I had the pic turned

    edit 2: got it
    Attached Images Attached Images
    [size=4]Let go, and let it flow!!!![/size]

  21. #21
    Full Monty Bike Bore
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    In the USA, is it not a problem obscuring your number plate, sorry "licence" plate and light clusters

    In the UK we "should" put a light board out back so other peeps can see what we're doing, who we are...

    You rebels you
    Last edited by Farqui; 07-22-2005 at 08:35 AM.
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  22. #22
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    People get tickets for obscured plates in the US too. It's at the discretion of the officer you blow by. Living close to the trailhead seems to help.

    Pokev, how do you secure your rear tire on the T1 when running a 2.4? I could barely get the lock over my Sturdy (very tall for a 2.3)
    Faster is better, even when it's not.

  23. #23
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    I'm Interested

    Thanks for the great reviews 'Zilla and Crash!

    I am very interested in the T2 rack.

    I have a 1999 Toyota 4-runner and I am wondering how the rack folds down for access to the rear hatch. My hatch has the hinges at the top and is a regular full height hatch that hinges up (I think this is just like zilla's QX4).

    Could you please post a profile picture of the car with the rack folded down and the hatch coming up so I can see how much clearance the rack provides for the hatch with the rack down? I would really appreciate any info you could provide on the hatch/rack clearance.

    Now load up that bike and get outta here!

    Thanks again!

    -Lee

  24. #24
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    Jealosy

    I always read these reviews with envy. Unfortunately in the UK the standard hitch is a towball with either a two bolt fixing or a swan-neck. Neither of which is suitable for the Sportworks racks. Doh! Thule make something similar but I can't see any racks in the UK which just grip the tyre, saving the precious frame from any abrasion. Anyone know any different.
    The guys at Sportworks offered to ship to the UK but due to the connection problem it was a non starter.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bikezilla
    People get tickets for obscured plates in the US too. It's at the discretion of the officer you blow by. Living close to the trailhead seems to help.

    Pokev, how do you secure your rear tire on the T1 when running a 2.4? I could barely get the lock over my Sturdy (very tall for a 2.3)
    I usually only have the 2.4 up front. Also face front der. clearance issues with it out back. But even with 2.25s or 2.3s I use a velcro strap similar to what Smokey shows. No movement at all.
    [size=4]Let go, and let it flow!!!![/size]

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