Opinions on Thule hitch bike racks?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Opinions on Thule hitch bike racks?

    Last week I installed a 2" hitch receiver onto my Volkswagen Tiguan in preparation of purchasing a hitch bike rack. Going in I knew I needed a bike rack that could hold four bikes and I've always loved the Thule brand. Unfortunately, after an hour or two searching between eTrailer and Amazon I'm no better off on a final decision. Hence, I am here to ask someone who has experience with Thule.

    So I have found one bike rack I kind of like:
    https://www.etrailer.com/Hitch-Bike-.../TH9029XT.html

    The problem is, unlike some other competitors this doesn't come with hitch locks and I'm not exactly sure how "safe" a bike lock is. Are these necessary requirements? I've read the horror stories on Amazon of people complaining about the bike locks being cut, but haven't read anyone saying their hitch was removed. Of course, I intend on removing my hitch once I am finished. But I still don't know if these features are useful or useless.

    Thank You
    Last edited by NorthernMan; 05-18-2016 at 09:28 PM.

  2. #2
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    Im not a big fan of "through the frame" bike racks. I find the bikes tend to bang pedals and handlebars and derailers tend to hit fork lowers.
    I have just purchased a Yakima hold up for 2 bikes and love it. If I needed to travel with 4 bikes regularly I would purchase the 2 bike add on for this setup.

    I know it is more expensive but it is a vastly superior setup to the rack you have linked to.

    MrB

  3. #3
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    I bought a new Thule hitch rack, and had some issues with it. I reached out to Thule twice, and to this day, 2 months later, they never replied. I ended up getting help from a buddy, but Thule service was poor in my experience. They did not answer their phone, and when I left a message and email, no reply. I like the rack but in hindsight I would probably look to buy another brand if I were to need a new rack. YMMV

  4. #4
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    Oh that's no good, I guess I may look into a different type of bike rack or a different brand. I have always heard good things about Thule, so I figured I would ask. I guess I am glad I asked. Do you guys know of any alternative brands that are decent?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by NorthernMan View Post
    Do you guys know of any alternative brands that are decent?
    Yes, if your budget allows:

    https://www.rei.com/product/857241/k...ike-hitch-rack

    https://www.rei.com/product/857243/k...rack-extension

  6. #6
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    If you're going with a hitch rack, why not a platform rather than a hanging frame rack? I've been running the Thule T2 hitch rack for a couple-a-few years. It's an awesome rack. I've bought spares supplies and a couple bits for the SideArm racks I run when I do the roof rack and I never had an issue with contacting Thule nor ordering parts. In fact, their parts ordering site is very fast and easy and they ship really quick. The likelihood is, you'll never need to talk to them but I guess you just never know that for sure. The T2 can be run as a 2 bike or added to as a 4 bike. Nothing touches the frame anywhere. It's literally a 20 second proposition to secure a bike on the rack for transport and the T2 has a locking mechanism in the sliding handle as well as a cable lock internal to the front wheel capture shaft. You also get the hitch lock and a few (3) keyed lock tumblers, as well.

  7. #7
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    Seems like a lot of people highly recommend platform bike racks and after doing some research I can see why. I've heard the name T2 getting referenced before and I may look into it since apparently it is tried and true.

  8. #8
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    I have the swing version of the rack you mentioned.
    https://www.etrailer.com/Hitch-Bike-.../TH9031XT.html

    I needed the swing functionality due to the tailgate on my Jeep Wrangler. Platform racks and drop down racks won't allow me complete access to the back of my Jeep.

    I really love the Thule Vertex rack. It allows me to open the tailgate (to the side) without removing the bike. It's solidly built and I've never had an issue with Thule quality or customer service on any of my racks.

    As far as security goes, the Thule hitch lock that only fits Thule racks is garbage. I bought a really good hitch lock which didn't fit because of the threads in the Thule rack, so I drilled the threads out and it works great. I use a hitch tightener http://www.amazon.com/StowAway-Cargo...3674623&sr=1-1 to keep the rack from wobbling which can happen if your hitch has any sort of play in it. Most do, so you may have wobbling no matter what rack you buy. I also use a cable style bike lock for the rare occasions that I leave the bike unattended on the rack. I run it through the spare tire and then through both bike wheels and the frame.

  9. #9
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    To the OP: I'll echo what the consensus is on these types of racks... they are difficult to use and not flexible unless all your bikes are 90's hard tails with traditional frame geometry.

    Get a platform, but if you don't want to spend $600+ on a 4-bike platform rack and don't want the hassle of wrestling with a 80+ pound 4-bike platform rack, then consider a Highland Sportwing. It will accommodate any bike regardless of the geometry, since it hangs the bike by the wheels. Sure, it still uses velcro ties, but a few ball bungees will go a long way.

    http://www.amazon.com/Highland-13704...ords=sportwing

    I have a T2, a Saris Thelma 3, and a Swagman XC4, but when I need to carry 4 bikes, I use my Sportwing. It just works, and it's lighter for when I need to move it from the garage to the SUV. And it's cheap.

    Platform racks are great if you leave it on the vehicle. As a weekend warrior, nothing would be worse than throwing out my back while trying to lift an 80+ pound rack, manhandling it out of the garage or carrying it 70 feet to my SUV.

    There's a thread about the Sportwing on this forum.

  10. #10
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    Its strange that a member above had a poor experience with Thule warranty. I have found them to be pretty quick and always helpful. I've only had to deal with them for rivets rusting out, which happens to almost everything in Michigan.

  11. #11
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    FYI: Thule racks are 20% off through 6/6/16 at EMS. Thule and Yakima are 20% off at REI.

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