Saris Thelma 2 making me nuts- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Saris Thelma 2 making me nuts

    I have an older generation Saris Thelma 2 that came with the standard wheel holders for up to 26" tires. It works fine with my 700cc Trek. I bought the Specialized 27.5 (650b) and first time I tried to load it I realized that it wouldn't go all the way in the front wheel holder. I went to the LBS and they switched out one wheel holder assembly for the newer 26"-29" version for $50. I can get the 27.5 in the new holder on the 29" setting but it flops around. I put extra straps on and cinch it in tighter but it still moves a lot and the rear tire hangs off the back tire holder more than it seems like it should.

    I contacted Saris and they told me to use the older holder and put the tire in as far as I can and it would be OK. The problem is that if the tire isn't all the way in the straps are too short. I asked about that and they said to put two of the ratchet straps together.

    I'm not that comfortable with the tire not all the way inside the holder but I don't like the bike flopping around in the bigger one either. I drive a GMC extended cab pickup and can get the MTB in the back seat area if I fold the seat up but one seat has to be pulled forward a lot to do it. That's OK if I'm by myself but it's uncomfortable if my granddaughter goes to ride with me and we take both bikes. I can also put it in the back of the truck but that's quite a job since I have an A.R.E. hard cover on it and wall-to-wall carpeting in the bed. I can get the bike in there just fine but getting it out is difficult because of the carpet.

    Has anybody else had this issue with the Saris hitch mount carrier and the 27.5 wheels?

    This is what I have to deal with. As you can see, the Trek works fine but getting the larger MTB in the back seat or under the bed-cover is quite a job for a little person like me.

    Saris Thelma 2 making me nuts-img_2338.jpg
    2015 Specialized Jynx 27.5
    2013 Trek 7.3

  2. #2
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    I agree with Saris. The wheel holders just keeps the bike upright. One strap, two straps, doesn't matter as long as the wheel is secure.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by tk1971 View Post
    I agree with Saris. The wheel holders just keeps the bike upright. One strap, two straps, doesn't matter as long as the wheel is secure.
    I'll give it a try then but I'll do it on my rural roads rather than on the highway. I lost a bike off a rack once about 30 years ago and I have always been nervous about carrying one anyway. If I'm going alone it's almost easier to just toss it in the back seat area than it is to mess with the rack but I like to take the granddaughter when she has time to go. The Trek will ride fine in either of the wheel assemblies.
    2015 Specialized Jynx 27.5
    2013 Trek 7.3

  4. #4
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    I've had a bike come off while driving. It was with a different tack. Luckily there was minimal damage.

    The cradle will still hold the wheel and the double straps are just as strong as one. Just like using tandem zip ties when one is too short. Thelma's are designed with multiple holes in the cradle for more sets of straps as needed so I would secure the wheel top and bottom.

    There is also the single rear strap securing the rear wheel.

    That imo is better than the wheel flopping loose inside the cradle when the straps cannot fully secure the wheel.

  5. #5
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    I can't stand the flopping in the 29" setting of the wheel cradle. I'll order some extra straps and give it a try. I already use nylon dog collars in the extra holes in the cradles and manage to put one around the back wheel cradle too. I am really paranoid about my bikes on the rack. My husband looks at the rack with the extra straps and then looks at me like I'm crazy. He said there is NO way the bike is coming off. I think I would rather have it fit tightly in the smaller wheel cradle than be flopping around in the bigger one. I just didn't know of anybody else that had actually tried the double ratchet thing.
    2015 Specialized Jynx 27.5
    2013 Trek 7.3

  6. #6
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    Pull up on the holder while rolling the wheel into place and it will "stretch" enough for the 27.5 tire to fit quite snugly.

    What I want to do is have a set of fat tire sized holders made for me.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by gravitylover View Post
    Pull up on the holder while rolling the wheel into place and it will "stretch" enough for the 27.5 tire to fit quite snugly.

    What I want to do is have a set of fat tire sized holders made for me.
    I'll give that a try. I think you will start seeing more racks for fat bikes since people are really starting to ride them.
    2015 Specialized Jynx 27.5
    2013 Trek 7.3

  8. #8
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    I ordered four new straps and they should be here tomorrow. I put the Jynx on the Saris yesterday and rolled the front wheel as far as I could into the holder. It's tight at the top and at the bottom with about a 3" gap between the tire and the back of the cradle. My main problem before was the front strap being too short but at the time I didn't realize you could add another strap to the original and didn't know anybody that had actually done it. The bike is really tight in the cradle and with two connected straps I think it will be fine. I keep my tire pressure near the max and when I let about five pounds out the tire went in just a little more. In fact, it's in so tight that I have to stand in front of the front tire and pull before I can get the bike out. My Trek does the same way except that the front 700X32 tire goes all the way into the cradle.

    Even though the tire of the Jynx doesn't go all the way in to fit against the back of the cradle, it's a better fit than flopping around in the 29'er fitting and the rear tire sits properly on the rear tire cradle.

    I will still carry the bike in the rear seat area of the truck if I'm only taking the one bike but being able to use the Saris will make it easier if I take two.
    2015 Specialized Jynx 27.5
    2013 Trek 7.3

  9. #9
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    Yeah it's a tight fit but for me has been the solution.

    I have two racks that work well with my fatties but would like to also be able to use the Thelma that I have because it's lighter and folds flat against the back of my car. The Freedom Superclamp is great to use but on the back of a BRZ is a bit heavier than I'd like and it sticks out a ways so I worry about people rear ending me when there aren't bikes on it so it has to come off after every use. Therefore the desire to have some fat hoops made for the Thelma.

  10. #10
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    The trick to getting a tight front wheel off the Thelma cradle is to roll the wheel backwards in the cradle.

    As I get older, I appreciate the light weight of the Thelma (lighter than a downhill bike). I also have T2 that I never use because that thing weighs north of 50 lbs.

  11. #11
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    I think Saris guided you correctly. if you use the 26" tray, while the center of the tray won't be touching the tire, the end will, and that provides a large separation between the points where the wheel is secured within the system... the bottom tray Vs the top of the upper tray.

    In using the larger arm, the upper point of attachment drops to the upper strap, which is located just 1/3 the length of the arm. This means more floppy bike, even if the tire is a perfect fit in the tray. If the tire is not as wide as the tray, then it's going to slide around with whatever room it has + the smaller distance between the lower and upper securing points permitting movement.

    Double the straps and call it a day. The only worries you have are what we all have... replace the straps before they become prone to failure.
    I will suffer no butt-hurt fools!

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flamingtaco View Post
    I think Saris guided you correctly. if you use the 26" tray, while the center of the tray won't be touching the tire, the end will, and that provides a large separation between the points where the wheel is secured within the system... the bottom tray Vs the top of the upper tray.

    In using the larger arm, the upper point of attachment drops to the upper strap, which is located just 1/3 the length of the arm. This means more floppy bike, even if the tire is a perfect fit in the tray. If the tire is not as wide as the tray, then it's going to slide around with whatever room it has + the smaller distance between the lower and upper securing points permitting movement.

    Double the straps and call it a day. The only worries you have are what we all have... replace the straps before they become prone to failure.
    I have to agree now that I put the front tire in the 26" and rolled it back to a tight fit. In the 29'er cradle it went all the way back but flopped side to side excessively and it seemed that the only thing holding it in was the strap. The rear tire was also only half in the rear cradle. I wasn't comfortable with that. It seems like the strap should only need to keep it from jumping up and out of the holder, not take the entire weight of the bike.

    I ordered four straps and will replace the current strap with two of them. I'll keep the two original straps for replacements and still have two new ones left.
    2015 Specialized Jynx 27.5
    2013 Trek 7.3

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