Product Review: Thule EasyFold XT 2 Bike Rack

Thule EasyFold XT 2 Bike Rack

Thule sent us their new EasyFold XT 2 hitch bike rack. It’s a cool-looking tray rack, and it was pretty much ready to mount to a hitch receiver straight out of the box.

Easy assembly is always good, and you’d hope that Thule’s most expensive rack would make that easy. Mounting it to the car was easy; however, mounting bikes on it, not so much. The rack fits both 1.25-inch and 2-inch receivers and has a built-in hitch lock. At 45 pounds, it’s as heavy as a bike. On the plus side, there are built-in wheels to roll the rack away from your vehicle for storage. 

The folding ramp is a really easy way to move heavy bikes up onto the ramp.

 

The EasyFold can hold two bikes at a combined max weight of 130 pounds, or up to 65 pounds per bike. There’s a carbon fiber protector available if you’re clamping on a carbon frame. There’s a slickly designed bike ramp included for loading bikes, which lives inside the tray. Removing it and storing it requires tilting the tray back to reveal the ramp. You can do this with or without bikes attached.

The ramp hides nicely inside the rack itself.

 

There are four instruction booklets that come with the rack. The main instruction book is picture-based, like an Ikea assembly booklet. There’s a set of instructions for mounting your license plate on the back, because the rack or bike does tend to cover the license plate. Their security booklet should come with a thick magnifying glass, as it’s printed in 5-point type (or so it seems to our older eyes). We tried to find a PDF version online, which should allow us to view a larger-type version, but we couldn’t find one.

“There’s a very slickly designed bike ramp included for loading bikes.” 

BIG BIKES

When loading a bike, we found a problem right away. The first bike we tried to mount on it was a full-suspension mountain bike. The bike fit because it was wide enough, but then we couldn’t attach either of the wheel straps. We attached the front wheel strap, moving the bike back so the back wheel was hanging off a little. Because of the shape of the frame, we had to use the clamp designed for the outside bike, meaning we couldn’t put two bikes on the rack. There is an extra option to add XXL wheel strap kits to fit longer wheelbases and tires up to 4.7 inches, but we didn’t have this available.

Key-matched locks are included on the clamps and the hitch receiver lock.

 

On a slow-speed turn, this caused the rack half that was attached to the front wheel to fold up and pop the bike off the clamp, even with it locked. The bike fell over but was still attached to one side of the tray by the strap. It would help if there was a detent for the tray so it wouldn’t fold up without being released.

When the rack is folded, it really doesn’t save any room. It still sticks out the same distance from your bumper.

 

We put two bikes that fit, and it worked. Actually, it worked pretty well. But, it took a while to get it right, and they have to be the right type of bikes. We ended up putting bungee cords around the bikes for extra protection. 

When you have no bikes on it, the tray sides fold up, but the whole rack is still sticking just as far out behind your vehicle.

When folded and removed, the EasyFold XT 2 rack has wheels on the bottom to make it easier to move to wherever you store it.

 

THE VERDICT

This rack works well if you have the same two bikes you take with you every time, and the clamps fit well. The built-in locking feature is very useful. If you regularly have a variety of bikes on your rack, especially long wheelbase ones, this won’t work for you.

We’ve used a lot of Thule products over the years, and they’ve all worked great. This one, however, is complicated and misses the mark.

Price: $749.95

www.thule.com

PROS

• Easy to set up

• Bike ramp makes loading easy

• Can handle really heavy bikes

CONS

• Non-adjustable wheel straps

• Frame clamps don’t work well on some bikes

• Doesn’t fold up very compact

• Hard to configure for multiple bikes


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