Table of Contents
- How to use the Thule Trailway Hich Mount 2-Bike Rack?
- Thule Frame Adapter
If you need to take your bike with you wherever you go, to do your beautiful bike tours, or to train and want to find a way to transport them in the car, then hitch-mounted racks can be the solution! Here we will talk about the Thule Trailway Hitch Mount Rack for two bikes and some others options.
How to use the Thule Trailway Hich Mount 2-Bike Rack?
This rack is very easy to assemble, you only need to plug it into your hitch receiver, and make sure it is compatible with your hitch adapter (1 ¼” and 2″). For bike attachment, the rack has 2 bike cradles for carrier up 2 bikes, each one has detachable anti-sway cages with straps to hold bikes securely and prevent bike-to-bike contact and bike-to-vehicle contact. Another feature that is a plus for practicality is that when not in use, you can fold the arms down and tilt the bike rack to move the carrier away from the vehicle to access the trunk, hatch, or tailgate.
Design and Durability Construction
It has a robust design since it has a high-strength steel construction. The plastic cradles and rubber straps may last less, but both can be replaced (Be careful because they are very hard they can scratch the paint on the board. However, we can say that it has a durable construction.
Given of being a hanging rack, the rack doesn’t have too much-carrying capacity, the maximum capacity per bike is 35lb (15kg), and in general, the maximum weight capacity is 70lb (30kg). What is a limitation for carrying heavy bikes, for example, an electric bicycle weighs about 44lb (20kg), so carrying one of these bikes isn’t an option.
You can transport a large variety of bikes like road, mountain, children’s, BMX/dirt, or a hybrid/cross bike in this rack, but another problem with this type of design is that you need to have a compatible bike frame, like bicycles with a straight top tube and with a more rounded shape, for not moving in the cradles. If you have another type of top tube you may need a bike adapter bar, and that means more costs.
Thule Frame Adapter
You can buy this one from Thule, but on Amazon, you can find other cheaper options, like this: SportRack Alternative Bike Adapter.
This rack comes with no safety features, neither for the rack itself nor for the bicycle. To lock the rack and prevent you from having it stolen, there is a solution to buying a receiver lock. To this one, you have to take certain precautions, because when it has prolonged exposure to adverse weather conditions or to road grit and vibrations of constant use the lock can seize, so it’s recommendable to remove the lock sometimes to limit environmental damage and do some regular cleaning.
Thule Snug-Tite Receiver Lock
Is it worth it?
There are pros and cons to this rack.
- The rack weights about 35.27lb (16kg), so it has a relatively lightweight design, which makes it easy to remove, store and assemble
- Has it have hitch switch levers, when it is not in use, you can fold down the arms to put the tilts carrier away from vehícle
- It’s very user-friendly, so it will be very easy to assemble
- It has a limited weight capacity, which means don’t support heavy bikes
- The arms of the rack only can fold down when you don’t have any bicycle attach
- Since the cradles and straps are made of hard plastic and since they are in direct contact with the bike’s frame they can stretch the paint, so you have to be careful when you are carrying bikes with delicate paint, like carbon bikes
- The design comes with two significant limitations that imply more expenses. The first one is that you need to have a compatible bike frame. If you don’t have one, you need to buy a bike bar adapter, the second one is that this rack doesn’t come with security features, so you need to buy another piece, the Thule Snug-Tite Receiver Lock. Since both come with a price tag of 70$, you need to spend around 140$ more in addition to the cost of the rack itself.
So if you want the easiest hitch bike rack to use and faster to set up, this one fits very well, but don’t expect a heavy-duty rack or a very sturdy and versatile one for all bikes. Plus there is a wide variety like this one, for a little less money and with the same design. You can find the Kuat Beta 2.0 that comes with more weight capacity, 40 pounds per bike (18kg), and in general, 80lbs/36kg!
Kuat Beta 2.0
The Kuat Beta 2.0 comes with the same features as the Thule Trailway Hitch Mount 2-Bike Rack but it brings some advantages.
- Ultralight design, 14lb/6.35kgs, which means it is easier to move and fold
- Durable, it is a hitch bike rack aluminum
- It has a good weight capacity, can carry 40lbs/18kg per bike
The Kuat Beta 2.0 was considered by Switch Back Travel to be the best in class in the mix of weight, build quality, and functionality.
Switch Back Travel also named the Thule T2 Pro XTR the best overall hitch bike rack of 2022 (of course this one will also be more expensive too), and the best budget hitch rack the Swagman XC2.
Thule T2 Pro XTR
Swagman XC2 Hitch Mount Bike Rack
Comparison Thule T2 XTR vs Thule T2 X
The Thule T2 XRT it’s an upgrade of the Thule T2 Pro X.
There are some differences between them. The Thule T2 XTR is a little bit heavier 3lb/1.4kg than the Thule T2 X, but, consequently has more weight capacity. It can transport 60lb/27.2kg per bike vs the 50lb/22.67kg of the Thule T2 Pro X. This means that in general, the Thule T2 XRT can transport more 20lb/9kg.
Given of being a little heavier, it comes with integrated wheels that will help you transport the rack.
They can haul the same max wheel size 29-inch, but the Thule T2 XTR wins in the width of the tires: 5 in vs 3 in of the Thule T2 Pro X, which means it can carry fat bike tires.
This rack also has a design that allows you to carry e-bikes, road bikes like carbon fiber bikes and traditional road bikes, and full-suspension mountain bikes. Plus it has a tool-free auto-attach system (easy to assemble), and because of its hitch switch lever, it can tilt down when it’s in use to access the rear of the vehicle without removing the entire rack.
Build quality and design
This rack wins in quality construction and versatility!
Thule has put the Thule T2 Pro XRT to the test, making this one survive through extreme heat and cold, and the daily challenges of the road. Plus if go on a family bike vacation or with your friends you can buy an add-on and have a four-bike capacity rack.
Both, the rack and the add-on, came with interesting security features. Bikes are secured to the rack and the rack is secured to the receiver hitch via integrated cable locks and lock knobs.
The Thule T2 Pro XTR it’s available for, under 800$, there are two version options for hitch receivers, one for the 1.25-inch receivers, and the other for the 2-inch receiver model. The add-on for a 4 max bike capacity you can find it for under 550$. So in total, you can get all the potential of the rack for about 1.350$. It’s not a cheap price, but you will have a heavy-duty rack that can handle extreme weather conditions and is ready to get over bumpy roads and rough roads.
It can also transport a wide variety of bikes from 20-inch kids’ bikes to 29-inch-wheeled bikes or fat-tire bikes. Plus it allows you to transport your heavier bike (60 pounds per bike!), and with the tilting function, you can tilt the carrier away from the vehicle for trunk, hatch, or tailgate access.
This is an all-in-one rack, for committed riders, that adapts to a large range of bike styles, BMX bikes, fat-tire bikes, drop bar bikes, or hardtail mountain bikes, and it fits all bike frames, triangular frames, step-through frames, and diamond-frame bikes).
Plus you don’t gonna have any problem keeping your bike safe, because it comes with integrated locks for the hitch receiver and the bike. So, you don’t have to worry about buying separate pieces, this rack already comes with the features that you gonna need!
There are strong competitors on the market that are worth checking out:
For a cheaper platform rack option:
This rack wins for his price! It’s versatile, and a very good cheaper option!
The swagman XC2 was designed for regular weekend riders and occasional ones. It can fit a wide range of frame sizes, shapes, and designs.
It has a max weight capacity of 70lbs/31.7kgs (35lbs/15.8kg per bike) and can fit up to 20 to 29-inch wheels with a 2.5″ width.
It is a simple platform rack model, but it has details that were thought to make this rack practical. It has a light weight of 28/12.7kg, which makes it very easy to mount and dismount. When you aren’t carrying a bike, the wheel arms can be folded up against the ratchet arm to save space for storage. Push-button ratchet arms can be adjusted to tighten the frame of your bike.
The major issue that may gonna bother you, is the distance between the rack and the vehicle, which can complicate the assembly.
Another con is that as well as the Thule Trailway Hich Mount 2, to transport your step-through bike you gonna have to buy a bike frame adapter, and if you price your bike security, you may need to buy a lock receiver. This rack doesn’t come with any security features, like for example an integrated lock. Plus if want to transport fat bikes, for less than 80$ you can buy an adapter for fat bike tires – Swagman XTC2 FAT BIKE Wheel Tray
The Best & Max Weight Capacity
- Overall, the best racks are the ones with a platform design. Can be a little more expensive, but you will have more stability, and in general, can carry more weight. For example, the Thule EasyFold has a platform style and can carry 65/29.5kg pounds per bike and the Yakima RidgeBack 4 has a hanging style and can carry 40lbs/18kg.
- Regarding bike security, platform designs win again. It becomes easier to lock the rack to the hitch receiver and the bike to the rack, even with a standard cable lock, compared to the hanging racks. In addition, the safety of the bicycle transport itself is safer, because the bicycle is secured with straps in the front and rear wheels, and the frame. While in hanging racks the bicycle is secured by “anti-sway” cages on the frame, which means that platform styles allow your bike to have a more stable ride!
Which one has a lightweight?
- Hanging racks wins in this category. In general, hanging designs have less weight than platform rack models. For example, the Kuat NV 2.0 only weighs 14lb/6.35 kg! (Don’t forget that will lack in max weight capacity)
- The award goes to the platform rack models! Can accommodate a wide range of bike styles, 12- to 24-inch kids’ bikes, fat bike tires, hardtail mountain bikes, BMX bikes, step-through bikes, drop bar bikes…
- In addition, if you go on a family bike vacation you have an optional add-on, to transform into a 4-bike capacity rack
- The tilting function when in use is a must! (not all racks have this feature) It will make it easier to access your tailgate without removing the bikes or the hitch mount rack.
Price of bike racks
- It’s close between the two! It will depend on your evaluation criteria. The hanging racks tend to be cheaper but as was shown before you can find a wide variety of cheaper platform rack models, like the Swagman. Of course, will not have the same build quality, however, it will do its job.
- If you are a person that has a lightweight bike (road bike) and wants an easy and fast assembly or disassembling a hanging hitch rack is a good option, but they present some shortcuts, like in security and in limitation of the weight capacity range, as well as in the compatibility of bicycles.
Make the choice that best suits you and makes sure that in your rides, with your hitch rack, you are careful to drive backward, to prevent the rack and the bicycles from colliding with the obstacle.