Although I have nothing against those types of carriers, there are times when we all like to or have to carry more than one bicycle. Whether it is your best friend’s bike, your partner’s bike, or even your second bike for a better riding experience, sometimes we just have to carry more than one bicycle.
In contrast, I wanted to take two of my favorite mountain bikes on a trip to the mountains, so I looked into the Thule T2 Pro XT and XTR hitch bike racks in order to take them along on my trip.
In just a few months, I have tested both of these bike carriers, and I have found one to be the clear winner among them. So if you are trying to determine which one is better between the Thule T2 Pro XT vs. XTR hitch bike rack, then mate- this is your lucky day.
My Experience of the Two Hitch Bike Racks
It was a pleasure working with both carriers during my time with them. I would’ve delved into the differences, but I believe that if you go through a detailed review of the racks, you will be able to grasp more easily the things that they share and things that they do not share. So, without further ado, let’s jump right in.
Thule T2 Pro XT Hitch Bike Rack
The first hitch-mounted carrier I was able to test out was the Thule T2 Pro XT, which as you can probably realize, can carry up to two bicycles without any adapters. I was already a Thule fan, so I decided to get a hitch rack from them as well.
The UpRide and ProRide roof-mounted racks I was used to using before were very different from this one. In order to use the roof carriers, I needed to have a crossbar on my car, which was already present. However, I needed a 2-inch hitch receiver for the T2 Pro XT, which was not available in my vehicle. There is also another model of the T2 Pro XT with a 1.25′′ receiver.
Honestly, it wasn’t a big deal for me to install a hitch receiver, since it was only a small change.
The installation of the carrier was a breeze, once I had switched my vehicle from a hitch-mounted rack to a hitch-mounted rack that could be used with the carrier, and the carrier had a tool-free installation process, so I did not need a screwdriver or wrench to install it.
Additionally, it only takes a few minutes to install and remove the rack, which is about the same time it takes to install the rack in the first place.
In my opinion, it would’ve been easier to move the bike carrier if it was lighter. The rack weighs around 51 pounds, so lifting it up and moving it was a little challenging. However, the weight of the rack does have one advantage. It can carry up to two bikes weighing 60 pounds each.
The VanMoofS3 and Yeti SB130 were both my bikes that I took on my first trip with the carrier. The VanMoofS3 is an e-bike, while the former is a mountain bike that weighs only 29 pounds. The rack was able to accommodate both of these bikes without any problem whatsoever since they are both mountain bikes.
Honestly, I was a little concerned at first about the reliability of the rack because my VanMoof S3 is quite heavy and comes with fat tires of approximately 28 inches in diameter, but there was no need to worry since the rack supported fat bike tires up to 5 inches in diameter and wheels up to 20 to 29 inches in diameter.
There was a time when I was taking my two kids and my wife on a bicycle trip, and as a result, I needed a rack that was able to carry at least four bicycles at a time.
With the help of the Thule T2 Pro XT Add-on adapter, you can carry as many as four bicycles on the Thule T2 Pro XT carrier. I had to purchase the add-on adapter separately since it was not included with the bike carrier, but I really believe it was worth the cost.
The carrier is equipped with ratcheting arms that are attached to the bike slots on each side, so the bikes will be held firmly in place by the ratcheting arms. The distance between the bike slots is quite generous as well, and it measures over 12 inches in length.
While on my long drives, I was pleased to find that there was no contact between the frame of my bicycle or between my bicycles, so there was no problem.
The ratcheting arm came with a cable that was 24 inches long that was attached to it, which allowed me to lock the bike to the rack if someone tried to steal it from the rack.
Last but not least, I was able to tilt the rack up and down using the HitchSwitch lever, which I found really convenient because it allowed me to easily access the rear of my car without having to remove the whole thing from the back.
Things that I Found Interesting
- The rack had a massive weight capacity of 120lbs, so I had no problem carrying heavy bikes
- There was no frame contact as the ratcheting arms stuck to the wheels only
- I was able to tilt the rack up with the lever when I wasn’t using it
- The locking cable made sure petty burglars had a tough time stealing my bikes
- The carrier was easy to install and remove
There were a number of things that could have been done better
- Moving the carrier from one place to another was quite a challenge
Thule T2 Pro XTR Hitch Bike Rack
In addition to the XT carrier, this one comes with a hitch receiver that is also 1.25-inch and 2-inch. Since I already upgraded my car, I had no trouble finding the perfect size at all. You can imagine that I didn’t have a hard time finding the perfect size. With no tool involved in the process, it was very easy to install and remove the rack.
It was much more difficult to carry the 52-pound rack all the way from my living room to my garage with the previous carrier, since there was no feature to make the product portable and therefore, I had to carry the rack all the way from my living room to my garage. Nonetheless, the XTR comes with integrated wheels at the bottom which makes the rack much more portable.
Due to this, moving it from one place to another was as difficult as moving a wheelchair from one place to another.
Among the many features of the rack is the fact that it comes with two ratcheting arms and two straps so you can secure your bikes while they are mounted. There was no sign of contact between the arms and the frames, and the distance from one slot to the other was about 12.5 inches.
I was able to carry the same bikes on the rack in the same way that I was able to carry them on my Thule T2 Pro XT, and when I wanted to take more than two bicycles on the trip, I just used the Add-on adapter that I previously purchased for my previous carrier.
Aside from the locking cable and the hitch lever, the Thule T2 Pro XTR comes with a second feature so you can tilt the rack up or down when it is not in use and attach it to your vehicle. Overall, the racks are pretty much the same when it comes to design, weight capacity, and security.
Things that I Found Interesting
- Due to integrated wheels, transporting the rack (while it is off the car) didn’t require any effort
- I didn’t have to use any tools to attach or remove the carrier from my vehicle
- It allowed me to carry my heaviest bikes
- Ratcheting arms and wheels straps made sure my bicycles were mounted securely on the carrier
- I was able to tilt the rack up and down with the hitch lever
Things that Could’ve Been Better
- The locking cables seemed a little too thin, and anyone with a bit of experience could’ve sliced them up
Common Aspects Between the Two Hitch Mounted Racks
As I’ve already talked about my experience with both carriers, it is time to show you guys what they have in common. I will be honest, most of the features between the two racks are similar, which I think is quite impressive.
To begin with, let’s look at the number of bikes they can carry. These carriers are capable of carrying two bikes at a time, which is more than you can say for fork-mounted carriers like Thule’s TopRide and FastRide.
Its maximum weight capacity is 120 pounds and 60 pounds for each slot, and you can use the same Thule T2 Pro XT Add-on adapter for both of the racks if you want to carry more than two bikes.
Hence, in addition to having a lot in common, these carriers also share a lot in common in terms of their additional accessories as well.
Racks can accommodate wheels with a diameter of 20 to 29 inches and can accommodate tires with a diameter of up to 5 inches as well. As a result, there is no difference in the racks for this size of wheel.on them, so there’s no difference there either.
Regardless of whether your bike fits on the XT rack or the XTR carrier, you can carry it without having to worry about a proper fit since both can carry the same bike. If your bike fits on the XT rack, then you can mount it on the XTR carrier as well.
I will move on to the next feature! Both racks have two ratcheting arms for the front wheel, as well as two straps for the rear wheel. The arms do not come into contact with the frame, and the straps are there to keep the bikes safer.
Afterwards, both racks feature 24 inch locking cables, which can be used to secure the bikes to the rack, and they automatically retract back into the ratcheting arms when you are not using them so you can keep your hands free. There are 12.5 inches between the bike slots on both racks, and this is the same for both products.
Using the Tool-free AutoAttach knob, you can connect the carriers to a vehicle in the same way you would attach a bike rack to a bike hitch. All you need to do is attach the carriers to your vehicle using the Tool-free AutoAttach knob, and in the same way you would attach a bike rack to a bicycle hitch.
Finally, both of these racks have the same type of hitch lever so that you can tilt the rack up or down depending on whether or not you need it when you need to open your car’s rear hatch without having to remove it completely.
Differences between Thule T2 Pro XT and Thule T2 Pro XTR Hitch Bike Racks
Now that we have all the basics sorted out, let us take a look at the differences between the two carriers. I must admit that the two carriers are quite similar, and there isn’t much to say about them. I found only two significant differences that are worth mentioning, and the rest aren’t that important.
I must be honest; this is the only feature that the XTR rack has, and it is absent from the XT rack, and this is the only difference of any significance between these two racks. Although I have mentioned two differences, the second one is not a game-changer.
I will make it clear that the Thule T2 Pro XTR rack comes with integrated wheels, which the Thule XT rack does not. This is because the XTR carrier was developed after the XT carrier, and the manufacturers must have thought it would be a wonderful addition to the rack, and they were right; it is very useful.
In the case that your rack is located far away from your vehicle, then the wheels make it very convenient to move around, as you do not have to strain your arms to move the rack. If you are in a situation where your rack is far away from your vehicle, then these wheels will come in very handy.
You might think that the T2 Pro XTR will cost more because it has integrated wheels, but for some unknown reason, it doesn’t. In fact, there is a very slight difference between the prices of these two racks. The Thule Pro XT, an older model from Thule, is more expensive than the XTR hitch bike rack, based on what I have seen.
Also, I was surprised to find out that the XTR rack costs less than the XT rack, despite having an extra feature that makes it more convenient.
Announcing the Winner
It is pretty much clear from the reviews, as well as the similarities and differences between the two bike racks that the Thule Pro XTR hitch bike rack is a better choice between the two.
It is often the case that when I say that a certain carrier is more suitable for my needs, it does not necessarily mean that it would be the same for you. However, in this case, that is not the case.
When it comes to the Thule T2 Pro XT vs. XTR hitch bike rack showdown, there is a clear winner, and it is the latter because the carrier has an additional feature as well as being slightly less expensive than the former one.
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