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THULE’S T2 PRO BIKE RACK

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  Thule's a very familiar name in the world of products with which you can adhere expensive play toys to your vehicle. 15 years later, I'm still trying to find screws at Ace Hardware to secure my Thule ski rack to the roof of my car, as it's still going strong despite having lost all the small parts over the course of multiple summers of haphazard off-season storage.

  Their T2 Pro hitch rack is a stupid easy bike rack with a flexible enough setup for anything from kids' bikes to big 29" wheels to monster 5" fat bike tires. Somewhat larger and burlier than other racks we've tested, like Yakima's HoldUP rack, the T2 Pro works best with cars that have some ground clearance (i.e., not my Volkswagen Jetta), since protective bits of the frame stick out below the main hitch.

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  The twisting lock and hitch pin eliminate play in the rack easily, but eat into your ground clearance. Ryan Dunfee photo.

  It's also got some of the cleanest and most user-friendly mechanisms for securing and locking the rack to your car, with a fish hook hitch bolt that tightens down to eliminate side-to-side play with a twisting mechanism that can then be locked with a provided key.

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  Ahoy! The handle with which you move the rack up and down. Ergonomics and stuff. Ryan Dunfee photo.

  Also highly convenient is the pull handle at the end of that rack with which you open it up or drop it down and away from the car to access the trunk.

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  The single crossbar design is built for longevity. Ryan Dunfee photo.

  The single crossbar carrying the entire weight of your bike means there's fewer moving pieces to worry about getting mucked up over time, and, as was mentioned before, you can hoist anything from a 20" BMX bike to a 29'er to a fat bike with 5" tires, as the tire trays are wide and spacious and the retaining bar that holds the front wheel down extends far beyond what you'd need for clearance to fit it over a 29" wheel.

  It's also worth mentioning that you can either plop for the 1 1/4" hitch version, which can sport a two-biker, or, if you go with a 2" hitch (available on most medium-sized cars and SUVs/trucks), you can bump that up to 4 bikes with an add-on rack.

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  The front wheel rack has loads of clearance for bigger wheels, with small cable locks for crimes of opportunity. Ryan Dunfee photo.

  Cable locks also pop out of the top of the retaining bars, with which you can secure your bike for a quick trip into the grocery store. Keep in mind, however, that these are not going to keep eager thieves at bay overnight; truth be told, if someone is motivated enough to steal it, they'll find a way, but you'll want much heavier-duty protection to keep them at bay. Still, for crimes of opportunity, it's a good deterrent.

  THE BOTTOM LINE

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  The T2 Pro is built to last, hence the price tag. Ryan Dunfee photo.

  At $550, the T2 Pro is not cheap. But Thule racks are like Hondas, so you know they're going to last so long you'll get sick of them before they ever stop actually working. But for medium and large-girthed vehicles, the Thule is hard to beat.

  Strong, convenient, and with the ability to accommodate the widest possible variety of wheel and tire sizes, the T2 Pro is a finely-engineered piece of mountain bike transportation.

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