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Comparing Thule Helium 2-Bike Rack and Saris MTR 2-Bike Rack

Question:

I have been taking a look at some bike racks and am interested in the Saris MTR and Thule Helium for two bikes. I like them both because they won't contact the frame of my bikes. But other than that, what are the differences? Can you compare them?

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Expert Reply:

So there are a few noticeable and important differences between the Thule Helium 2-Bike Platform Rack # TH44VR and the Saris MTR 2-Bike Platform Rack # SA4032.

The first and most significant is the weight capacities of each. The Helium has a 37-1/2 lb per bike weight capacity while the MTR has a 60 lb per bike capacity. That means if you have E-bikes the MTR is definitely the way to go, and to help with that the MTR also has a ramp that can be used with it (the Helium does not), the Ramp for Saris MTR Bike Rack # SA4130.

In terms of use, while both racks have integrated cable and hitch locks, and both have a very simple handle that allows you to tilt and fold the bike rack, the Helium get the edge in regards to ease of installation into the hitch. The reason for that is the Helium locks into your hitch with just the twist of a knob while the MTR requires a hitch pin, as you can see by the cut out of the linked instruction manuals.

The other differences of note have to do with the specs of the bikes each rack can carry. MTR will also fit bikes with fat tires up to 5" wide, and the Helium only fits bikes with tires up to 3" wide. The MTR can also fit wheels with a 20" to 29" diameter while the Helium only works with wheels that are 26" to 29" diameter. So there is a lot of difference in regards to the type of bikes that will fit, with the MTR getting the edge in terms of the range of bikes it can carry. Additionally, the Thule Helium fits 1-1/4" or 2" hitches, including Class I trailer hitches, while the Saris MTR fits 2" hitches only (though you can use the MTR part # SA4031-33 if you have a Class II 1-1/4" hitch).

What I think it comes down to is the bikes you are using. My recommendations would be:

For lighter bikes with smaller tires (or if you have a Class I, 1-1/4" trailer hitch): Thule Helium 2-Bike Platform Rack # TH44VR

For E-bikes: Saris MTR 2-Bike Platform Rack # SA4032

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Kyle S

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