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Thule Apex XT 2 Bike Rack Review

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Review of the Thule Apex XT 2 Bike Rack


Randy: Hey guys, it's Randy here at etrailer.com. Today we're taking a look at the Thule Apex XT two bike hanging style rack. Now this rack is going to be an excellent choice for transporting one or two bikes to your favorite riding destination. It has a lot of nice features that already come with it. The security aspect, it's already got a cable lock built right in for you. It's got a lock on our anti-rattle device down there.

It includes the anti-rattle device. You can see that's nice and secure and an advantage that this one has over . Maybe if you're looking at this compared to a platform style rack, it's that this one's going to be easier to manage. Generally it's lighter to get it into your hitch and it's not going to take up as much space in your garage. So let's take a closer look at a few of those features.You can see if this is going to be the right one for your application.

The integrated cable lock is going to be a really good solution for locking our bikes down to the rack. As you can see, got a nice heavy duty steel cable, plastic coated so if it hits your bike it will be protected and when not in use, that's going to store right into the mast. This isn't a cable lock that we can leave behind or lose. When we're ready to load our bikes up or after we have our bikes loaded up, we're ready to lock it. That's going to ...

just going to go down and in place our key in and turn it. Now this is the same key that we'll show you in just a second when we get down on the knob. They're keyed alike and these can be switched out for lock cores that you already have, if you have some other Thule accessories and you want to use the same key for all of them.So it's nice that we have options. Now we've looked a little closer at how we secure the bikes to the rack. With securing the rack to the vehicle, is kind of a unique thing here.

You can see our knob, it's just in a free spool mode right here. You can't loosen and you can't tighten it. That prevents anybody from removing it once installed. If we just rotate our key there, then all of a sudden you can see our knob's ready for use, so we can loosen or tighten as we need. The cradles on the Apex are also really nice about protecting your bike. In the bottom of each one, got a nice rubberized material here. It's going to have a little bit of suppleness to it, so as we're traveling down the road it's going to absorb a lot of the road shock. They're also a few grooves right down through there to help positioning with cables and things like that.The strap itself's going to have that same material on it so as we bring it down and lay it over our tube, it's going to give us great protection. These cradles will also move. You can see we can adjust it up to that angle and then all the way down to that angle, so depending on the type of frame you have that can help us accommodate a lot of different types. Now if you have a kids bike, where they have a real low drop on it or maybe a woman's bike, even an alternative frame bike, where we don't have a pretty level top tube like that, you can use the Thule adapter bar, position that on there and that'll give you a great spot to make your connection. Now the smaller cradle that comes off the bottom side, it's going to come off on one side or the other.That's for our seat post. Our seat post is going to come down here. This wraps around and that prevents that forward to back movement that's pretty common with this type of rack. You can see the same type material here in that cradle to offer us protection and the same on the strap here. Now sometimes when putting bikes on or taking them off of the hanging style rack like that, the anti-sway cradle can give us some interference, basically it wants to make contact. Now these can be stored in the bottom of the cradle here, but you do have to take out the strip here. Well this can be a little bit challenging, a little bit of a pain to get that out but then that's going to click up into position, but at that point we're left with this and we have to store it somewhere.While I think it is a good option if you have that issue, I think in most cases people are just going to work their bike around it rather than removing this and replacing it each time. So a couple measurements I'd like to give you just so you can make sure that the Apex XT's going to work for your situation. We're going to go with all of these from the hitch pin hole. The first one we've got is here to the closest point and from the hitch pin hole, that's going to be about seven inches. So you want to ensure that your pinhole's not further than that underneath your vehicle. The next is going to be overall link, so that's again going to be from our hitch pin hole to the end of our arms here. That measurement's going to be 29 and a half inches. So if you're wondering if you can put this in the garage with the arms up or something like that, that's going to be helpful there.The last one is going to be with our arms folded down and the furthest back point then is going to be right here. That's going to be about 16 inches, so maybe this will allow you to park in the garage without having to remove it. Now another really nice feature that this rack offers, is when it's time to adjust it. So in folding up our arms or in tilting the mast away from the vehicle, we're using very easy to get to levers. We simply lift up, raise the arms into position, and you see that's going to click back down into place.Give us an audible cue that our arms are locked and ready for use. To stow them, lift, just push them down until that goes into position. Same thing for the tilt feature down here, lift, tilt, locks into place there. Lift and tilt, it's going to lock into place there, really easy and straight forward. This is going to be a lot easier system to use than what we see with some of them that have pins, maybe set screws that we got to screw in and unscrew, so all in all it makes that adjustability really quick and easy. And when your rack's unloaded, it offers the tilt away function so we can use the handle located down low. Tilt this out and away, that helps give us .Well if I can get the door open, a lot of access into our rear cargo area. So you see even with larger boxes, we'd be able to get those in and out.Once our door is closed, it's just a matter of reversing that process. Just going to lift on the lever, lift on the rack right back, ready to extend our arms and load up our bike. Though as far as weight limits go with the rack, it's going to work out with most of your bikes with the exception of maybe the electric bikes. Those tend to be a little bit higher than the capacity, but in each bike slot, we can put in 37 and a half pounds. You don't want to exceed the total of 75 pounds, so just few figures to keep in mind. Now to install the rack in your vehicle, if you're using a two inch by two inch receiver tube opening, we're just going to place it right in. If you're using an inch and a quarter by inch and a quarter, we'll just need to remove the gray aluminum sleeve there.Really easy process, you'll use the provided tool to do that, but once we've got the right shank configuration, we just want to place this in. And you'll notice there's a hole in the side. We want to line that up with the pin hole that's in our hitch. Once we've got that lined up, that right there, just going to push this in. Let me see, this is going to go in, line up with the pin hole. Then we'll start to tighten up our anti-rattle knob here. As we tighten it up, you're going to see this piece right here starts to expand. That's going to take our rack from having this movement and this play to being really nice and solid.While I tighten it, I always like to move by rack up and down and side to side to try to get out any play that might be there. Once we have that nice and secure, all that movement is gone. We'll take the provided key. We just need to rotate that. You'll see then that puts that knob into free spool so nobody can back it off and make away with our rack. With the rack secure, we need to get our arms extended, so we'll use that lever on top that we talked about. Allows us to bring our arms up and in position into that point. We got our cradles opened up. We'll grab our bike and something to keep in mind, always heaviest closest to the vehicle, working lighter. Let's bring our straps down and around.Boom, so they're nice and secure. I always do the top two first and then move to my anti-sway at the back. And once that second bike's loaded up and secure, we can bring our cable lock back, place that down and then we'll just use that same key, lock that in place, want to keep our bikes nice and secure. And then the last thing is just going to be our safety strap. It's provided just a cam buckle strap. We're going to bring that through the frames of our bike and around our upright mast there just for a little bit of extra security. Let's see, we're just going to get this installed snug. We're not trying to squeeze all of our bikes together, just want a extra fail safe in case something we're to happen, they we're to come detached. This will keep it connected to our vehicle. Now with my tag end here, I just like to kind of wrap it back around. We'll get it secured off and at that point we'll be ready to head down the road.We're going to take you out. Take the rack through the test course so you can see what it looks like going down the road loaded up. Now here on the test course, we're going to do the slalom. This is going to show the side to side movement in the rack. This is going to be just like changing lanes, doing evasive maneuvers or turning a corner. Then we'll go to the bumps course. We're going to start here with alternating. It's going to show the twisting action of the rack, just like hitting a curb or pothole. Then we'll go into the solid speed bumps. This gives us an idea of how much the rack's going to move up and down. This is going to be just like going into a parking lot, maybe a garage or over a curb.


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