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Thule Helium 1 Bike Platform Rack Review

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Review of the Thule Helium 1 Bike Platform Rack


Colin: Hey everyone. It's Colin here at etrailer, and today we're going to take some time to show you guys this Thule Helium 1-bike platform rack. We've got it installed already on our vehicle with a bike loaded. I think this is a really nice and high-end bike rack Thule's made. The great thing about it is that you're going to be able to carry one bike without touching the frame of your bike. So we got a really nice carbon fiber mountain bike right here.

The last thing we want to do is try to get a bike adapter bar and try to put it on a hanging-style rack where it's going to swing back and forth. We also don't want a platform rack, that's going to have a center hook pushing down on our frame right here, which could scuff it up, or maybe even damage it over time if we misuse that bike rack.So with this one, we've just got two ratcheting arms that come up over our tires. No frame in contact. It's got a really nice hold on our bike. We can now get to and from our destination without any worry.

This bike rack is going to come with, basically all you need to be able to carry one bike. We have this included cable lock that comes and wraps around our frame right here. It's a nice security feature. Not only do we want to protect the frame of our bike, but we want to protect the bike itself from any type of theft.I'll just go ahead and show you guys how this works. We've got the Thule One-Key System, so if you had any other Thule products, you could key all of them alike.

I'll just unlock it, and then it comes right out of that slot. And then we actually come back here and then it stores just right into that platform right here. So it's kind of like an out of sight out of mind type thing. Whenever you load the bike, you can just pull it right out. Whenever you don't have a bike loaded, it's nice and compact.

You don't have to worry about losing it either. It's not one of those cable locks where it's separate from the bike rack. It's integrated into here, you don't have to worry about losing it and it's always going to be there.And just like a lot of other platform racks, as you see we can still tilt it away in order to gain access to the trunk. What's nice is that this bike rack on this current vehicle is sitting very close to the trunk right now, so sometimes you may not be able to get access, but this bike rack does a good job of getting a nice angle away from the vehicle by just pulling on this handle, and then we can just let it tilt away.And then once you let it tilt away, just come back here and open up your trunk. You can see we got plenty of clearance right there. Now we can slide in. If we get done with a bike trip or we just have to grab some gear out of here, we can do so. Get what we need and then close it back up. And just to give you a closer look, we'll reopen the hatch just to see the clearance you have. A mountain bike does have a wider set of handlebars than a road bike would, so you know that really whatever vehicle you might have, you're most likely going to be able to open up that hatch.And then when tilting it back up, I always advise grabbing a hold of the bike rack itself, never the bike installed. And that goes for really any bike rack that has the tilt away feature. So I'm just going to reach and grab the arms. I'm about five nine, and I can reach it with my fingers and just push up, and then it'll lock into place.Now, it's a really nice and sunny day here at etrailer. You can see that light coming in. This is definitely a day we'd want to take our bike out to the trails. Having a way to get our bike there is key though, so let's go ahead and take our vehicle out and show you guys how this bike rack performs on our test course with a bike loaded.Up first is going to be our slalom. We're just going to simulate side to side action, like evasive maneuvering, or taking a sharp turn. Well, you guys saw it in action and because this is going to fit multiple vehicles, I want to take this opportunity to unload the bike rack, take it out of the hitch of our Range Rover and put it in another vehicle we have in our garage. Just lower these arms, and just like that, the bike can come off.Now, another really cool thing about this bike rack is that it gets the name Thule Helium from being so light. It weighs about 23 pounds, so it's not one of those big lunky inaudible 00:04:06 that you'll have to throw out your back trying to move around and store it in your garage. It maneuvers very easily. We can install it in our Tesla now. I don't got to worry about throwing out my back at all. It's very easy to install.Now you can see we have a two inch hitch receiver right here. We also had one on the other vehicle, but if your vehicle has an inch and a quarter receiver, you just remove this silver sleeve on the outside and that'll convert the shank to be compatible with your inch and a quarter hitch. You also have this stinger on the side. You want to make sure that's in an open position, and then we'll just install it into our hitch receiver.Now with our anti-rattle device on here, we can just spin this knob and that's going to activate the wedge on the inside of our shank. It's basically just going to pull it back and wedge the entire shank into the hitch. So you can see there's a little bit of tension now, but move the bike rack around a little bit to get the slack out and then keep turning it. See, it's getting a lot tighter. Just keep shaking it. Get the slack out. You can see right now there's virtually no movement. You can see, back and forth there's no movement, up and down there's no movement either.So now we'll just grab our key and lock it up. This is going to be the key to lock with that cable lock. Lock that up. What that's going to do is take that off of the threads. So now we can't loosen it, we can't tighten it, and our bike rack is secure in our hitch receiver.Now we can just fold it down and then get our arms ready for our bike to be installed. We switched up a little bit, we actually have a different bike we're going to install on it. Show you guys the variety of bikes you can put on this bike rack. Now we've got a road bike, but we still got that nice carbon fiber frame that we want to protect. Just set it right on there and then bring the arms up. And then just give a one good push down. Now you can see our bike is fully secure. We're ready to hit the road, but don't forget to roll the cable lock on for that added security. I usually like to come up more towards the middle of the frame, so just the seat post tube will suffice. Just put that in there.Now, this bike rack's going to work out for really any vehicle you have that has that two inch receiver or that inch and a quarter receiver, so you can get one bike loaded. Now, one thing I do want to point out is that Thule really designed this rack for specific bikes. Now, really for your carbon fiber bikes. whether that's a road bike or mountain bike, with a wheel diameter of 26 to 29 inches. If it falls within that range, then this bike rack would be able to fit it. It would also be able to fit a maximum wheelbase of 50 inches. It will also have a weight capacity of 37 and a half pounds, so like I said, basically just your road bikes and your mountain bikes. You don't want to be trying to put a heavy e-bike on here, it's not rated for that. And you also don't want to try to put a very small tire bike, like a kid's bike on here as well.And I also want to point out that it's going to accept a maximum tire width of three inches, so that mountain bike we had was pretty close to that three inch mark. With our road back right here we've got no issues. It's even got a nice cutout right there to fit nice and snug on our skinny tire. And that goes the same for the platform too, nice slot for the road bike tire and it'll go up to three inches for those bigger mountain bike tires.Now I've gone ahead and unloaded the bike from the rack so we can have a closer look at it. Now, it gets the name Thule Helium from its aluminum construction. With the platform right here, with the arms as well, basically the whole thing's going to be aluminum and then some plastic casing around our hardware and all our connection points. So that's why it comes in at about that 23 pounds, and that's why it's going to be very easy to be able to load it and unload it from your hitch receiver.Now, with any hitch mounted accessory, you're going to have added length to your vehicle. What I want to give you now is the measurements from the center of the hitch pin hole to the outer, most point of our rack. Right there is 21 inches, so not a ton of length added on, but in cases where maybe you want to park in your garage, maybe you've got a smaller garage and that garage door just won't shut. Well, what we can do is fold this up to the vehicle with that same handle we used to tilt it away. Just pull that and fold it up.Now, if we go from the center of the hitch pin hole to the outermost point, we're down to 13 and one eighth of an inch. So we took away not a ton of space, but enough that it could make a difference in a lot of people's lives, to be able to shut their garage door or to fit in a tight parking spot, whatever it might be.One last measurement I want to give you guys is from the center of the hitch pin hole to the closest point of our rack, because it is a very sleek bike rack. It's going to sit very close to our vehicle. If we take that measurement, it's about five inches. So that gives you an idea of if this will fully work with your vehicle. If you don't quite have that five inches and you still want this bike rack, which you're not really worried about folding it up, I can give you a measurement from the center of the hitch pin hole to the closest point, which is now about right here. It's about seven and three quarters of an inch. So that gives you really all you need to know if this bike rack is going to work for your vehicle.Well everyone, I appreciate you all for watching, but that's going to do it for our look at the Thule Helium 1-bike rack..


Questions and Comments about this Video


Ted T.
Great video! Impressive rack, do you think it would handle safely a Specialized Creo SL? Weight about 28 lbs.. . Thanks!
Etrailer Expert
Reply from Jon G.

This rack has a weight capacity of 37.5 lbs so I see no reason why it couldn't handle that bike. Are there any specific concerns you have that I can address?

Reply from Ted T.

@JonG No, other than that, I’m good to go. Now gotta get a hitch for my Honda. BTW, will the ramp work for this rack? Thanks!

Etrailer Expert
Reply from Jon G.

@TedT Glad to hear it! If you let me know the year and model of your Honda I can let you know what hitches will fit or you can look through our fitguide for that. Since the Helium is designed for lighter bikes Thule didn't make provisions for using a ramp. If you want a Thule rack with a ramp then you need to look at the EasyFold XT # TH903202 which comes with a ramp. If you're trying to avoid frame contact with your bike then you'll want the Kuat NV 2.0 instead. I personally like the Base model # BA22B the most. To add the ramp to this rack you also need part # ANVBRB .

Reply from Dr. T.

@JonG Thanks Jon; I'm putting my order in today for the Helium solo rack...thanks for all your help!!

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