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Thule Hitch Bike Racks Review - 2020 Toyota Highlander

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Review of the Thule Hitch Bike Racks on a 2020 Toyota Highlander


Hi everyone, Aiden here with etrailer.com. And today we're gonna be taking a look at the Thule T2 pro XTR four bike platform style bike rack here on our 2020 Toyota Highlander. Now right away, this is a big bike rack, and it's gonna be a really nice one, too. There's a lot of different ways to carry four bikes, whether it's a platform or a hanging style, but the platform style is gonna be one of the more premium options you have out there. And one of the things you get with that is a really wide range of bikes that it's compatible with. The T2 Pro here is no exception.

So you can see it's a wheel mounted bike rack. So it's gonna hold the bike primarily by the front tire right here, pinching it down into the cradle down below, and secured as a secondary point with the cradle and wheel strap here at the back. Now, what this means is you're not gonna have any frame contact. It's gonna make it a great option for your carbon frame bikes, because you're not gonna have to worry about denting that frame, and it's also gonna be really good for any alternative frame bikes, bikes that might not have a solid connection point here for a hook that comes down on the center of the frame there. So I really like the wheel hook attachment method, because I think it's gonna give you the most options when picking out your bikes to go on the rack.

The other nice thing here is that the cradles here are really wide. You can see that our mountain bike tire's sitting in that groove right there, but we have a much wider cradle outside here that can accommodate a fat tire bike too. And the straps on the back here are capable of working with a fat tire bike right out of the box. I personally really like that because I don't like when you have to buy the extra strap kit separate if you do have a fat tire bike. So it's nice that it's there if you need it, you have the option, and down the road, if you don't have a fat tire bike now, you can get one, and your bike rack will still work, right out of the box, so I think that's really nice.

Now, one of the big things with this is you don't have to sacrifice any functionality with your vehicle with this bike rack. You can tilt it away from your vehicle to get back hatch access without having to unload the bikes, which is a big deal. That's something that this platform has over a hang style, because you will have to unload a hanging style bike rack to tilt it away. The way we're gonna do that here is with this handle at the back, I'll kind of lift this cradle up so you can see it a little bit better. I'm just gonna grab that and pinch it together, and we can lower the bike rack down.

Now it's gonna be really nice because again, we get access to the back of our vehicle here. You don't have to unload any of the bikes, it's all good. Now comparing this, if you're kind of in the realm of high-end platform style bike racks, you might also be looking at the Kuat NV 2.0, that comes in a four bike configuration. And the big difference between the Kuat and this Thule option here is the way that you tilt it away from the vehicle. With Kuat, the lever to activate it is gonna be all the way up here at the front, and you can see the problem with that right now. If I have this fully loaded, I can't reach through there. Having the lever here at the back means when this bike rack is fully loaded, it's gonna be heavy, but it's possible. It's actually possible to get in there and fold it down away from your vehicle. Whereas with the Kuat, you're gonna have to have a second set of hands. So it's a huge win for the Thule here. Now, while we've got it like this, let's go ahead and unload the bike. We're gonna undo the back strap here first, just pressing in on that lever and pulling that ratcheting strap out and then coming to the front wheel cradle here, we've got another button right here, press that and push up on our hook. While we are here, I want to point out that there are integrated cable locks in each of the hooks. So we can run that around our bike, lock it down to itself right here. So that's a really nice touch, but we can just fold this out of the way, grab our bike, and just lift it right off. Really not too bad to get to. And I think you shouldn't run into any sort of clearance issues if you do have it fully loaded. I think there's plenty of room to work around here. So just go ahead and replace those straps and this hook just like that. Now I want to go ahead and grab my tape measure and get us some measurements here. I'm gonna grab that from the toolbox. We can see how far the sticks out from our vehicle. That's gonna be the big thing with this bike rack is how far it sticks out because it's able to carry four bikes. It's gonna add a lot to the back of our Highlander. So I'm gonna go kind of from underneath here and at the back bumper there, we're gonna be adding right at 60 inches. So five feet we're adding to the back of our Highlander. That's a lot. You're gonna run into issues with most parking spaces or anything like that when it's out like this. But when the bike rack's empty, you do have the option to fold it upright against the vehicle. So that's gonna cut down a lot on that space and it's gonna really help out when the bike rack isn't in use. So whether it's in your garage, or a parking spot, we're gonna cut down on that length by a considerable amount. In this state it's only gonna stick out about 17.5 inches. So it's a lot less, that's a much more workable distance. I think it's gonna work really well for the Highlander here too. Now at the base here, we can get our ground clearance right here, where it sits, we're gonna have 14 inches from the ground to the furthest bottom point right here. And that's not taking into consideration the fact that there is a big rise in the bike rack here. So at this point where it hinges, it does sit up a bit higher. So I think ground clearance should be pretty okay. If anything, you might have some issues on a really steep driveway with the very backend, but overall I think you should be pretty okay. Now down here at the hitch, we can see how it attaches. It's gonna work with a two inch by two inch receiver tube, and it has an anti-rattle knob right here that locks. So the whole installation process is tool free, because the anti-rattle is controlled by that hand knob and see it's working really well. And with the lockable key to like with the cable locks on our bike rack. So it's nice that you can lock all points of contact across the bike rack, that's a really nice feature. And rather than a standard hitch pin, it's gonna be the stinger type system. So it's a little tough to see, but I'm gonna show you, taking the bike rack out here and we can take a closer look at it there, but basically I can loosen up this anti-rattle knob here, give us a little bit more shake and play. You can see how much it's moving around there. And I can just pop out that stinger pin right there, and we can pull it out of our hitch to show you one of the unique features that it does have. And that is a set of two wheels here at the bottom. Now because it's a big bike rack, it's 96 pounds, it's really heavy and it's really awkward to carry around. You probably saw as I was pulling it out of the hitch there, that it is kind of weird to work with, but as far as storing it in your garage, the wheels are gonna make a big difference. I really like having that. It's nice that Thule kind of thought of that, and took it into consideration when making this bike rack. So overall, if you're looking for a high-end platform style bike rack for your vehicle, I think it's gonna work really well. This is a really good option from Thule and I think it works really well, especially when you compare it to that option from Kuat that we talked about earlier. Again, my name is Aiden here at Etrailer. Thank you for watching..


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Employee Andrew K
Test Fit:
Andrew K
Employee Chris R
Video Edited:
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Employee Aidan B
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