Very well designed and engineered to last a long time plus it’s easy to set up and use
Thule 9044 T2 Classic 2 Bike Rack for 2-Inch Receivers (Automotive)
There’s a whole lot to like with Thule products. I’ve had a couple of their items over the years and never had anything fail. The 9044 T2 is built solid and I expect it to last longer than our bikes. It’s also very well engineered.
The first thing I noticed when it arrived was the weight, it’s 18 Kg (40 pounds) and not a toy. Before opening the box it was obvious this wasn’t a flimsy aftermarket knock off kind of product. When I was unpacking it, I found my first impression was right. Everything is solid, there aren’t any sloppy connections; every place where a round bar meets steel channel has a very good weld (I’ve been welding for years and know what bad welds look like) and every piece of metal that’s going to carry any weight is made of heavy gauge metal.
Once all the pieces were out of the box it was pretty easy to suss out how it went together but if needed the manual is well written and laid out. I did the manual when working with the lock assembly which is used to secure it to my hitch as this wasn’t as obvious.
► Like the furniture you by at a certain European store, this comes with everything you need to assemble it except for a large flat screw driver. This is needed to secure the rear tire wells to the carrier bar. Two screws on each.
► I found it was easier for me to slip the main piece into the hitch and then add pieces from there, this elevated it off the ground which made it easier to work on. You’ll need a 2-inch hitch receiver, for me I need the sleeve which reduces down to the 2-inch point as the 3/4 ton has a larger receiver. If your hitch receiver is smaller than 2 inches you’ll need an additional adapter which extends out and then allows the larger 2-inch size to be used. Check the cost for this based on the receiver size your vehicle has.
► When I did slide it into the hitch I noticed a fair bit of side to side play and I was concerned that this would allow it to flop around while traveling but Thule has got this covered. Included in the kit is a long bolt which has threads only on the top inch next to the head, the other end has a collar which the included lock secures to. There’s also a washer and lock washer included that fits the specialized bolt. Inserting and turning the bolt though the receiver causes the threads to mate with the threads inside the hitch portion which then locks the whole thing down and stops it from flopping around. It ends up being very solid.
► The mechanism used to permit the rack to be folded up so it’s out of the way when no bikes are being carried is also designed to be stronger than it needs to be. I weight 240 and can jump up and down on this thing without anything bending or being damaged. It’s simply that solid. I honestly don’t know how they could have built this any better than they have.
► Before you place bikes on it you’ll need to adjust each carrier so that it sits centred from left to right. The carriers are made to face in opposite directions. To both place and adjust where they sit you use the included allen wrench. This part took about 5 minutes per carrier. Once lined up and snugged down they don’t move.
► For placing bikes on it, the rear tire clamp easily pushes outwards so the bike can be slid into place and then while holding the bike the clamp can be brought back into position, pushed down on the rear tire which then locks it into place. This locking arm is also what keep the bike upright and like every thig else, its solid. The front tire is made to rest in a sort of cup which can be easily moved to accommodate different sized bikes and has a strap that runs through the tire and across the rim which locks the tire down.
► The only thing I don’t like with this set up is that there’s only one lock cylinder, it can be used on the hitch bolt or either rear tire clamp. If they would have included two more it would cover all three options. For the cost I seriously expected there would be three. As it is, they are an optional item you can purchase separately. What this means is that if you use it to lock the device into the hitch receiver you need to find some other way to keep the bikes locked up, or purchase the extra two cylinders.
End result is that when you buy one of these it will more than likely be the last one you need to buy, it so well built. The only ongoing concern will be keeping it rust free which might mean the occasional shot of rust treating paint.