Hands-On the Thule EasyFold XT 2
Next to our little Parson Russel terrier Toni, buying e-bikes was the best investment we made last year. Since we purchased them in February, right before the great corona run on the bike-retailers, we could use the full spring until fall for tours at home as well as the lovely and diverse Rhine and Moselle area.
However, since we had a journey of about forty kilometres to the last destinations, it was energy- and time-consuming to get two e-bikes in my 2016 Mercedes A-Class hatchback every time. Yes, you could fit two e-bikes in this compact car! However, not only my nerves, but also the surface of the car suffered. (Apart from the fact that the dog had to ride along thereby in the foot space… which he loved… but could have had consequences when facing a police control)
Since I was thankfully allowed to order a new company car in September 2020, it was an easy decision to order the additional trailer hitch. And thus, even before the actual delivery of the car in December, I researched a bike-rack to buy.
In the shortlist were the Atera Strade E-Bike M, the Uebler i21 and the pricier, but more flexible EasyFold XT 2 by Thule. I have informed myself in various forums and blogs and have decided for the latter because of the known Thule quality and flexibility of the folding mechanism. Additionally, the 60kg payload and lockable holding arms stand on the positive side. Sure, the Atera would have made his job as well, but as long as I must drag the bike-rack for about thirty meters from the basement to the parking lot, its folding capability is worth the significant additional price… at least in my opinion. To take it in advance, I have not regretted it for a second!
But now to the actual review, for which I documented the mounting of the e-bikes besides the installation of the bike-rack. Especially my “angular” 2019 Canyon Neuron:ON 8.0 (Size L) brought some challenges with it and made the purchase of an additional accessory indispensable. As I use the EasyFold XT2 for a couple of weeks now, I think i could give a first review…
Update #1: Meanwhile, the carrier has won a competition of German Stiftung Warentest, confirming my decision:
By far in first place: The “Thule EasyFold XT 2” is the most expensive in the test at 665€, but gets the grade 1.9 from Stiftung Warentest.© Stiftung Warentest
|Max number of bikes||2|
|Load capacity||130 lb (60 kg)|
|Max bike weight||65 lb (30 kg)|
|Dimensions||48.4 x 25 x 26.7 in (123 x 63 x 68 cm)|
|Folded dimensions||31 x 12 x 26 in (31 x 63 x 68 cm)|
|Weight||45 lb (17.9 kg)|
|Max tire width||3″ (up to 4.7″ with additional straps)|
|Max wheel size (diameter)||29 in|
|Max wheelbase||1300 mm|
|Distance between bikes||9 in (22 cm)|
|Carbon frame compatible||✓ Adapter/s required: Carbon Frame Protector|
|Tilt function (with bikes)||✓|
|Fits 1.25″ receivers||✓|
|Fits 2″ receivers||✓|
|One Key System compatible||✓|
|Bike lock included||✓|
|Receiver lock included||✓|
The EasyFold XT2 arrives completely assembled and ready to use. Besides the bike-rack itself there are the two keys, a guarantee card and manual in the box. If you have other Thule products in use, you might match the keys via the Thule One-Key System.
The folding mechanism is solved in a very smart way. Both wheel holders of the carrier can be folded upwards by 90 degrees. In addition, the license plate swivels into a vertical position, so the carrier can be transported very easily using the handle.
Attachment to the trailer hitch
You put the bike-rack on your trailer hitch in the folded state and actuate the (relatively) stiff (because ~40kg of force is needed) lock, which ensures a firm hold on the ball head. The latter can be additionally fine-adjusted by a rotary mechanism, which was not necessary for me. Now you could attach the 13-pin plug into the car’s electric connector. After folding down the wheel holders you are basically done with the installation.
Important Note: Please make sure your car’s trailer hitch supports the weight of both rack and bikes (max. 17,9kg + 60kg)!
Yes, you’ll have to search for the perfect mounting of your bikes on first installation… and this might be tricky and time consuming as every e-bike has its own architecture. But once you have found it, installation and mounting of the EasyFold XT 2 and the bikes is a question of minutes… I don’t think it could be much more comfortable. But here’s the details…
Placement on the rack
To fix the bike, the retaining straps are placed around the rim and tightened. The mechanism for tightening reminds a little of the buckles of ski boots … amazingly easy!
One disadvantage are the relatively rigid holding arms. Although they are very flexible to attach, I struggled to find a suitable place with the arms on my Neuron:On. While they are self-locking and quays placeable at any point on the rack, I missed the second rotatable axis on them. Therefore, I have additionally purchased a Fiamma Bike Block D2 Pro to securely fix my Canyon Neuron:ON. What is solved genuinely nice is the fixation of the clamps. You cannot turn the locks too tight (and damage your bike) because they trigger at perfect torque (similar to a torque wrench in the car).
Access to the trunk
The EasyFold XT2 has a switch that allows you to fold the entire carrier backwards… regardless of whether the bicycles are already mounted. This means you always have full access to your trunk. To activate the folding mechanism, you simply press it with your foot which frees up your arms to gently put the carrier in place.
As I already mentioned in the beginning, I have never regretted buying the Thule EasyFold XT2. The folding mechanism makes the transport and mounting extremely easy, so you don’t need half the morning to prepare the car. On the contrary, you can mount the carrier in minutes, which also makes a spontaneous tour with friends from out of town possible. Everyone must decide for themselves whether the folding mechanism is worth the extra cost… for me it is.
|Easy to mount||Holding arms don’t fit all e-bikes|
|Folding mechanism||Additional accessories might be needed|
|Ready to go in minutes|
seeing that it just clamps onto the ball does the whole rack swivel around the ball when pushed left and right?
The carrier holds bombproof on the ball. In the meantime, I have driven a lot with the carrier + two e-bikes and found no problems.