Video: Another Thule T2 catastrophic failure

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We’ve repeatedly called for a recall of Thule T2 racks — for precisely the flaw demonstrated in this video. We consider the fix Thule has offered — a small bolt at the end of the main support — to be inadequate.

Thule T2 Bike Rack malfunctions on interstate causing injuries and destroyed mountain bike from Angie Hyndman on Vimeo.

The presenter in the video, Tim Cook, has filed a claim with Thule for two bikes damaged when his rear tray slid off on an Interstate highway just before Christmas. Cook graphically depicts exactly how the shimmying of a bike on the tray can work the fastening clamp loose. Our take as an owner of a T2 is that the clamp bolts should go into and even through the strut. To rely on friction, no matter how tightly bolted, is an act of faith in potentially life-threatening situations.

We have contacted Thule for official comment but have been told in the past that the company will not respond until a case is settled. As of this writing Cook and Thule are exchanging emails; we’ll update as available.

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17 thoughts on “Video: Another Thule T2 catastrophic failure”

  1. Huh, I’m with you — a bolt through the strut seems like a no brainer. An interference fit or clamping the parts together for something like that seems insufficient. Even a little in through the parts would keep the rack from sliding back, no?

  2. Wow. Thank you for this post! This is the rack that we were going to buy!!

    I’ve definitely lost confidence in Thule. Not only for poor design– but because they haven’t been quick to announce a recall. No thanks, Thule.

  3. I’m not aware of any lock that would have prevented the specific situation described in the video. Tim says he did have the bikes on the rack locked together at the time but that wouldn’t prevent the situation either…

  4. Thank you for sharing your experience. I am disgusted with Thule. I met a rider in Park City, Utah at the trailhead who experienced an identical failure. He decided to add a retention bolt. I own an original Sportswork rack that continues to perform flawlessly. Thule has screwed up a great design. I’m in need of a second rack and I won’t be buying a Thule T2. I will have another look at the Yakima equivalent but my impression to date has not been favorable. You would think for 4 large these companies could produce a decent and safe product. Not interested in the huge number of potential failing parts on the Kuat, although it is nice looking. Good luck with your product liability claim.

  5. Well, this happened to me today too. Driving home from Austin to Houston, I had my roadbike on the inner tray and my mtb on the outer. Just cruising along on a secondary highway at 70 when I watched with horror as the rear tray and bike came off. Luckily traffic was light and no one behind me hit it, and even more amazingly it skidded onto the shoulder then just kind of fell over and the bike was undamaged. I loosened and retightened the clamp bolts on the side of the road, then proceeded cautiously home. I won’t use this rack again until I figure out some kind of failsafe.

  6. Just to follow up, I contacted Thule a few days after my incident, and without questioning, they agreed to replace my rack with a new updated one. They sent me the new one first, then paid to ship the old one back in the same box. The only damage to my bike was tears on one grip and the saddle, and they sent me a check to pay for those as well. I’ll still pretty unsettled by what happened and much worse it COULD have been, but I most commend Thule for backing up their product without playing the blame game. I made extra sure to follow to the letter the installation instructions for the new one. The first time I used it was a 140 mile roundtrip with one bike on it. When I got home, I retorqued all of the tray clamp bolts. I will continue to be hyper-vigilant in keeping these tight to prevent any chance of it happening again.

  7. It’s obvious to me, an owner of a T2 bike rack, that the demonstrator in the video did not adequately tighten the allen head bolts. The lock nuts on the underside of the cross member bracket require a higher amount of torque to adequately tighten the bolts. This results in bolts that will not back out an loosen due to vibrations when driving.

    I think this is bogus- purely a case of operator error by the person who assembled the rack. Wouldn’t most people make sure the rack was sturdy and wobble-free before throwing their bike on it and driving down the interstate?

    And the statement “To rely on friction, no matter how tightly bolted, is an act of faith in potentially life-threatening situations.” is a little far-fetched. Consider the stem or the handlebar on your bike. Both of these items rely on friction to keep them in place.

  8. I was going to buy a T2 this weekend, but they were out of stock everywhere except REI, the most expensive outlet. With the extra time I had as a result I found multiple sites and multiple people reporting the same issue with the T2. I don’t think it’s safe to have to torque all the mounting hardware weekly, or consider which bolts to tighten first on a bike rack. My riding time is to keep fit, mentally and physically. It’s not to create another challenge or stress point. I know I would probably never sleep again if my rack fell off on the highway and another person were injured.

    I guess it’s back to research, 1up or Kuat, or maybe just give up on the idea of a platform rack.

  9. I just bought a Thule T2, installed it step-by-step verbatim according to the instructions, and I also have the wobble.

    I’ve been told numerous “ghetto fixes,” but I know that this will void the warranty and preclude an future claim should something happen anyway. Needless to say, I’m packing up the T2 and sending it back this weekend. Going back to my Yak rack for now and will look at other hitch-mount platform carriers because I like the “no frame contact” aspect.

  10. I Had a brand new Thule 9705 Bolt On Bike Carrier fail on me the first time it was used – destroying the bikes! – thankfully and very luckily we were on a deserted road and no one was injured.
    Bought the carrier from Halfords for a cycling holiday and fitted it the very next morning before departing on holiday with 4 (3 small kids and 1 adult) bikes secured to the carrier.
    Less than 100 miles into the journey there was a noise and I could see the bikes somersaulting down the road in the rear view mirror, one of the supporting arms had snapped, the steel adaptor bracket behind the tow ball was bent outwards by the force of the bikes falling after the arm failed. This carrier was brand new and could not have been damaged in any way prior to the failure.
    Only compensation offer from Halfords was a replacement Thule Bolton 9705 – No Thanks

  11. Seriously people .. come on !

    Sure I believe this CAN happen, but how long does it take to simply tap a hole in the back and insert a bolt to keep it from sliding off …. Lets see … Ummm 2 minutes ??

    I have a T2 rack, and its been excellent. I also spent the 2 minutes and tapped a small 6mm bolt in the back … ZERO chance of this happening. This is by no means a major fix, and anybody can do it.

    Heck wrap some tape around it, if you cannot insert a bolt ?

    The above situation of the bracket snapping is odd (bolts too tight I would imagine), but for bikes sliding off the back … stupid easy to fix.

    For those returning their racks, maybe get a bit creative and fix the problem yourself, instead of pointing the finger and crying “after the fact”.

    Common sense prevents issues like this.

  12. I agree with John, and call BS on this whole thing. I’ve had my T2 for 7 years now and it has been FLAWLESS. When properly clamped, this design works as it was intended. There are too many cases, especially in the bicycle realm for some reason, when persons cry foul when it truly is “pilot error”. In the future, (those with T2-like issues) have the place you purchase it install it, then you have them to blame. Or not, considering then it probably won’t “fail”. Carry on…

  13. Nice to see that my video is still making it around the internet and that it has generated so much discussion, haha. For all of you that are more intelligent than me and declare that I am not smart enough to assemble the rack and for the rest of you that are stronger than me and suggest that I didnt have enough strength to torque bolts properly, I appreciate your concerns.
    So that you will sleep better at night, I did attend one of that nation’s top engineering schools and I am a former D1 fullback.

    On any strap type clamp where the fixation mechanism is not straight down along the leg of the clamp, but rather along a foot that is 90* perpendicular to the clamp (i.e. an omega shape vs a u bolt shape), then you have introduced a point of flex. Over time, that flex will stretch the steel.

    At the end of the, the T2 is a quality rack, albeit one with an oversight. There is a reason that the rack was revised.

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