When it comes to transporting your bike to your next adventure, there are many options to choose from when it comes to bike racks. If you are a ‘tall car’ or' ‘heavy bike’ owner.... or have a history of driving into garages with your bike on the roof then you should consider the tow bar mounted Thule EasyFold XT.
I've previously used roof-mounted systems and generally love the security and ease of mounting... but as with so many people, we have joined the SUV club and mounting a bike on the roof requires a ladder or milk crate to stand on... enter the Thule EasyFold XT. This thing is a game-changer in the world of tow mounted bike carriers. Why? Because as the name suggests, it folds up into a neat box-like shape that you can easily store in your boot without removing everything first.
Anyone that reads La Velocita will know that I'm a big fan of Thule. I've owned their bike racks for at least 10 or 15 years, and when I recently upgraded to a newer version, the old ones were still in great shape and now have been handed on to a family friend to use. In short, the build quality is brilliant and the product just works.
The EasyFold XT is no different, it's well balanced, making tow ball mounting easy, pretty lightweight, at under 18kg, considering its 60kg weight capacity and moving parts and locks are where you expect them to be. There’s no assembly required with this rack, so it’s ready to go straight out the box. Thule also include a new tow ball, lights adapter so all electronic connection options are covered and two keys for the three locks. I had the rack mounted within minutes from when I cracked open the box.
Getting bikes onto the rack is pretty simple, with the only marginally tricky bit being lining up the clamps. It took a few minutes the first few times I used the rack, but after a few outings they were no trouble at all. On the security side, the rack can be locked to the tow ball with a single turn of a key, and each bike can also be individually locked to the rack.
I mounted road bikes, mountain bikes, commuter bikes and kids bikes on the EasyFold XT with absolutely no trouble. The platform of the carrier can accommodate bikes with massive wheelbases, and straps to secure the wheels in place that can manage tyres from my relatively skinny road wheels through to fat bike territory. The EasyFold XT also takes out the lifting element compared to roof mounts and certainly makes life a lot easier when it comes to heavier bikes or if you are an e-bike owner.
The other thing I liked about the tow mount that made it a winner, was that on the road wind noise was lower and there was no whistle from the racks at 100kph... those that have experienced wind whistle on roof racks will know how annoying it can be!
Another cool feature was is the ability to tilt the mounting platform while the bikes are attached so that you still have full access to the boot. Very nice and is a must-have in my book. The party piece of the EasyFold XT is, of course, the full foldability for storage. You can store it in a small space in your house, shed or garage. It's easy to carry around without smashing your shins and unfolds for use in seconds.
What's not to like about it... well you will need a tow bar and if your car does not have one they are pretty expensive to get fitted, plus you do need to factor in that it will make your car about 60cm longer, so can make an already long car slightly unmanageable in car parks.
So, who is the Thule EasyFold XT for? Well, I'd say just about anyone that rides a bike and takes it places on their car. If you have a 'tall' car or don't like the look of permanent roof racks on your sporty aero car the XT is a great option, leaving no trace once removed. I've even used it where the roof bars have been full with 3 bikes and needed to carry a further 2 on the tow bar when supporting an event.
The Thule EastFold XT 2 tested (2 bike carrier) retails at $1,299 (AUD) and its bigger brother, the Thule EasyFold XT 3 (3 bike carrier) retails at $1,449 (AUD).