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Best Lightweight Hitch Bike Rack? Thule Helium Platform Aims to ‘1Up’ Competition

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Greatest Light-weight Hitch Bike Rack? Thule Helium Platform Goals to ‘1Up’ Competitors

With the Helium Platform, Thule takes on the 1Up with a light-weight, one- or two-bike hitch rack that received’t contact your body and is each lockable and simple to make use of.

Should you’ve ever tried to place mountain bikes on practically any hitch rack, you understand it’s a dance of dropper submit changes to maintain seats away from handlebars, and wiggling bikes forwards and backwards so handlebars don’t knock brakes on a neighboring bike.

On Thule’s aluminum Helium Platform, nonetheless, it’s tremendous simple to mount any bike so it doesn’t hit the one subsequent to it. And it makes it so that you don’t have to regulate trays, droppers, or anything. Better of all, mounting a motorbike on this rack takes much less time and faffing than getting a motorbike on or off just about every other rack.

Helium with two bikes

We put the $700 Thule Helium Platform hitch rack to the take a look at to see the way it stacks as much as an business normal — the 1Up — what it does properly, and what could possibly be higher.

Thule Helium Platform Bike Rack Evaluate

Bikes are costly, and as of late an increasing number of of them are carbon. That’s why a rack that holds bikes securely with out touching the body is the one rack I’ll use.

To the Helium’s credit score, it proved the quickest platform rack to load that I’ve ever examined. To load my bike, I opened the symmetrical ratcheting wheel loops. The loops opened once I squeezed the deal with on every, then closed to clamp round my tire once I pushed them closed.

After I loaded two bikes, I might shift one barely ahead or backward in order that they nested with out rubbing, and I used to be in a position to do it on the fly — no tray changes, rotating brake levers, or twiddling with seats or posts required.

After I use a normal tray rack, I inevitably get the entrance wheel locked down, then notice I didn’t launch the again strap, and I’ve to depart the bike form of hanging whereas I undo the strap and reinstall the bike. With the Helium, all I needed to do was push every of the wheel-holders towards the middle. They transfer with the squeeze of the deal with on the finish of the holder.

As soon as the wheel-holders are pressed inward to safe the bike, the rack is able to roll. And in the event you’re stopping for an errand, an built-in theft-deterring cable slides out from every tray to lock every bike. It’s not impenetrable, but it surely gives particular peace of thoughts for fuel or relaxation stops.

Putting bike on helium

Thule Helium Platform: Set up

Getting It on My Automobile

Putting in the rack on the automobile proved as simple as putting in the bikes on the rack. At simply over 43 kilos, the Helium is considerably lighter than many different racks. Sure, that sounds heavy, but it surely’s a manageable heavy. With the rack folded, I slid it into my 2-inch hitch receiver.

A small block within the nook of the sq. inventory that slides into the hitch receiver must be pushed into alignment first. That’s the piece that expands once you twist the knob on the base of the rack to lock it into the hitch.

After I slid the rack into the receiver, a hook on the fitting aspect clipped right into a receiver pinhole to place the rack in place. This prevented it from sliding too far into the receiver. With a twist of the knob on the base of the rack, the rack secured to the hitch mount, then locked to the automobile with the knob, which has a lock core.

Now with the rack put in, a squeeze of the deal with in the course of the rack both lowered it to stage for loading or folded it down past stage. With it folded, I used to be in a position to get into my hatchback trunk even with bikes loaded on the rack. The lever for elevating and reducing the rack is straightforward to entry, and I solely wanted one hand to function it.

Thule Helium Platform Handle

Verify If It Works for Your Automobile

The one difficulty that I bumped into with the Helium Platform was once I tried to mount it on a Toyota Sienna minivan — it hit the bumper. I wanted a hitch extender for that car. On a 2019 Toyota RAV4, the match was tight, with a few millimeters between the bumper and the rack.

The Helium wants 4 inches extra bumper clearance than Thule’s T2 Professional. A guide on Thule’s website will enable you to decide if it can suit your car with out an extender.

Thule Helium Platform: Who Is It For?

The Helium Platform is Thule’s tackle the fashion of rack that 1Up made well-known. Each racks are aluminum. The 1Up is a number of kilos heavier, but it surely’s expandable and the Thule isn’t. Thule instructed me that what actually units the Helium Platform other than the 1Up is that the Helium Platform meets the Swedish firm’s extraordinarily arduous testing requirements. In actual fact, the rack launch was delayed a yr whereas Thule re-engineered it for extra power and fewer weight.

One other essential be aware: The Helium Platform received’t work for riders on wheels smaller than 26 inches. And in the event you want greater than two mounts, look elsewhere. This rack can’t at the moment be expanded. Additionally, in the event you personal a heavy e-bike, you’ll want a special rack.

However for many riders, the Helium Platform will make for an superior selection. I by no means apprehensive about my bikes, even on the roughest roads. And I beloved how simple it was to load and unload bikes. Whereas driving, my bikes by no means bumped one another, and I didn’t must spend time wiggling them round to get them nested.

Plus, the rack has a glossy, extra aesthetic look that almost all different racks. Not solely did it look good, but it surely didn’t crush the rear finish of my automobile, which made it extra nice to drive.

Thule Helium Platform bikes lowered

The 23-pound, $450 Helium Platform 1 single bike rack holds one bike as much as 37.5 kilos. The $700 Helium Platform 2 can maintain two 37.5-pound bikes — as much as 75 kilos whole. It’s obtainable for 1.25- and 2-inch hitch receivers.


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