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Thule Helium Pro 2 Bike Rack Review

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Review of the Thule Helium Pro 2 Bike Rack


Colin: Hey everyone it's Colin here at etrailer. Today we're going to take a look at the Thule Helium Pro two bike hanging style rack. Now this rack was designed from Thule to have a lot of the features that other Thule racks will have with the added bonus that it's very light weight and so it's going to be very easy to handle when installing it into your hitch receiver or even when you take it out and store it in your garage. Hence the name Helium, it's going to be very light weight.Now like I said it's a two bike rack so you're going to be able to haul up to two bikes to and from your destination. It'll be able to hold a wide variety of bikes. You can see we have a mountain bike right there and we have a road bike on the back.

But it'll also kid's bikes and women's bikes and it'll also hold bikes with alternate frame styles. Now something to keep in mind with a lot of those kid's bikes and bikes with alternative frames you may need to purchase a bike adapter bar to get it fit over the two arms right here. You can find plenty of those here at etrailer.com.We have on board cable lock which comes from the mast of the bike rack. It's got a nice rubber and protective coating around the cable to help make sure that in case it comes in contact with your bike it's going to protect the finish of it, make sure that no scratches or abrasions occur. You can see right now it's a very nice theft deterrent.

You're going to have to unlock it to be able to access the bikes. Just take your included key, inset it into the lock cylinder, we'll unlock it then we can pull the cable out and it actually stows in the mast of the bike rack right there. And now we can unload our bikes.Now Thule's also going to provide you with a security strap so you can wrap it around the frames of your bikes and then around the mast of the bike rack. And basically what you want to make sure you do is not cinch it down so it's squeezing your bikes together, you don't want to ruin the finish of your bikes by them rubbing on each other. You can see we have some play in this strap.

You just want to get it so it's kind of snug, that it still has a little bit of play. The reason you want to do this is so that if at any point during the trip your bikes should fall off the rack, the strap is going to hold them to the bike rack so you can pull over and resituate everything.Now our bikes are going to be secured at three different points. We're going to have two of those points up top on the top tube, these straps are just securing them on to these top cradles. And the third point of contact is going to be down here. We have a strap securing the seat post tube into the anti-sway cradle.

The anti-sway cradle just helps take out a lot of the unnecessary movements from your bike while you're traveling. It doesn't take out all of the movement, but it does take out a good amount of it. Just going to help prevent a lot of bike-to-bike contact and bike-to-vehicle contact.Now let's go ahead and unload our bikes so we can take a closer look at the rack. It's going to be pretty simple to do. There's just tabs on the cradles so once you push that in you can push the strap right up and out. Right there. We'll do all three of them. And then you can just pick up your bike and lift it off.Now the cradles are going to have a nice soft rubber coating on them that's going to help protect the frame of your bike from any type of scratches or abrasions. They also have these three grooves in the cradle. Those are for your brake line so if they're on the bottom of your top tube they can sit right in the grooves so the weight of the bike does not crush your brake lines. Now you can see the frame of our mountain bike right here is a little bit more compact than the road bike. So when we take it off we actually do run into that anti-sway cradle right there. You have a couple of different options. The quicker one would be just to push that cradle up a little bit and then pull it off like so.Or, we'll put this back real quick. Another great feature that Thule included was that we could actually pull the strap out of the anti-sway cradle and then fold it up. Just pull on the strap, you might need a little bit of force to pull it out, and it folds up and locks into there. From here you're going to want to make sure you keep an eye on your strap, you store it in your vehicle, wherever is convenient for you. And you see right there I have no problem getting my mountain bike off.Now I do want to take a second and go over the straps that Thule has included on the Helium. Now this side we don't have installed. You can see that they're very flexible, not like those hard plastic or hard rubber ones where they're very stiff and they're very hard to get over top of. With these you can leave them loose like so, it's going to be very easy to unload the bikes. And if you've got a tight spot where you have to get them through between the bikes you're going to be able to do that pretty easily as well. And then even if they're installed like they are right here, when I'm loading that first bike, you can just glide right over the top right there and the bike's not really going to be affected at all. It's just going to push the strap out of its way and then be good to go. And the straps are also going to have this nice . these two nice rubber strips on the bottom side. Those are going to help protect the bike frame from any type of scratches or abrasions. So you can get it pretty tight and pretty secure without worrying about it.Now with any hitch mounted accessory you are going to have added length to your vehicle. Now we're going to give you a measurement from the center of our hitch pin hole to the outer most edge of our bike rack. With the arms folded up it's going to be 33 inches. So that's how much you've added on to the back with the arms folded up. We can fold the arms down and take away some of that space. There's a latch up here. Once we pull up on that the arms will come now and you're actually going to hear a loud audible click for when it latches back in place. Just like that. Thule's pretty proud of those loud clicks. They want to make sure you know that your arms are locked and secured and they're not going to go anywhere. Now from the center of the hitch pin hole to the outer most park of our rack with the arms down it's going to be 22 inches. Something to keep in mind for any close quarter situations like parking.Another measurement you do want to keep in mind is the center of the hitch pin hole to the closest part of the rack, which is going to be eight inches. You want to make sure you have that amount space between the center of your hitch pin hole to your bumper so that your bike rack will fit.Now with this bike rack installed currently we do not have access to our trunk. We can open it up to here, but that's where it makes contact. So we might be able to grab, lean in and grab something small. But we can actually gain full access pretty easily. There's a latch down here. We're just going to come and pull that, then tilt it away. From here you can see we got plenty of clearance to be able to open up our hatch. We can reach in and grab with items we might need out of our trunk. When all done, just go ahead and close the trunk. To tilt it back up just grab a hold of the top of the rack and then bring it up and again you're going to hear that loud audible click to let you know it's locked in place. Now something I do want to point out is that Thule does not recommend using this feature with any bikes loaded.Now this hand knob right here is actually going to be our anti-rattle system. It's currently locked so we can't loosen or tighten it. It's going to be the same key as our cable lock. Once we insert it and unlock it it's going to put the knob back on its track and we can actually loosen it like so. You see after that we do that there's more play in the shank. And when we tighten it down this little silver piece right here is going to start rising. It's actually going to basically jam the shank inside the hitch receiver. So as we tighten it more and more that piece is going to rise. And like I said, just move it around a bit, get that wiggle room out and continue to tighten it down. But from here there's really no wiggle room for it to vibrate at all while you're traveling, even at high speeds.Now this bike rack's going to be compatible with both two inch by two inch hitches, which we have on our vehicle right here. But if we take off this sleeve right there it'll convert the shank to an inch and a quarter by inch and a quarter. So you can use it with a wide variety of vehicles. We're also going to have this retractable hitch pin right here. It's a lot different than those standard through hitch pins. You're not going to have to worry about lining up the pin holes. You can just lean this to the side and once you get the first part of this shank into the hitch receiver, just let it go and then it'll line itself up once it gets up to that hole. I'll go ahead and show you that now. So again, start with it out like so. As you insert it at this point you can just let it go like so. Then we'll just go in until it locks into there. From here just tighten down your hand knob tightening system.Now the bike rack's going to be very light weight due to its aluminum construction. It's going to be very easy to handle coming in at just under 20 pounds so you're not going to have to worry about over exerting yourself when trying to install it in your hitch. Now it's also going to be very durable so it's going to be able to hold up well to any high impact situations or those long road trips you might be taking.Now one thing you might not expect from this light weight bike rack is that it is motor home approved so you're going to be able to use it for those long road trips that you might be taking with your motor home and it's going to be able to hold up well to those trips. You still have full functionality of it. You can fold the arms down. We can tilt it away if there's a spare tire on the back that we need to access. You can tilt it back up. Which is really great because you're not going to have to worry about making space on the inside for your bikes.Let's go ahead and take a look at it on our test course. Up first is going to be our slalom which is going to simulate side-to-side action like evasive maneuvering or taking a sharp turn. Now we're on to the solid speed bumps which is going to simulate the up and down action like going over a speed bump or pulling into your driveway. And now our alternating speed bumps which is going to simulate driving over uneven pavement like potholes.Thank you all for watching. That's going to do it for our look at the Helium Pro two bike rack from Thule.


Questions and Comments about this Video

Pete

Hello, I saw this rack on display at my local bike shop and noticed it had a lot of wiggle side to side where the tilt level is. I liked that once ed into the hitch, there was no wiggle at all once tightened but i have a concern with the wiggle play it had at the tilt part of the rack. Would you be able to tell me if this does wiggle? And the one on display wiggled because it was a display modelI want to purchase it, but dont want to get stuck with it if it does have alot of that play in itlots of thanks

Etrailer Expert
Reply from Chris R.

There's a LITTLE wiggle at the tilt mechanism, but it's definitely not as significant as what you experienced. Most likely the display rack just wasn't tightened down all the way (there's a bolt and nut/washer that gets secured at this connection). This is really a high-quality rack and I think you'd be really happy with it.

Reply from Pete D.

Hi Chris Thank you for your quick response my only concern is that when I’m driving I will hear that rattling sound. I looked at all your videos and can’t tell if this rack moves that much. I would hope not since the previous model doesn’t move at all. If I purchased it from you what is the return policy do you cover return shipping? Lots of thanks

Etrailer Expert
Reply from Chris R.

I absolutely understand your concern here. A wobbly hitch rack isn't fun. I can assure you though that the Helium is extremely stable on the road and I can't imagine you'll hear it clanking around while you're driving. I linked our full return policy below that you can review.

Reply from Pete D.

Hi Chris Once again thank you for your quick response. Thank you for assuring me that this rag doesn’t have any wiggle in it I wouldn’t expect that from a thule product. And thank you for sending me your return policy. The rack is a little pricey so I am waiting to see if any discounts will be available. I have seen this rack discounted 25% on other sites. Just waiting for that discount to come again before purchasing. Is this something you typically do? Or can do? Lots of thanks again Chris

Etrailer Expert
Reply from Chris R.

No problem at all Pete - we do actually have a price match guarantee so if you see the rack available somewhere else at a lower cost just give our Customer Service Team a call and they can walk you through this process. I also linked the details below.

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