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Thule Helium Pro 3-Bike Rack Review

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Review of the Thule Helium Pro 3-Bike Rack


Randy: Hey guys, it's Randy here at etrailer.com. Today we're taking a look at the Thule Helium Pro. Now this is a three bike hanging style rack that is super light. This rack's going to allow you all the features that you're used top out of Thule racks, gives you the ability to transport up to three bikes to your favorite destination, but it's not a pain and a struggle to get it installed in your vehicle.Now the tilt away feature is also nice to help us gain access into the rear of our vehicle. It's pretty common on a hanging style bike rack like this, but this one's easy to do. It just has a single lever.

We lift up on that lever. It allows us to rotate it down and away. Saves us some time. We don't have to deal with pins or any locks or anything like that. At that point you'll see good access.

We can get stuff in or out of there as we need to. Then it's just a matter of lifting back up on that mast until the lever clicks back down into position. We'll be ready to go.Something else I really like about the rack, the new cradles that they've come up with are fully adjustable. You see we can rotate them this way, we can rotate these all the way back down. So regardless of the type bike you have, there are a lot of different frame styles out there.

This should really help to accommodate a lot of them. There's also really good dampening technology in the cradles. You can see there's this nice rubbery material down here. Now it's not super soft so it's not going to wear away or anything, but it's also not so rigid that we'll have to worry about any damage with our bikes. It's going to have that same material here on the underside of the straps, so where that comes down and makes contact, it's going to offer good protection.

And then our anti sway cradle, you can see the lines that run down through there. Those are going to give us that same protection. So our finish on our bike should be in great shape.The anti sway cradle, this one is pretty compact as far as anti sway cradles go, but as you're loading and unloading your bike, they can get in the way because you'd have to kind of wiggle it around a little. So with that in mind, Thule designed it so we can remove this strap. It takes a little bit of effort to get it out. And you can clip that up and out of the way.Now as far as capacities go, each slot can hold up to 37 and a half pounds. We don't want to exceed a total of 112 pounds. And to get your helium installed, you first want to move the black arm out and away. That's going to allow us to slide it into our hitch. It's going to show up just like this. This is going to work out great for the two inch by two inch receivers, but if you want to use it for the inch and a quarter, you can see that shank's going to be right here.So we're just going to use the provided tool. We'll take these two screws out of the bottom and you can set the adapter and the screws aside. Once you've got it to the appropriate size, we're going to slide in our hitch and we're going to line up our black pin here with our hitch pinhole. It's just going to drop in just like that. That point we'll come to our anti rattle knob here. Time to get that tightened down. And as I tighten this down, I always lift up on the rack and kind of move it side to side. That helps me get out any play that there might be in it.You can see once that's tight, everything's nice and secure. The only thing moving now is the back of the car. We want to take our key, turn it into the secure position there where that knobs just going to free spool. We won't have to worry about anybody getting away with it. Once you got everything secure, we'll just lift on our handle, get our arms extended and it'll be time to load up our bikes. And when we load up our bike, we want the seat tube to be towards the anti sway cradle. That's going to give us that point to connect to. And remember always start with your heaviest bike towards the front and work back towards your lightest. You see how we get those bikes in their place right in the cradles. I Like to bring it forward as far as I can to make sure my anti-sway is going to make contact and then we'll strap them down.Now these cradles are spaced out further than what we see with typical bike racks. These are out at about seven inches apart from one another. In most other situations you see them they're more like five and a half, five and three quarters, six or six and a half. So by getting that additional distance between our bikes, we have less contact between them, less interference trying to load it up. All in all, it makes for a better user experience.Now something else to keep in mind, whether it's an alternative frame bike, a ladies' bike, or a kid's bike like this, something we often run into is that we can't get the cradles to fit through these narrow areas. Or if we did get the cradles, let's say on a lady's bike, that back tire would be pitched way up in the air. So by using an adapter bar just like this, it gives us a level surface to use and connect to.Now we'll grab our cable lock, we're going to bring it over, place it down in the slot. Use our same key to get that nice and secure. Now also included with the rack is going to be a security strap. This strap is designed to go around our center mast and through the frames of our bike and this is going to act just a little bit of a protective device. If for some reason something we're to fail, this will keep everything connected to the vehicle for us. It doesn't have to be overly tight. I wouldn't cinch it down to a point where you're squeezing all your bikes together. You just want it there for some additional security.And we've got all of our cradles secured properly. We've got our cable lock on, we've got our safety strap on. Now we're going to go out and take it through the test course so you can see how it's going to handle in real life.Here on our test course, we'll start by going through the slalom. This is going to show us the side to side action. This simulates turning corners or evasively maneuvering. Once we get to the alternating speed bumps, we'll see the twisting action. This will simulate hitting a curb or pothole, or driving over uneven pavement. Once we get to the full speed bumps, we'll see the up and down action. This will be just like driving in and out of a parking lot, parking garage, or driveway.


Questions and Comments about this Video


Brad
Have you tried this with swing gate cars like the Lexus gx 460?
Etrailer Expert
Reply from Jon G.

The closest thing that we have to that right now is the Helium Pro 3 # TH9043PRO on a 2013 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited which I'm linking for you to check out. Since this bike rack only tilts out of the way you'll only be able to open up a swing gate door just a little bit. What you could do is use the Thule Apex Swing XT # TH9027XT instead which will swing out of the way so that you have more room to open up that swing gate.

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