Paul Andrews

Posts Tagged ‘thule t2 rack failure’

Another Thule T2 rack failure

In Equipment reviews, Mountain Biking on January 5, 2010 at 2:29 am

Following up on our investigation of Thule T2 rack issues, we’ve received another email from a reader who experienced a catastrophic failure.

“The exact same thing happened to my Thule T2,” wrote Tim Cook in a comment posted on Bike Intelligencer. He referred to the issue we’ve chronicled whereby the rear rail on the rack slides off the center post, dumping the bike onto the pavement behind.

“Unfortunately, I was in heavy traffic, my $6k bike was destroyed, and the mess sent another motorist in to the ditch.  She and her passenger both left the scene on gurneys and were transported to hospital.”

After we followed up in email to Cook, he informed us that he has filed an insurance claim and contacted Thule’s customer service. Because of the holidays, he does not expect a response from the company till after the New Year.

Cook also plans to post a YouTube video on the incident.

We also have put a call in to Thule, which in the past has proven responsive to similar situations. We’ll keep our readers posted.

And we continue to believe Thule should issue a recall notice on the T2 with a free retrofit aimed at preventing future accidents like these.

Previous posts:

Warning! Thule T2 Rack Failure Exposed

Company Responds Helpfully


Thule responds: No recall planned

In Equipment reviews, Mountain Biking on October 28, 2009 at 1:35 am
Thule's T2 on our Eurovan

With a few mods, we'd love our T2

Thule’s communications manager, Karl Wiedemann, has gotten back to us re our recent reports on T2 rack failures. Essentially what happens is that the outer most tray (spar) slides off the rail (backbone) while the car is in motion, potentially creating all kinds of havoc, from bike damage to collisions with trailing vehicles.

As Wiedemann notes in an email: “We have heard of a few instances regarding the issues you have described with the T2. Our quality testing team has been unable to replicate this scenario in our lab or on our road tests.

“As always, testing is carried out with correctly assembled and installed products. Thule is committed to making products which have the highest safety and quality. Even though we were unable to duplicate the problem, as a precaution, we started installing a bolt on the underside of the T2 last year. This bolt helps to keep the T2 trays on the rack even if the tray bolts were not secured correctly during the installation.
“As with all Thule products, the T2 comes with a lifetime warranty and we stand behind the product 100%. If anyone has an issue with any of our products, they can call our customer service 800-238-2388.”

At Bike Intelligencer, we still think Thule should recall the T2. If we were confident the fix worked as described, we might let the situation stand. But the “bolt” referred to is, on our recently purchased rack, a small Phillips screw. If the bracket is loose and carrying a bike, the screw will do little to prevent the tray from sliding off.

Recalls are expensive. At this point there obviously have been few enough failures, and the failures have caused little enough damage, that it’s been cheaper to warranty the racks and replace or repair damaged merchandise than to issue a recall.

In the case that prompted our initial investigation, the victim reported good response from Thule. The company agreed to pay for approximately $635 worth of bike repairs and replace the rack.

We like the T2. If Thule made the modifications we’ve suggested, we’d love the T2. We hope there will be no more rack failures, and that if there are, damage will be minimal. We’d rather Thule did not take the risk.

Thule T2 rack failure: Company responds helpfully

In Equipment reviews, Mountain Biking on October 5, 2009 at 1:25 am

To its credit, Thule has responded to the case of Andrew Sell, who lost a bike off the back of his vehicle when the rail it was mounted to slid off the strut on his T2 rack. We ran a post on Andrew’s mishap and documented similar episodes from other mountain bikers.

Here’s the message Andrew posted to the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance list:

Thule got back to me yesterday, they have sent me a digital claim form to fill
out and are willing to pay for all bike damage and by the sounds of it replace
my rack.

I am waiting for my buddy to get a repair estimate from Downhill Zone in the

I was also told that as of 6 months ago they are including a bolt stop at the
end of the rack to prevent bike carrier jettison.

Kudos to Thule for taking responsibility, but we still feel the company should do a general recall on the T2 rack.

The “bolt stop” on the main strut (backbone) that Andrew refers to is, on the T2 rack I bought just last month, simply a tiny Phillips screw. If the rail (spar) is loose enough to work its way to the end of the strut, it’s going to be loose enough to rock past the Phillips screw head.

The inadequacy of the Phillips screw and other deficiencies in the rack prove the need for a redesign on several fronts. In the interim, a recall to prevent Andrew’s (and others’) misfortune from repeating itself for countless others is the only decent course for a responsible company.