Bike racks that mount on the rear of a vehicle have many positives (low cost, storage, ease of removal) and many negatives (don’t work with all bikes, can’t be locked, may scratch car). However, Thule’s Raceway Platform Pro 2 aims to split the differences by implementing a few trademarks of a good hitch-mount rack with the ease of a trunk rack.
Who’s it for?
As with any trunk mount, the Raceway Platform Pro 2 is designed for people who don’t want the permanence or expense of a roof rack or a hitch rack.
Unlike many trunk mounts, however, this one has ratcheting cables instead of long cinch straps, so getting it on and off your vehicle — and storing it — is still relatively easy.
Thule Raceway Platform Pro 2 specs
- Hauls two bikes
- Rack locks to vehicle, bikes lock to rack
- Max bike weight: 31.8kg / 70.1lbs
- Folded dimensions: 61 x 102.9 x 66 cm
Thule Raceway Platform Pro 2 installation
Like most trunk-mounted bike racks, the Raceway was easy to install. One of the standout features during install was the metal attachment cables. Whereas other racks have woven straps, the Raceway’s cables were metal and snugged tight with a dial, not merely a plastic slip lock or adjuster.
The straps only release when pulling up on the little buttons Russell Eich / Immediate Media
Excess cable was wound around the dials, not flopping about or needing to be tucked in or tied off somewhere.
The other notable install feature was that once the straps were set, a little lockable door on each side kept it all secure. Sure, a thief could snip the metal cables that attach the rack to the car, but then the rack would effectively be worthless.
Folding the actual platform down seemed tricky at first, but I soon figured out how to unsnap the folded supports.
The major difference between the Raceway and other trunk racks is the wheel tray platform, which is more similar to hitch-mounted racks.
Whereas most trunk racks support bikes by the top tubes, allowing the front wheels to turn at will, the Raceway Platform keeps the wheels in line with the platform.
The wheel trays are adjustable for length. This is nice for keeping the rack small when not hauling bikes, and for working with bikes of differing wheelbases. Adjusting the wheel tray length could also be used to offset the bikes to minimize handlebar to seat or seatpost contact.
Each side of the wheel trays are adjustable which is nice for offsetting the bikes to minimize bar to seat contact Russell Eich / Immediate Media
Bikes are secured by a padded claw that grabs onto the bike’s frame. Once the claw knob is tightened, the bikes feel rock solid and wobble free. Plus, the knobs can be locked with the same key that locks the rack to the car.
The rubberized clamps hold very tight on a variety of tube shapes Russell Eich / Immediate Media
Also, the clamps themselves are able to spin 360° and the clamp arms can slide horizontally on the rack’s center cylinder.
Throughout testing on two different vehicles driving on lots of gravel roads and high-speed canyon carving, the Raceway never flinched and the bikes never shifted or loosened. It’s the most solid bike hauler of the trunk rack options I’ve tried so far.
Tricky to load
While the Raceway Platform is the best (and most expensive) trunk rack at hauling bikes securely, it does have a few shortcomings when dealing with full-suspension bikes or bikes with a small frame size.
In either case, slipping the outer bike arm and clamp through the inner bike’s main frame is challenging. The struggle is multiplied when dealing with small, full-suss mountain bikes. To alleviate the problem, the clamp arms could slide towards the middle or outside of the rack.
The second/outer bike arm can go through the main triangle of the first/inner bike or over the top tube Russell Eich / Immediate Media
Exacerbating the issue was that the wheel trays seemed close to one another (fore and aft) and interestingly, the inner arm seemed sort of long, while the outer arm seemed short.
Thule’s reasoning for this is to keep the overall design as compact as possible on the vehicle and for storage.
Spacing is narrow between the two bikes Russell Eich / Immediate Media
Depending on the bikes being hauled, it took quite a bit of experimenting to get two bikes successfully loaded. The major issue was handlebar to seat (or seatpost) interference. This is a common ailment of trunk-mounted racks and can often plague hitch racks as well.
Thule Raceway Platform Pro 2 bike rack bottom line
If a roof rack or a hitch-mount bike rack won’t work with your vehicle, budget, or significant other, Thule’s Raceway Platform Pro 2 is the next best option.
That said, it still displays a few of the ongoing weaknesses of strap-mounted racks, those associated with carrying full-suspension bikes or bikes with small frames.
Loading bikes can take a bit of experimentation to figure out the best positioning of the bikes, wheel trays, clamp arms, and clamps, but once complete, the Raceway Platform holds its cargo more securely than other trunk racks I’ve seen.