Thule Helium Platform 2 hitch bike rack overview

Sleek and so easy to use

Sponsored post

Thule has finally joined the wheel-hold tray rack category with the Helium Platform rack. The wheel-hold style is the most preferred by enthusiast mountain bikers because of their ease of use and care they offer expensive mountain bikes.

It’s easy to mount a bike of any shape and size and the rack can be a one bike or two bike version. And each version looks absolutely dialed on any vehicle with clean lines and one of the finest brushed aluminum materials and finish available in a rack.

It’s big, wide but doesn’t obstruct the rear visibility.

The Helium is not the first in this established market but what it brings to the table is ease of use. A tray hitch rack should fold up and tilt and this is perhaps the easiest to use in this arena. The lever is stealthy but it’s big and easy to activate. It’s at the perfect spot to press and fold the rack up or down with one hand. This is key as this task is performed hundreds of times a season for a rack that’s kept on the vehicle all year.

And most important, putting the bike on and off the easiest in class. One-handed wheel arm operation combined with smooth sliding action translates to little effort when opening and closing the arms. This is key as this task gets harder as bikes get heavy or at the end of a long day. It’s so easy that your friends or kids can manage it on their own and feel confident that the prized bike is secure for the journey.

Hitch compatibility is a 1.25″ native format with a slick 2″ adapter that is bolted on. This system is very secure and is the best adapter around. However, since it is a 1.25″ hitch arm by nature, it won’t be the stiffest and the rack will not support a 4-bike version due to weight limits.

The rack is secured to the car with the best system around, a spring-loaded safety hitch pin, and a lockable cam that secures the hitch, and removes wobble as it wedges the rack in the hitch.

Lockable cables are included too with the rack and all locks are operated by the same key.

When locked the cam knob spins freely so the rack cannot be removed from the car.

Ease of use comes into play with the levers as the folding and tilt lever is hidden but accessible. They’re big with light action and can be operated with one hand. This is key because when the rack is loaded or the bike is tensioned into place, the other hand can lift or push, making lever operation easy.

The arm lever is very stealthy yet ergonomic.


  • Dashing good looks with a clean, functional design
  • Ease of use is one of the best in class
  • Long wheelbase and plus tire compatible
  • Locking cam mechanism is very effective
  • Rack is stealthy and close the vehicle when folded up
  • Arms are tall and rigid, allowing a secure hold
  • 43 rack lb weight  is significantly lighter than others in the category


  • 2-bike max with no expandability
  • 37.5 lb max per bike weight limit
  • can obstruct license plate, tail lights
  • Rack may be too close to the vehicle and that cannot be easily adjusted
  • Locking cam is quite low and is thus protected by a bar, for steep departure angles, which will result in some scraping

It’s not perfect for all applications but this will be a great option for many. Its dialed looks and incredibly easy operation are its biggest selling points. It holds the bike securely and will get it those remote destinations safely.

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  • Steve Fior says:

    I would choose OneUp everyday over this knock off. Just look at all that plastic! Easy to say, this while it looks nice new, will break apart and be a great Craigslist fine. I know many with OneUp racks that are years old and hold up together flawlessly. Sorry Thule, you been outdone by a great USA MADE quality product. Not sure why anyone would choose this over my OneUP!!

  • El Chingon says:

    Many great features but they really limited their market by not making it fat bike compatible and at least 3 bike capable. The 1up is still the champion.

    • Rackguy says:

      Fat Bikes represent about 3% of the total bike market, you can’t knock them for not focusing on a declining category.

  • Jim says:

    I still use my 1UpUSA rack – that I bought in 2006 – every week. All of the plastic on this Thule rack doesn’t inspire confidence. I would go for 1UpUSA any day…

  • Nick says:

    Do some research before typing MTBR. The Thule T2 has been out for yrs.. so, its not their first rodeo.

    • Francis Cebedo says:

      We’re talking about wheel-hold racks, ones that only touch the tires. In this category, it’s Thule’s first effort.

  • Ryan Norman says:

    Thule copies from American designs and builds them in Sweden. Always has.
    Buy a Kuat or a OneUp.
    A Kuat NV will hold two 60lb bikes.
    This looks like junk and deserves a more critical review.

  • Douglas Dye says:

    I have the T2 Pro. It has lots of plastic and has never broken. Unlike the OneUp, it doesn’t have a bunch of fasteners that loosen and make the rack flexible. Thule’s customer service and warranty are the best you can get. Thule racks are primarily built in the US. (Connecticut).

  • Julie says:

    I love my OneUp and I see some of its positive qualities here. One improvement may be the ability to release the wheel holders with one hand. I would have to see it/try it in action. However, the lower cam piece is concerning…and the One Up tilts upward for the second bike…so bottoming out the rack on a dip is much less likely. In fact it has never happened while on my small SUV.

  • Bond says:

    I didn’t see anything about it tilting away from the vehicle which is a major drawback. Sideways adjustment is missing as well (I think OneUp has this) …that and the low ride height. I’ve got a Quaat and would buy another one of those over the Thule from what I see here.

  • slstormin says:

    Obliterates view of taillights and license plate. Cops will love this. A non-starter, IMO

  • John Ruiz says:

    Kuat is simply the best.

  • Jackie says:

    Thule racks have been great never had a problem with them . My only problem with this rack is EMTB’s are really taking over and you can’t haul over 37.5 pounds a full stache by Trek weighs 37 pounds and a seat bag and your at the limit . I understand keeping it light but needs to be usable for more than race bikes.

  • trotnixon says:

    No fat bike compatibility, no Thule for me. Going w/1 Up.

  • Dr. Bob says:

    I have T2 Pro, 3 different plastic parts broke. The plastic latch handle that sticks out the back was backed into and broken. Thule has no parts, but offered a new rack at half price, $300 to me for a broken plastic part that is very vulnerable. No more Thule for me, look elsewhere.

  • Mitty Mitty Mitty! says:

    To all the commenters who keep commenting on breaking the plastic parts… I’d like to know how many have actually had the plastic structure of a Thule rack break on you? Not talking about straps. or rubber. but the actual plastic structure. or is this mainly anecdotal evidence/internet hearsay?

    As for 1up, the patent expired, and other companies are joining the party. if anything, this should encourage 1up to develop and patent new technologies. the patent system is working exactly as designed. Please stop harping about USA made and copies. You’re only embarrassing yourself.

    Personally the last Thule rack I owned was the T2, many many years ago. I had to return it because my car wasn’t high enough… and kept scraping on driveways. I now own a Kuat Sherpa, but I didn’t purchase it solely on the fact that it was fabricated in Wisconsin. it was the rack I needed, at a price that I was willing to pay.

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