Ever since I bought my first Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Unlimited JK almost nine years ago
, I’ve occasionally used a Thule Spare Me 2
bike rack to carry my mountain bike on the spare tire when I needed it. This system worked well for me since I didn’t ride my bike too often and only needed to carry one bike. However, last year Diane got a mountain bike and we wanted to start riding together more often and I found out that this setup really doesn’t work well for carrying two bikes (especially if one has a full suspension). Plus I don’t trust all that extra weight hanging on the tailgate, so I started looking into other options.
When I was doing my research to figure out which bike rack would work for me on my Jeep, I was not finding a lot of good information out there that was helpful, which is why I am writing this post. After some trial and error I think I have figured out a system that will work well for me and might be helpful for others out there, too.
When searching for a new bike rack, the criteria that I was looking to meet included:
- The rack must carry two bikes easily.
- I didn’t want to deal with a rack that mounts the bikes by the top tube.
- I knew I wanted a hitch-mounted rack since they seem to be the most heavy-duty and don’t put extra weight on the tailgate.
- I wanted the rack to be able to fold up when not in use.
- I knew I would be losing some ground clearance and break-over angle in the back, but I wanted to minimize it as much as possible, which means I didn’t want to have to use a big drop hitch.
- The main thing, and most difficult to part to figure out, was that I wanted to be able to open the tailgate completely without having to remove the rack so I would have access to my refrigerator and gear.
After taking all of these points into consideration it looked like my only option was going to be the Thule T2 Classic 2-Bike Hitch Rack. I’m not going to get into a review of the actual rack itself in this post since it’s a well-known time-tested product that has worked well for many people over the years, but I will say it’s a nicely constructed rack that will work well for our needs.
I had looked into trying the newer Thule T2 Pro XT 2 Hitch Rack which has some really nice features, but it sits even higher than the classic model and would not clear the spare tire to allow access into the tailgate without a large drop hitch, and I didn’t want to drop it lower so I will still be able take my Jeep on mild backcountry roads when needed.
After assembling the rack I test fit it on my Jeep to see what kind of a hitch extender or drop I was going to need. What I found is that I am able to open the tailgate completely if I use either a 12″ extension or a 6″ extension with a 2″ drop. I decided to go with the drop hitch extension since I didn’t like how far the rack stuck out with the 12″ extension and I wanted to keep things tucked in close to the spare tire on the back.
This is a list of the additional accessories I used to mount and secure the bike rack to my Jeep.
Here’s a photo of the entire bike rack setup installed on my Jeep.
Here’s a closer look at the bike rack.
I’ve used this bike rack a number of times this year and really like the way it works. It meets all my criteria and I am still able to use my Jeep as I would like while the rack is installed. Since this bike rack is easy to install and use on my Jeep, we have been riding our bikes more than in the past, so that’s a nice added benefit. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask below!