Installing the Race Face T2 tailgate pad is relatively straight forward…to a degree. I initially just threw the pad on as I’ve always done and synched down the four straps and off I went. In doing so, I realized that the raised downtube “bumpers” didn’t actually contact any of the downtubes. After letting the pad “settle and stretch” for a few days I decided to watch Race Face’s install video. Certainly I’m not the only one who doesn’t read instructions before assembling things, right? After watching the vide I realized I had missed the adjustment strap step of the setup process. After loosening the main straps and messing with the adjustment straps, I was able to get the downtube straps into the correct position on the tailgate, however, the raised downtube bumpers still barely touch several of our test bike’s downtubes. I can appreciate the thought of the bumpers, but I think the design could still use a little more height to come up and around the downtube. Also, as we mentioned, while the adjustable Shape Shifter straps are nice for accommodating different trucks, it increases the number of failure points and as we all know, stitching and straps are usually the first thing to go on tailgate pads.
One of the things I like most about this pad, compared to others I’ve had in the past, is that the T2 is a true, full-width pad. It goes from edge-to-edge of the tailgate, which helps prevent any unnecessary side-to-side sliding with bikes on the pad. The T2 fits 6 pedal bikes, with the downtubes slightly fitting into the dividers. There has been no bike on bike crime thus far, even with my tendencies to “Do it for Dale.” However, when it comes to our eMTB trips, there has been a few scratched bikes and pullovers to readjust since the downtube straps aren’t long enough to wrap around the larger downtubes found on ebikes.
The addition of a large, centralized opening for the tailgate handle/back up camera is a plus, compared to previous iterations and other offerings that use a Velcro-secured flap to access the tailgate. The adjustable rear panel that Race Face uses is better off removed as the velcro tabs that keep in place have the potential to scratch your tailgate. If you have seen comments from purchasers on RaceFaces T2 social posts, the tabs have definitely been blamed for some paint haze by more than a couple consumers.