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If I were to ask you to name a bike rack company, you’d probably list either Yakima or Thule.  Both companies are extremely well known for their bike racks, ski racks, and cargo carriers.  To learn more about this interesting industry, I recently chatted with Thule about the company’s current and future product lineup.

For people heading out on adventures alone, putting a single bike in the car and heading off is just fine.  My Subaru Legacy is able to fit one — and can fit two bikes, with front wheels removed — in the back, seats folded down, with room to spare.

“By adding a Thule strap, hitch or roof rack to a vehicle you can increase the carrying capacity of that vehicle. Putting a bike inside a smaller vehicle is cumbersome and limits the amount of other gear or passengers into that vehicle.”

For customers looking for an entry-level, cheaper bike rack solution, Thule still has you covered:

“We make fork mount carriers that start at $119.00. If someone is looking for a more cost effective option, they can look at one of our strap racks that start at $109.99.”

Although it doesn’t seem obvious, there are still technological advances Thule can use for new rack products.

“We are always looking at the market and seeing how we can improve our products. Right now 29ers are gaining in popularity and we extended the hooks on our Sidearm and T2 products because of this. In our test lab here in CT we do UV testing, climate testing, pull testing, shaker table testing, etc. These tests help us to make stronger, lighter and more user friendly products.”

Rest of the article available after the jump.

Furthermore, the company is working on developing products that can be easily installed and removed from vehicles.

“These days we are making racks that are easier to install and remove so people can make the choice whether to keep them on or not. Most of our consumers keep their racks on full-time as they are using them on a regular basis.”

Although I’ve never used a cargo box or bag on any vehicle used to transport bikes, skis, or other equipment, there still is a demand for the products.

“Right now our cargo box sales are doing very well. We have found that people are driving smaller cars and putting boxes on the roof to get the capacity they used to have in their larger vehicles. The bonus of a roof box is that they install or remove in about 5 minutes! Just in time cargo capacity!”

Do you own a Thule product?  If so, which one?

1 Comment so far »

  1. by Ted Hoffman, on June 30 2010 @ 6:56 pm


    I have a Thule bike carrier that fits on my Yakima roof rack system for skis, snow boards and bikes.

    I am getting ready to free-cycle the bike rack because I don’t use it any more. I stopped skiing a few years ago and I no longer have the desire to carry bikes on top of the car. If I use a bike rack, I use the kind that straps on the back of the car.

    Mike’s Subaru is much better suited to hold a trunk mounted bike rack than my Honda. When I have it on the Honda, I am always worried about the trunk falling off with my bikes.

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