I blogged back in October 2012 that the New Zealand company, Freeloader had sold is Freeloader rack design to Thule, a brand known for their roof racks. At the time, there was talk of but no real evidence of what was to come in the Thule Pack ’n Pedal range. Well now Thule have come out with the range: the Tour and Sport Racks, touring, commuter and tote panniers and handlebar accessories.
Freeloader Racks now Thule Pack ‘n Pedal Tour and Sport Racks
It does seem that there has not been any significant change in the design of the Freeloader racks now that they are part of the Thule Pack ‘n Pedal range which is probably a good thing going by the rest of the range. Thule are offering two models of the Thule Pack ’n Pedal Racks: The Tour and the Sport.
The Tour comes in at a reported 990 g, load capacity of 25 kg on the top or 18 kg on each side. The Sport has the same capacity but weighs in at 760 g. The Sport model is more suited to top loads where the Tour includes rails for mounting panniers. Both designs can be mounted front or rear and do not need braze-ons.
One other option for the Thule Pack ‘n Pedal Tour rack is it can be fitted with Thule Pack ‘n Pedal Side Frames for use with panniers.
Thule Pack ‘n Pedal Adventure Touring Pannier
Thule have also released a series of panniers designed for commuters and for tourers. My interest is in the touring pannier, which is the Thule Pack ‘n Pedal Adventure Touring Pannier. Further information on the commuter panniers can be found at Thule’s website.
To be honest I am a serious fan of Ortlieb panniers and would need a lot of convincing to change over to something like the Thule Pack ‘n Pedal Adventure Touring panniers.
I am such a fan of Ortlieb panniers that I use two sets of Ortlieb Bike-Packer Plus panniers on the rear of Surly Long Haul Trucker and on my Extrawheel Voyager trailer and a set of Ortlieb Sport-Packer Plus panniers on the front of the Surly Long Haul Trucker and my Giant XTC 2.
Getting back to the Thule Pack ‘n Pedal Adventure Touring panniers. They come in a large size (rear pannier) and a small size (front pannier). The key features of the panniers according to Thule are:
- Mounted using Thule’s patent pending vanishing hardware attachment system which includes a magnetic connection;
- Rear light connection points;
- Weatherproof and breathable main material. Note there is no claim that they are waterproof. A key weakness in my view for a touring pannier;
- Roll top design;
- Compression buckles to allow adjustment depending on load;
- Handle and shoulder straps for carrying. The mounting hardware on the pannier also “vanishes” so maybe more comfortable to carry;
- Reflective material for night-time visibility;
- Sold as single panniers.
Weights and Sizes of the Thule Pack ‘n Pedal Adventure Touring Panniers
|Large Pannier||26 L||1184 g||40 x 30 x 18 cm||Non-PVC|
|Small Pannier||18 L||1026 g||30 x 30 x 14 cm||Non-PVC|
Thule Pack ‘n Pedal Handlebar Products
Thule have also released three products in their handlebar part of the range.
Thule Pack ’n Pedal Handlebar Attachment
Mounting of the handlebar product is via their rather interesting handlebar attachment which allows for mounting of two “bags”: one forward and one facing the rear.
Thule Pack ’n Pedal Handlebar Bag
From my perspective as a touring cyclist the main product in this part of the Thule Pack ‘n Pedal range is the handlebar bag.
The bag is not waterproof but it does come with a rain cover. Its has a 6.5 L capacity and weighs in at 660 g.
Due to the lack of detailed photos it is hard to get a feel for the bag but this photo from Bikerader.com gives a bit of an idea as to how it looks on the bike. Personally it does not work for me: not keen on the way it sticks out so far.
Thule Pack ’n Pedal Bike Wallet
Along with the handlebar bag Thule Pack ’n Pedal range also includes what Thule are calling a “Bike Wallet.” Thule describe the Bike Wallet as an organiser for smartphones, keys or other small items. I am not convinced of the value of the Bike Wallet. If I am touring these items can easily go in the handlebar bag. Maybe commuting this might be handy.
Thule Pack ’n Pedal iPad/Map Sleeve
Okay, Thule suggest that the Thule Pack ’n Pedal™ iPad/Map Sleeve is great for touring. I am not sure what sort of touring Thule has in mind but whilst I do carry my iPad on tours I don’t think I would like it upfront waiting to be damaged or stolen. So for me this accessory just does not cut it.
Honestly for me as a touring cyclist I am really not convinced with all of these handlebar accessories or for that matter the Thule Pack ’n Pedal Adventure panniers. The only part of the range that has my interest is the Freeloader racks, the racks designed by the team in New Zealand and not by Thule. I really hope that they don’t “re-design” them and stuff them up.
So there you go, the new Thule Pack ’n Pedal range. I suspect Ortlieb does not have too much to worry about.