Full-Suspension Bicycle Rack (Thule Bike Rack)

by jpc_touring-bicycle

After I first noticed the Freeload bicycle rack on the 2009 Interbike tradeshow in Las Vagas, Nevada, I knew it was one thing that readers right here at Bicycle Touring Professional could be enthusiastic about. However after greater than three months of utilizing the rack myself, I’ve come to the conclusion that the Freeload bicycle rack is without doubt one of the most fun new biking product I’ve seen in years!

The Freeload Rack is an adjustable bicycle service designed to suit any form of bicycle – full-suspension bikes included! A rack that matches on normal highway, commuter and touring bikes is one factor, however the truth that the Freeload rack so simply matches and features on full-suspension bicycles is what makes this product such an business altering piece of drugs.

For years now, cyclists have been on the lookout for a technique to carry giant gadgets on full-suspension bicycles, however due to the assorted shifting components discovered of full-suspension bikes, conventional metallic racks merely wouldn’t reduce it. Journey racers, every-day mountain bikers, and long-distances vacationers on suspension bicycles have for a really very long time now been on the lookout for a technique to carry the gear they want whereas out on their bikes with out having to hold a backpack or rig up a home-made system to move their belongings.

That’s the place the Freeload Rack is available in to avoid wasting the day!

The Freeload Rack’s distinctive design permits it to be each used and transferred between bicycles of any type. As a result of the rack makes use of a system of tight becoming straps and ratchets to safe the rack in place, there is no such thing as a want on your bicycle to have braze-ons or conventional mounting factors (as has been essential prior to now). With a mushy, rubberized foot and a patented attachment system that means that you can mount the rack to any body, form or materials, the Freeload Rack is aptly named as “your platform for journey.”

How To Mount To Freeload Rack To Your Bicycle

Becoming the rack to your body for the very first time is probably the most tough a part of the method, however after you’ve carried out it as soon as, you understand simply how simple the set up course of actually is.

To begin, first connect the mounting brackets to your bicycle’s fork or stays. The “Freeload” logos ought to be going through outward (as proven within the picture beneath). To lock the rack into place in your bicycle, wrap the black mounting straps across the fork leg or keep of your bicycle and again by the slot within the stainless-steel ratchet pin. Then, utilizing the included 5mm Allen-wrench, tighten the ratchet pin and take up any and all slack within the black mounting strap. Make sure that the rack is positioned correctly on the bike earlier than tightening the straps all the way in which. When you’ve carried out this on one aspect of the bike, do it on the opposite.

Subsequent, choose the right stainless-steel strut on your bike. The Freeload Rack comes with three totally different lengths of stainless-steel struts, in order that it doesn’t matter what form of bike you have got, you should have the components it’s essential to accurately mount the rack to your bicycle. You need to choose the strut that may assist you to mount the highest of the rack in order that it’s parallel to the bottom. For the entrance of my bike, I had to make use of the shortest strut out there and mount it in an upward place (see the second picture beneath). For the again of my bike, I had to make use of the longest included strut. What strut you utilize will merely rely on what sort of bike you’re using and the angle at which you want to mount your rack.

When you’ve chosen the right strut on your bike, line up the holes in each the mounting bracket and the plastic clamp on the  rack’s body and match the stainless strut between these two holes with the equipped 15mm bolts (once more, see the second picture beneath). After you match the stainless-steel strut between the mounting bracket and the body on one aspect of the rack, make sure you do the identical on the opposite aspect. Maintain the bolts unfastened whereas doing all your preliminary set up so you may alter the rack completely earlier than tightening into place.

When you’ve obtained the rack securely mounted to your bicycle’s body/fork, you may clip on the highest deck. To do that, flip the deck the other way up and push the inexperienced launch buttons on the underside of the deck in order to open up the 2 attachment hooks. Then, push the highest deck’s inexperienced toe plate (proven beneath) into place contained in the curved a part of the rack. Now, flip the rack right-side up and use your arms to push down firmly on the middle of the rack till you hear a loud, resounding “click on.” This click on is the sound of the inexperienced hooks on the underside of the highest deck locking onto your rack. When you hear this noise, your rack is locked securely in place. If essential, transfer the rack ahead, again, up or down relying on the place precisely you need it mounted in your bicycle. When you’ve obtained the rack ready you want, lock it down by tightening all the essential bolts and ratchets.

Mounted On The Again Of Your Bicycle

The photographs beneath present the Freeload Rack mounted to the again of a full-suspension bicycle. On the rack is a sleeping bag, secured with the 2 small bungees which might be included as a part of the rack attachment system.

With the Freeload Rack in place and equipment mounted to the again of your bike, the rack is almost 100% undetectable. On the again of your bicycle, you’ll be hard-pressed to even discover that you just’re using with a rear rack in any respect. The rack under no circumstances impacts your dealing with of the bike; it doesn’t intrude together with your wheel, seat publish or body keep; and it carries your gear precisely because it ought to.

On the again of your bike, the Freeload Rack is a complete A+.

Mounted On The Entrance Of Your Bicycle

Mounted to the entrance of your bicycle, the Freeload Rack performs almost simply as properly. Once more, the design of the rack prevents it from interfering with the wheel, fork or body of your bicycle and it performs because it ought to by transporting your gear in type and ease.

The photographs beneath present the Freeload Rack mounted on the entrance of a full-suspension bicycle and carrying a small tent.

With the rack up entrance, the dealing with is sort of the identical as if the rack weren’t there in any respect. However as is regular while you add any form of weight to the entrance of your bike, it does trigger slightly drag – one thing that will take slightly getting used to for some riders. The extra weight you add, the extra drag you create and the harder your dealing with turns into.

The most important drawback with the rack up entrance, nonetheless, just isn’t the way in which the bike handles with it in place, however the truth that the rack can block the view of your entrance tire. For some riders, I worry this can be a small drawback. When using over tough and rocky trails and roads, many riders need to have the ability to see what their entrance tire as they method oncoming obstacles. Sadly, with the Freeload Rack mounted up entrance, this generally is a little tough.

Personally, I’ve no drawback with not having the ability to see my entrance tire as I experience, however my mannequin (proven in every of the photographs on this evaluation) shared with me that not having the ability to see his entrance tire was throwing off his using only a bit. I assume that this, like many new merchandise while you first attempt them out, is one thing that you just should get used to.

General Impressions Of The Freeload Rack

In the long run, the Freeload Rack is without doubt one of the most fun and well-designed merchandise I’ve come throughout in years. It has the potential of fixing the way in which many cyclists carry their gear… and with a number of the additions and add-ons the corporate has deliberate for the product sooner or later, the Freeload Rack may one-day turn into a critical participant within the worldwide bicycle market.

One of the best options of the Freeload Rack are that:

It matches on any form of bicycle – full suspension bikes included.
It’s light-weight.
It’s made to deal with the calls for of heavy off-road using.
It’s simple to regulate as soon as on the bike.
The rack can work on each the entrance and rear ends of your bicycle.
It comes with all the required components and instruments wanted to mount it to your bike.
It doesn’t have an effect on your dealing with (hardly in any respect) or intrude with any shifting components.
There are a bunch of add-ons deliberate for the product sooner or later (together with the power to hold panniers)

The issues I don’t like concerning the Freeload Rack are that:

It’s a bit tough to put in the very first time. I’d like to see the corporate produce a video exhibiting each how the rack works and the way it features out on the path.
Due to the position of the ratchet pins, tightening the attachment straps is a gradual and irritating course of (as you may solely flip the Allen-wrench one click on at a time).
There’s a key that it’s a must to use to unlock the mounting bracket from you bike. I’d fairly not have a key to hold round and doubtlessly lose. It could be higher if I may detach the rack utilizing one other 5mm Allen-wrench.

My General Ranking: 10 out of 10

For extra data on Freeload Racks, head on over to: www.freeload.co.nz

Evaluate Standing: This product was despatched to Bicycle Touring Professional without spending a dime for the aim of this evaluation.


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