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If you’re a bakkie-driving cyclist, then the sky is almost the limit when it comes to finding a Thule solution for transporting your favourite two-wheeler…
So the 41 000 who purchased a Hilux, the 25 000 who purchased a Ranger, or the 16 000 who opted for the D-Max (not to mention the others who made up last year’s 121 000-plus bakkie grand total) will be pleased to know that when it comes to carrying bicycles in safety and in style, the Thule possibilities are many and varied.
That’s the news from Richard Downey of SA Sport & Cargo, a brand that needs no introduction when it comes to carrying virtually anything on a motor vehicle.
“It’s isn’t exactly hot news that South Africans are passionate about their bakkies but 2019’s sales confirm once again the love affair isn’t going to end anytime soon,” says Downey. “And whether it be a single cab, extended cab or double cab, anyone who owns one can be sure that we’ll be able to find a way to attach their bicycle to it.”
A number of Thule solutions are designed to clamp to the tow ball (the ever-popular, affordable Xpress, for example) and others – like the Velospace XT939 – can cradle up to three bikes (and be adapted to carry a fourth). Its high load capacity means not even e-bikes pose a problem.
Another option includes using the roof-mounted trio; ProRide, FreeRide or UpRide, which are designed to be secured to a pair of Thule roof racks (the ubiquitous crossbar racking system which is the essence of roof-mounting the gear required for many outdoor activities).
When it comes to making the ultimate statement though, the Thule Xporter Pro Truck Rack is hard to beat.
It’s designed specifically for pick-ups and the legs secure to the upper edges of the bak, allowing for effortless height adjustability (and therefore optimal aerodynamics) while leaving the load bed unencumbered. Cutting or drilling is not required and all roof-top bike carriers are compatible with the Xporter.
Mounting the bikes level with the vehicle’s flanks is increasingly popular and this method is made possible by using Thule hardware to position the roof racks across the top of the bin. This allows bikes to be mounted directly above a hard or soft tonneau cover, or on the likes of roof-specific carriers like the ProRide.
For the kind of person who doesn’t like to mess around, Thule offers the GateMate and GateMate Pro. Made from padded, heavy-duty vinyl, these are designed to protect the bike and the tailgate – over which it fits like a glove. The flexible padding adjusts across a wide range of tailgates while keeping the bikes anchored securely in place thanks to integrated bike separation and multiple position strap anchors.
For convenience and ease of use, a GateMate is a hard act to follow, and with the front wheel positioned outside, there’s plenty of space unlocked inside the bak. Up to seven bikes can be carried on a single vehicle this way.
Then there’s the aptly-named Thule Bed Rider, a fork-mount rack to carry bikes in the bed of a pick-up truck.
The telescopic aluminium crossbar pushes the SoftGrip rubber feet up against the inner sides of the bak. With the front wheels removed, up to two bikes are secured to the crossbar with locking skewers, and provision can be made for additional bikes. A range of thru-axle adapters allows various fork configurations to be accommodated.
“Thule’s bike racks - whether for the ‘bak’, roof, or the towbar, are tested extensively in Thule’s state-of-the-art facility, taking them way beyond what they’re likely to experience in the real world. You can rest assured that with Thule your bikes always arrive at your destination in perfect shape,” concludes Downey.