Interbike 2009 – New Tray Style Strap-On Bike Rack from Thule

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INTERBIKE 2009Thule introduced the first strap-on trunk mount tray-style bike rack (at least the first that we’ve seen), and it looks pretty solid.

Dubbed the Raceway Platform 2-Bike, it’s a rear mount bike rack that holds the wheels in a tray like the popular hitch-mount designs from pretty much every manufacturer.  It uses high strength coated steel cables to secure to the car’s trunk or hatchback, and, due to the the nature of the design, allows you to lock your bikes into the rack for light security during quick stops at the store or café.

With an MSRP of $249, it’s relatively cheap and offers an easier, more stable way to mount your bikes if a hitch isn’t an option.  Hit ‘more’ for additional photos and to see their two new “regular” trunk-mount racks for 2- and 3- bicycle applications…

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The Raceway Platform is pretty narrow, keeping the extended length of your vehicle to a minimum.  The bikes do sit pretty close together, so some seatpost/handlebar finagling might be necessary to get them to snuggle up.  That’s Thule’s marketing guy Karl in the background…he’s always happy.

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Molded rubber pads on cable ends and bumpers and coated hooks keep the paint safe.

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Grappling arms extend from the center to hold your top tube.  They raise and lower and angle to accommodate virtually any design.

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Once you’ve twisted them securely onto the top tube, you can lock them and keep your bikes relatively safe.  Assuming your vehicle’s tolerances are fairly tight, the hooks holding the rack onto your car shouldn’t be removable while the trunk/hatchback is closed, preventing thieves from just taking the whole rack to get the bike.

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The cables attaching to your car are tightened and released by the dual dials on the end of each side (separate dial for top and bottom) and the release levers to loosen them.  Notice there are no side straps.  Karl said this new ratchet system is tight enough to keep the system stable without the two extra straps. This is a much improved system over older nylon strap systems that had to be pulled tight through cams.  This system is used on the Platform rack and the new Raceway racks below.

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The Raceway 3-bike (above, $199.95) and 2-bike (below, $189.95) use the same attachment as the Platform with more traditional arms and straps for holding your bike.

The arms are intentionally narrow to fit smaller bikes (even kid’s bikes) and have drop-down stabilizers to keep the bikes from swaying back and forth.  They fold down flat when not in use.

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All of the racks use injection molded construction for durability through the elements and a solid build.

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