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  1. #1
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    Thule Freeload Bike Rack Availability

    Not sure if this was the best area to post this....

    The Freeload bike rack that was originally designed by the outfit in New Zealand....
    Your Platform For Adventure
    This rack attaches at four different points on the seat stays.

    Supposedly under Thule's control now- anybody know when this product is actually going to be available from Thule?

    Haven't been able to find it anywhere on Thule's website; most any other place that used to carry the original pieces claim OUT OF STOCK, etc......

    Trying to put a rack on my Stumpjumper FSR 29er...Old Man Mountain claims they don't have a mount available for a threaded thru-axle.

  2. #2
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    I emailed thule and they said march 2013 ------ T here was a retailer in england that still had some freeload but you'd pay almost as much to ship as for the rack, check farther in this as there is a thread about it.-----------Can't find Freeload Pannier Frames anywhere
    “An adventure is misery and discomfort, relived in the safety of reminiscence.” Marco Polo

  3. #3
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    OK, good deal.

    Incidentally, I just received an email from Old Man Mountain racks; he said they now have a threaded axle for 12mm x 143mm configuration, designed to mount their racks...one more possibility realized.

  4. #4
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    ebay in the Uk have some.
    If you need parts, here in Australia there is:
    Bikes Online - Search | Results for freeload
    Hope this is helpful
    Cheers

  5. #5
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    I was investigating this myself as I am after some.
    I recently saw a post on Thule New Zealand » Roof Racks, Bike Carriers, Roof Boxes, Cargo Carriers, Snow Chains, Snow Sport Carriers, Water Sport Carriers, Work Solutions, Luggage & Organisation which said that they would be available in May 2013.
    That message gas since been deleted so I am not holding my breath.

  6. #6
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    Frustrating it is! I guess I should be using seat-post bags like Revelate Designs, etc., instead of monkeying with racks and panniers. I'm not the best at lightweight, condensed packing...

    Old Man Mountain racks is 'hoping' to have their adapter for 12mm thru-axles ready by April....

  7. #7
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    just wnted to let people know they have started shipping this rack out just bought the last 1 universal cycles had
    “An adventure is misery and discomfort, relived in the safety of reminiscence.” Marco Polo

  8. #8
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    I just got one of each model of these from Wayne at TheTouringStore.com, Ortlieb Panniers & Packs, Tubus Racks, Lone Peak Packs to see how they fit various bikes in our household. He doesn't yet have them on the site, but has them in stock.

    Feels like a solid attachment. We got 2 feet of snow right after I picked these up, so have not yet had a chance to ride with them.

    Thule Freeload Bike Rack Availability-p4070434.jpgThule Freeload Bike Rack Availability-p4060035.jpgThule Freeload Bike Rack Availability-p4060476.jpgThule Freeload Bike Rack Availability-p4060462.jpg

  9. #9
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    Good info, sgltrak. I noticed Thule had the racks on their website a few weeks back, as well.

    I did finally get a rack from OMM that will work with a 12mm x 143mm rear axle. He has a special adapter, for lack of a better word, that is essentially a threaded axle, and it has threads in it for the traditional threaded skewer, which the rack mounts to.

    It was not a particularly inexpensive solution...

    Let us know how your setup works!

  10. #10
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    These freeload racks were a disaster when they came on a trip with us last year, although to be fair there was probably some user error contributing to the problem. Carry big zip ties.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by anthony.delorenzo View Post
    These freeload racks were a disaster when they came on a trip with us last year, although to be fair there was probably some user error contributing to the problem. Carry big zip ties.
    That concerns me. What was the nature of the problems encountered and what kind of user error was involved? Were they installed on front or rear? What kind of load? Used with side frames or not? Used on rough trails or smooth? Wet conditions or dry? Would rather find out now that on the trail.

    Thanks.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by anthony.delorenzo View Post
    These freeload racks were a disaster when they came on a trip with us last year, although to be fair there was probably some user error contributing to the problem. Carry big zip ties.
    I'm not suprised. They look okay for the road, but I don't think I'd want to try them off pavement. After I've seen the beating my bolted on OMM racks have taken.

    Thanks for the input.

    Quote Originally Posted by NDTransplant View Post
    Frustrating it is! I guess I should be using seat-post bags like Revelate Designs, etc., instead of monkeying with racks and panniers. I'm not the best at lightweight, condensed packing...
    Small bags are some of the best motivation to pack light. There are some great videos and gear lists online to get you started and help you make the most of the limited space in soft bags.

    Porcelain Rocket : A Short Packing Example on Vimeo
    Safe riding,

    Vik
    www.vikapproved.com

  13. #13
    @adelorenzo
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    We had two of the racks on the rear of bikes (not mine), they were being used mainly to hold packrafts and paddles along with a few other items so maybe a 7-10 lb load. The trip was 8 days of rough conditions. The racks were brand new at the time of departure.

    It didn't start out well as we had the first failure within 5 km although again, I'm not sure they were installed right. (I didn't install them so I can't say for sure). Over the next days they needed adjustment a number of times. What became immediately apparent is they are not user friendly. We spend a fair bit of time trailside fussing with them. PLUS you need a dedicated 5mm allen (which we didn't have) and a special key thingy. We were lucky that one of our tools was just barely able to tighten the bolts. We went through a LOT of zip ties and by the end of the trip a couple of the straps had been permanently replaced by zip ties. (Carry some really big, thick ones.)

    On about Day 6 we started to lose one of the decks. Bolts had come out from the rough riding so again, check all your bolts regularly. We replaced it with some copper wire we salvaged.

    To give them credit they did survive the trip and, where we were, nothing was going to survive if it wasn't tough. It didn't help that we were taking new gear on a very demanding trip. I would say definitely read the manual, figure out how they work and make sure you check everything regularly.

    Oh and carry spares for the straps and bolts. We had a whole set of spares but intelligently left at my place instead of bringing them.

    At the end of the trip I had to remove one of the racks and ended up just cutting it off the bike as I couldn't get the damn straps to release. Gave it away to a friend and he seems happy with it.

    As a final note I should point out that Freeload sponsored us with two racks to our trip and I feel bad slagging on them but we had some pretty frustrating moments with them. Like I said, maybe it was all user error so the only thing you can definitely take from this is RTFM.

  14. #14
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    Thanks for the review. I found it helpful and will know what to watch out for.

  15. #15
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    FWIW, these racks (under the old company anyway) have been used widely in New Zealand and Australia and seem to get very good reviews for use in some pretty harsh terrain. I don't own one myself, but I did research them and was ready to purchase until I discovered that Thule had bought them out and that there wold be a delay before being re-released (I now have an OMM)

    anthony.delorenzo's review is very helpful, but it may be useful to look at other reviews as well. Sounds like a good shakedown should be in order before taking them on a longer trip. Here is a review from Bikepacking.net. It also touches on the issues of proper installation but is generally very favorable on durability. And there aren't many racks that can mount up on a FS.

  16. #16
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    Thanks for the input. I looked at them a few years ago at Interbike before the Thule purchase, and they seemed pretty well built and durable. I installed the racks I got on three different bikes in my garage to familiarize myself with the process. The installation was smooth, but I can see the potential for some of the problems as noted in anthony's post. Proper installation and carrying the proper tools will hopefully make a good bit of difference. I'll definitely make a shakedown run prior to heading out on an extended trip. Looking forward to trying them.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by sgltrak View Post
    Thanks for the input. I looked at them a few years ago at Interbike before the Thule purchase, and they seemed pretty well built and durable. I installed the racks I got on three different bikes in my garage to familiarize myself with the process. The installation was smooth, but I can see the potential for some of the problems as noted in anthony's post. Proper installation and carrying the proper tools will hopefully make a good bit of difference. I'll definitely make a shakedown run prior to heading out on an extended trip. Looking forward to trying them.
    so how are they working for you? The 1 i bought is working well so far though i haven't used it all that much
    “An adventure is misery and discomfort, relived in the safety of reminiscence.” Marco Polo

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by t0pcat View Post
    so how are they working for you? The 1 i bought is working well so far though i haven't used it all that much
    Just got back from carrying a backpack around Europe for three weeks. Have hardly touched my bikes in the past month or so and have not had them loaded at all. Will post back here when I have something to report (hopefully near the end of summer.)

  19. #19
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    Hope it's okay to jump in with my two cents worth.
    I have two of the Freeload racks and have used them in off road conditions. One ride was about 1200 kms of road and dirt with fully packed dry bags front and back and they never needed adjusting, I found wrapping the areas on the frame and fork with duct tape where the racks were attached to helped in keeping things tight.
    I did do quite a bit of testing first on the local trails to make sure I wouldn't lose a load though.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by moanz View Post
    Hope it's okay to jump in with my two cents worth.
    I have two of the Freeload racks and have used them in off road conditions. One ride was about 1200 kms of road and dirt with fully packed dry bags front and back and they never needed adjusting, I found wrapping the areas on the frame and fork with duct tape where the racks were attached to helped in keeping things tight.
    I did do quite a bit of testing first on the local trails to make sure I wouldn't lose a load though.
    Thanks for the feedback. Good to know they worked well for you.

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