Thule launch Pack'n Pedal luggage range

The people that do racks for your car now doing racks for your bike... and bags too

by Dave Atkinson   August 29, 2012  

Thule took us down to the waterfront in Friedrichshafen last night and plied us with pasta and wine, which was nice. Oh, and they also showed us their new luggage range, Pack'n Pedal.

"We're good at smart, flexible luggage solutions and there's a lot of keen cyclists at Thule, so we thought - we should be able to apply that expertise to cycle luggage", Thule CEO Magnus Welander told us. "We got together and talked about what it was that we didn't find in the bags we used, and set out to create a luggage range that addressed those problems. We have put together a smart system of products with different bags for different needs, and they will all work just as well on the bike as when they are carried around. As always with Thule, we have focused on ease of use, safety and quality. And of course, the well-recognized and stylish Thule design"

There's lots of interesting tech on show in these bags. Thule have bought the rights to use the Freeloader rack design; if you haven't seen the Freeloader it's an alloy and plastic racking system that can be fitter to the front and rear of practically any bike using webbing straps rather than mounting bolts. The front and rear bags fit to the racks using a clever twisting closure. The mounting points spin to attach to the bar, and when in place they snap back to hold the bag on firmly, although it's still free to rotate. A rare earth magnet holds the bag against the rack, and there's lots of fore/aft adjustment for people with big feet; Thule even make a rack bar extension so you can set the rack even further back if you need to.

When you're not using the bag on the bike the mount flips into the back of the bag, leaving a completely smooth back plate which is handy for carrying the bag around; a messenger-style strap is included. One very neat feature is a rear pocket made from translucent fabric: you can just stick your rear light in it without worrying about how you're going to mount it. Clever.

At the front Thule have developed a circular mounting system that allows you to fit two different bags in two positions. There's a forward-facing bar bag as well an iPad case. One of the most interesting bags is a handlebar wallet that features an iPhone sleeve and a main compartment with a magnetic closure that allows easy access when you're riding. All the bags are rated as weatherproof rather than waterproof, but Magnus told us that the Cordura fabric works well in the worst conditions Sweden has to offer. And those are probably pretty bad.

There's a well-thought-out saddle bag too. "The main problem with saddle packs is that when you have a problem with your bike you basically have to tip everything out to find what you want", Magnus told us, "so we designed our pack with a tool roll on the inside. That way you can find the tool you need easily." It works a treat, too, with the tool roll stuffing easily into the circular pack and an elasticated cover keeping everything in place.

The bags have been 18 months in development and Thule are launching the most fully featured bags first, with other, cheaper bags coming later: to begin with there's two sizes of pannier, a bar bag, iPad case and bar wallet. We don't have UK pricing at the moment but they'll be at the luxury end of the price range for bike luggage...

6 user comments

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It all looks a bit fussy, plasticky and breakable (especially that handlebar mounting) - its not floating my boat!

andybwhite's picture

posted by andybwhite [158 posts]
29th August 2012 - 9:17

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andybwhite wrote:
It all looks a bit fussy, plasticky and breakable (especially that handlebar mounting) - its not floating my boat!

Quite. Placky clicky luggage mounts never last more than a couple of thousand wet, mucky miles. Besides which, you'd've thought that a firm like Thule would realise that the best position for front panniers is with their centre of gravity at the front axle, as in Lowriders, which actually improves the handling of the bike rather than b*ggering it up.

posted by JohnS [198 posts]
29th August 2012 - 9:42

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Not sure if it will be too breakable - I mounted a freeload rack on my 29er for off road touring - and it's indestructible.

mr-andrew's picture

posted by mr-andrew [293 posts]
29th August 2012 - 9:43

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So, what do they weigh?
It's bad enough riding with all the weight of your luggage without another 5-6kgs just for the empty bags.

I changed a set of front panniers for a lighter weight pair and saved over 1kg in weight.

".....webbing straps rather than mounting bolts." Hmmm
That's the webbing straps that chafe and break is it? or slip?

Binky

posted by davebinks [114 posts]
29th August 2012 - 19:39

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Binky, I agree with you that it seems dodgy but I have used this system for the last year and have found it pretty good. It's super light and versatile, dropping the pannier mounts off easy and fitting it to other bikes is no drama. (between week commute to weekend bush bash).

Knowing the quality of the parts on the rack already and that the designers are all avid cyclists I would think durability and weight would be a top priority for the company. It certainly shows in the racking system. Smile

Andybwhite - sounds like some big uninformed claims, maybe you should test it out before slating it. Plastic mounts can last a long time it's just a matter of design and material selection, I've seen Aluminium work harden before a plastic had met its cycle fatigue limit and failed.

posted by popenfreshable [1 posts]
1st February 2013 - 0:25

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That's me decided. The next time I go fully loaded touring on a steel fixie with no mudguards I'll be using Thule luggage.

posted by Malaconotus [34 posts]
13th August 2013 - 15:49

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