Eurobike 2017: Thule Introduce Hydration Packs And New Bike Racks

by David Hayward 1

The big surprise from Thule at Eurobike was that they’re making hydration packs now, and that they have a clever magnetic hose that finds its own way back onto the shoulder strap, saving you from faffing with catches or clips while you’re riding. They also had some new bike racks, with a clever new front wheel retention mechanism that should make it much easier to load a bike onto your roof by yourself. Read on for all the deets.

The highlighted part on the hose is the magnetic section. It’s still flexible, with the magnetic chunks segmented so the hose can still bend. Thule are calling this the “ReTrakt magnetic hose return system”.
Eurobike 2017 - Thule
When you lift the hose, it peels off the strap easily, and when you drop it, it falls back into place and, even if it doesn’t completely get home as you drop it, movement means it quickly settles back into the length of the whole magnet.

Here’s a video of it in action:
[fbvideo link=”https://www.facebook.com/singletrackmag/videos/10155302035028612/” width=”650″ height=”400″ onlyvideo=”1″]
(Can’t see the video? Try this link).

Eurobike 2017 - Thule, Martin Söderström
Thule had a little bit of help demoing thanks to Martin Söderström.
Eurobike 2017 - Thule, Martin Söderström
We think they filled his pack with pure serotonin.
Eurobike 2017 - Thule
The packs have substantial hip belts which, when initially fitting one, you set putting the weight on your hips before tightening the shoulder straps up.
Eurobike 2017 - Thule
Wil looks infinitely more dashing than me at half seven in the morning.
Eurobike 2017 - Thule
Chipps wanted to play with Wil’s hose.
Eurobike 2017 - Thule
The packs come in three models, numerically referring to their capacity in litres: The Vital 3, the Vital 6, and the Vital 8.
Eurobike 2017 - Thule
The Vital 3 is the smallest of the three packs, and leaves a lot more of your back ventilated than the others.
Eurobike 2017 - Thule
The Vital 6 fully covers the back of the harness to give you a bit more stowage, though is still a single pocket. The hydration bladder is accessible through the same zip as the main compartment, though has it’s own pocket to separate it from your stuff.
Eurobike 2017 - Thule
The Vital 8 is Thule’s higher capacity pack for big days out.
Eurobike 2017 - Thule
Unlike the others in the range, this has an extra stash harness on the back. Our demonstrator said he mainly loads this up with burritos before going on long rides.
Eurobike 2017 - Thule
On the inside of the harness, there’s also a zipped pocket.
Eurobike 2017 - Thule
The hip belt pockets are big enough for modern enormo-smartphones, and have a little fold over lip to stop them flying out. The man from Thule said he’s crashed with his phone in here and it stayed put.

While we haven’t ridden with it yet, we all tried it out on the Thule stand, doing a lot of jumping up and down, and throwing the hose back imprecisely, and so far the ReTrakt system has worked really well. From the press release on their hydration packs:

“An all-new category for the brand, Thule introduces the Thule Vital collection of lightweight hydration backpacks built for maximum comfort and ease of use during high-intensity mountain bike rides.

“Available in three sizes, 3L, 6L and 8L, the Thule Vital features smart solutions such as a hands-free ReTrakt magnetic hose return system and convenient jersey-style pockets for quick access to nutrition, clothing or tools without having to remove the pack. The Thule Vital comes complete with Hydrapak reservoirs ranging from 1.75L to 2.5L sizes, and 3L to 8L of cargo storage while maintaining a low center of gravity. Additional features include a tail light attachment, a sternum strap for stability and comfort on any terrain, and designated interior loops to carry a tire pump and shock pump.”

They also had an excellent looking new roof rack, named the UpRide, which they were showing off with Martin Söderström’s bike:

Eurobike 2017 - Thule
Inintially this looks a lot like previous Thule roof racks, with the same ratcheted strap attachment for the rear wheel.
Eurobike 2017 - Thule
The front is a different story though. Gone is the bar that swang upwards to grasp your top tube, replaced instead with two structures to retain the front wheel.
Eurobike 2017 - Thule
Length is adjustable on the hook to the far side. The on he’s touching starts down there on the roof…
Eurobike 2017 - Thule
… filps uo…
Eurobike 2017 - Thule
… then ratchets down to secure the bike in place.
Eurobike 2017 - Thule
There it is, fixed in place. While you’re doing all that, the hook on the other arm helps keep the bike upright.
Eurobike 2017 - Thule
Here it is from the other side. Thule have also added a security feature…
Eurobike 2017 - Thule
… in the back of each roof bar, there’s a neatly stowed cable lock.
Eurobike 2017 - Thule
Unlock, pull out…
Eurobike 2017 - Thule
Then you can secure your frame to the rack. Of course, it’s only a cable lock, but it will at least stop opportunists while our eyes on aren’t on your bikes every second.

The UpRide will accept a wide variety of wheel sizes, and a maximum wheelbase of 1240mm – so perhaps not the one for your Geometron, but most bikes will be okay. Here are some more details from their press release:

“The brand-new Thule UpRide is a universal upright bike rack for fast and secure mounting and maximum frame protection. It is designed to securely hold your bike by grabbing the front wheel only, while a ratcheting wheel strap secures the back wheel to the tray. With no parts of the bike rack making contact with your frame, Thule UpRide is ideal for bikes with carbon frames or other sensitive frames, mountain bikes, and more. The versatile design also means that you can bring virtually any styles and sizes of bike regardless of frame design, brake system, suspension, or wheel size. Thule UpRide can accommodate bikes from 20” to 29”, with wheelbases up to 1240 mm and tires up to 3” (or even up to 5”, by adding a separate adapter), and weighing up to 20 kg.

Load your bike in seconds: Mounting Thule UpRide on your car is quick, easy, and secure, on either side of your car roof. Since all loading operations are made close to rooftop level, the bike rack is convenient to use on any vehicle for bikers of all heights. To secure against theft, the bike rack can be locked to the car, and the bike can be locked to the bike rack with an integrated cable lock.”

Comments (1)

  1. I wionder how that magnetic tube will affect day to day installation of the hose after cleaning.

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