Freeload director Mike Maguire with the bike rack system
designed by his father Pat. Photo by Jane Dawber.
Dunedin-designed Freeload bike racks are going global.
Global brand Thule has acquired the rights for the rack
system, believed to be the first fully adjustable,
self-securing bicycle carrier rack. A price was not disclosed
for the acquisition.
Founder Pat Maguire and designers Gary Gibson and Tim
Armstrong have been in Friedrichshafen, Germany, this week
for the Eurobike 2012 fair.
The Thule Pack 'n Pedal, a bag and carrier system for bikes
which incorporates the Freeload racks, was unveiled at the
Freeload director Mr Maguire's son Mike Maguire described the
collaboration with Thule as "super-exciting" for the future
of the Dunedin company.
Pat Maguire founded Freeload in 2007 to design, develop and
commercialise his rack system invention.
The system provides a means of attaching a rack directly to
the front and rear of bikes, using a patented attachment
method that was easy to fit and quick to release.
It provided an opportunity for riders to place loads on the
bike, rather than be limited to a backpack.
Pat Maguire has a history in design and innovation starting
in the early 1970s when, as a keen cycle-riding teenager, he
was designing and building his own bicycles.
Since then, his working career has spanned the fields of
engineering, education, design and business.
In 2009, with a manufacturing partnership in place in Taiwan
and with Mike Maguire, of Westpac Business, and Jason Rogers,
of James and Wells Intellectual Property, as co-directors,
Pat Maguire was joined by Mr Gibson and Mr Armstrong to
expand the product range and begin developing a worldwide
distribution sales network.
The network grew quickly, exclusive distribution agreements
having been signed in 12 countries by the time sales numbers
reached 7000 units at the end of 2011.
The product had proved very popular and had attracted a lot
of attention, but, to reach a global scale, it needed to
partner with an international firm, Mike Maguire said.
The Thule brand, which was established in Sweden in 1942,
sells a wide range of accessories to simplify the
transportation of gear and equipment.
When Pat Maguire started Freeload, he was inspired by the
Thule load-carrying systems and products for cars and set out
to design a modular platform that could be used by riders in
much the same way.
"Freeload's focus and passion is design innovation, so to see
Thule introduce our rack designed by us here in Dunedin to
the rest of the world as part of their new and innovative
Pack 'n Pedal range is not only appropriate but very
satisfying and exciting for us to be part of," he said in a
Thule Pack 'n Pedal would be available in selected
independent bike shops in major cities in Europe, North and
South America later this year, and a wider launch in more
stores and an extended range with more products was to follow
Mike Maguire said the Freeload team would be working with
Thule on future products and there was also potential in the
future for more jobs to be created.