Editor’s Note: This sponsored post is courtesy of Saris. Learn more at www.saris.com.
There is arguably no better product development facilitator than the end-use consumer. By watching how your customers use existing product and listening to their desires for future offerings, you greatly enhance the chance that your company’s next great gadget or gizmo will be one people want — and more importantly love. This was certainly the case for the soon-to-be-launched Saris MTR hitch rack (as in modular track rack), which traces its development roots straight back to the mountain bikers who will soon benefit from its sleek, smart design.
Indeed, Saris has been manufacturing high-quality platform style hitch racks for over a decade, with their current platform anchored by the Freedom and SuperClamp models, which were designed to be light and easy to use. This was achieved, in part, because they were either a dedicated 2-bike rack or dedicated 4-bike rack, with two bikes sharing a single horizontal bar. And while the cycling market has fully embraced both these racks, Saris recently recognized a new space in the market had opened up.
“We listened to consumer feedback and saw changing trends in the marketplace where there was a different approach to the platform style hitch rack,” explained Heather Fortune, the Wisconsin-based company’s director of marketing. “Our insights garnered at events like the Sea Otter Classic and Outerbike, plus continual communication with the growing base of mountain bike enthusiasts drove the development of the MTR features. Bottom line, the Saris MTR project was created to meet the needs of these consumers.”
Those demands included things like wider tires (think plus and fat bikes), longer wheel bases (think super slack 29er enduro sleds), and enhanced ease of use that means the virtual elimination of issues such as handlebar conflict and having to lift bikes onto trays that are too far away from the user’s body. And of course, the Saris MTR features modularity, allowing riders to adjust their rack to the number of bikes it needs to carry without being forced into hauling around extra capacity when it’s not needed.
“We really wanted to be able to have flexibility in the number of bikes carried, which is how we arrived at the modular system,” detailed Fortune. “We also heard from a growing number of cyclists who were asking for a streamlined option for hauling 1-bike. There was also the trend shift toward longer wheel base bikes, especially for mountain bikes. And of course we wanted a rack that looked good on the back of any car, truck or SUV.”
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And that — all of that — is exactly what Saris appears to have achieved with the MTR, which will be available to purchase starting in late spring 2019. The modular platform hitch rack can transport a huge variety of bikes and can be easily customizable with add-on trays. The MTR family will include 1-bike and 2-bike bases with 1-bike and 2-bike add-ons. And like all of their racks, the Saris MTR is made in the USA and built from American-made steel and aluminum for maximum durability. It also has a lifetime warranty just in case.
Roomy wheel trays provide ample stowage for tires up to 5 inches wide, but that MTR rack can also adjust down to accommodate your kid’s bike or a BMX rig. It also has dual-arm wheel holders that keep bikes safely and securely locked in position, while assuring your bike’s frame is never scratched or damaged. And it’s all built on a rugged hitch-based foundation that can be tilted away even when fully loaded with bikes. That makes for fast and easy vehicle access anytime anywhere.
Plus, because the Saris MTR features nesting bike trays, loading has never been easier. That’s because each tray is actually two trays, and those half trays can swing out of the way when not in use. So instead of reaching over trays that aren’t in use, you can simply sidle right up when loading and unloading bikes. No more lifting bikes over the rack. Just flip the trays out of the way and go.
When the trays are loaded and locked in place, each one cascades upwards, which helps eliminate handlebar clearance issues and lessens the chance that you’ll drag your rack on the pavement even when entering or exiting steep driveways. When not in use, the trays fold in on top of each other, narrowing the rack’s footprint and delivering a tidy and clean aesthetic.
The single bike base unit works with either a 1 1/4” or 2” hitch, while the dual-bike unit is 2” only. It’s exceptionally impressive that even drivers of smaller cars will have the option of carrying up to three bikes on a 1 1/4” hitch.
Adding the additional trays necessitates the removal and replacement of several Allen bolts, but Saris has made this process as simple as possible by including the appropriate Allen key, which is attached to the end plug of the rack’s main tube.
The inner two racks can haul bikes that weigh up to 60 pounds, which is good news for e-bike enthusiasts. That weight limit drops to 35 pounds for trays three and four, meaning the Saris MTR is still plenty burly enough for the vast majority of big hit enduro and downhill bikes with wheel bases up to 53 inches. And the rack itself weighs just 55 pounds.
Finally, Saris didn’t overlook security. The MTR comes complete with integrated cable locks that secure your bikes to the rack. The rack also locks to the car and all locks are operated with the same key. Even if you purchase an extension down the road you can submit the code found on your original rack’s packaging and get the new locks to match your existing ones.
Bottom line, there’s a lot to like about the Saris MTR hitch rack. We certainly can’t wait to get one in for testing.
To learn more about the Saris MTR, head over to www.saris.com.