SportRack has been a steady seller world wide for Thule, offering a lower-price alternative with good brand awareness, especially in Canada, said Karl Wiedemann, Thule's communication manager.
"It's been something of a second brand for us, we haven't spent much in marketing or product development," he said.
That changed this year, when Thule freshened SportRack's logo and packaging, tweeked some product finishes and gave it more space than previous years at Interbike.
The line remains lower priced and simpler than the Thule-branded line. The roof rack system has just 10 SKUs, rather than the dozens in the Thule line. The line includes two roof-top boxes that are based on the discontinued Thule Cascade boxes. The SportRack boxes retail for $299 and $499, while Thule's roof box line is priced from $399 to $1,000.
SportRack's steel products are treated with an "e-coat" for rust prevention and the whole line has the same lifetime warranty as other Thule products. "SportRack is the only entry-level rack brand backed by a global brand," Wiedemann said.
SportRack is sold through the same channels as Thule and is available through some distributors including Hawley.