FRIEDRICHSHAFEN, Germany (BRAIN) — The Thule Group combined its expertise in racks and luggage to create its newest product line, a range of panniers, racks, saddle bags and handlebar mounted iPhone and iPad sleeves called Pack n’ Pedal.
In its first year, Pack n’ Pedal will consist of 20 products, but that is merely the jumping off point for the 5.7 billion SEK ($850 million) Swedish company.
“We have in the pipeline a much bigger broadening of the category for next year,” said Magnus Welander, CEO and president of Thule Group, speaking to a group of international media Tuesday evening in Friedrichshafen, Germany.
“When we go into something, we want to be serious about it. We don’t want to be an also brand player so we intend to continue to invest heavily and launch a lot of new products.”
Before Thule started developing the new product category, it acquired the intellectual property rights of Freeload, a 2-year-old New Zealand rack maker, which has rebranded its products under the Thule name.
Freeload racks use webbing to attach to the bike instead of traditional welded wire, which can wear over time. The idea with Pack n’ Pedal is to provide a line of practical panniers and bags that serve multiple purposes for modern commuters who are carrying smart phones, iPads and laptops.
The panniers, for instance, are easily attached to the bike, but switch quickly to a shoulder bag commuters want to use in daily life.
“When we looked at what we could do for the bike world, we said we’re good at smart, flexible solutions that fit many types of bikes—or cars in our past—we should be able to apply that smart, technical thinking of how to attach different carrying solutions to a bike,” Welander said.
Pack n’ Pedal launchesthis year in select shops around the world, including 20 in key North American commuting cities, and expands to Thule’s entire retail network in 2013.