Arbutus Racks - Interbike 2011

Sep 28, 2011 at 0:05
Sep 28, 2011
by Mike Levy  
 
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Learn about the new Arbutus rack:

Views: 10,583    Faves: 17    Comments: 13

Arbutus Racks takes a novel approach to holding your pride and joy on the back of your vehicle, combining common sense and know-how to come up with a solid rack that looks to remedy many of our complaints with existing designs. What does it do differently? The four bike rack has a complete lack of frame or fork contact. There are no plastic ratcheting arms that get clamped down on your front tire, often leaving a nasty open wound on the side of your fork where it rubs during a long road trip or shuttle up a rough logging road. And you won't find any funky hook arrangement that suspends the bike from its head tube or fork crown, a design that is not only not compatible with all frames and forks, but can also easily scar your expensive ride. Instead, the Arbutus rack holds the bike vertically from its front tire, with only the tire itself making contact with the metal basket.

Arbutus 4 Bicycle Rack

Arbutus Rack details:
• Holds four bikes vertically (extends out far less than a 4 bike tray style rack)
• Only the bike's tires make contact with the rack (no fork or frame contact)
• Rear tire held in place via Velcro straps
• Tilts down to allow rear hatch access
• Tapered front wheel holder fits 26" and 29" wheels
• Compatible with wide tires
• Includes anti-rattle hitch tightener
• Steel construction
• Fits 2" receivers
• MSRP $699 USD and CDN

Arbutus 4 Bicycle Rack

Your fork, rotor and frame are well clear of any metal that could cause damage. The front wheel basket is also deep enough that no straps are required to hold the wheel in place - it simply can't come out. Bike installation and removal takes seconds, with the only strapping down taking place with the straps that go over the rear wheel. We've come home with our own test unit and will be doing our best to abuse it, hanging all of our different test bikes from it when we hit the road for trips and shuttle runs. Stay tuned!

www.arbutusracks.com


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125 Comments

  • + 16
 Awesome Rack, love the design!
  • + 6
 great design. simple and functional.
  • + 3
 amazingly simple! here is the tool less tilt in action arbutusracks.com/images/rack3.jpg
I'm looking forward to pinkbike's review!
  • + 44
 haha 700 bucks
  • + 3
 lovethe shirt too
  • + 0
 NORTH SHORE RACKS!
  • + 1
 I'm loving these racks. I have a Northshore 6 and couldn't be happier. I think the could make a 6 bike model if the faced them the same way. I can't believe Thule and Yakima haven't come up with one of these yet.
  • + 3
 I don't know why Artbus doesn't simply have the rack set up so the handlebars turn towards each other. They can fit more in the same space...
  • + 2
 I don't think there is much of a market for more than 4 on a rack, say for a car or s.u.v. If you own a van and can transport 9 people then you are gonna need a trailer. 4 big bikes weigh around 80kg and I'm not sure but I recon the simple system they have would get a whole lot more complicated if they added more weight to the tow bar.
  • + 1
 You might be right oldfaith, but the ability to carry 5 bikes is what sold me on the Northshore 6 (I have 3 kids). I have been stopped many times by families, asking me where I got the rack because they are in the same circumstance.

You are right about the weight. I have air bags in my rear shocks, to compensate for the weight on the rear of the vehicle.
  • + 1
 that video didnt sound scripted at all
  • + 2
 HA! For $700 i could pay a guy to custom upgrade my DH bike frame so it folds up and can be placed into the back of my mini cooper...just saying
  • - 5
 plastic covered hooks.. ceiling mounted pulley wheels have held my bikes up for years.. costs .. 30euros.. you can even hang em at a desired height..
  • + 9
 do you take your ceiling with you? this is a rack for the back of a car not for storing your bikes in the garage.
  • + 1
 Cool construction. But there's one issue I'd be concerned about. Basically - taking the center of gravity into consideration - the rack will have a tendency to tilt back, especially when you have 4 heavy bikes loaded and go uphill. The construction actually allows a tilt in this direction to access the back of your van, and it seems, that it's only locked with a bolt one fits through the center tube. The bolt is just a few inches below the link the construction tilts around. So especially if you imagine going uphill on a dirt road with chuckholes (which is a very realistic scenario in shuttling bikes uphill, the weight of the bike can put a huge load of stress onto the bolt and the link because the force is multiplied by a big leverage and I wonder if the construction can handle these forces over the long run.
  • + 1
 Yes it can. The racks was designed by engineers who took this into account. As well, it's been heavily tested over the past year; which I've seen personally living in the same area as the designers, and we live in some of the roughest terrain around.
  • + 3
 Me engineer. Me make rack out of steel. Rack not break until covered in oxidation. Hopefully warranty run out before then. *Grunt* *Grunt*
  • + 1
 Steel is used in this application for a variety of reasons: formabilty, robustness at fastener holes, and infinite fatigue limit being just a few of them.
[Reply]
  • + 6
 Got one on my Hilux/4runner. Best part about it is the visibility I keep out my rear window. Second best part is you can mod it to carry fly rods and float tubes. 3rd best part is that you do not extend out backwards if you want 4 bikes they go side by side and make parking almost possible in the city and your other half won't forget it is there and smash another car.
[Reply]
  • + 4
 I think this rack looks fantastic. (insert pron quip here!)

The only small thing that I would be leery about is the velcro rear tire fastener. With constant wet and mud during re mounting methinks it would be prone failure after time. Would hate to see a rear tire break loose and pound the rear of your vehicle or *gasp* the bike pop off on a FSR. However, having only the demo video to go by maybe this is not an issue or has been considered? I personally don't find velcro to be a stable or reliable fastening system on anything other than kids shoes.

Maybe a snowboard binding ratchet style clamp or "bungee" system would add peace of mind, or are these potential patent conflicts?

Other than that, looks to be a new leader in vertical hitch mount design. Nice work Arbutus Racks.
  • + 3
 I had thought of this too. I was thinking I would back it up with bungees or some other home built set up.
  • + 2
 Good point on the velcro as I asked them about it too. It is Velcro branded Velcro for starters, easy to replace if needed too. I've have ratchet buckle type fasteners and while some lasted, others did not like our cold temps at times and broke. The bungie chord is a common sight on NSBRs around here as more than a few user have removed the chord and knot system in favor of something that is more secure. Tough to find an ideal rear attachment.
  • + 2
 or a snap button system! it would be easier to clean too if it got all gummed up
  • + 4
 we evaluated a bunch of options for rear tire security. we selected industrial-grade VELCRO® straps with approx six inches of overlap. it's very fast to use, secure, can't strip out like mechanical buckles, and can be pulled snug unlike snap systems which only have intermittent lock points.
  • + 1
 Did not factor the cold weather aspect as far as buckle style fasteners would be concerned, brule. In the end as you mentioned, rear tire security is an issue all racks face. Looking at it from the view that, regardless it will be a maintenance point on any rack, I suppose velcro is as good an option as any due to relative cheapness to replace when the inevitable happens! We are in the market for a new setup soon and will be eagerly anticipating the PB field test results!
  • + 1
 Another strap option to consider would be the kind used in the postal service. They clamp hard core and separate quick. They do rust though.
[Reply]
  • + 4
 Great design, and an improvement on the northshore rack design. Taking the tire only on contact idea from a rack like the Yakima king cobra is a great idea. As well the wheel slot idea is great as its allows many bike types, including road bikes which the north shore rack does not accommodate. Fresh ideas are hard to come by these days, but well thought out and beneficial improvements are always welcome!
[Reply]
  • + 4
 Why dont all the bikes face the same way? The rack would not have to be as wide. The brake lights would not be covered. Then you could see out your back window. The handle bar ends wouldnt hit each other either. Dont get me wrong. I like the rack, but I think all the bikes should face the same way.
  • + 4
 The bikes don't face the same way for exactly the reasons you stated. They don't cover the brake lights down low and because they face out, it leaves about a one foot clear channel down the middle so you can see and your third top brake light is visible. The Y design is very well thought out.
arbutusracks.com/images/rack2.jpg
  • + 2
 North shore racks, who pioneered the vertical hanging rack design, have all their bikes facing the same way. they even make a 6 bike model.

northshoreracks.com
  • + 1
 looks like North Shores uses a frame mount. I'll take an arbutus,
  • + 5
 Northshore mounts on the crown of your fork, very minimal wear.
  • + 1
 besides the reasons mentioned above, the angled basket design requires the lower wheel basket to be offset from the upper wheel basket. For the vertical upright to be centered, the lower baskets would need to be offset on one side which complicates mechanical layout and look of the product.
  • + 1
 i just bought a northshore 4 brandnew (3wks) and it's just awesome load 4 bikes in less than 4 min no kidding!!!!! for those of u who r too scared to scratch or mark your new bike, why did u buy a mountain bike... what did u think the mountain was made of??? foam rubber?!?
  • - 1
 Yeah I love putting extra wear on my $1000 dollar fork. It really helps with resale too.

I'll take the Arbutus thanks.
[Reply]
  • + 3
 I've been using my rack for months now on my 2010 tacoma trd (lifted with big tires) i've gone 4bying, rallying fire roads and have driven around my town a tonne with no issues! they are super solid, no sway. lots of visibility (my back up camera still works with this rack!!) the has been tonnes of testing involved as well. I have had ABSOLUTELY NO bike/fork or any type of damage from using this rack.. That's why it was designed.. out of the necessity to have a safe, solid secure rack for your $7000 bikes!! 700 isn't so bad once you consider how much you spend on your bike/gear/car. Don't you want peace of mind knowing that your investements are safe?
[Reply]
  • + 3
 Wow, what's with all the negativity? Geez...

I have seen about a dozen different companies in Interbike coverage who are redesigning direct mount triple clamp fork stems or thin profile pedals... is each one getting ragged on for coming out with a refined design on the same idea?

It's a tray mounted vertical bike rack... is it a 100% unique and totally new idea? No. But there is lots about it that is innovative and well designed.

Is anything in the bike industry totally 100% new and unique? Probably not...

Does Rat Racks make a tray rack? Yep they do. Does that mean they should have a monopoly on that type of design? Nope. That's like saying that only one company is allowed to make a drop in flat tray rack.

This is a small CANADIAN company who have designed a rack based on their experiences as riders and developed what they want to see in a rack.

The big features are the lack of frame contact, sturdiness, ease of loading, and the great visibility it gives out the rear of your vehicle. The bikes facing different directions isn't a gimmick, it's so you can see out your back window and rear view mirror.

I always wonder about our capitalist society when people complain about something new that comes to market that delivers an improved product to the consumer. Competition spurs new ideas and also stimulates existing companies to keep improving their products.

Disclaimer: Yup, I know the guy who designed the rack. I've also loaded my bike onto it, shook it, and felt how sturdy the rack is. I've driven behind him down a bumpy road and observed how stable the rack is loaded. I've also watched a car with another 4 tray rack drive down the same road and observed the rack wobbling like crazy.

I don't own one, but if I had a 2" receiver hitch and needed this type of rack... I'm sold it.
  • + 4
 FYI - RatRacks do not make a tray rack. They make a tailgate rack along with the vertical hitch mounted rack.
[Reply]
  • + 4
 I've seen these first hand and the quality is exceptional and the way they work is just so simple and easy, and get increadibly secure! I'll definitely be picking one up soon!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Racks of so freaking expensive!!!! i'm not talking about this particular rack, just racks in general... i guess you have to pay the price to keep your bike safe in route to the trail, doesn't make that $700 price tag go down any easier tho.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 looks solid as a rock especially for downhill rigs. i dig that design and hopefully land one in the future. my question is before investing 700 bones on one do the racks come with any kind of integrated security locking system? also looking at the pictures it doesn't seem like you can drop the rack down enough when fully loaded to access and open a tailgate...? thanks
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I would like to see a better mechanism for tilting the rack down. Being able to tilt it down 45 degrees to open the back door or window of the vehicle is a great feature, but holding the bikes up at 45 degrees to reinsert the pin seems like a massive chore. I'm ready to replace my Thule and will be looking for this feature before buying this rack.
  • + 1
 you actually can tilt the rack to 45 degrees. Simply pull the pin, move it to the intermediate position, then swing the rack until the rack lands on the pin. www.pinkbike.com/photo/7200846
  • + 2
 i love how well arbutus is rebutting all these comment with simple answers that just prove the above comments were uneducated. not so much this one but others.

These racks look great and it seems many of the features are well thought out and integrated with top grade parts which is what the high price is for! silly people would buy a walmart rack with lo grade parts, do you ride a walmart bike?
I would highly recommend one to anyone looking for a new rack.
  • + 0
 Top Grade Parts ? You mean steel bars & velcroe ? That justifies $700.00 ? I'm concerned that the tilting of the wheels , combined with the added torque/twisting created by supporting the bike by it's wheels , will crack your forks arch . When you are riding , your body weight will help create some resistance to this twisting because your fork is loaded/compressed . When you hang your bike by its wheels on an angle , there is no resistance to this twisting because your forks are not under load . Have you ever twisted Shiver when it's not under load ? Its really easy to twist the fork . But when you are riding , since the fork is loaded/compressed , you don't have the same problem .
  • + 0
 Popfly have a look through the discussions below/above. It's been well summed up by other pinkbike users that the forces while using the rack are insignificant compared to actual riding forces.
[Reply]
  • + 4
 Don't know who was first, but, this design out of Calgary, Alberta has been around for a few years. www.ratracks.com
  • + 2
 Yep the Rat Rack is very similar for sure and another great rack option out there. There are obvious differences, but both are nice set ups.
  • + 2
 The guy who builds Rat Racks is simply awesome. Great customer service, custom design if necessary, and totally supports the bike scene in Alberta. An example of cottage industry skills making it happen. Go Rat Racks!
  • + 2
 Rat Racks are great. Yeah, Ratte!
  • + 1
 Wish I would have found this thread before I ordered the North Shore rack. Just got it altogether only to find out that my 2013 medium demo definitely DOES NOT fit
[Reply]
  • + 4
 Haha this is about the only time you can say 'nice rack" without sounding pervy
[Reply]
  • + 1
 On a long haul or bumpy road, I would worry about my headset becoming loose. Had a Northshore rack, lots of shuttle gnar, for my money, the T2 with the 2 bike add-on can't get any better.
[Reply]
  • + 3
 Rat racks are much better. Look them up and get a good rack that is locally made to your specifications.
  • + 1
 Rat racks are the best, they work with any bike & any fork - The Ratte's are a fantastic family to deal with and a way cheaper price than the ones above - buy CANADIAN made
  • + 4
 Arbutus racks are 100% designed, manufactured, powdercoated, and assembled in British Columbia.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I'm shocked how many people are freaking about a $699 price point. Other than NSR, most good 4-bike racks are a lot more. I seriously doubt Strahan is making any real margin on these.
[Reply]
  • + 0
 Give me a break with your comments about scuffed & worn crowns with North Shore Racks . None of my friends with these racks have this problem . Have you ever had your brake or shifter cables scuff your headtube ?? Of course you have . $700.00 for a 4bike rack is waaay too much cash , when you consider the alternatives , like NSR . And how do you intend to store an Arbutus Rack ? That thing is going to take up a lot of storage space in your garage . My biggest concern with this design is how the wheels are tilted , which may cause un-natural twisting & torquing on the fork brace & it's eventual cracking .
  • + 2
 The rack stands upside down and will fit right up against a wall.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 I've used North Shore Racks personally and commercially for more than two years without a single issue. Not sure what you guys are talking about with fork damage.
  • + 6
 Good luck getting Specialized Demos on a NS rack. Both small and XS do not fit. Period.
  • + 1
 They probably redesigning the top bar to be compatible with Demos.
  • + 2
 I don't doubt it but it must be a rare case. I've never come across a mountain bike that won't fit the North Shore Rack, everything from DH rigs with triple crowns to singlespeed 29ers with carbon forks.

Also, we use Pugsleys in the winter and I really doubt the 4" wide tires would fit the Arbutus Rack.
  • + 2
 yea ive heard alot that the new Demos can't fit on NS racks. they are really nice, but i think its the super low front end where the downtube ends into the headtube, that wont allow them to fit.
  • + 2
 I can assure you that demos do not fit. XS, S and M have all been attempted. None fit.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Nice Rack! Very minimal materials used compared to the NS Rack. No offense but bike racks are EXTREMELY overpriced. I think I'll make my own thanks. But good luck to you... I think you guys have a great idea.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Ah, for 700 I can get another bike and use my current rack. I guess if you are really serious, you should buy one. Excellent design.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 If this rack fits 4 bikes why don't they demonstrate this and use bikes with pedals on them that would be interesting to see?
  • + 4
 In this picture - exhaust is so close to the tire of right bike - lots of heat, may be interesting to see what happens after longer drive. Cool design for reg cars, but I preffer my pickup truck.
  • + 2
 Yeah, NOT with this rack, but I unfortunately learned the hard way that the exhaust can easily melt and blow your tire apart on a long drive. Brand new $80 tire gone after on weekend of riding.
  • + 1
 I thought the exhaust only heated up while you idled and cooled while you drove.
  • + 2
 exhaust clearance depends on your vehicle with any racks but here's a photo of transporting four downhill bikes for 2.5hrs in the middle of summer. www.pinkbike.com/photo/7200862
[Reply]
  • + 2
 MSRP $699 USD...

Is it just me or are racks even more overpriced than bikes...?
  • + 1
 700 dollars for a 5000+ bike, doesent sound like too much to me
  • + 1
 Are they selling a $5000 bike?

To me it looks like about $150 worth of material and an hour or two of welding at the very most... another $50 or so for PC. Maybe a $400 rack... $700 just doesn't seem reasonable at all to me for what this is. Not suggesting it doesn't work great, just that for what you're getting it seems well overpriced.
  • + 1
 sorry, 700 dollar rack for a 5000 bike. and also from your explanation this rack is under priced

150 materials
80 dollars for welding since ur paying someone to weld per hour
along with powder coating these are around 350 at cost, most companies mark up and extra 200% ontop of cost for retail
  • + 2
 There's actually no welding on the entire product. Every component is either punched, laser cut, or cnc drilled then formed and secured by fasteners.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Love the fact that suddenly Bryn Atkinson appears in the background on its own two feet! Good to see him back on track!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Looks good. I just don't like hanging my bike from the front wheel, it's gotta be hard on your fork seals. I'll stick with my trays.
  • + 4
 Are you on drugs?
  • + 0
 your weight on the bike on the trail puts more pressure on the fork I think.
  • + 4
 Your weight is directed vertically when you are on the bike. He is talking about the side loading. I think I understand where he is coming from, but I don't think it would do any real damage.
  • + 3
 Ya, there's totally no side loads on my bike when I'm riding DH. No weird forces of any kind. All easily modeled and perfectly linear. Casing some 30 ft double while trying to whip it out, totally no side loads.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 the sari's rack doesnt ruin your frame its kinda heavy though with four dh bikes on it
[Reply]
  • + 2
 700 ??????????? FCK ME!!!
[Reply]
  • - 1
 District Fab in Oregon makes a much better rack of a similar design. This company is ripping off old ideas. Bars should go the same way. The only reason they don't is for looks which is stupid. Typical corporate nonsense.
  • + 1
 Arbutus Racks is small a company, improving on existing designs. Read the comments and they say why they did what they did. No corporate nonsense there.
  • + 0
 So, when a company takes a product, re-invents it out of cheap materials and attempts to mass produce it for an inflated price there is nothing corporate about it? You can claim improvement all you want, but frankly it's just a failed attempt at a copy. Neg props me brah
  • + 2
 There is nothing "cheap" about the materials used in the construction (example the lower plates are QT-100 100,000psi yeild).
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Almost good as the rack my girlfriend has, pervs
  • + 6
 No we are not perverts, but let us judge your girlfriend's rack to be fair.
  • + 6
 Yes, present them.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 All racks rust. Wash, scrub, scrape sand, spray paint. Continue.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Does anyone know if it works on 24"?
  • + 2
 Rat Racks works on 20 to 29" no problem!
  • + 1
 the video says yes
  • + 1
 nvm no it doesent say
[Reply]
  • + 0
 Really great approach to a hitch rack. And seems just as easy but more secure than a truck pad
[Reply]
  • + 1
 sick rack! anyone know if they are available in the uk anytime soon?
[Reply]
  • - 1
 Looks very similar to Ratracks.com The main difference being those Arbutus don't look like they'd survive many runs up FSRs.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 The website says "Out of Stock" any info on this?
[Reply]
  • + 1
 1up USA Quik Rack > *
[Reply]
  • + 0
 ^Oops, that was supposed to be a comment...not a reply. FAIL
[Reply]
  • - 1
 $700...
...
...
..... ...
  • + 5
 Go add up what it cost to get a Hitch tray rack or roof rack. Racks are expensive.
  • + 2
 The rack industry is over inflated. Yay truck pads!
  • + 1
 As long as paint scratches aren't a huge deal or you never plan to take it off then you're set.
  • + 2
 Thanks for the "tip", but I have already a hitch and an all aluminum rack that costs what this steelie is running for.

I think everyone above me have already summed up just how ridiculous the price of this thing is.
[Reply]
  • - 3
 Rat Racks have been around for years, nice job ripping them off Arbutus. www.ratracks.com
  • + 0
 Wow so you don't like competition? The beneficiary here is clearly you.
[Reply]
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