Saris Freedom- Made in the USA

freedompromo

A post about the Saris Freedom rack seemed appropriately timed as they currently are running a Fourth of July themed sale. As you can tell from our bio page, we have a pretty tight knit relationship with Saris Cycling Group. Yes, one of us works there and that may make us a little biased. That doesn’t mean we are obligated to do any posts about their product and we wouldn’t if we didn’t like them. Notice we aren’t posting about the Saris Sentinel rack (it leaves some things to be desired).

We’ve had the opportunity to use a few Saris products for an extended period of time. The Bones 2 trunk rack, Bones 3 trunk rack, and the Freedom 2 hitch rack. All 3 products have performed amazingly! The Bones 2 had been used for 3 years until the new black Bones 3 was released. We then said goodbye to the Bones 2 and installed the black beauty in its place.

Over the past year we’ve had the opportunity to take the Freedom 2 bike hitch rack on several trips. It’s been used around town as well as on a couple of long distance trips up to the Twin Cities and northern Wisconsin.

Some of the key features that we love:

-It’s one of the lightest weight tray style racks on the market

-It accommodates step through style and kids bikes (you can fit a very wide variety of bikes on the rack)

-You don’t have to lift the bike high off the ground

-There’s not need to tilt the rack up when not in use, the center column tilts to the side

-When the rack is installed, you still have access to your hatch/trunk

-It fits 1 1/4″ or 2″ hitches

-Easy out of the box assembly

-Cost, it’s one of the cheapest tray style racks out there

-IT’S MADE IN THE USA!!!

BONUS: Saris now makes a recumbent bar for super long wheelbase bikes or recumbents!

There are a few cons we also found on the rack. We want to make sure we’re giving a fair and honest write up.

Some of the things we dislike:

-No ability to add on additional bike holders (Saris has a 4 bike Freedom in the works)

-You sometimes have to lower the seat post or even remove a bottle cage to get 2 adult sized road/mtn bikes to fit properly

-The first time fitting 2 bikes on the rack takes a few minutes to get set up (You have to make sure the wheel trays are in the correct position and the center cradle needs to be lined up to attach to your bike frame)

The list of pro’s outweighs the cons by a lot, which has made this rack one of the Saris’s newest best sellers. If you’re in the market for a new bike rack, we highly recommend it. With the under $200 price point, you can’t really go wrong with a Made in the USA, Made in Wisconsin product. Saris also boasts a lifetime warranty against manufacturer’s defect. They also try to make all of their racks with easily replaceable parts, should you lose a knob or a strap at any point.

The Freedom is on sale at your local dealer or online at www.saris.com/freedom.

Happy Riding & Happy 4th of July!!!

Cyclo-cross Nationals- Days 1 & 2

One of the many reasons I love working in the bike industry is that I get paid to hangout at events like Cyclo-cross Nationals. This is Madison’s second year hosting the USA Cycling/UCI event and it’s much colder and snowier than it was last year!

Day 1 included non championship races for men and women as well as my personal favorite, the single speed races. While most of my day included watching over the Cycle Ops sponsored warm up tent, I did have time to escape and shoot some photos.

The men’s 30-39 race was a must see as one of my co-workers was competing. He didn’t quite podium, but still had a good place in the standings.

Day 2 was the masters series. These are the folks who have been racing for a LOOONG time. Well, most of them at least. It’s always inspiring to see someone 60+ get out there and rage. Especially on an icy death trap of a cross course!

Today I spent a little more time visiting some of the other exhibitors. I chatted with the guys over at Trek. They have some swag they are giving away like cycling hats and cowbells, so be sure to stop by and say hi to them! Trek also has a sweet corn-hole game set up (aka beanbag toss). Oh, you can also enter to win a Cross Rip. It’s their entry level cross bike.

Later in the day I wandered over to the Skratch Labs food truck. They are dishing up some tasty, yet healthy meals for everyone. If you get a chance, stop by and try a sample of their hydration mix. It’s made with all natural ingredients and tastes AMAZING! I trained with it all summer long and LOVE the stuff. It also doubles as a great hangover remedy 😉

Shortly after, I stopped by the Knog tent. I can’t remember the gentleman’s name who was working it, but he’s pretty much their only US employee. Knog is based in Australia and has done so well that the company doesn’t need a giant team of reps to travel around, so it’s just one guy and a tent. He gets to travel all over to cool events and showcase the latest Knog gear. If you see him, stop and chat with him. He’s a very friendly dude.

Some other spots I checked out were the Felt tent and the Stan’s No Tubes tent. Felt didn’t have much going on except for a few cross bikes. I was hoping they would have showcased a little more product, but they were probably more focused on supporting their riders. Stan’s had a sweet set up with repair stands, bike parking, a nice product display, some trainers. Pretty legit stuff.

Inside of the main food tent was Twin Six. They have some limited edition swag for sale and some product catalogs showcasing their 2013 line up. I had wondered by there two days in a row, but unfortunately they were a little standoffish so I just ended up walking away. Bummer as I really like their gear. I seem to think that if someone is showing interest in what you have going on, you should drum up conversation. It’s just good business practice, rather than being standoffish or complaining loudly about how you dislike your most recent job performance review. Sorry, but it’s true.

The overall selection of food is pretty decent. There’s the Fine Italian Beef stand (Chicago dogs, Italian dips, etc.) , the Wisconsin food stand (cheese curds, brats, etc.), a (must have) Southwestern/Mexican food stand, a coffee stand (great chai latte), and the Skratch Labs truck. Nearby is also Pasqual’s and the Draft House. All are great options for the hungry spectator!

I have to say that this year’s set up is much better than last year’s for the event as a whole. The flow of everything makes more sense and the expo is more visible. I’ll be sad to see Cross Nationals leave Madison. Hopefully we can bring it back again in a few years.

Check out  photos below of Day 1 & Day 2. I sadly won’t be able to make it out tomorrow, which really sucks because I want to watch the women’s races. I have a lot of in office work to catch up on though, but I’ll be back out on Saturday!

One last thing to note is that the Saris/Cycle Ops shanty is now in the expo. It got dropped off this afternoon and it looks KICK ASS! Go find a photo of it on the Cycle Ops Facebook page. It has a beer pong table and everything!

Enjoy!

-Cass