Wisconsin is a four season state with a particular penchant for winter. According to NOAA,the average annual snowfall for Madison is between 30-40 inches - andwhere there’s snow there’s salt, ice and slush. Lots of it.
What a perfect place to test bike racks!
At Saris we spend an inordinate amount of time testing our products. Both product managers and engineers work tirelessly to ensure that our productswill exceed our customer’s expectations and live up to our lifetime warranty. One of the ways we do this is by seeking out real world opportunities totest our bike racks and learn.
Back in September of 2010 we partnered with a brand new, eco-friendly cab company: Green Cabs of Madison.In addition to having a fleet of Priuses, each Green Cab is outfitted with our Axis 2-bike hitch rack – both features help them stand apart from other Madison taxi services. Over this five year partnership, our car racks have been tested over 10 million miles of Wisconsin weather. 10,000,000! That’s seven zero’s worth of miles.
For our product team and test engineers, these miles have helped them learn a tremendous amount from the usage and product performance. Most of the time, it validates that they made the right decision earlier in the development process. But sometimes, it alerts them to a concern – call it the canary in the coal mine. One of the biggest changes to our Axis Steel racks came about from the Green Cab testing. After being used 24/7 in the harshest winter weather, our engineers saw signs that lead them to believe that the powder coat finish, the standard in the industry, was inadequate. In response to this, an e-coat primer was added under the powder coat to ensure that our racks perform and last while keeping the racks looking good even longer.
“When multiple racks are used on multiple vehicles all day, every day it gives our engineering team a chance to simulate several lifetimes of therack at once,” said Engineering Project Manager, Kevin Askling. “We can see how racks hold up in real time in brutal conditions, all while allowingour team to compare what we see in the field with Green Cab to similar lab tests.”
As for local Madison cyclists, Green Cabs is a great amenity. According to Amanda Schmidt of Green Cab, their customers love that they can call a cabif their bike breaks down or if they need a lift home after riding to the grocery store. And just because they are a cab company doesn’t mean they aren’tbicycle advocates. Part of the reason why Green Cabs wanted to deck out their vehicles with Saris bike racks was to help encourage more people to ridetheir bikes for their daily commute and to help get them their bike home if they are in a bind with a mechanical failure or inclement weather. With over200 drivers and 45 cabs in the Madison metro area, you can’t go anywhere in this town without spotting one of their green and white Priuses.
Between the snow, salt and grime - our car racks are truly tested in the tundra.