Choosing a rack system is like choosing sides in the Auburn–Alabama rivalry: both choices have a solid heritage and a proven track record, but once you’ve made your choice, there’s no going back. We have over 50 years (collectively) of rooting for Team Yakima. For fervent car and adventure aficionados, there’s no better way to carry a bike than their Whispbar WB200 Fork Mount Bicycle Carrier.
Acquired by Yakima in 2009 with the New Zealand company Hubco, Whispbar was introduced in North America the following year. Initially sold as an option for Yakima, Whispbar was launched in 2012 as a separate premium line marketed to consumers focused on style and aesthetics. According to Garrett Barnum, Whispbar’s Global Brand Manager, if Yakima is for the outdoor enthusiast focused on the destination, Whispbar targets the rugged stylist interested in the journey, uncompromised. For the man who appreciates luxury, this rack features clean lines and a high degree of finish that marry seamlessly to any expensive sports sedan.
With conventional roof racks, wind noise generates something akin driving with your head out of the window of a 4x4 truck sporting muddin’ tires. This is because drag equals noise. The Whispbar, shaped like a wing, slices the wind with nary a murmur and generates less than half the drag force of its closest competitor. The aesthetic carries through to seamless integration with your vehicle’s graceful lines: the modular footpads of its SmartFoot technology ensure both a perfect mating to the roof and the versatility to switch to another vehicle.
With the WB200, Whispbar offers the only fork mount that handles standard 9- and 15-millimeter through-axle forks without adapters, accommodating both road and mountain bikes. The extra-long padded rear wheel strap protects high profile carbon wheels. Complementing that versatility is the innovative QuickDock mounting system, which makes possible the fastest tool-free component installation and removal in the industry. Each individual component attaches to the crossbar’s T-Slot without trimming or adjustment, and, upon removal, the slot’s gasket returns to a flush, aerodynamic seal. Multi-sport enthusiasts can switch from surf to turf without delay, or return the rack to spare, clean minimalism. The Integrated Lock System (ILS), which has a single lock to secure equipment to carrier to rack, makes sure your ride is there when you pop out of the water for T1.
For 2013, Whispbar expanded their line to include two kayak carriers, the J-Cradle and Saddle Roller, and two aerodynamic cargo carriers, the Mid and the Compact. The J-Cradle mounts boats on their side, conserving roof-top real estate; the Saddle Roller significantly eases boat loading from the rear. Both fold flat when not in use. Swooping curves on the cargo carriers invoke Frank Gehry, and with dual-side opening, the boxes can be accessed from either driver or passenger side. More accessories are in the works, but until then Whispbar owners can pluck from Yakima’s namesake line since Yakima and Whispbar are designed to maximize cross-compatibility, with adapters that allow the components of each to be used with the other. All of that cohesion, refinement and intelligent design -- and there's a lot to go around -- makes choosing sides easy, whether you’re from Auburn or Tuscaloosa.
Excellence, innovation, craftsmanship, and an unwavering desire to challenge expectations -- these are the constants that have captivated our attention since Gear Patrol's inception in 2007. This year we're proud to announce the next step in our role as a champion of quality in product design and execution: welcome to the GP100. Our inaugural product awards are dedicated to honoring the 100 best consumer products released during the calendar year by companies of all sizes and scope.
The GP100 is not a ranking or a contest. These selections represent the collective expertise of our entire editorial staff, who have scoured every corner of the vast product universe -- from automotive and electronics, to men's style essentials, home goods, spirits and outdoors -- to find the inspiring and the practical, the ground-breaking and the traditional, the priceless and the accessible. In short: products that define or defy their respective categories to better the life of the modern man.
The GP100 is not a contest influenced by marketers or brands, nor is it a ranking by specifications as determined by uniform tests. Instead, it starts with a comprehensive list of nominees released in the calendar year, researched and compiled by our editorial team of obsessed experts across all of Gear Patrol's major areas of interest including Motoring, Technology, Style, Home, Spirits, Outdoor and Watches. Brands are not part of the selection process. Nominees are then debated in context of the past, present and future of their respective fields. Which selections stand as significant innovations, category busters or faithful monuments to the icons of history? Do they adhere to Gear Patrol's core tenets of excellence, design, utility and the spirit of adventure? Distilled to the following 100 items, the GP100 represents the best products on earth released in 2013 -- easily inspiring consumers and creators alike during their search for guideposts of excellence in a vast world of products.
Motoring Watches Style Technology Sports Outdoors Home Spirits
Jeremy BergerBen Bowers