How many bikes do you need to carry? Forget 3 or even 4 bike racks, Thule have trumped most bike carrying options with the 7-bike GateMate Pro. Selling for $299, this tail gate pad has a few other tricks up its sleeve beyond carrying 7 bikes. As who can fit 7 people in their ute (legally) anyway?


Take a look at our guide to carrying bikes on your car.


 

Like any premium tail gate pad, the GateMate Pro has a soft microfibre inner so it doesn't scuff up your vehicle. The pad is quite tall, designed for a modern ute. The 132cm width was just about spot on for our Isuzu Dmax X-Terrian.

There's a nifty fold up window to access the latch and let your reverse camera do it's thing, and the whole thing is held in place with three straps, that cinch it down tight onto the tail gate.

The padding is quite think, and then the padding for the bike cradles is incredibly firm. This thing is going to last a while! It also helps keep the downtubes of the bikes cradled, and each cradle has a very long velcro strap to secure your bike. You can thread this through a few different locations, to suit your vehicle.

 

Thule have also included some mesh pockets in the inside side of the tail gate pad. This is perfect for stowing some gear when shuttling, or just heading to the trails. It's right there ready to grab when you unload.

So far there have been few surprises, unless you don't have the most massive downtube, where you might find the strap needs to be doubled around. The firm padded cradles and straps keep bikes really stable, and the only hiccup we have had is tray length! It's worth checking that your tray is long enough to fit modern mountain bikes in before buying a tail gate pad. Most dual cab utes leave too little real estate in the back.

If you want to find out the full details on the Thule GateMate Pro, head to the Thule website. Our review will be in the next issue. 

All photos: Gerard Lagana