Rack and Roll was bought by Yakima

Didn’t know if you guys have heard about this but I just found out that Rack and Roll was recently bought by Yakima. As of Feb. 19 I believe, Yakima will be running their operation. I dont know how I feel about this - I am curious to know if they will change the load bars to be remain Yakima load bar friendly only or if they will offer both. Its almost sad because I would’ve preferred that it remained a smaller operation but who knows…

Regardless, I still and always will love my Rack and Roll.

They used fake Thule bars
For the last several years but now with the Yakima acquisition, they will be round Yakima Bars. I predict better distribution and better availability and I wouldn’t be surprised if Yakima brought production of the trailers back into the United States or Mexico.

Are Yakima products made in Mexico? I thought they were a Yakima, Oregon company?

Press Release?
Has there been any kind of press release on this? I checked the Yakima press release page and they haven’t posted anything in the last 10 months.

I really liked dealing with the people at Rack & Roll. I wonder if the financial issues had something to do with this like it has with so many others.

I guess we will never see that next generation R&R that I saw a drawing of unless John Koch has taken a position with Yakima.

Link to Details

Good story on the aquisition. John Koch stays involved at least through a transition. Unclear after that. Unfortunately, it appears the others in Frederick have gotten a 30 day notice.

I believe
Yakima (the company) is based in California somewhere. I guess they chose that name because it sounded “woodsy” or conjured up images of the PacNW.

I spend a lot of time in Yakima, WA and it’s a 180-degree opposite of what the company likes to depict with their ads: there’s precious little kayaking, mountain biking, snowboarding, or other “REI-type” activities going on there. It’s “high desert” with few trees, a big agriculural area, and it’s less than 100 miles from the biggest nuclear dumping ground in the country (Hanford). Jacked-up trucks and trailer parks abound.

Don’t get me wrong - I actually have come to like it (the topography and climate, that is; not the crime) and it DOES seem to have its own sort of beauty, but it’s hardly the image that the company name seems intended to conjure up.

That’s why I have Thule stuff: I’ve never been to “Thule” in Sweden (if it IS a place), but it can’t be as dreary as Yakima, WA :).

Thule is in Greenland…
Pronounced two-lee

History of Yakima Products

2005 Story on Yakima Products, formerly known as Watermark before they sold their kayak businesses to Confluence. While owned by an Atlanta holding company, they were based in California prior to moving to Beaverton, OR.

They do have a manufacturing facility in Mexico. Anyone know if they actually do anything in the town of Yakima or is it just a good name or a brand.

Rack & Roll
is a completely different company than Rack & ROAD, correct? We have the latter here in the Seattle area and they’re great: they sell or can get anything Thule or Yakima makes, plus a slew of other cool stuff. Hope that’s not the one we’re talking about.

This thread would make more sense
on the Paddlers Discussion Forum.

I think…
Rack and Road is a distributor. It looks that way at least. I myself am amazed at how many trailer designs and companies have popped up which in my opinion is good. A little bit of competition never hurts. :slight_smile:

You’re right… Sorry.

Rack and Roll not a distributor
Rack and Roll was not a distributor. But they did oustource the componenent manufacturing to China. Various other parts purchased from suppliers.

It was designed the president of the company (John Koch) and, for the past year, to assist with quality control every box coming to the U.S. for every trailer was broken down and checked, including, I believe partial assembly. Even tire pressures were checked and corrected if not correct (mine was 4 lbs low according to the checklist. I checked the tire pressure with a professional gauage and it was spot on when I received my order. They hired a pretty good guy soley for the purpose of checking every trailer (rather than the more customary acceptance sampling control, which generally leads to pretty small sample sizes unless there is an issue.

They hired a guy, Charvan, soley for the purposes of ensuring every trailer that went out was perfect. (They had had some backwards Chinese metric wiring issues for a while).

Definitly not a distributor. John Koch told me how much more they would have to charge for the trailer if it were manufactured in the U.S. I won’t divulge that but it was significant. Despite that, he was considering manufacturing the next generation R&R in Maryland. I saw a hand written design of it. It was not to replace the current one, but an addition to the offerings. I guess we will never see it, but it looked aweeome in terms of functionality.

Theres a lot of aluminum pieces to the trailer and not extruded suff. I assume Yakima will have to continue manufacturing the components in China to keep the price (already steep) reasonable.

I have no conection to the company, but I had very good dealings with the people for worked for them and am very happy with the trailer. I am just a kayaking consumer.

Bill G.

Mt. Pleasant, SC

History lesson from an old fart
who can remember Yakima from before it became big.

Once upon a time boys and girls there was a company that specialized in building really well thought-out roof racks for cars that lacked gutters. Back in the 70s I managed a shop and was a dealer for Yakima Roof Racks. These were constructed from gold-anodized aluminum bars, with nicely machined contact pads (four per bar in pairs) and a novel webbing strap and hook system to clamp them to the roof. Really slick, and if you were unable to use Quick & Easy brackets this was your solution.

These wer made by a wonderful couple in their basement or garage in …Yakima WA. Hence the name.

They sold the business to a young guy, a boater, whose name escapes me (a little help here!) He was responsible for developing the original 1-A towers which were the first true competition to Q&Es. Yakima developed the concept of fit brackets for gutterless cars, and the original design was abandoned.

After building Yakima into a true industry powerhouse he sold it to Watermark (I believe).