New Tailgates Engage Active Truck Owners

When the GearGate concept was presented to me a year ago by its founder, Matthew Bader, I was blown away. Tailgates are nearly untouched by the aftermarket and have only recently received OEM attention. Almost 2.5 million full-size trucks will be sold in the United States this year and the average American will spend $2,000 modifying their rig.

I sense the aftermarket for truck parts feels a lot like groundhog day – when is something genuinely new going to come along?

Products are recycled, repackaged, and rebranded. Materials are updated, refinements introduced, and prices increased but it’s the same-old-same-old.

A new company called Hoodworks is launching a unique replacement tailgate system. The GearGate is a fundamental departure from the tailgates we have become comfortable with over the last 70 years. Think of the GearGate as what might happen if Victorinox or Leatherman built tailgates. The first GearGate is the Cycling Comp, a functionally and visually distinctive system that makes life easier for recreational and competitive cyclists who drive full-size trucks.

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The Cycling Comp carries three bikes and includes a litany of integrated features. A tough Nanuk 910 toolbox slides into the top of the gate and is secured when the gate is locked. A triumverate of waterproof Bulldog Mini LED lights, which will be flush-mounted in the production model, provide high-lumen, low draw illumination both inside and outside the bed. A locking system integrates with the OEM system, whether by key or remote. And a sheathed Pewag 18 foot Extreme Conditions traction chain (used by the U.S. Army) secures bike frames without scratching.

There is also a hard-mounted Nanovault 300, all weather safe for small valuables. And yes, there is even a pair of built-in bottle openers. The gate opens with dual, tactical-grade handles actuating OEM latches and is crafted from steel and aluminum for strength, durability, and a contemporary look.

The first tailgates, available for all late model, full-size trucks, will be ready to ship early next year. The Cycling Comp costs $1,790, plus shipping and installation takes about 20 minutes. The gate drops in, then the supplied wiring harness is connected to the truck to power the lights. The $300 optional backup camera adds about 15 minutes to the installation, but seamlessly integrates with the OEM system, if fitted. Buyers may also specify paint to match the exact color of their truck, or powder coat ($150). For those not interested in hauling bikes, Hoodworks will omit the cycle mounts and heavy-duty lock chain, dropping the price to $1,490.

The Cycling Comp is just the beginning. Hoodworks has identified 40 more use cases for the GearGate, such as hunting, fishing, camping, off-roading, tailgating, and water sports. So if cycling is not your thing, the GearGate product range will be expanding to include you soon. Hoodworks designs and manufactures its products in Portland, Oregon using locally sourced materials. The company understands the pride pickup owners have in their trucks and has designed the GearGate to enhance the utility and visual impact of their rigs.

This is a crowd funded project and the GearGate is poised to enter serial production. Hoodworks is now asking for involvement to make production a reality and supporters can participate at various levels, from $5.00 to full purchase price. Early adopters enjoy discounts and everyone is welcome to comment. Hoodworks’ crowd funding partner is Crowd Supply.

The market potential is clearly significant and Matt has assembled a talented, passionate team to match. When I was invited to become an advisor I did not hesitate.

*Seth Parks is an auto industry veteran, entrepreneur, and Seattle Seahawks fan. Follow him on Twitter: @mseth_parks

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About The Author

I have been working in the auto industry for two decades. In high school, way back when Broncos still roamed free, I was a lot attendant at a Ford store. During college I worked as a car salesman and later moved up the retail ladder. After graduate school, I co-founded a fleet management company in Africa. More recently, I sat on the board of a performance auto parts distributor and led the turn-around of a parts manufacturer. I am presently on the boards of two aftermarket auto parts manufacturers. I am an equal opportunity auto enthusiast, father of two, happy husband, and dedicated global traveler.

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