When the GearGate concept was presented to us in 2015 ago by its founder, Matthew Bader, we were 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.
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.
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 triumvirate 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 Cycling Comp costs $1,790, 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. 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 is expanding. Hoodworks designs and manufactures its products in Portland, Oregon, using locally sourced materials.
This is a crowd-funded project, and the GearGate is poised to enter serial production as of this writing (December 2015). Hoodworks is now asking for involvement to make production a reality, and supporters can participate at various levels, from $5.00 to the full purchase price. Early adopters enjoy discounts, and everyone is welcome to comment.