I can't comment on J carriers because I don't use them, but perhaps I should. The design weakness with Thule is the square bars, which only becomes a problem on curved roofs, but as the roof curves so must cradles cant away from each other, reducing contact between boat hull and cradle to inside edges. The cradle faces are absurdly small to start with; this rotational deviation from level makes it even smaller. Couple that with Thule's comically inadequate détente angle fixing clamp (for holding the saddle in the shape of your boat hull) and for support you are probably better off using foam blocks. So J carriers may work better on a curved roof, if I can lift that high. I've seen some people use them for composite boats so it might be OK.
But before you get a cargo box In almost all instances you’re going to need a roof rack system. These systems typically consist of two cross bars that bridge the width of your roof and can hold your box as well as other sport-specific carriers for bikes, skis, stand-up paddle boards, kayaks, and canoes — even a luxe rooftop camping tent. Depending on your vehicle, you may also need towers to attach the bars to your car and elevate them off your roof; get the same brand for both the cross bars and towers to assure compatibility. The variations on bar kits are staggering, but most major manufacturers have tools that help you narrow your options based on your car’s make, model, and year. The only time you don’t need bars? When you opt for a less-expensive cargo bag, which can sometimes be secured to factory mounts or rails found on some SUVs, trucks, and sedans.
Within Thule’s lineup of rooftop bike racks, cyclists across all disciplines will find a rack that works with the specific bikes they ride and the vehicles they drive. Whether you’re a hard-core road warrior racking up miles on skinny tires, or a bruised-up mountain biker running steep trails and hitting fat jumps, this article will help you choose the right Thule bike rack for you.
This is a well-made bike rack with an unusual-looking design. The design works better than the FreeRide and ProRide models when it comes to loading on your bike. It also offers better inbuilt security for your bike and furthermore does not touch the frame and so cannot damage the frame. It’s quite a bit more expensive than the FreeRide model and a little bit heavier BUT it is selling at about the same price as the ProRide…it IS better than the ProRide; I guess people don’t buy it because of the looks and the weight.
I contacted Thule's tech services and was told that the aluminum mounting clamps would not hit the field until March 2003 and that it might be late March at that. They will still have the capability to clamp to bars up to 2.5" wide. They will still ship with 50mm and 60mm screws. They also stated that some (maybe all?) of the saddle type carriers would get a four position locking set-up that would allow them to lock nearly vertical for a shell on down to flat for a windsurfer.
The product looks fine but the installation instruction is complete junk!! I went to the Thule website to get all the parts, it's a rather confusing and frustrating experience, but at least I got that part right. When all the different component arrived, I looked for installation instructions, which is extremely poorly written, I have to say worse than those chinese knock off products because there isn't even an attempt to write a description for the diagrams. I got the 53 in aeroblade for my Jetta, which looks like it's too long and overhanging the sides, so I referred to the diagram that is vehicle specific. It says front is 39-3/8" and the rear is 38". Taking my measuring tape to the car to double check the numbers, and found that these dimensions are way off. Not only are these numbers meaningless, what they suppose to mean is nowhere to be found in a clear manner. How does one use those numbers? If the numbers are off, does it mean I got the vehicle wrong? Or is it simply a mis- print?
After a lot of looking and web browsing we came on Oak Orchard Canoe's Deluxe "J" cradles. It's a couple of hours to thier store and we went up and bought two pairs. They are nearly 3/16" thick brushed stainless steel and very well padded. The cradle is wider than the Thule. At 22" high they're 4" taller then the Thule and since they are, essentially, vertical they double as kayak stackers. They are even padded on the back. They come with straps that have sewn on buckle pads. The mounting bracket fits Thule or Yakima bars and some other racks. All-in-all, these are a little more money than the Thule but they appear to be as close to "bombproof" as any accessory I've seen. I'll post a review as soon as we've used them enough to do a fair appraisal.
This is an excellent value single bike rack. The only issue I had was that it took up more space on the roof bars than anticipated meaning the roof box had to be sacrificed due to it's width, and my "budget" Lidl roof bars have a 13mm channel therefore the T-bar fittings couldn't be used. However, the universal fitting kit is very secure. Once on the vehicle, the rack excels...one quick turn of the knob while supporting the bike with the other hand on top of a 4x4 was simple and every aspect of the design has been thought about.