If you're into kayaking, chances are you dream about living in a beach house, dragging your kayak through the fine sand to the water with ease. It will then be just a matter of minutes until you can start paddling away into the beautiful paradise. Now, let's wake up and face reality, most of us are not lucky enough to own such a place. In fact, you probably have to drive miles in order to enjoy this experience. Therefore, finding the best kayak roof rack is a must.
It can be nice to just get out and ride from your front door but there’s no doubt that at some point you’re going to want to take your bike further afield. There are a few options for transporting your bike but if you don’t want the faff of taking the train and you want to keep the inside of your car clean then a bike rack has to be the obvious choice.
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.
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I managed to install one UpRide and 3 of the older style Thule bike racks simultaneously on one car (ie 4 bike racks). A total of 3 is relatively easy but adding the fourth bike required the pedals to be removed from the bikes and was quite a squeeze. If you are going to install 3 or 4 bike racks then you will need to alternate the direction in which they face (forward-back-forward-back) and you will need to ensure that the various closing mechanisms on each of the bike racks are relatively easily accessible. Good luck 😉 !
However I am going to comment on some of the installation steps and things to watch out for as it is a little daunting to open the FreeRide 532 and find the bags of various components. Once you’ve installed the FreeRide all of the steps you took will be ‘obvious…in hindsight‘. In the future, fitting and unmounting the BIKE RACK will then only take about 5 minutes per bike rack.
Two areas of caution: These boats on their sides create a high profile and resistance. If your speed is 70 and you have a head wind of 20-30 (as we did) that's the same as 90-100...a bit much; I'd keep air resistance to 75 or so combined maximum. If the wind is to the side you'll feel strong buffeting at times, slow it down. Without wind we felt comfortable at 70. Kayaks were strapped according to instructions around J and under factory cross bars. Also had bow and stern tie downs to prevent sliding forward or aft.
I'm really glad that these are made of a strong material. Review would probably be five stars but they showed up with a dent. I don't know if it happened in shipping or from the factory. The inner product box inside of the shipping box has a dent that seems to line up with the dent on the bar. I'm really irritated by this blemish, but it showed up five days late from it's expected delivery date anyways, which negatively impact my plans for a charity bike ride since I didn't have the rack for my bikes on the car.
1o - Breakage ! The head unit in secured in the bars with a single bolt and it just cant take the continuous side to side loading when driving in unpaved roads (this unit is designed for disk brakes, used in MOUNTAIN BIKES, which trails sometimes required driving in unpaved roads to get to, no surprise here Thule !).Even driving carefuly, my head unit has cracked TWICE and the third time it was the bolt itself that snapped. Almost had the bike flying on the highway...
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I own and use two Thule 815 Kayak Cradles that were purchased from Dick's Sporting Goods (DSG). Interestingly, there is no information about them on Thule's website. Apparently, the 815 is made to DSG's specifications. One I bought used off of eBay for $75 plus $13.25 shipping. According to the seller, it was used for three seasons before I got it. The other I just bought at DSG for $79.99 ($99.99 less a $20 off coupon) plus $4.80 tax. The box indicates that it was manufactured this year.
Generally speaking, you are going to see an increase in costs with the more features that you want on your rack. Here are some of the key features to keep an eye out for, you’ll find that some will be available on most models, whilst the Thule, as the truly premium item, comes closest to packing them all into one feature heavy bike rack – albeit with that premium price tag we mentioned!
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.
Be careful with Wingbar Edge. They are supposed to be quieter than 961 bars + 753 foot pack but they are probably not. I both wingbar edge for BMW 5er Touring, with 4022 kit. Plastic cover, covering foot and kit (and securing the rack with the lock) does not fit tight, there is a 2-3mm slot. I suppose this is a reason of whistling, with high frequencies. With box on roof rack I was not hearing that, there was heavy noise coming from the box. After removing the box whistling was so annoying that I removed front bar from the roof on the gas station – I was not able to drive with it on the roof!
One caveat is the measurements in the instructions to install the bars are wrong, not really sure where they came up with those (or maybe there were for a different length bar? I went with 60" which seem perfect for my van) but after a little finagling was able to get them evenly set up on my own. Not even worth taking a star off in my opinion, but I can understand if someone were confused or unhappy. I'm mechanically inclined so it was maybe a 10 minute bump in the road, just had to figure out what measurement would be equal from the end of the bar to the edge of the foot on each side of the car, and beware, the front and rear bar measurements will not be the same. I started by eye and refined it by measurement, and put a sharpie marker on the bottom in case I have to remove them, done and done.
On the other hand, it is very easy to use, with a pair of ratchet arms that securely lock the bike during transit, and are very simple to use – they also have a pretty wide loading range, and can accommodate up to 59cm frames. They also have a good load capacity of up to 35 pounds per bike position, which should be more than ample for the vast majority of bike types.
Anti-Sway Cages – There are a few different ways that racks can be designed to minimize sway, but an anti-sway cage is the most widely used. In particular, you’ll find these on rack designs that hold the top tube, but rear mounted designs that lock the wheels can also benefit from built-in anti-sway tech. In essence, it’s just going to help to keep the bike stable in the rack as you drive. This has the dual benefit of not allowing the bikes to affect vehicle handling (especially at highway speeds) and also stops the bikes knocking into each other.
As a final consideration, even though the UpRide will hold practically any bike you can hoist into its ratcheting hook arm, it really shines when securing bikes with wider tires inflated to lower pressures—i.e. mountain bikes, hybrids, cruisers, and fat bikes. Simply put, the hook can grip the bigger, softer tires easier than with the skinny, high-pressure tires found on road bikes.
With a Thule roof rack, you’re all set to head off on your adventures and make sure you have everything you want with you. When combined with other Thule products, our roof racks are also a starting point for carrying the extra special gear that lets you live your passions – with holders for your bikes, your skis, your canoes or kayaks, and your surfboards. Not to mention extra-secure roof boxes and spacious carrier baskets for special cargos