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What a nightmare...spent 4 hours the first day trying to install load bars on my Audi TT (this rack was "specialy designed" for this car...HA!). Returned to dealer several times and they could not do any better. Thule customer service is a joke. They verified the placement of the load bars and the wind deflector is getting in the way of my wipers, WTF! What really iritates me the most is that Yakima does not make a roof rack for my car and I am stuck with this. Going back to dealer one more time to get proper fit, will return and go with Yakima hitch rack if they cant help.
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.
A change of car has forced me to seek out a new set of roofbars. I wanted the best set of roof bars for my car without going silly on the cost. This time I have went for the Thule Wing bars. These are known as the Thule Aeroblades in some parts of the word. I love cars that can have a set of roof bars bolted to them, either to fittings hidden within the roof or roof rails. The new Unsponsored HQ paddle wagon/family transporter is a very sensible two litre 184bhp BMW 320d Sport.
There are a number of roof rack manufacturers providing equipment that although suits a purpose, is not suitable for carrying canoes, kayaks or bikes as it cannot handle the weight of these items. We exclusively sell Thule roof racks and cycle carriers which are well designed and can handle the weight and bulk of modern sports equipment. We don't sell anything we wouldn't be happy using ourselves and we're a picky bunch!
There are a number of roof rack manufacturers providing equipment that although suits a purpose, is not suitable for carrying canoes, kayaks or bikes as it cannot handle the weight of these items. We exclusively sell Thule roof racks and cycle carriers which are well designed and can handle the weight and bulk of modern sports equipment. We don't sell anything we wouldn't be happy using ourselves and we're a picky bunch!
Thule Rack mounted to factory rack on a VW station wagon. H2go Saddles in front, Hydroglides in back. Likes: Strength of system. Dislikes: All the saddles. Hydroglides can easily scratch the boat while you are getting the end on them, I need to set an ensolite pad on them to keep them open. The spring on one pad has broken in less that 10 kayak carrying days. I would much rather have used covers on standard saddles, see yakrackbooties.com (paddling.com sponsor). Also need to permanently fix a pad to the bar between the saddles. The H2go pads do not conform as well as they could. I bet the old ones with the three position locking tabs were better. They need more springiness. If Thule made the saddles as well as they make the bars and towers I would be a lot happier with the product. If they do not improve, I am not sure whether I would buy them again regardless of their superior strength. I have no affiliation with any paddling industry company.
Hitch Mounted – These types of the rack are connected up to the receiver hitch at the back of the vehicle. They tend to be very strong and stable, and often pack in more features than you may find on the other styles. The main benefit of these types is that they are lower and easier to load then the roof-mounted versions. They also largely keep the bike out of the vehicle airflow, helping minimize the impact on your fuel consumption. The negative is they can affect your rearview when driving, they can make trunk access difficult or even impossible and you must remember you have the rack mounted when you are reversing!
My latest car is an estate/touring with a set of roof rails so requires a roofbar that can clamp directly to the rail. After looking at the OEM version I decided to take a closer look at the Thule Wing bars. Mainly because the OEM version sat quite high off the roof and from BMW would have cost a small ransom. I have had a few different sets of Thule bars in the past and still own/use a set of Thule ProRide 591 bike carriers so it made sense to have a look at the newer offerings. In addition Thule have a pretty good reputation world wide and certainly have great customer service here in the UK.

I replaced my 89 Plymouth Voyager with a 98 Voyager and the roof rack stinks for my canoe and kayak. I replace it with the Thule rack. This rack is strong and sturdy worth every penny. The factory installed racks could slide back and forth and the Thule can't slide with loosening the bolts. I have no intention of ever moving them so I have no problem with this.
THEFT: A determined and well-prepared thief will have the tools to steal your bike in any case. I would imagine that, with an expensive bike, the thief might not be too concerned about prizing open the frame clamp and damaging the frame as the re-sale value of untraceable and expensive bike parts would more than compensate them for their efforts. The Thule FreeRide 532’s anti-theft mechanisms are sufficient to prevent the casual thief. Use your own bike lock when parked to better deter would-be thieves ie lock the bike to the roof bars with a motorbike lock or similar
Well I dont even trust factory racks because of the loads I often carry and for this reason I bought a Mit. Montero with gutters-could have had a newer Monte but the gutters are gone as with most newer SUV's, the gutters allowed the use of Thule bars attached to gutters and not factory racks with stated capacities of around 100 pounds, since I am often carrying two Brittish boats and a fully loaded Thule box in the middle I felt better ultimately attaching to the gutters...using this system I have traveled to Canada and to Key West and to the OBX with the load listed above (with at least 70 pounds of gear in the Thule Box...and have had no problems (yet!)...I do tie down the kayaks from both stern and bow for these trips of 500-1000 miles and also tie down the boats to the bar...I use a combo of Hully Rollers and H20 Saddles...and at every stop check the boat straps.

Finding the perfect Thule water sport rack couldn’t be simpler. Whether you want to carry a kayak, canoe, surfboard, SUP or windsurfer, you can find what you need for your vehicle’s make, model and year. Whatever your passion you can be sure of smart, safe and secure transportation of your precious gear. We test every water sport rack to the limits and beyond, making sure it withstands everything the road and the elements throw at you.


Less physically strong riders may find its heft a bit much. There are wheels to roll it on flat surfaces, but you wouldn't want to carry it very far. It locks securely to your tow hitch and carries up to three bikes. The bikes are held in place with ratchet straps round the bottom of the wheels and a clamp for the top tube or, for carbon bikes, one of Thule's 982 frame adapters.
The lid has dual-layer construction, which adds stiffness for durability and ease-of-use while reducing drag for better MPG, as well as to lessen the noise. Spring-loaded hinges make accessing the box from either side of the vehicle a breeze, with lockable Smartlatch handles help make sure everything is shut up tight. Clamp mounts make the box compatible with most roof rack bar systems, though you’ll probably want to upgrade to one of Whispbar’s mounts to complete the look.
Thule’s number one priority is safety – for you and the people around you. Our fit kits ensure your roof rack fits your car as safely and securely as possible. Also, at the Thule Test Center™, our products are only given the official seal of approval once they’ve survived numerous crash tests, wear and tear simulations, as well as extreme heat, cold, damp, sunlight and even harsh chemicals. All so you’re free to concentrate on the adventures ahead.
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