Last year I bought a Suburban (now I have two racked vehicles) and bought a set of Thule #450 Crossroads to mount to the factory rails. I was little concerned about the rack coming loose. Not that the rack would have a problem, but rather the factory rails would rip out of the Suburban’s roof. Happy to say, after several 1500 mile trips to Maine and Hilton Head my concerns have been but aside. This thing is as rock solid as I was used to.
I put these on a 2012 VW Tiguan (using the Thule Rapid Crossroad Foot Pack) and probably should have gone with the 53" version for 2 kayaks. I only anticipated 1 kayak at time of purchase but the collection grew. Ended up getting a Takima J-Low to mount one on its side and one flat on the bars. Very tight squeeze (the J-Lows max weight for 2 kayaks isn't high enough if they are fishing kayaks - 110lbs). The J-Lows are VERY noisy and whistle when empty (gotta break out some duct tape and work on that...) but the bars - you won't notice they are there unless actively listening for them when unloaded.
Grip-friendly outer handles and supporting lid-lifters make it easy to open from either side of the vehicle even when wearing gloves, with a clever slide-lock system with separate locking and opening functions to let you know when the lid’s in place and closed securely. It marries nicely with most after-market bar kits and comes in black, gray, and white.
We tested this cargo box during a move from Salt Lake City to Austin, Texas and were able to fit two large suitcases, two cardboard boxes, and a full-sized up right vacuum cleaner with room to spare. It is easy to open one handed, and comes with a lock to give you some peace of mind. The Yakima SkyBox is stylish, waterproof, and didn't cause any extra road noise, either.
I used the rack with a standard road bike and a mountain bike with a big chunky downtube, both were clamped snuggly in place as the rubber lining of the clamp moulds around the tube whatever its shape. We got the quick release wheel straps over a set of Cannondale Knot 64mm deep section wheels and there was plenty of strap to spare. The design of the mounts also means any width of tyre will fit with the possible exception of fat bikes.
Shortly after we bought the rack, our little mazda 2 was rear ended by a texting idiot. Before the car was repaired, I decided to try and test the rack to see if I could damage the tailgate with the rack. I tightened it up really hard and grabbed the mounting arms and shook the car around on it's suspension and it did not bend or damage the tailgates panel edges at all.
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They seem solid and well made. I'm just surprised at the way that the coating ends on the bars and the bare steel is open to the elements. I guess I assumed these would come with the end caps, as it doesn't specify that they don't and the photo includes the end caps, while graying out the feet - which I knew weren't included. Seems kinda skimpy to leave that little piece out.
Locking Cables – These are essentially built-in security devices that wrap a sturdy chain around your bike and lock it into place. This has the obvious advantage of protecting your bike from any opportunistic thieves who could look to steal it straight off the rack. Bear in mind that typically you’re only going to see this feature included as standard on the more premium models. Some of the products we looked at above did have a locking cable as an option to buy separately, so check if the rack comes pre-equipped if you want a cable.
After much reveiw and discussion with others, I decided on the Thule system for my touring kayaks and my Honda CRV. I had initially planned to get H2GO Saddles, while debating on trying the Malone of Maine J saddles, when this year Thule came out with the Hull-a-port Part #835 at around $85 a pair), a J shaped kayak carrier, at a lower cost and intuitively more rugged design (ie bulkier) than Malone's. The Thule guy (at the NE Paddlesports show in Durham NH Spring 2001) did not recommend the fairing that Mike mentions below, but I had considered one for noise control. The rep said Thule is not recommending it for kayaks as it increases the lift forces on the kayak. The rack alone makes a boat-load of noise (no pun intended) so I can only imagine what it's going to soundlike with the Hull-a-port standing up there, let alone with a kayak attached to it. I may get the fairing anyway but it's expensive.
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.
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The rear strap design now requires the strap to go at an angle rather than directly over the wheel (as with previous Thule rack models). Make sure that you twist the strap clasp lock as well so it points to about 2 o’clock. I’m not entirely sure why this aspect of the design was changed as the straight-through strap always seemed fine to me and was more easily stowed away.
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.
As cities grow denser, and the need for compact vehicles becomes more prevalent, the need for clever storage rapidly becomes essential. Over the years, many YouTube fail videos have shown us what can go wrong when your gear isn't properly strapped down. Thankfully, mainstay brands like Yakima and Thule continue to offer us smart and easy to use roof storage systems to prevent your next outdoor excursion from accidentally going viral. With that in mind, here are a few of our favorite roof racks and storage systems. We've compared more than 25 different storage solutions to help you find the most affordable, reliable, and easiest ones to install.
Thule v. Yakima - few topics bring about more angry debate. I've had my Thule system for about 5 years. I've hauled mountain bikes, skis, and three kayaks on my roof. It has worked flawlessly, albeit noisily. Yes, Yakima fans, the support bars will probably bend if you put three kayaks on them regularly. But if you are hauling that much weight with any frequency, you need a trailer, not a roof top rack system. Normal mortals won't have problems with bicycles, surf/whitewater kayaks, or one touring boat with an occasional second.
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.
Thule Winter sport racks let you live your winter passion thanks to a full choice of ski and snowboard racks. Not to mention ski boxes that also let you store your boots and poles plus all your other gear. Just load everything you want and head for the snow. And you can always be sure your equipment arrives in perfect shape – at the Thule Test Center™ we rigorously test our winter sport racks for road safety as well as their ability to withstand extreme weather. Leaving you free to think about the adventure ahead!
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!
If you already own parts or just want a complete set of used roof bars, then use the roof bar guide to find your vehicle, then at the bottom of the page, if we have used equipment available. you will be able to order separate items. Do note even though you have some parts always double check that you have the right length of bars and foot pack. To do this just look at the relevent package options, we list the items in that package that you will require for that vehicle.
Don't get me wrong. I use Thule racks and locks and cradles and locking cable and straps… the whole kit. That's because security and convenience and bicycles and protecting the roof of my car are also important, and because I started with a used Thule rack, gradually accumulating a closet full of proprietary extrapolations and substitutions as needs changed. And it does work. It all works. It's just that every single bit of it is clumsily engineered and imprecisely manufactured, requiring brute force as well as wiggling and finagling to get it just right. Some parts fit loosely, some tightly, some are robust and some flimsy. Every change, every adjustment to a Thule rack is a project and a series of compromises. Admittedly, I change things around a lot, but as familiar as I've become with my rack, I still spend an inordinate amount of time getting all the parts straight and tight and solid before I reach for my boats.
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.
Bought these for use on my Kia Ceed. Very easy to fit following the instructions on youtube. I wanted my roof bars to be as silent as possible and these definitely fit the bill. The only time I actually heard them above normal road noise was when they were covered in dirt and frost which caused them to whistle (which is understandable as theyre not as aerodynamic). Personally I think the thule bars are worth the additional cost.