Thule have done the hard work of figuring out how to best fit it to your car, though. You just dial in the angle between the arms, hang it on your car and tighten the straps. You can lock the ratchets, and there's a cable lock to secure the last bike in place so it's harder to steal rack and bike than is typical of boot racks. It folds tidily, but it's not light.
Now, just to complicate matters the Thule Wing bar system is available in two different flavours. You can go for the Thule Rapid system which involves purchasing the bars, a foot pack and clamp system to fit your car. Alternatively the Wing bar can also be purchased in the Wing Bar Edge format which gives an even lower profile and comes complete, but does narrow the amount of carrying space. I therefore went for the Rapid system to maximise the width of the bars.
Please, whatever you use, tie down the bow and stern. It doesn't matter how many times you haven't and nothing bad happened. It doesn't matter how little it shifts in the wind. It doesn't matter that you're 15 minutes from home and only driving on pavement. The point is that if a strap breaks you could easily kill someone in a following car. I read somewhere that no boat is ready to drive away until it has 6 lines on it: two each across the midsection, triangulated from the bow and triangulated from the stern. Take it to heart.
"I have read reviews online on our product before, and fully understand your concern. For the most part I have interpreted that the people that have had bad experiences were not using the product correctly. Thule recommends using a 4-point tie-down. This is so that you equal out the pressure on the carrier, as well as, on the vehicle. I've seen reviews of people stating that they do not use any bow and stern tie-downs. These are the people that end up having their kayaks fly off. If the product is used correctly, there should be no problems while you are driving. So long as you use the product correctly, Thule will stand behind it. If you have any further questions on the matter, feel free to contact us. Thank you."
These attach right onto horizontal roof racks and hold the boat on its side to prevent warpng when tied down. It's very stable and makes it easy to lock the kayak to the rack with a standard cable. It can be pretty hard to load after a day of paddling and sometimes requires two people, even on my low roof. May not be the best for tall vehicles, but an economical alternative.
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 ProRide 598 and find the bags of various components. Once you’ve installed the ProRide all of the steps you took will be ‘obvious…in hindsight‘. In the future, mounting and unmounting the BIKE RACK will then only take about 5 minutes per bike rack.
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.
Aluminium bars include T-track slots which allow you to use the full length of the bars for load carrying. The WingBar not only looks good but more importantly includes a device which reduces wind noise to the minimum, as well as reducing drag. Many customers leave their Thule WingBars in place from week to week, especially if they are taller vehicles and fitting is awkward.