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This review is of a Thule roof rack fit to my 2011 Mazda3 Sport. Its a basic rack and if installed with care, stays put. The load limit is 100 lbs, so pack with care if you also use a roof box - I've weighed each piece of my gear to and the box itself to make sure I stay within the limits. The rack itself is cheap and works as its supposed to. The only thing I would like is a torque specification so that I don't over tighten and get the dreaded "oil can" popping sound of my roof being compressed (I heard that happen to someone else once, not pleasant). Oh, and I put some 3M protective film down on a clean roof to prevent any paint damage from the foot pads. It looks crappy if I'm not careful wiping away wax, but will protect the paint.
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.
If you want a cheap and easy roof rack solution for short trips look no further than this affordable option from Highland. Although they're rated for a capacity of up to 400 pound, we'd recommend them for lighter items like ladders, kayaks, skis or snowboards. You may want to add a couple extra straps for a bit more security, but if your usual paddling spot or local hill are just a few miles away, this option do the job just fine.
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.
The covers for the the TK8 fit kit do not sit flush on the car. There is a rather substantial gap on the inside edge of the cover. This allows water to get under the trim. Thule recommended smearing a heavy layer of grease on the metal under the rail twice a year so that the metal does not rust. This is a problem. The gap is obvious and also does not look good. Thule has been aware of this problem for a couple of years and have chosen not to rectify it.
I bought my hull-a-ports along with the Aero-Bars from the Rack Warehouse in the spring (2002). Five weeks after I put them on my car, I had the lower plastic brackets snap on one of them on the freeway which was very disconcerting at 70 mph. Thule sent me new plastic brackets but after reading postings on this and other sites about kayaks flying off cars all over the country - I decided not to risk it. I commonly have to drive 500 x-way miles to paddle. I sent the hull-a-port back to the Rack Warehouse asking for a refund. They said Thule looked at it and because it was "used" (mangled is a better word after the product failure) they couldn't give me a refund. They admit that the plastic brackets are prone to failure and because of that - they are re-engineering them in steel and will send me my hull-a-port and new brackets when they are available. It is now almost November and I have not had the use of it all summer. Apparently it's sitting in moth balls at the Rack Warehouse until God knows when??? If only I would of bought them at REI or some other retailer that stands behind what they sell and will wrestle with the manufacturer for the consumer. Live and learn...
I was very pleased with my experience at Rack Solid. Customer service was professional, friendly, and very accommodating. The Rock Solid Company is ethical and practices honesty and fairness, as they didn’t try to sell me more rack locks than I needed, like other rack retailers do. (I needed 5 locks, but other retailers only sell packs of 4 or 6. Here, I was able to save money and buy exactly 5.) I was referred by a third party to visit Rock Solid, and now I see why others refer them. I will definitely encourage people to buy from this company, especially since they are a specialty store, and have a wide variety of rack systems, carriers, and accessories. They even do installations…it’s one-stop-shopping at it’s best!
We have various models of Thule Cycle Carrier to suit any specification of vehicle. Whether it’s just you or a car full of friends and family, get your bikes to wherever you’re going with a Thule bike rack – quickly, easily and safely. With a bike rack from Thule, you’ll be able to cycle on distant roads or bike far from home through wild terrain. Thule’s car bike racks come in different types and can be mounted on your roof, hitch, towbar, or on your boot. If you already own a roof rack, a roof bike rack could be the simplest solution, however a boot or hitch mounted carrier is often easier to load and unload and suits heavier bikes, even e-bikes. These Cycle carriers can carry up to 4 bikes, Use Thule’s buyer’s guide to find the most suitable cycle carrier for your vehicle. Thule’s range of bike racks continuously win multiple industry awards for design, safety and innovation.
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.
Roof bars are an essential item if you want to fit a roof mounted cycle rack to your car. Designed to work with a car roof rail system roof bars are the base for attaching a range of car roof storage systems including cycle roof racks. Roof bars like the Thule Gutterless Rapid System are available for cars with normal roofs that don’t feature roof rails.
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Wobble – At speed your front wheel will wobble. I doubt you will stop all of the wobbling. However you want the frame NOT to wobble much at all. In my opinion this design is better at wobble control than the cheaper FreeRide (then again, I’ve used the FreeRide for over 10 years on motorways, admittedly with occasionally worried glances up through the car’s sunroof)
We are a main dealer and stockist for THULE related products in Birmingham and Coventry. We stock the whole variety of THULE products and if you can’t see them we can have them delivered directly to your door by THULE. Our range of THULE bike carriers will take you anywhere you want. We have a good range of cycle carriers and rack at our Catherine de Barnes Shop if you wish to view.
I was (un)fortunate enough to get these a bit cheaper from Amazon Warehouse Deals which was the main reason for opting for the top of the range bars as opposed to a cheaper alternative, however I was stung when I realised that the keys and lock barrels are missing from the box - pretty much wipes out any discount I had! Naively, I did not realise they were missing until I had proudly installed the bars on the car, so I'll just cut my losses and purchase a new set in due course... I'll probably buy the same set as the ProRide 591's that I also purchased - if only they hadn't been lost by Hermes (on behalf of Amazon) who claim to have delivered them, but that's another story.
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.
I was given my first Thule system back in 1992 when Thule was a sponsor of mine. I used that basic rack system along with numerous accessories up until the summer of 2015. The load bars were finally rusting [where I had drilled holes in them] and I felt I needed to replace them. My towers and my locks, however, are still my 1992 originals, and they're doing great.
The WBT31 comes fully built and ready to use. Optional extras include a wall storage hook (£10) if you want to keep it off the floor, a dust/rain cover (£20), good for storing in a hostile environment, and a ramp (£35) for loading heavy bikes or if you aren't happy lifting them vertically onto the rack. The ramp fits all four bike positions on either side and stows securely in a holder on the rack, ready to use at your destination. I always used the ramp for getting our 30kg (plus whatever's in the panniers) Workcycles FR8 Dutch bike on and off the rack – it's fast to use and minimises the risk of slipping and dropping a very heavy bike.
However - there's no need to fret, at Halfords we offer a market-leading range of roof top bars, roof racks and fittings, from brands such as Thule, Exodus and Cruz as well as our own brand alternatives. Our roof bars will suit all leading vehicle manufacturers, including Ford, Volvo, BMW and Vauxhall and we also offer universal models that will suit many vehicles.
The Showcase is constructed of high-quality, durable plastic, and the exterior comes with a high-gloss automotive-quality finish to deliver a decidedly more modern look. But the Showcase doesn’t just get by on appearances. The box opens from both sides, with a tapered tail to provide excellent tailgate clearance. The made-in-the-U.S. box comes with SKS locks, an intuitive push-button latch to securely close the lid and internal lid stiffeners that bolster the box’s overall strength and makes easy to open and close the lid.
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.
There were a few types of bar I could have chosen. Firstly the bog standard square bars, which are pretty good but they don’t have the T channel for quick attachment of bike carriers and roof boxes. They still work really well but I have a few bits that use the T bolt system and I really like it for ease and security. The second is the Aero bars system which I have used a great deal in the past. They are again good, but I found them to be a little noisy on the cars I have had in the past. This may have been down to the bars or the foot system, or the way I had fitted them. The Aero bars do have the T channel which still makes them a contender. OEM bars tend to be very similar to the Thule Aero bars anyway. However for a little bit more cash the Thule Wing bars offer a lower profile, a reported 55% reduction in drag compared to the Aero bars and a possibility of an overall quieter system. After a hunt around (see below) I got the Wing bars for the price of a set of Aero bars
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!
Usually two bars that run across the width of the vehicle roof, which you then mount your activity-specific racks to; whether it’s ski racks, bike racks, cargo boxes, kayak racks, etc. Crossbars support the weight of all the gear you’re adding to the roof and transfer the weight to the towers/feet. The major crossbar types include: round (Yakima), square (Thule, Inno), aerodynamic (Thule, Yakima, Whispbar, others), and factory.
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