If, like me, you are upgrading from an earlier Thule FreeRide FR35 then preparing the clamping mechanism for the bike frame is unchanged. The black ends of the clamping arm each have two holes and you use the one which corresponds to your frame size. If your partner or children have notably different bike sizes to you then you might have to change this regularly…on the previous model I never had to change it in about 10 years.
At ReRack we only sell racks and parts from top-quality manufacturers like Yakima, Thule and Rhino-Rack. These roof racks are typically able to support more weight and gear than standard factory racks. The price of a base roof rack will depend on if you want new items or not, aerodynamic profile or not, and your vehicle year/make/model. There are complete roof rack setups starting under $150 for a used rack on older vehicles, all the way through $500+ for a new, aerodynamic top-of-the-line setup.
The biggest criticism of the Tandem Carrier is a slight lack of stability due to the rack not having side stabilizer arms as found on competing tandem bike roof racks. To overcome this, one reviewer recommends securing the bike with an additional ratcheting tie down strap—check with your local hardware store—on the bike’s crossbar for extra stability.
I own a 1989 Jeep Wrangler with a soft top. Awkward at best to find a roof rack. My wife and I are "Fun Hogs", the Jeep fills the bill but is short on hauling room. Thule to the rescue. The extensive listing of brackets and attachments have allowed us to fit the Thule rack to the roll bar. As we go topless during the spring through fall, we now can carry two kayaks & paddles and two bycicles w/spare wheels. As a testament to the durability, we have done the Rubicon two years running with bikes and our sea kayaks aboard. Routine trips into Baja, no problem. Thule's rectangular cross tubing is far superior to the competitions round tube. Although not recomended, at 220lbs. I've stood on the rack to scout trails and beach areas without fear of falling. One tough rack.
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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 sleek, aerodynamic design cuts down on drag and wind noise, and the quick-release hardware makes it easy to mount; it works with most round, square, and aerodynamic bars, with a minimum/maximum cross bar spread between 24 to 42 inches. As with most Yakima boxes, it’s made in the United States with up to 80 percent recycled material, and you can add a cargo net (separate purchase) that attaches to built-in tie-down points and divides the storage space into four-foot squares. The Skybox comes in five sizes, from 12 cubic feet up to a cavernous 21 cubic feet.
For us, the roof rack that fits us the best is the Thule Hullavator Pro Kayak Carrier. It is probably the most complete roof rack on the market at the moment. We rate it 5 out of 5 stars as we could not find anything to complain on. It comes from a top rated manufacturer and can be adjustable to pretty much any kayak size. Moreover, it makes loading a matter of seconds and can take heavy boats as well.
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.
The hull a port system is unpredictable as far as safety goes.the PLASTIC clamp that allen wrenches in underneath your cross bars is not sturdy and should be made of some type of metal to make tis a reliable good system.i was driving 20mphs on a dirt road and i heard a crack and my boat almost completely came loose.can you imagine that situation but on a highway doing 60?tragedy waiting to happen! the closer to you roof you yak is the better.even though i have replacement parts coming and will continue to use the hull a port system.
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.
No, really, these things are seriously quiet while driving. They aren't inaudible but probably the closest you're gonna get without flat out removing them. I can't imagine any other cross bars being this quiet. And they give you rubber stripping to cover any holes (well, troughs actually) that might otherwise upset the laminar flow and cause unnecessary noise. Very nicely done.
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 bought this as an upgrade since we bought the Toyota Sequoia which is wider than my older Mercedes GL. I also ordered the Thule Outrigger which works nicely with the cross bar to load and unload our SUPs easier. The combination works very well. I offer a suggestion I did which also worked well with me. If you want kayaks or boards to roll easily over the cross bars and without scratching try this: Go to Home Depot and buy two 30-40" long (depending on the width of the car top) of 1.5" diameter PVC pipes and two-2" pipes of the same length. The 1.5" will fit inside the 2" pipe nicely and the cross bar will fit into the combination (through the 1.5" of course) very well. This will give you a very nice set of rollers for the two cross bars and if you buy the black color of pipes they will look very professional at a cost of less than $15. I tried so many commercial covers and rollers and nothing worked better than this home made one.
I already had a fairly sturdy factory rack on the roof of Subaru Outback Sport (the economy Outback) and was looking for cradles I could attach to that. I originally bought the Rollercoaster for the front and hydroglide for the back with the Fat Mouth Factory rack adapters. Regardless of what the salesman said, this didn't work (Fat Mouths only work with ski racks). So, I exchanged these for the Hull-a-ports (for about $120 less).
The rack was easier to install than I had thought, though I suspect your average Swede is much stronger than your average American... They show a one hand squeeze on the Aero Foot cam (that scrunches down on the cross bar, securing it). I had to stand and jump up and down on it (please don't void my warranty!) to get the darn thing to close and snap locked. It was almost a show stopper as I would not have been able to get it to close otherwise (I tried squeezing it for dear life with both hand and all my 205 lbs for over 15 minutes before I gave up and stood on the darn thing: closed right up and locked). Other than that, it went in likity-split, and exactly like the fit kit said it would! It took about 45 minutes, counting the isometirc exercises with the cam. I purchased the lock cylinders: I wanted to make those hard to install, but it could not have been easier. The installation instructions are well written and specific for my car (from the fit kit). I do think there should be no charge for the fit kits...
Rather than going for a pack put together by a roof rack shop or supplier I decided to visit the Thule website, find the make, model and year of my car to create a shopping list of the parts required. This is a simple but crucial process as the different possible combinations of bars, foot pack and fitting kit is enormous. Once checked I sourced each of the parts from different suppliers on Amazon. This saved around 20% and as I have Amazon Prime included free delivery.
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!