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Once your base support roof rack is fitted, you can use accessories to adapt it for all kinds of transport storage--from covered roof boxes to racks for bicycles and winter sports equipment. It’s very important to check your vehicle’s maximum load capacity to ensure that you are not overloading it, and don’t forget to take into account the weight of the roof equipment itself.

Generally speaking, you are going to see an increase in costs with the more features that you want on your rack. Here are some of the key features to keep an eye out for, you’ll find that some will be available on most models, whilst the Thule, as the truly premium item, comes closest to packing them all into one feature heavy bike rack – albeit with that premium price tag we mentioned!
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.
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!
Looking at some recent reviews, you might come to the conclusion that Thule heard all the complaints here about the end caps being shown in the picture, but not actually being in the box and rectified this problem. Some people claim to have gotten end caps. However, like me, you would be wrong in this conclusion. As of June 2015, they still don't include end caps. Maybe these people saying they got end caps got them with a foot purchase? At least in my case when I was just buying the bars to replace the rusty ones on my car, no end caps.
The Outbound ties to your vehicle with heavy-duty, double-stitched webbing straps, while twin compression straps help secure the load to cause minimal friction and noise while driving. Made of double-coated IP-X2, phthalate-free TPE laminate material that’s been certified to be weather resistant, it’ll provide amply protection from all the elements. A three-sided zipper makes it easy to access, and a storm flap that covers the zipper seams reinforce weather protection.
Thule does classify the ProRide as “carbon frame friendly” but only by using the included frame protector. But let’s be honest: this little protective piece of rubber and plastic that secures to the frame is a good idea to use even if you have a steel or aluminum frame for maximum protection of your bike’s paint job. It’s included so why not use it?
So, minus one star for false advertising about the end caps. And minus one star for claiming they don't rust, when I'm replacing them because the old ones are rusted. Otherwise, these things are super solid. I've had at least 2 stand up paddleboards and 2 surfboards on the car at once and there's no question these bars can withstand the strain from wind. If something were to break or bend in the whole car/rack combination, it's not going to be these bars in my opinion.
I started my ‘Roof Bar career’ with some cheap ones I used for windsurfing, and they lasted about 6 months before the powder coating started to split and corrosion set in. I then did what my brother told me to do from the start and buy Thule. That first set lasted about 8yrs as a permanent feature on my Vauxhall Nova and looked almost brand new when I removed them. I’ve never considered anything else since. They may appear expensive up front, but it’s not like a handbag where you’re paying for a brand name and nothing more, you’re paying for a proper quality engineered product.
Upright – As the name suggests, this type of rack will hold the bike upright. This is a very safe and secure method of transporting a bike. On the downside, a roof rack itself can have a negative impact on fuel performance though you can offset that a lot by selecting the best roof rack. It can also be harder to load these types of racks, especially with taller cars or heavier bikes. Speaking of taller cars by the way, if you do have an SUV or Minivan, just bare in mind the extra height you now have when driving!
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. 
I started my ‘Roof Bar career’ with some cheap ones I used for windsurfing, and they lasted about 6 months before the powder coating started to split and corrosion set in. I then did what my brother told me to do from the start and buy Thule. That first set lasted about 8yrs as a permanent feature on my Vauxhall Nova and looked almost brand new when I removed them. I’ve never considered anything else since. They may appear expensive up front, but it’s not like a handbag where you’re paying for a brand name and nothing more, you’re paying for a proper quality engineered product.

Choose aerodynamic roof bars for superior performance and a sleek, sophisticated look that complements the lines of your car. These roof rack cross bars also have many smart design features. A textured surface disturbs the airflow and greatly reduces wind noise. The aluminium extrusion creates one of the strongest load bars in the market. The design gives you quick, no-hassle installation. While the end cap pivots and T-track make it easy to add further loading options.

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