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Although this item might be the only choice for putting a roof rack on some cars, I don't believe that it is much of an option. I'll admit that the dealer warned me that he didn't have a very high opinion of it. He also told me he wouldn't help with the installation and that furthermore, if I wasn't happy with it, everything else BUT the Thule 477 SRA was returnable. Being a hardheaded sort of fellow, I had to find out for myself. I'd like to blame the dealer because he probably should'a refused to sell the darn thing to me but truth is, that would'a made me even more madder!
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.
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.
I compared the parts list for the 815 with the parts list for the 835XTR Hull-a-Port that appears on Thule's website and they're almost identical. The only differences are that the carriage bolts and end caps, while the same size, have different part numbers, and the 815 does not include the two 1/4 inch Rope Ratchets that are included with the 835XTR. While the Rope Ratchets are nice for tightening and securing the bow and stern tie-downs, they're not really necessary if you can tie a decent knot.
This is a well-made bike rack that improves on the lower FreeRide model in how the bike loads onto the rack and how the bike is restricted from wobbling. Loading on the bike to the frame is relatively easy. It’s quite a bit more expensive than the FreeRide model but offers protection for special carbon frames as well as a wider range of accessories over and above what are discussed in this review.
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!
I am an avid outdoorsman with experience in naturalist education, outside adventure education, ski instruction, and writing. In addition to my outdoor hobbies, I’m a huge fan of punk rock. I have launched several start-ups. (or business ventures) When exploring the backcountry, I usually carry less than 10 pounds of gear. Years of experience have taught me to pack light. I enjoy sharing my experiences of backcountry education teaching and guiding through writing.
The most likely causes of excessive wobble at speed on a motorway are either that you have not placed the arm clamp sufficiently close to the chainring OR you have not tightened the clamp sufficiently. Having said that, there is a further cause where the clamp can slip UP the frame IF your frame gets thinner in that direction (eg My Cervelo S3 does precisely that). In that scenario you will need to put the arm clamp slightly further away from the chainrings at a thinner part of the frame.
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...
Bought for use on my van's roof to hold a 9'1 longboard - already had roof bars up there which turned out to be too thick for the supplied fixings but wasn't too difficult to make it work. Really quick and easy to use. Haven't tried it with two boards but, as some of the other reviews say, it could be a bit tight to fit another board in with the size of strap supplied.