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.
THEFT: A determined and well-prepared thief will have the tools to steal your bike in any case. I would imagine that, with an expensive bike, the thief might not be too concerned about prizing open the frame clamp and damaging the frame as the re-sale value of untraceable and expensive bike parts would more than compensate them for their efforts. The ProRide’s anti-theft mechanisms are sufficient to prevent the casual thief. Use your own bike lock when parked to better deter would-be thieves ie lock the bike to the roof bars with a motorbike lock or similar
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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.
There are a few other things that are important to me, and no doubt many of you will have your own requirements depending on car and lifestyle. I for example like a rack that won’t take up much space when off the car – which pretty much rules out boot or tow bar mounted racks. I’d also rather leave it in situ for most of the time due to the amount of use.
On your car roof, one these 3 alternatives will most likely be possible: a bracket specific to your roof shape that clips into the door frame: attachments for a dealer installed roof rail; OR a T-track. This review assumes that you have already figured out how to get two roof bars on your car roof – and that can be somewhat convoluted if you have an unusual car, good luck!
Always check the vehicle manufacturer's recommended maximum load rating for roof rails. The maximum load rating below is for the cross bars. The load rating for roof rails can vary depending on the vehicles manufacturer. As with all racks, you're going to need to be very aware of your sunroof. On some vehicles there will not be the clearance needed to open the sunroof ie. when the racks are on the roof stays closed.
While most roof rack systems have some modular components, the year, make and model of your vehicle will determine what your specific options will be. Brands like Yakima and Thule have a current solution or two for most vehicles, but at ReRack we are able to offer a wide variety of choices, from now-discontinued styles to the latest and greatest racks. If you’re not sure what parts you need for your car, reach out to us! We’re happy to help. For an introduction to main types of roof racks, see our guide here.
The rear strap design now requires the strap to go at an angle rather than directly over the wheel (as with previous Thule rack models). Make sure that you twist the strap clasp lock as well so it points to about 2 o’clock. I’m not entirely sure why this aspect of the design was changedm the straight-through strap always seemed fine to me and was more easily stowed away.
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!
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.
4. The product information brags about the Smartslide system but installation instructions tell you nothing on how to use it. You can't even find good information on the Thule website. Just be warned that you have to move each foot independently but keeping the same Smartslide number the same on each side so that feet are evenly spaced from the outside of the bar.
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.
Secondly air pressure will try to push the boats apart from the bow. The Js are attached to the crossbar in a clamp fashion tightened with two thumb bolts. These can slide on the crossbar. The edge of your factory rail will stop them in the front, but then the rear racks will tend to slide together (toward the center of the car), making a bigger air dam. I cut and taped a strip of wood to the crossbar between the opposing rear Js so they could not slide. (I saw another car with Js and the rear racks had come together making huge air resistance and although not separated one of the kayaks had lifted from being seated in the cradle....yikes I would not want to be behind that guy!) Check all tie downs every time you stop or if you here or feel anything unusual.
After reading the reviews here by some users who had issues with the older clamps, I contacted Thule support and they offered to send me a set of new metal hardware at no charge. The support rep. said that most of the problems with older design were probably caused by non-use of bow and stern tie downs, and strongly recommended doing this, even with the updated mounting plates. A few weeks later I received the plates, installed them, and everything seems to be solid but I think I'll still be using tie downs just to be on the safe side. Just noticed Yakima is now making racks similar to the Hull A Ports and also recommend securing the bow and stern. Guess they're playing "C-Y-A", too.
I would like to tell you that I have been using the Thule on my Durango and I secure the boat by going around the factory rack (not using the Thule securing method of securing your boat to the rack only). I find that that when you synch down the Kayak the pressure is pushed down through the Thule kayak racks and onto the factory roof rack which "flexes" and therefore allows the Thule rack to do the minimum which is to hold your Kayak on its side securely. Also once the Kayak is loaded this way it would be rather difficult to dislodge that baby unless your doing 70MPH and slam on your breaks even then it may not go anywhere..it is pretty darn secure.
I originally purchased my Thule rack system in 1985 (for use on a Land Cruiser) and ‘upgraded’ in 1990 to the new style Thule racks (for a 4Runner), so I have a fair amount of experience with these racks. Although I have not purchased much new Thule gear lately, all of my 15-20 year old accessories work great. I use the 58” bars in the winter to hold my ski carrier and box. In the summer I use 78” bars to hold 2-3 canoes or kayaks, plus bikes. Given that most of my gear is so old, it is made of solid aluminum and steel and hasn’t given me one failure. Sure, I broke a fairing when I hit a flying rock at 60mph. And, I’ve lost a few of the nuts and nylon bar ends but these were easily replaced. But never have I had a fear of the rack coming off my truck. I’ve even caught a tree with one of my 78” bars, which bent the roof of my 4Runner pretty good. Still, the rack did not budge. My rack has spent a lot of time in Alaska and Minnesota winters and rust has never been much of a problem, either.
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!
Fitting the ProRide was pleasingly simple. I’d prepared myself for a long and frustrating afternoon of shouting at the instructions booklet but instead had it all in place in less than 15 minutes. Once the T-screw is in place (in the roof bars) you simply slide the two base plates in to position, feed the T-screw through the holes in the base plate and clamp them down with the cam levers. One of which is locked in place so the whole system can’t be taken off without the provided key.
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!