Aluminium bars include T-track slots which allow you to use the full length of the bars for load carrying. The WingBar not only looks good but more importantly includes a device which reduces wind noise to the minimum, as well as reducing drag. Many customers leave their Thule WingBars in place from week to week, especially if they are taller vehicles and fitting is awkward.
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As a THULE 5-star dealer and winner of the prestigious ‘THULE DEALER OF THE YEAR’ award, The Journey Centre offers the full range of Thule products, including roof bars for all types of vehicles, roof boxes for the holiday season, plus a range of carriers for cycles, skis or water sports, along with the range of THULE luggage, backpacks and strollers.
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.
One year ago, I purchased my Thule rack with four H2GO saddles to support my two sit-on-top kayaks. So far 3 out of the four rubber saddles have torn where the pin that passes through the rubber and attaches to the plastic. Even though Thule has graciously replaced them, I feel the H2GO saddles are poorly designed. Thule has replaced my saddles with their new SET2GO saddles.
Also, poke holes in dead tennis balls and jam them on the ends of your bars. It will keep your passengers from clonking themselves, not just because they are softer and rounder than factory caps, they are bright. It's easy to lose track of exactly where black-on-black bar ends are in space, even when you're looking for them; it's hard to overlook glowing lime-green spheres. You'll have to replace them each year as they fade; remove the factory caps beforehand so you won't pull them off inside the tennis balls.
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.
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.
I managed to install two ProRides, the UpRide and a FreeRide simultaneously on one car (ie 4 bike racks). A total of 3 is relatively easy but adding the fourth bike rack required the pedals to be removed from the bikes and was quite a squeeze. If you are going to install 3 or 4 bike racks then you will need to alternate the direction in which they face (forward-back-forward-back) and you will need to ensure that the various closing mechanisms on each of the bike racks are relatively easily accessible. Good luck 😉 !
Ironically, after posting my review of the Thule J-racks, I just about lost a kayak this past weekend coming back from Maine, due to the cheap mounting hardware included with the Thule J-rack. One of the plastic mounting bars split- where the bolt is held in place by the recessed nut- and the front rack was only held on by the one remaining mounting bar. It was not pleasant to see my kayak sliding towards the outside of the roof rack, going down I95 in Maine. Unless Thule changes the mounting hardware from plastic to metal, this rack is a dangerous. Cheap mounting seems to be a theme with Thule.
[Update] - there are two channels along the bottom of these bars. Having narrowed the whistling noise down to the bar, I tried running 2.5inch wide vinyl tape the entire bottom of the bar, making the two channels flush. Noise stopped immediately. It's a poor design by Thule (noise-wise). If you're ok with masking off the bottom of the bar, that is a viable solution for stopping the noise.
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.
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.
Thule Rack mounted to factory rack on a VW station wagon. H2go Saddles in front, Hydroglides in back. Likes: Strength of system. Dislikes: All the saddles. Hydroglides can easily scratch the boat while you are getting the end on them, I need to set an ensolite pad on them to keep them open. The spring on one pad has broken in less that 10 kayak carrying days. I would much rather have used covers on standard saddles, see yakrackbooties.com (paddling.com sponsor). Also need to permanently fix a pad to the bar between the saddles. The H2go pads do not conform as well as they could. I bet the old ones with the three position locking tabs were better. They need more springiness. If Thule made the saddles as well as they make the bars and towers I would be a lot happier with the product. If they do not improve, I am not sure whether I would buy them again regardless of their superior strength. I have no affiliation with any paddling industry company.
We spoke to Tom Henwood of Main Line Overland to see what the pros are using and what’s popular on today’s market. “The best roof rack is the best design for a given application, rather than a particular brand. We help customers select racks and storage systems based on what they intend to carry on their travels, where they intend to go, etc. We look for componentry that maintains a low profile and low center of gravity for off-road driving, so we often choose aluminum roof racks to keep weight down up top.”
Trunk mounted styles like this one are usually easier to load than roof rack versions, however, this model takes that ease to a whole new level. Bikes simply slot on about a foot of the ground, with a set of well-designed ratchet arms locking them easily into place. It even boasts an integrated cable lock to lock the bikes to the rack for added security.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
When you want to travel fully equipped and leave nothing behind, Thule Motion XT is the perfect companion. This family-sized roof box will safely carry all of your luggage, outdoor gear and bulky loads wherever your travels lead. The range of user-friendly features include quick and secure mounting on the car, smooth opening and closing of the lid, and DualSide opening for easy access.
One caveat is the measurements in the instructions to install the bars are wrong, not really sure where they came up with those (or maybe there were for a different length bar? I went with 60" which seem perfect for my van) but after a little finagling was able to get them evenly set up on my own. Not even worth taking a star off in my opinion, but I can understand if someone were confused or unhappy. I'm mechanically inclined so it was maybe a 10 minute bump in the road, just had to figure out what measurement would be equal from the end of the bar to the edge of the foot on each side of the car, and beware, the front and rear bar measurements will not be the same. I started by eye and refined it by measurement, and put a sharpie marker on the bottom in case I have to remove them, done and done.
The ProRide meets requirement number three no problem and is no problem when left in situ. Thule do advise you take it off when not in use as it will affect your fuel consumption. But I found it to be negligible, happily staying around 62-64 mpg on long motorway drives. With a bike on it typically dropped to nearer 60mpg, but this number is affected more by the way you drive than having a bike on the roof.
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.
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.