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.
I put these on a 2012 VW Tiguan (using the Thule Rapid Crossroad Foot Pack) and probably should have gone with the 53" version for 2 kayaks. I only anticipated 1 kayak at time of purchase but the collection grew. Ended up getting a Takima J-Low to mount one on its side and one flat on the bars. Very tight squeeze (the J-Lows max weight for 2 kayaks isn't high enough if they are fishing kayaks - 110lbs). The J-Lows are VERY noisy and whistle when empty (gotta break out some duct tape and work on that...) but the bars - you won't notice they are there unless actively listening for them when unloaded.
I recently put my Thule J-racks on for their second season of use, only to fine that the mounting hardware is not for its second summer of use. The mounting bars (plastic) are cheap and split easily. There is a bolt inside the mounting bar that is supposed to stay stationary so that the bolt may tighten the rack to the rack. When plastic mounting bar splits, which doesn't take much, the bolt moves around making the hardware useless. Also, the bolts included with the racks rust at the mere mention of water. (Probably not the best thing for a kayak rack). The upside is that the J-rack itself is great, its just the mounting hardware that stinks- which can be replaced. I've yet to do it so I can't speak to how easy that is. Its not a bad rack for $85, just be prepared to replace and be careful witht the mounting hardware aspect of it.
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.”
With such a high number of SUVs on the market, finding a one-size-fits-all roof rack is nearly impossible. But if there is one rack that towers above others in design and usability, it’s Front Runner Outfitters’ Grab-On Slimline. “We have installed several of these Slimline racks on late-model Land Rovers, and their clean, classy look seems well-suited to most SUVs, especially the Land Rover LR4. Front Runner has a ton of bolt-on accessories as well, so you can carry your axe and shovel — or even a slide-out stainless prep table — in secure style.
As cities grow denser, and the need for compact vehicles becomes more prevalent, the need for clever storage rapidly becomes essential. Over the years, many YouTube fail videos have shown us what can go wrong when your gear isn't properly strapped down. Thankfully, mainstay brands like Yakima and Thule continue to offer us smart and easy to use roof storage systems to prevent your next outdoor excursion from accidentally going viral. With that in mind, here are a few of our favorite roof racks and storage systems. We've compared more than 25 different storage solutions to help you find the most affordable, reliable, and easiest ones to install.
Caveat: I was thinking of replacing the Js with a rail rider or something that I could put an extended crossbar on in order to lay the boats flat. Figured less wind resistance would equal better gas mileage. I was surprised to find on this trip my mileage was better than expected (19+ with a big hemi V8, not great but hey, it goes!)I attribute this to mainly reduced speeds on many of the non interstate highways where we were running 60-65.
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TYRE DEFLATION: This has never happened to me. In theory if this happened during transport then the bike would become considerably more loosely attached. I don’t think it would fall off as the two front arms are locked together in place. If you purposefully deflated the tyres before attaching the bike to the UpRide then I would guess that vibration during transport WOULD damage your wheel rims to a small degree. Thieves MAY deflate your tyres to make the bike OR WHEEL more easy to remove – remember they can easily take out your wheel skewers.
To aid you with your rack selection process, The Rack Warehouse lists the most popular selling Thule 460R Rapid Podium Foot Complete Car Roof Rack fits alphabetically by Auto Manufacturer. You'll find perfect fitting roof racks for most of today's top selling vehicles on this list. Thule 460R Rapid Podium Foot Complete Car Roof Racks are designed for vehicles with factory fixed points, rail tracks and bolt through applications. If you don't see your vehicle on this list, simply click on the Thule Fit Guide at the top of the page, enter your vehicle information and the Thule Fit Guide will do the rest.
Wobble – This is probably the most important point. I think I’m reasonably good at looking at things and then extrapolating how I think they will work. To me the UpRide design looked like the bike would wobble like crazy. However IT DOES NOT WOBBLE LIKE CRAZY. I would say that I was surprised to find that there is LESS wobble than with the other, cheaper Thule bike roof racks. It seems that fixing the front wheel absolutely solidly is the thing to do.
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.
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.
I should've read the gd item description and reviews before I purchased this because these don't come with the end caps like its pictured. Had I known that, I would just gone to REI to purchase these. Also, the bars look used. I'm sure it'll do the job and it will get dirty eventually, but still.... I paid for a new product. All these mf snakes on this mf plane...
I use the rapid traverse foot pack and aero blade bars. The foot pack was simple to install and stays rock solid, I check and tighten periodically but they've never been close to loose. The bars are very strong and nearly silent at freeway speeds, which start at 65 in CA. I can easily transport my 2 yaks, I use a cheap j rack bought on Amazon for my smaller lighter kayak and the Yakima even keel for the big heavy one, obviously not a symmetrical setup but they both fit easily in that configuration and I don't have much other choice, my lifetime sportfisher will not fit in J racks. For toting a couple miles to local beaches it's never an issue. I don't bother with nose straps if I'm not going more than 10 miles, but I have for longer trips. In each case there's never been a problem or any movement.
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.
I replaced my 89 Plymouth Voyager with a 98 Voyager and the roof rack stinks for my canoe and kayak. I replace it with the Thule rack. This rack is strong and sturdy worth every penny. The factory installed racks could slide back and forth and the Thule can't slide with loosening the bolts. I have no intention of ever moving them so I have no problem with this.
Six years ago I went here to have Thule cycle racks mounted on my car. I think they are also called Roof Rack World, in Dickson Street, Artarmon. Wasn't cheap, but you don't go here if you want the cheaper stuff. The reason for posting the review is this. I noticed a bit of squeaking occasionally, so I phoned them up. They invited me to come along at my leisure. They checked it out, tightened things up, oiled this and that, gave me some spare parts and charged me nothing. Said it was all part of the service. How good is that? Thanks guys.
However I am going to comment on some of the installation steps and things to watch out for as it is a little daunting to open the FreeRide 532 and find the bags of various components. Once you’ve installed the FreeRide all of the steps you took will be ‘obvious…in hindsight‘. In the future, fitting and unmounting the BIKE RACK will then only take about 5 minutes per bike rack.
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.
Thule has to be listening and continually improving their products. Because each version I get has improvement. I would give them a 10 along with REI for getting replacement parts and warranty parts. But like other reviewers, lets get stronger bolts, and metal to give us the strength we need. Let's face it there are very strong forces on the kayaks, accessories and rack (cross bar and mounting to the roof).
The product looks fine but the installation instruction is complete junk!! I went to the Thule website to get all the parts, it's a rather confusing and frustrating experience, but at least I got that part right. When all the different component arrived, I looked for installation instructions, which is extremely poorly written, I have to say worse than those chinese knock off products because there isn't even an attempt to write a description for the diagrams. I got the 53 in aeroblade for my Jetta, which looks like it's too long and overhanging the sides, so I referred to the diagram that is vehicle specific. It says front is 39-3/8" and the rear is 38". Taking my measuring tape to the car to double check the numbers, and found that these dimensions are way off. Not only are these numbers meaningless, what they suppose to mean is nowhere to be found in a clear manner. How does one use those numbers? If the numbers are off, does it mean I got the vehicle wrong? Or is it simply a mis- print?
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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!