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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. 

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.”
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.
I've had the J racks since getting our two Old Town Dirigo's a few years ago. They have performed perfectly. Just completed 4200 mile trip with them with no problems, but you should be aware of a few things and use common sense. I had concerns about stability and wind resistance for the long trip. The Dirigos are beamy and not super light (45# +). The Js held up to the task just fine and at hwy speeds.
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.
Finding the perfect Thule roof rack couldn’t be simpler. Choose exactly what you need for your vehicle’s make, model and year. We’ll show you the perfect solution of strong, durable feet and roof bars plus fit kit. Or choose an all-in-one, pre-assembled roof rack that already matches your needs. Finally you can add options such as locks and locking straps so all your bases are covered. With a Thule roof rack, you’re all set to head off on your adventures and make sure you have everything you want with you. When combined with other Thule products, our roof racks are also a starting point for carrying the extra special gear that lets you live your passions – with holders for your bikes, your skis, your canoes or kayaks, and your surfboards. Not to mention extra-secure roof boxes and spacious carrier baskets for special cargos
Maybe you're vertically challenged. Maybe your roof is occupied with mountain bikes. Or maybe you're the worst at packing and you always bring way too much gear. Whatever the case, this heavy duty cargo rack attaches to your trailer hitch in a jiffy. Keep a few coolers here for easy access to snacks on the road, or load it up with muddy gear that you'd rather not bring inside the car. Let road trip season begin!
I can't comment on J carriers because I don't use them, but perhaps I should. The design weakness with Thule is the square bars, which only becomes a problem on curved roofs, but as the roof curves so must cradles cant away from each other, reducing contact between boat hull and cradle to inside edges. The cradle faces are absurdly small to start with; this rotational deviation from level makes it even smaller. Couple that with Thule's comically inadequate détente angle fixing clamp (for holding the saddle in the shape of your boat hull) and for support you are probably better off using foam blocks. So J carriers may work better on a curved roof, if I can lift that high. I've seen some people use them for composite boats so it might be OK.

As a wheel-mount bike rack, there is no frame contact made which means it’s one of the best options for transporting bikes with carbon fiber frames. It’s also well-suited for bikes with odd-shaped frame designs or tubing such as downhill mountain bikes with rear suspension systems integrated into the frame or bikes with lots of frame-mounted accessories.

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.


Now we're going to bring it up to the roof line of our Cherokee. I like to put it across, get that side started over there and do the same thing over here. We want this edge to come below our side rail just like that. That's what's going to give us that good firm hold. Make sure that happens on both sides.Once we've got that position, we need to decide where we want our rail to be.
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.
To simplify your ordering process, The Rack Warehouse lists the most popular selling Thule 450 Crossroad 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 450 Crossroad Foot Complete Car Roof Racks are designed for vehicles with raised railings. 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.
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I contacted Thule's tech services and was told that the aluminum mounting clamps would not hit the field until March 2003 and that it might be late March at that. They will still have the capability to clamp to bars up to 2.5" wide. They will still ship with 50mm and 60mm screws. They also stated that some (maybe all?) of the saddle type carriers would get a four position locking set-up that would allow them to lock nearly vertical for a shell on down to flat for a windsurfer.
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.

However - there's no need to fret, at Halfords we offer a market-leading range of roof top bars, roof racks and fittings, from brands such as Thule, Exodus and Cruz as well as our own brand alternatives. Our roof bars will suit all leading vehicle manufacturers, including Ford, Volvo, BMW and Vauxhall and we also offer universal models that will suit many vehicles.

Well I dont even trust factory racks because of the loads I often carry and for this reason I bought a Mit. Montero with gutters-could have had a newer Monte but the gutters are gone as with most newer SUV's, the gutters allowed the use of Thule bars attached to gutters and not factory racks with stated capacities of around 100 pounds, since I am often carrying two Brittish boats and a fully loaded Thule box in the middle I felt better ultimately attaching to the gutters...using this system I have traveled to Canada and to Key West and to the OBX with the load listed above (with at least 70 pounds of gear in the Thule Box...and have had no problems (yet!)...I do tie down the kayaks from both stern and bow for these trips of 500-1000 miles and also tie down the boats to the bar...I use a combo of Hully Rollers and H20 Saddles...and at every stop check the boat straps.
Thule Base Rack System Reviewed by Chris K (Levittown, PA) Reviewed for a 2002 Jeep Liberty — 2007-11-30 07:02:02 After traveling quite a bit with the family i decided to upgrade and purchase the thule rack system to add to my factory rails. Once I received the package in the mail it took only minutes to install the mounts and crossbars. I was impressed with how well constructed this product was and I would definitely recommend this to anyone having an existing rails sytem to go forward and purchase this complete rack system by thule. It has a huge impact on how you travel and is well worth the money I paid for it. VIEW MORE REVIEWSShop Thule Base Rack System | Shop Thule
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.
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.
Dear Phil, I have read over the reviews you sent us regarding the Thule Hull-a-Port. Being the manager in charge of returns, warranties, and exchanges at the Rack Warehouse I have had some experience with the problems noted in the reviews. The problem of the plastic mounting hardware breaking has happened before, but it is not at all common. Since we have sold the Hull-a-Port, we have had two sent back to us for warranty of this problem. Both of these racks came back last year (the first year this product was available), and this year's Hull-a-Ports have not been any problem for us. We have sold hundreds of units this summer, without one call about this problem. Usually people get back to us right away if there are problems with the system we sent them. I suggest the Hull-a-Port as an option for many people because of its ease of use and flexibility. If you are worried about the mounting brackets, I would suggest following one of the reviewer's advice and secure the boat down to the bar as well. I always use the load bar to secure my straps because the bars are always stronger than the accessory on top of them. Also, both the box the rack comes in and the instructions tell you that the bow and stern strap is required. To be on the safe side and ease your mind, use the bow / stern straps. Please call me if you have more questions or concerns. Thank you, Mary S., The Rack Warehouse 800-272-5362
No, the XL Cargo Box won’t win any design awards. Its two-tone aesthetic is as utilitarian as its name, but with 18 cubic feet of space, you get a lot of storage at a price that won’t break the bank. Unlike other boxes in this article, it opens only on the passenger side, keeping you safe from traffic when handling the insides. The high-density plastic is a tough as it looks, and it fits most factory and after-market cross bars rated to carry up to 150 pounds.
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).
I was stubborn about getting to the bottom of the noise and tried moving the bar's locations around - test drive, whistle. Tried only the front bar - test drive, whistle. Only the rear - test drive, whistle. Covered the footings in microfiber cloths - test drive, whistle. Covered the Aerobars in microfiber cloth - the very thing/design that Thule markets as being the answer to quiet cross bars... surely the Aerobars were not the culprit... Test drive, silence.
Every car model has its own roof shape. There are different racks to fit all roof types so you can find the transportation solution that meets your needs. Most vehicles will have either a normal roof, roof rails, fixing points or integrated roof rails. Some roofs are equipped with a T-nut profile or a rain gutter. If you have a car with roof rails, you only need roof bars (also called crossbars), which run across the car and connect the roof rails on either side. For vehicles with a normal roof, fixing points or integrated roof rails, you will need a vehicle-specific kit.
The covers for the the TK8 fit kit do not sit flush on the car. There is a rather substantial gap on the inside edge of the cover. This allows water to get under the trim. Thule recommended smearing a heavy layer of grease on the metal under the rail twice a year so that the metal does not rust. This is a problem. The gap is obvious and also does not look good. Thule has been aware of this problem for a couple of years and have chosen not to rectify it.

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.
Once you’ve got your bars and towers sorted, the biggest factor in selecting the best cargo box is its size and its shape. You want space ample enough to handle whatever you’re going to toss inside, of course. But those looking to haul a quiver of skis for the entire family or a few surfboards will want a box long enough to accommodate your hard goods, while others who just want some extra space for a variety of items can consider wider, shorter models. Those with hatch-backs that open vertically should also be sure that the cargo box won’t interfere with the door, and those who want their cargo box to look like part of their luxury vehicle should consider boxes that are made with higher-quality materials or that are low-profile, which provides a sleeker silhouette that looks better, creates less drag, and less noise than bulkier models.
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...
No, the XL Cargo Box won’t win any design awards. Its two-tone aesthetic is as utilitarian as its name, but with 18 cubic feet of space, you get a lot of storage at a price that won’t break the bank. Unlike other boxes in this article, it opens only on the passenger side, keeping you safe from traffic when handling the insides. The high-density plastic is a tough as it looks, and it fits most factory and after-market cross bars rated to carry up to 150 pounds.
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...
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.
The Thule Aeroblades are a great design and look great on the top of my Subaru Legacy. I went through and researched a lot about the Thule car rack before I spent over $400 for the complete rack. My best advice when buying a Thule rack is GO TO THE THULE.COM WEBSITE AND PUT IN YOUR VEHICLE INFORMATION TO DETERMINE ALL OF THE PRODUCTS YOU NEED!!! I went piece by piece between the blades, foot pack, foot pack secure kit, and the cylinder locks to protect the $400 investment. Be careful which secure kit and which foot pack you buy. Each is unique depending on which vehicle you have and if your vehicle has a roof rack or not. My Subaru does not have anything on the roof so I had to buy everything. Also be careful with the type of accessories you buy: ski rack, bike rack, canoe rack, etc. The Aeroblades are a newer design so make sure the accessories are made for the particular rack. Thule.com has an instruction video on how to install the complete rack and the foot pack will have the specs on how far the racks should be apart. Luckily Amazon is great about returning items but try them asap so you don't get stuck with a product that you mistakenly ordered. Amazon is a little cheaper than the Thule site so you can save some money here.
Rather than going for a pack put together by a roof rack shop or supplier I decided to visit the Thule website, find the make, model and year of my car to create a shopping list of the parts required. This is a simple but crucial process as the different possible combinations of bars, foot pack and fitting kit is enormous. Once checked I sourced each of the parts from different suppliers on Amazon. This saved around 20% and as I have Amazon Prime included free delivery.
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.
Finally, a price tag of around 150 bucks is the pretty good value given the high-quality materials and design – though you will be able to find cheaper rear-mounted racks elsewhere if your budget is very tight. Also, don’t forget that this model only has the space to load up two bikes – again, there are options out there with a little more space if you need it.
There were a few types of bar I could have chosen. Firstly the bog standard square bars, which are pretty good but they don’t have the T channel for quick attachment of bike carriers and roof boxes. They still work really well but I have a few bits that use the T bolt system and I really like it for ease and security. The second is the Aero bars system which I have used a great deal in the past. They are again good, but I found them to be a little noisy on the cars I have had in the past. This may have been down to the bars or the foot system, or the way I had fitted them. The Aero bars do have the T channel which still makes them a contender. OEM bars tend to be very similar to the Thule Aero bars anyway. However for a little bit more cash the Thule Wing bars offer a lower profile, a reported 55% reduction in drag compared to the Aero bars and a possibility of an overall quieter system. After a hunt around (see below) I got the Wing bars for the price of a set of Aero bars
Thule’s number one priority is safety – for you and the people around you. Our fit kits ensure your roof rack fits your car as safely and securely as possible. Also, at the Thule Test Center™, our products are only given the official seal of approval once they’ve survived numerous crash tests, wear and tear simulations, as well as extreme heat, cold, damp, sunlight and even harsh chemicals. All so you’re free to concentrate on the adventures ahead.
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