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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

If you already own parts or just want a complete set of used roof bars, then use the roof bar guide to find your vehicle, then at the bottom of the page, if we have used equipment available. you will be able to order separate items. Do note even though you have some parts always double check that you have the right length of bars and foot pack. To do this just look at the relevent package options, we list the items in that package that you will require for that vehicle.
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.
I am not sure if it would be possible to have 3 or 4 UpRide racks on one car. 2 is certainly possible. 3 probably is possible but I doubt if 4 would fit together as the UpRide is wider than the other Thule bike racks. The following image shows the UpRide as the third from the left – as you can see it takes up quite a bit more space (width) than the others. Then again, maybe your car is wider than my estate.
Thule Winter sport racks let you live your winter passion thanks to a full choice of ski and snowboard racks. Not to mention ski boxes that also let you store your boots and poles plus all your other gear. Just load everything you want and head for the snow. And you can always be sure your equipment arrives in perfect shape – at the Thule Test Center™ we rigorously test our winter sport racks for road safety as well as their ability to withstand extreme weather. Leaving you free to think about the adventure ahead!

Part conservationists, part outdoorsman, part storyteller, Matt has devoted much of his life to environmentalism and that crafty, fleeting mistress known as writing. Having worked with over two-dozen brands and lifestyle publications, he’s carried out his passion for all things flora, fauna, and fiction through a litany of written mediums — one adventure, one sentence at a time.
The Rack Warehouse lists the most popular selling Thule brand rack fits by Auto Manufacturer. Popular Thule Roof Racks including Thule 500 Xsporter Pro, Thule 480 Traverse, Thule 480r Rapid Traverse, Thule 450 Crossroad, Thule 450r Rapid Crossroad, Thule 460 Podium and Thule 460r Rapid Podium are available to fit just about any automobile. Thule engineers work continuously to update and create roof racks to fit the wide variety of cars, pickup trucks, vans and SUVs on the market. On our list, you'll find a perfect fitting roof rack or truck rack for most of today's top selling vehicles including Chevrolet, Ford, Toyota, Dodge, Chrysler, Nissan, Honda, Acura, Lexus, Pontiac, Buick, Cadillac, BMW, Mercedes, Volvo, Volkswagen, Audi, Dodge and GMC. Please use our helpful Thule Fit Guide to find the perfect fitting roof rack for your vehicle.
Two areas of caution: These boats on their sides create a high profile and resistance. If your speed is 70 and you have a head wind of 20-30 (as we did) that's the same as 90-100...a bit much; I'd keep air resistance to 75 or so combined maximum. If the wind is to the side you'll feel strong buffeting at times, slow it down. Without wind we felt comfortable at 70. Kayaks were strapped according to instructions around J and under factory cross bars. Also had bow and stern tie downs to prevent sliding forward or aft.
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.

Anti-Sway Cages – There are a few different ways that racks can be designed to minimize sway, but an anti-sway cage is the most widely used. In particular, you’ll find these on rack designs that hold the top tube, but rear mounted designs that lock the wheels can also benefit from built-in anti-sway tech. In essence, it’s just going to help to keep the bike stable in the rack as you drive. This has the dual benefit of not allowing the bikes to affect vehicle handling (especially at highway speeds) and also stops the bikes knocking into each other.

In addition to looping the synch down straps around the factory rack, I run them through the rigging on my boat deck and through the bottom part of the "J bend/brackett" of the rack to get to the factory roof rack. I figure that this way if the Thule rack does give away at least it and the boat have a better chance staying with the truck longer until I can pull over. I hope this helps, overall I think the rack is really a good affordable option that requires some added attention and caution when using but overall it is well worth the money.
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.
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.
These car roof bars come with wordless (diagrams-only) fitting instructions that are difficult to comprehend and, in the case of a Peugeot 306 hatchback, specify the wrong assembly settings. The result is roof bars that cannot be fitted to the car or, at best, can be fitted only with extreme difficulty and at risk of damaging both the racks and the car body.

I must confess that I've used the 815s without bow or stern tie-downs, but my two kayaks have not budged at all. I peek at them through the moonroof on my car from time to time, and they've never shifted. It's important that you read the directions on how to secure the two strap assemblies. If you do it correctly, they will not loosen. Thule's buckle bumpers are pure genius for protecting your car and your boat. When I get home one night with only one kayak on the roof, I entered my garage before the door had fully opened. The bow of the kayak hit the bottom lightweight insulated aluminum panel of my garage door and crumpled it, but the kayak didn't budge (nor did it get damaged, phew!). However, in the interest of safety, I have resolved to use bow and stern tie-downs in the future. To this end, I have purchased and installed bow hood loops from Riverside Cartop Carriers on my car.


The rack was easier to install than I had thought, though I suspect your average Swede is much stronger than your average American... They show a one hand squeeze on the Aero Foot cam (that scrunches down on the cross bar, securing it). I had to stand and jump up and down on it (please don't void my warranty!) to get the darn thing to close and snap locked. It was almost a show stopper as I would not have been able to get it to close otherwise (I tried squeezing it for dear life with both hand and all my 205 lbs for over 15 minutes before I gave up and stood on the darn thing: closed right up and locked). Other than that, it went in likity-split, and exactly like the fit kit said it would! It took about 45 minutes, counting the isometirc exercises with the cam. I purchased the lock cylinders: I wanted to make those hard to install, but it could not have been easier. The installation instructions are well written and specific for my car (from the fit kit). I do think there should be no charge for the fit kits...
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!
This review is of a Thule roof rack fit to my 2011 Mazda3 Sport. Its a basic rack and if installed with care, stays put. The load limit is 100 lbs, so pack with care if you also use a roof box - I've weighed each piece of my gear to and the box itself to make sure I stay within the limits. The rack itself is cheap and works as its supposed to. The only thing I would like is a torque specification so that I don't over tighten and get the dreaded "oil can" popping sound of my roof being compressed (I heard that happen to someone else once, not pleasant). Oh, and I put some 3M protective film down on a clean roof to prevent any paint damage from the foot pads. It looks crappy if I'm not careful wiping away wax, but will protect the paint.
Whispbar made a name for itself by introducing some of the industry’s most aerodynamic and sleek cross bars before moving onto sport-specific mounts for things such as bikes and kayaks. This attention to design-forward aerodynamics continues with their Aero Compact Cargo Carrier. Available in either black or silver high-gloss finish, this box has been intentionally designed for smaller, more compact vehicles, proffering 10.8 cubic feet of storage that can accommodate skis up to 155 centimeters in length.
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I’ve spent years transporting bikes in the back of a car, usually whipping out the front wheel, throwing an old grease stained fleece blanket over it and slamming the boot shut before heading off. Bags would be placed carefully around it of course and it took a little more finessing if I was taking a friend and their bike. But I became fairly adept at balancing bikes on top of each other – separated by blankets – and avoiding any damaging movement.
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 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.


Shortly after we bought the rack, our little mazda 2 was rear ended by a texting idiot. Before the car was repaired, I decided to try and test the rack to see if I could damage the tailgate with the rack. I tightened it up really hard and grabbed the mounting arms and shook the car around on it's suspension and it did not bend or damage the tailgates panel edges at all.
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.

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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