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.
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.
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).
Based on its versatility, strength and durability, it’s hard to beat the Pioneer Platform range. “We’re running Pioneer Platforms on our Defender 110 and third-gen Tacoma builds, and we have found their system to be durable, affordable, easy to assemble and highly adaptable to a range of uses,” Henwood tells us. “We’ve loaded them with fat bikes, road bikes, camping cargo and with the Rhino Rack Batwing Awning set-up. They do what we ask of them with minimal added weight.”
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!
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 UpRide 599 and find the bags of various components. Once you’ve installed the UpRide all of the steps you took will be ‘obvious…in hindsight‘. In the future, mounting and unmounting the BIKE RACK will then only take about 5 minutes per bike rack.
This is an excellent value single bike rack. The only issue I had was that it took up more space on the roof bars than anticipated meaning the roof box had to be sacrificed due to it's width, and my "budget" Lidl roof bars have a 13mm channel therefore the T-bar fittings couldn't be used. However, the universal fitting kit is very secure. Once on the vehicle, the rack excels...one quick turn of the knob while supporting the bike with the other hand on top of a 4x4 was simple and every aspect of the design has been thought about.
Seeing a full-on roof rack bolted to the top of an overlander or SUV shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. For more modest sedans, however, they look a tad out of place. Which is why the Yakima Round Bars make a great alternative. You won’t be carrying fully stocked coolers, kayaks and mountain bikes all at once with your four-door anyway, so there’s no need to go overboard. “We have been using Yakima Load Bars and Storage Boxes for years, both for ski and bike trips, and now even for rooftop storage on our Four Wheel Campers. The Yakima system is proven, classic and adaptable for smaller cars.”
The WBT31 comes fully built and ready to use. Optional extras include a wall storage hook (£10) if you want to keep it off the floor, a dust/rain cover (£20), good for storing in a hostile environment, and a ramp (£35) for loading heavy bikes or if you aren't happy lifting them vertically onto the rack. The ramp fits all four bike positions on either side and stows securely in a holder on the rack, ready to use at your destination. I always used the ramp for getting our 30kg (plus whatever's in the panniers) Workcycles FR8 Dutch bike on and off the rack – it's fast to use and minimises the risk of slipping and dropping a very heavy bike.
But before you get a cargo box In almost all instances you’re going to need a roof rack system. These systems typically consist of two cross bars that bridge the width of your roof and can hold your box as well as other sport-specific carriers for bikes, skis, stand-up paddle boards, kayaks, and canoes — even a luxe rooftop camping tent. Depending on your vehicle, you may also need towers to attach the bars to your car and elevate them off your roof; get the same brand for both the cross bars and towers to assure compatibility. The variations on bar kits are staggering, but most major manufacturers have tools that help you narrow your options based on your car’s make, model, and year. The only time you don’t need bars? When you opt for a less-expensive cargo bag, which can sometimes be secured to factory mounts or rails found on some SUVs, trucks, and sedans.
Thule does classify the ProRide as “carbon frame friendly” but only by using the included frame protector. But let’s be honest: this little protective piece of rubber and plastic that secures to the frame is a good idea to use even if you have a steel or aluminum frame for maximum protection of your bike’s paint job. It’s included so why not use it?
For those in need of some serious hauling capability, this roof cargo bag from Rightline has an hefty capacity of 18 cubic feet and is rated as being 100 percent waterproof. Beware with any fabric roof cargo bags — if not completely filled, leaving the bag to flap in the wind can definitely lead to premature failure. But if you're looking for an affordable option and don't have crossbars, this will do the trick.
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!
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 ProRide 598 and find the bags of various components. Once you’ve installed the ProRide all of the steps you took will be ‘obvious…in hindsight‘. In the future, mounting and unmounting the BIKE RACK will then only take about 5 minutes per bike rack.
I have been a long time fan of Thule racks and accessories. Then at sixty Mph my two week old Kayak departed the rack still attached to a new pair of Thule Hull-a-ports. Thule make a bomber rack system and the Hull-a-port is a great concept but why the plastic clamps?. The kayak landed safely in a snowbank but I worry about what might have happened.
Strong Securing Points – The bike has to be attached to the rack somehow, and this can be one of the most important parts of the design. The securing points have to combine the strength to hold your bike whilst also being gentle enough to not damage the frame, wheels or paintwork. Don’t underestimate the holding power required either. As your vehicle barrels down the freeway, there can be quite a bit of wind buffeting the bike. It needs to be held securely so you don’t glance into the mirror to see your beloved two-wheel steed flying off the back of the car!
So far so good. Choosing to get matching sets of barrels was great move as only one key needs to be carried, and although briefly tempted by the new black anodised Wing bars I am really happy with the natural aluminium coloured. The finish will hide bumps, scrapes and scratches much better than the black anodised versions. The black versions are also around £20 more.
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.
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.
Once your base support roof rack is fitted, you can use accessories to adapt it for all kinds of transport storage--from covered roof boxes to racks for bicycles and winter sports equipment. It’s very important to check your vehicle’s maximum load capacity to ensure that you are not overloading it, and don’t forget to take into account the weight of the roof equipment itself.
By selecting your vehicle details from our Thule roof bar guide you will be given a selection of alternative Thule roof rack systems that will be perfect for your car. If required, in most cases, you will be able to match locks to existing Thule equipment. Our guide also gives you the opportunity to download and view pdf fitting instructions and view demonstration videos.