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I don’t get this comment. With the square bars you just clamp anything straight on. With the slots you have to faff about with the plastic strip in the slot don’t you (ie. cutting it to the right size, slotting bits of it in and out in the right combination for whatever you’re putting on). Or do people not use the strip. I’m not trying to be augmentative BTW, genuinely interested I currently have square bars but am considering aero/wing bars for an imminent car change.


Solid square load bar for kayak/canoes. It fits my 9.5 ft kayak along with my 14 canoe old town next to each other with additional space left over. It would not fit 2 kayaks and canoes flat. It does not stick out any further than mid part of side mirrors on my yukon. It is compatible with the load bar from thull. Only complaints that I noticed is that the coating is not very durable as I have a huge gash across one of the bars (not sure if from the rounded part of canoe bolt end or from combo of heat/pressure); also the rack will make a whirling noise when traveling on highways (55mph and up) which is very noticeable unless radio is on; I remove the racks during off seasons so it does not bother me at all but I can see when you may consider their additional part that blocks the wind for it from thull. I know some mentioned end caps may fall out but I have not had that issue although I put silicone (same stuff for plumbing or pool o rings) around the inside part to keep out moisture which may have helped that issue.

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.
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.
Also have two of the cheaper thule bike racks (maybe they dont even make them any more) ,and again these are mostly fine, the only complaint I have about these is that they are the clamp on type, and the T bolt siezes in the clamp, which most of the time is not a problem, as you should never need to adjust the clamp size. However If I want to use my rack on a friends roof bars (not thule), the clamp size needs altering, but is difficult to do as the T bolt has siezed in the clamp.
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 😉 !
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.
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.
The hull a port I like it because it fits almost every rack. And like most of the reviews wonder why it has plastic mountings. Well, figured that out one day when driving under a garage where the door was a little low. The clamps under the hull a port broke. But then don't think they were designed to drive into a roof. Have tightened those hex bolts pretty tight, so the plastic bends but doesn't break under designed usage. But the hullaports do shimmy and shake when there isn't a boat attached. The angle of the j-shape fits one of my boats perfectly (Chilco) but on my Quest it isn't deep enough, I would like a better fit.

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?
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.
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.
These attach right onto horizontal roof racks and hold the boat on its side to prevent warpng when tied down. It's very stable and makes it easy to lock the kayak to the rack with a standard cable. It can be pretty hard to load after a day of paddling and sometimes requires two people, even on my low roof. May not be the best for tall vehicles, but an economical alternative.
Last year I bought a Suburban (now I have two racked vehicles) and bought a set of Thule #450 Crossroads to mount to the factory rails. I was little concerned about the rack coming loose. Not that the rack would have a problem, but rather the factory rails would rip out of the Suburban’s roof. Happy to say, after several 1500 mile trips to Maine and Hilton Head my concerns have been but aside. This thing is as rock solid as I was used to.
The hull a port I like it because it fits almost every rack. And like most of the reviews wonder why it has plastic mountings. Well, figured that out one day when driving under a garage where the door was a little low. The clamps under the hull a port broke. But then don't think they were designed to drive into a roof. Have tightened those hex bolts pretty tight, so the plastic bends but doesn't break under designed usage. But the hullaports do shimmy and shake when there isn't a boat attached. The angle of the j-shape fits one of my boats perfectly (Chilco) but on my Quest it isn't deep enough, I would like a better fit.

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.
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.
The rear strap design now requires the strap to go at an angle rather than directly over the wheel (as with previous Thule rack models). Make sure that you twist the strap clasp lock as well so it points to about 2 o’clock. I’m not entirely sure why this aspect of the design was changedm the straight-through strap always seemed fine to me and was more easily stowed away.
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.

Getting a mountain bike secured safe and sound should be an easy and effortless task. Some systems require you to take off the front wheel, but that’s time spent not hitting the trails. “Rhino Rack’s Carrier is quick and easy to use … with a positive, lockable arm. [And you can keep] both wheels on the bike. The kit can be used with slim-shod roadies and gravel grinders or the wider MTBs and fat bikes.”

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.
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?
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