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Upright – As the name suggests, this type of rack will hold the bike upright. This is a very safe and secure method of transporting a bike. On the downside, a roof rack itself can have a negative impact on fuel performance though you can offset that a lot by selecting the best roof rack. It can also be harder to load these types of racks, especially with taller cars or heavier bikes. Speaking of taller cars by the way, if you do have an SUV or Minivan, just bare in mind the extra height you now have when driving!
If you’re looking for a serious overland adventure or #vanlife upgrade, the Aluminess Roof Rack is the only way to go. It handles any gear and cargo you can think to throw up there. Moreover, outfits like Main Line Overland can customize it to fit A/C units, solar panels and satellite TV. “A full-length Aluminess Mercedes Sprinter Roof Rack is highly customizable and provides a massive amount of storage capacity. The optional side ladder makes it easy to mount the walk-on roof for strapping on loads and enhancing your perspective at roadside stops. You could probably even host a Bushwick rooftop party on one of them.”
If, like me, you are upgrading from an earlier Thule FreeRide FR35 then preparing the clamping mechanism for the bike frame is unchanged. The black ends of the clamping arm each have two holes and you use the one which corresponds to your frame size. If your partner or children have notably different bike sizes to you then you might have to change this regularly…on the previous model I never had to change it in about 10 years.
Long road trips and overlanding adventures are only done right when you pack until your vehicle is almost overflowing. But if you’re playing Tetris with bags and your truck is bursting at the welds, chances are you won’t be able to see anything out the rear window — and that’s not safe. Roof racks are great for spreading gear to the often unused and underutilized space on the roof, but also for storing gear that won’t fit in your car to begin with. Paddleboards, mountain bikes and kayaks should all ride topside, especially after a long weekend of hard use.
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!

There are a few other things that are important to me, and no doubt many of you will have your own requirements depending on car and lifestyle. I for example like a rack that won’t take up much space when off the car – which pretty much rules out boot or tow bar mounted racks. I’d also rather leave it in situ for most of the time due to the amount of use.
Car Attachment Points – Just as the rack must have a method of attaching to your bike, it has to attach to the car. How it does this will depend on the style of rack that has been used (more on that in a moment). Generally speaking though, you want all the points the rack touches your car to be ideally padded, or at the very least tipped or coated in plastic. This is going to protect your car paintwork from damage.
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.
Don't get me wrong. I use Thule racks and locks and cradles and locking cable and straps… the whole kit. That's because security and convenience and bicycles and protecting the roof of my car are also important, and because I started with a used Thule rack, gradually accumulating a closet full of proprietary extrapolations and substitutions as needs changed. And it does work. It all works. It's just that every single bit of it is clumsily engineered and imprecisely manufactured, requiring brute force as well as wiggling and finagling to get it just right. Some parts fit loosely, some tightly, some are robust and some flimsy. Every change, every adjustment to a Thule rack is a project and a series of compromises. Admittedly, I change things around a lot, but as familiar as I've become with my rack, I still spend an inordinate amount of time getting all the parts straight and tight and solid before I reach for my boats.
With a roof box from Thule you can get even more out of your car and your journeys. The extra space in our world-leading car roof boxes means you can take everything you need on your travels. While the stylish designs make them ideal even for everyday use as they match the sleek, aerodynamic lines of your car. Our roof boxes fit Thule roof racks and most factory racks.
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.
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.
Strap Mounted – Designed primarily for vehicles without a hitch receiver. The plus points for this type is that they are typically easier to mount than the other styles, making them perfect for occasional use as you can get them on and off quickly. They are also typically cheaper than the other styles of the rack. On the negative side, as they lack a truly solid attaching point they are not as secure, and you must ensure that you attach them properly before loading up the bikes.
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.
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.
A change of car has forced me to seek out a new set of roofbars. I wanted the best set of roof bars for my car without going silly on the cost. This time I have went for the Thule Wing bars. These are known as the Thule Aeroblades in some parts of the word. I love cars that can have a set of roof bars bolted to them, either to fittings hidden within the roof or roof rails. The new Unsponsored HQ paddle wagon/family transporter is a very sensible two litre 184bhp BMW 320d Sport.
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.
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.
I compared the parts list for the 815 with the parts list for the 835XTR Hull-a-Port that appears on Thule's website and they're almost identical. The only differences are that the carriage bolts and end caps, while the same size, have different part numbers, and the 815 does not include the two 1/4 inch Rope Ratchets that are included with the 835XTR. While the Rope Ratchets are nice for tightening and securing the bow and stern tie-downs, they're not really necessary if you can tie a decent knot.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.

One caveat is the measurements in the instructions to install the bars are wrong, not really sure where they came up with those (or maybe there were for a different length bar? I went with 60" which seem perfect for my van) but after a little finagling was able to get them evenly set up on my own. Not even worth taking a star off in my opinion, but I can understand if someone were confused or unhappy. I'm mechanically inclined so it was maybe a 10 minute bump in the road, just had to figure out what measurement would be equal from the end of the bar to the edge of the foot on each side of the car, and beware, the front and rear bar measurements will not be the same. I started by eye and refined it by measurement, and put a sharpie marker on the bottom in case I have to remove them, done and done.
With a voluminous 22 cubic feet of storage, the Motion XT XXL is Thule’s highest-end box and comes with loads of bells and whistles, including an internal ski carrier, a slide-lock security system, as well as a total load capacity of 165 pounds. The extra-wide PowerClick quick-mounting system (which offers a welcoming “click” sound as you twist the mounting dial to confirm that the box is properly connected) makes for a fast and secure fitting, and it’s built to sit a bit forward on your crossbars to provide full trunk access for hatchbacks.
To make your rack selection process easier, The Rack Warehouse lists the most popular selling Thule 450r Rapid AeroBlade 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 450r Rapid AeroBlade 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.
Less physically strong riders may find its heft a bit much. There are wheels to roll it on flat surfaces, but you wouldn't want to carry it very far. It locks securely to your tow hitch and carries up to three bikes. The bikes are held in place with ratchet straps round the bottom of the wheels and a clamp for the top tube or, for carbon bikes, one of Thule's 982 frame adapters.

The sleek, aerodynamic design cuts down on drag and wind noise, and the quick-release hardware makes it easy to mount; it works with most round, square, and aerodynamic bars, with a minimum/maximum cross bar spread between 24 to 42 inches. As with most Yakima boxes, it’s made in the United States with up to 80 percent recycled material, and you can add a cargo net (separate purchase) that attaches to built-in tie-down points and divides the storage space into four-foot squares. The Skybox comes in five sizes, from 12 cubic feet up to a cavernous 21 cubic feet.
Once it’s in place you can lock the clamp to secure the bike. You don’t have to lock it to keep it closed, just to prevent anyone else from opening it. For anyone to steal it once this is locked they would need some serious equipment to break the clamp arm or the clamp itself. The times I did leave it unattended I ran a lock through the system just in case.

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.”
The roof rack instructions are difficult to interpret. Here are tips from a sales person: The picture with the hand sqeezing does not mean completely secure, just means somewhat set in place. You completely secure,and hear the click, when on the car and screwing with the bolt/handle. Also, get the bolt/handle threaded properly into the foot before you shimmy it into the final position on your car, then tighten down. Also, Thule said that front and rear tie downs must be used on a verticle system because the wind force on long boats will tear almost anything off. Still, that piece of plastic is a crummy and dangerous attachment and needs replacing with something far more secure. Fyi Walden also makes a similar J system for kayaks but I haven't seen one up close.
Disclosure: The Adventure Junkies is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost for you. We also use other affiliate programs like REI, LeisurePro, Diviac and Liveaboard.com.
Cycling Plus is the manual for the modern road cyclist. Whether you're cycling weekly, an occasional new rider or a Tour de France fan you’ll find everything you need. Every issue is packed with expert reviews of the latest road bikes and gear, inspirational routes and rides, evocative features that take you inside every aspect of cycling and unmatched nutrition, fitness and training advice.

Secondly air pressure will try to push the boats apart from the bow. The Js are attached to the crossbar in a clamp fashion tightened with two thumb bolts. These can slide on the crossbar. The edge of your factory rail will stop them in the front, but then the rear racks will tend to slide together (toward the center of the car), making a bigger air dam. I cut and taped a strip of wood to the crossbar between the opposing rear Js so they could not slide. (I saw another car with Js and the rear racks had come together making huge air resistance and although not separated one of the kayaks had lifted from being seated in the cradle....yikes I would not want to be behind that guy!) Check all tie downs every time you stop or if you here or feel anything unusual.
Due to the unique set-up of this bike carrier, it was very hard not to worry about our precious cargo when using the SeaSucker Talon QR-1 roof rack. The extremely effective sucker pads stuck like glue, but trundling down the motorway it was always in the back of my mind that the bikes weren’t being held in place by traditional, sturdy nuts and bolts.
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.

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!
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.
As expected. Installation was a little tricky. First I got the wrong 'foot kit' for my vehicle on accident. Once that was corrected, the measurements in the included instructions were wrong for my vehicle. I looked up my kit online, found that there was a new version of the manual with new measurements for my vehicle. This turned out to be a closer fit but still not quite right. I had to 'widen' the measurements slightly... in order to allow the "doors" on the "feet" to close (these are the doors where you use the tool to crank down the brackets to your vehicle body to ensure a snug fit). Once completed, I'm happy with the product, just wish the installation instructions were a little easier to follow. There is an online video available through the 'thule fit guide' which was helpful but also not entirely accurate. I like this product because it is "modular" in the sense that when ski season is over, I can remove the attached ski racks and replace with bike/kayak racks.
As a THULE 5-star dealer and winner of the prestigious ‘THULE DEALER OF THE YEAR’ award, The Journey Centre offers the full range of Thule products, including roof bars for all types of vehicles, roof boxes for the holiday season, plus a range of carriers for cycles, skis or water sports, along with the range of THULE luggage, backpacks and strollers.
Grip-friendly outer handles and supporting lid-lifters make it easy to open from either side of the vehicle even when wearing gloves, with a clever slide-lock system with separate locking and opening functions to let you know when the lid’s in place and closed securely. It marries nicely with most after-market bar kits ​and comes in black, gray, and white.
As a THULE 5-star dealer and winner of the prestigious ‘THULE DEALER OF THE YEAR’ award, The Journey Centre offers the full range of Thule products, including roof bars for all types of vehicles, roof boxes for the holiday season, plus a range of carriers for cycles, skis or water sports, along with the range of THULE luggage, backpacks and strollers.
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.
The Thule brand was established in Sweden in 1942 and ever since then, they have helped countless customers transport anything you care for with Thule roof bars, roof boxes and bike racks, easily and in style so that you are free to live your active life. Whatever your passion, whatever your pursuit. Wherever you're going, whatever you're bringing. With Thule, you're free to live your active life to the fullest.
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