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It can be nice to just get out and ride from your front door but there’s no doubt that at some point you’re going to want to take your bike further afield. There are a few options for transporting your bike but if you don’t want the faff of taking the train and you want to keep the inside of your car clean then a bike rack has to be the obvious choice.
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.

What a nightmare...spent 4 hours the first day trying to install load bars on my Audi TT (this rack was "specialy designed" for this car...HA!). Returned to dealer several times and they could not do any better. Thule customer service is a joke. They verified the placement of the load bars and the wind deflector is getting in the way of my wipers, WTF! What really iritates me the most is that Yakima does not make a roof rack for my car and I am stuck with this. Going back to dealer one more time to get proper fit, will return and go with Yakima hitch rack if they cant help.
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Thule v. Yakima - few topics bring about more angry debate. I've had my Thule system for about 5 years. I've hauled mountain bikes, skis, and three kayaks on my roof. It has worked flawlessly, albeit noisily. Yes, Yakima fans, the support bars will probably bend if you put three kayaks on them regularly. But if you are hauling that much weight with any frequency, you need a trailer, not a roof top rack system. Normal mortals won't have problems with bicycles, surf/whitewater kayaks, or one touring boat with an occasional second.
I own and use two Thule 815 Kayak Cradles that were purchased from Dick's Sporting Goods (DSG). Interestingly, there is no information about them on Thule's website. Apparently, the 815 is made to DSG's specifications. One I bought used off of eBay for $75 plus $13.25 shipping. According to the seller, it was used for three seasons before I got it. The other I just bought at DSG for $79.99 ($99.99 less a $20 off coupon) plus $4.80 tax. The box indicates that it was manufactured this year.
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.

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.
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.

I'm really glad that these are made of a strong material. Review would probably be five stars but they showed up with a dent. I don't know if it happened in shipping or from the factory. The inner product box inside of the shipping box has a dent that seems to line up with the dent on the bar. I'm really irritated by this blemish, but it showed up five days late from it's expected delivery date anyways, which negatively impact my plans for a charity bike ride since I didn't have the rack for my bikes on the car.
I own and use two Thule 815 Kayak Cradles that were purchased from Dick's Sporting Goods (DSG). Interestingly, there is no information about them on Thule's website. Apparently, the 815 is made to DSG's specifications. One I bought used off of eBay for $75 plus $13.25 shipping. According to the seller, it was used for three seasons before I got it. The other I just bought at DSG for $79.99 ($99.99 less a $20 off coupon) plus $4.80 tax. The box indicates that it was manufactured this year.

After a lot of looking and web browsing we came on Oak Orchard Canoe's Deluxe "J" cradles. It's a couple of hours to thier store and we went up and bought two pairs. They are nearly 3/16" thick brushed stainless steel and very well padded. The cradle is wider than the Thule. At 22" high they're 4" taller then the Thule and since they are, essentially, vertical they double as kayak stackers. They are even padded on the back. They come with straps that have sewn on buckle pads. The mounting bracket fits Thule or Yakima bars and some other racks. All-in-all, these are a little more money than the Thule but they appear to be as close to "bombproof" as any accessory I've seen. I'll post a review as soon as we've used them enough to do a fair appraisal.
Just about every roof rack company offers a standard bike mount for their racks, but not many offer a storage combo setup like the folks at Küat. The Skinny is designed to allow for a combination of a single bike mount and space for up to 160 pounds of gear, leaving the second half of the roof open for anything else you might want to pack on your adventure.
Thule cargo carriers are an ideal way to make sure you have everything with you on your travels without feeling loaded down. Choose between an extra-secure roof box or an open basket that’s perfect for bulkier cargo. Alternatively, you can go for a towbar-mounted cargo carrier that fits on the rear of the car and still gives you access to the boot. You could even combine a rooftop and a towbar carrier to take your carrying capacity to a new level. Whatever you decide, you’ll get a strong, safe, and stylish space for your extra gear. Thule’s number one priority is safety – for you and the people around you. Our cargo carriers are designed to carry your gear and fit your car as safely and securely as possible. Nevertheless, at the Thule Test Center™, we also make sure they can withstand multiple crash tests, wear and tear simulations, as well as extreme heat, cold, damp, sunlight and chemicals.

You really don't want these on your car at eye/head level without end caps. First, I suspect they'll rust quickly (my old ones rusted even with end caps). Secondly, it's steel that's been cut with a saw- the ends are not jagged but neither are they gently rounded and the covering is shy of the ends by 1/8 inch or so. You hit your head/face on these things and there's a good chance you're coming away bleeding. Third, the ends are ugly without end caps.
Locking Cables – These are essentially built-in security devices that wrap a sturdy chain around your bike and lock it into place. This has the obvious advantage of protecting your bike from any opportunistic thieves who could look to steal it straight off the rack. Bear in mind that typically you’re only going to see this feature included as standard on the more premium models. Some of the products we looked at above did have a locking cable as an option to buy separately, so check if the rack comes pre-equipped if you want a cable.
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.
Wobble – At speed your front wheel will wobble. I doubt you will stop all of the wobbling. However you want the frame NOT to wobble much at all. In my opinion this design is better at wobble control than the cheaper FreeRide (then again, I’ve used the FreeRide for over 10 years on motorways, admittedly with occasionally worried glances up through the car’s sunroof)
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.
My latest car is an estate/touring with a set of roof rails so requires a roofbar that can clamp directly to the rail. After looking at the OEM version I decided to take a closer look at the Thule Wing bars. Mainly because the OEM version sat quite high off the roof and from BMW would have cost a small ransom. I have had a few different sets of Thule bars in the past and still own/use a set of Thule ProRide 591 bike carriers so it made sense to have a look at the newer offerings. In addition Thule have a pretty good reputation world wide and certainly have great customer service here in the UK.
Thule Stacker Kayak Carrier Reviewed by Lisa J (Osceola, WI) — 2011-08-24 13:05:08 We were able to easily mount two sets of the Thule Stacker on the factory roof racks on our mini van, and easily carried our three kayaks that way. The tie down straps worked very well, and getting the kayaks on and off was easy. VIEW MORE REVIEWSShop Thule Stacker Kayak Carrier | Shop Thule
The ProRide CAN be modified (without any additional new parts) so that the controls can be used on either the left-side or right-side of your car. It’s explained in the manual and take about 15 minutes to do for the first time. As a flavour of what you need to do here you can see that the end of the ProRide comes off and the mounts can then be slid off and turned around to face the other direction.

We have various models of Thule Cycle Carrier to suit any specification of vehicle.  Whether it’s just you or a car full of friends and family, get your bikes to wherever you’re going with a Thule bike rack – quickly, easily and safely. With a bike rack from Thule, you’ll be able to cycle on distant roads or bike far from home through wild terrain. Thule’s car bike racks come in different types and can be mounted on your roof, hitch, towbar, or on your boot. If you already own a roof rack, a roof bike rack could be the simplest solution, however a boot or hitch mounted carrier is often easier to load and unload and suits heavier bikes, even e-bikes. These Cycle carriers can carry up to 4 bikes, Use Thule’s buyer’s guide to find the most suitable cycle carrier for your vehicle. Thule’s range of bike racks continuously win multiple industry awards for design, safety and innovation.
Thule roof bars offer premium quality for all types of cars including those with flush rails as well normal roof rails. The Thule Wing Bar roof rails feature an aerodynamic design that is so quiet and efficient that you won’t even notice they are fitted as you drive. Thule roof bars are available in a wide range of sizes to fit small and large car roofs.
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.
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.
You see we've already got our front rail installed. Just use a reference mark here to make sure we have that in line. You're going to do the same thing here in the backside.Once we have that position from both sides, we want to check the overhang that we have on our bars. We'll just add as well. The overhang's going to be this portion here. I just want to make sure we have equal overhang on both sides. It doesn't have to be perfect, but it certainly looks better if it is. All right. Once we've got that where we want it, you want to grab the tool that is provided. This is a torque limiting tool, so basically it's going to tell us when we have our bars tightened down all the way. This is a four nanometer tool. Right here it says Ford inaudible 00:02:09 Newton meter, this is a Ford Newton meter clamp. So, we'll just start tightening this up. I like to snug this one down pretty well. Make sure that this portion here comes over and makes contact with my race side rail there. Once I get that pretty snug, I'm going to go over and do that other side.Now, these roof rack systems are going to be an excellent way to free up some space inside your vehicle of course. Bike racks, cargo carriers, rooftop cargo boxes, kayak carriers, just all kinds of different accessories that you can put up here on the roof line. Ski and snowboard carriers or really the enclosed ones, even if you want to transport some luggage and stuff like that, keep them out of the elements. Now I'm gonna go ahead and torque this one down until my tool indicates, you see that's just like a gas cap basically. Once it's tight enough, it's just going to click. Same thing here.Now with the Evo Bar, something I do like, you see this cap is going to come right open. That allows us to get into our T-slot accessory and no longer do we have to remove the long rubber strip and cut it. Our accessory can slide right in that gap and almost self seals right around it. Makes it really easy to use. Just pop that back down like that. To finish up our install though, we do want to cap off our end caps here. Tab here is going to go on the top, push that bottom in and at that point, you'll just rotate this 180 degrees into it's locked position to lock that cap on. These are just plastic cores. You can do these using a screwdriver, so if you wanted additional security, you want it to be able to lock and we do have the Thule locking keys you can put in there and then actually have a key lock to keep that nice and protected.The bars do come in a black or a silver, so if you wanted something to blend in with the Cherokee, I'd go with the silver. You want something to stand out, I'd go with the black and then I'll show you on that front bar here on the bottom side, once we get everything in position, we've got a little tab right here. We pull that tab over to our foot pack. That's going to eliminate any gaps in the bottom of that crossbar. Really going to help to eliminate wind noise. You can see right here, just gonna pull that over. It's going to close up that gap. Same thing on our front bar. Th
When you want to travel fully equipped and leave nothing behind, Thule Motion XT is the perfect companion. This family-sized roof box will safely carry all of your luggage, outdoor gear and bulky loads wherever your travels lead. The range of user-friendly features include quick and secure mounting on the car, smooth opening and closing of the lid, and DualSide opening for easy access.

Trunk mounted styles like this one are usually easier to load than roof rack versions, however, this model takes that ease to a whole new level. Bikes simply slot on about a foot of the ground, with a set of well-designed ratchet arms locking them easily into place. It even boasts an integrated cable lock to lock the bikes to the rack for added security.


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 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.
Ordered a rack as a Xmas present with heaps of time for delivery. Their email said it was sent. No it wasn't. Had to make other Xmas arrangements in the end. When I called to cancel I was told that they weren't actually sure if it had been sent or not so wait a few days. WTF??? Waited a few days and still no rack. They then agreed to refund but it took a while for the money to show up (admittedly this was probably due to Xmas shutdown).

Looking at some recent reviews, you might come to the conclusion that Thule heard all the complaints here about the end caps being shown in the picture, but not actually being in the box and rectified this problem. Some people claim to have gotten end caps. However, like me, you would be wrong in this conclusion. As of June 2015, they still don't include end caps. Maybe these people saying they got end caps got them with a foot purchase? At least in my case when I was just buying the bars to replace the rusty ones on my car, no end caps.
These are ideal if you are carrying kayaks or bikes and know that lifting these into the centre of the roof will put a strain on your back. They're almost essential for safe loading on tall and / or wide vehicles. The bars slide out so you can load, for example, two bikes on the left side of your vehicle, then slide them the other way and load two more on the right. They're brilliant.
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