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I originally purchased my Thule rack system in 1985 (for use on a Land Cruiser) and ‘upgraded’ in 1990 to the new style Thule racks (for a 4Runner), so I have a fair amount of experience with these racks. Although I have not purchased much new Thule gear lately, all of my 15-20 year old accessories work great. I use the 58” bars in the winter to hold my ski carrier and box. In the summer I use 78” bars to hold 2-3 canoes or kayaks, plus bikes. Given that most of my gear is so old, it is made of solid aluminum and steel and hasn’t given me one failure. Sure, I broke a fairing when I hit a flying rock at 60mph. And, I’ve lost a few of the nuts and nylon bar ends but these were easily replaced. But never have I had a fear of the rack coming off my truck. I’ve even caught a tree with one of my 78” bars, which bent the roof of my 4Runner pretty good. Still, the rack did not budge. My rack has spent a lot of time in Alaska and Minnesota winters and rust has never been much of a problem, either.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
THEFT: A determined and well-prepared thief will have the tools to steal your bike in any case. I would imagine that, with an expensive bike, the thief might not be too concerned about prizing open the frame clamp and damaging the frame as the re-sale value of untraceable and expensive bike parts would more than compensate them for their efforts. The ProRide’s anti-theft mechanisms are sufficient to prevent the casual thief. Use your own bike lock when parked to better deter would-be thieves ie lock the bike to the roof bars with a motorbike lock or similar
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.
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.
To save you time, The Rack Warehouse lists the most popular selling Thule 480R Rapid Traverse 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 480R Rapid Traverse Foot Complete Car Roof Racks are designed for vehicles with smooth of naked rooflines (no racks or attachments). 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.
Every car model has its own roof shape. There are different racks to fit all roof types so you can find the transportation solution that meets your needs. Most vehicles will have either a normal roof, roof rails, fixing points or integrated roof rails. Some roofs are equipped with a T-nut profile or a rain gutter. If you have a car with roof rails, you only need roof bars (also called crossbars), which run across the car and connect the roof rails on either side. For vehicles with a normal roof, fixing points or integrated roof rails, you will need a vehicle-specific kit.
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.”
Lots of negative reviews here I don't understand. Some folks even saying it took 2 hours to put thier bake rack on thier vehicle. That could be the actual problem. They are all pretty simple in design four towers put them on tighten then put your bike on them. Never seen a bike rack that didn't allow the bike to sway some while driving on rough roads. They do make tie down straps for rugged terrain.
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.
There were a few types of bar I could have chosen. Firstly the bog standard square bars, which are pretty good but they don’t have the T channel for quick attachment of bike carriers and roof boxes. They still work really well but I have a few bits that use the T bolt system and I really like it for ease and security. The second is the Aero bars system which I have used a great deal in the past. They are again good, but I found them to be a little noisy on the cars I have had in the past. This may have been down to the bars or the foot system, or the way I had fitted them. The Aero bars do have the T channel which still makes them a contender. OEM bars tend to be very similar to the Thule Aero bars anyway. However for a little bit more cash the Thule Wing bars offer a lower profile, a reported 55% reduction in drag compared to the Aero bars and a possibility of an overall quieter system. After a hunt around (see below) I got the Wing bars for the price of a set of Aero bars
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.
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.
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.
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!

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.
THEFT: A determined and well-prepared thief will have the tools to steal your bike in any case. I would imagine that, with an expensive bike, the thief might not be too concerned about prizing open the frame clamp and damaging the frame as the re-sale value of untraceable and expensive bike parts would more than compensate them for their efforts. The Thule FreeRide 532’s anti-theft mechanisms are sufficient to prevent the casual thief. Use your own bike lock when parked to better deter would-be thieves ie lock the bike to the roof bars with a motorbike lock or similar
[Update] - there are two channels along the bottom of these bars. Having narrowed the whistling noise down to the bar, I tried running 2.5inch wide vinyl tape the entire bottom of the bar, making the two channels flush. Noise stopped immediately. It's a poor design by Thule (noise-wise). If you're ok with masking off the bottom of the bar, that is a viable solution for stopping the noise.
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They seem solid and well made. I'm just surprised at the way that the coating ends on the bars and the bare steel is open to the elements. I guess I assumed these would come with the end caps, as it doesn't specify that they don't and the photo includes the end caps, while graying out the feet - which I knew weren't included. Seems kinda skimpy to leave that little piece out.
1o - Breakage ! The head unit in secured in the bars with a single bolt and it just cant take the continuous side to side loading when driving in unpaved roads (this unit is designed for disk brakes, used in MOUNTAIN BIKES, which trails sometimes required driving in unpaved roads to get to, no surprise here Thule !).Even driving carefuly, my head unit has cracked TWICE and the third time it was the bolt itself that snapped. Almost had the bike flying on the highway...
Description: Replacement keys cut for Roof Racks, Roof Bars, Roof Boxes, Storage Boxes, Ski Racks, Cycle Racks, Tow Ball, Rear Mounted Bike Carriers etc.. We use the latest up to date electronic technology for cutting keys to code. Code Series from N001 - N250 Code Series from N001R - N200R Code Series from N001M - N200M Your lock code is located on the face of the lock Savings apply when you buy more then one key of the same code
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