I was given my first Thule system back in 1992 when Thule was a sponsor of mine. I used that basic rack system along with numerous accessories up until the summer of 2015. The load bars were finally rusting [where I had drilled holes in them] and I felt I needed to replace them. My towers and my locks, however, are still my 1992 originals, and they're doing great.
"I have read reviews online on our product before, and fully understand your concern. For the most part I have interpreted that the people that have had bad experiences were not using the product correctly. Thule recommends using a 4-point tie-down. This is so that you equal out the pressure on the carrier, as well as, on the vehicle. I've seen reviews of people stating that they do not use any bow and stern tie-downs. These are the people that end up having their kayaks fly off. If the product is used correctly, there should be no problems while you are driving. So long as you use the product correctly, Thule will stand behind it. If you have any further questions on the matter, feel free to contact us. Thank you."
Once you’ve got your bars and towers sorted, the biggest factor in selecting the best cargo box is its size and its shape. You want space ample enough to handle whatever you’re going to toss inside, of course. But those looking to haul a quiver of skis for the entire family or a few surfboards will want a box long enough to accommodate your hard goods, while others who just want some extra space for a variety of items can consider wider, shorter models. Those with hatch-backs that open vertically should also be sure that the cargo box won’t interfere with the door, and those who want their cargo box to look like part of their luxury vehicle should consider boxes that are made with higher-quality materials or that are low-profile, which provides a sleeker silhouette that looks better, creates less drag, and less noise than bulkier models.
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.
In addition to looping the synch down straps around the factory rack, I run them through the rigging on my boat deck and through the bottom part of the "J bend/brackett" of the rack to get to the factory roof rack. I figure that this way if the Thule rack does give away at least it and the boat have a better chance staying with the truck longer until I can pull over. I hope this helps, overall I think the rack is really a good affordable option that requires some added attention and caution when using but overall it is well worth the money.
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.
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I bought this as an upgrade since we bought the Toyota Sequoia which is wider than my older Mercedes GL. I also ordered the Thule Outrigger which works nicely with the cross bar to load and unload our SUPs easier. The combination works very well. I offer a suggestion I did which also worked well with me. If you want kayaks or boards to roll easily over the cross bars and without scratching try this: Go to Home Depot and buy two 30-40" long (depending on the width of the car top) of 1.5" diameter PVC pipes and two-2" pipes of the same length. The 1.5" will fit inside the 2" pipe nicely and the cross bar will fit into the combination (through the 1.5" of course) very well. This will give you a very nice set of rollers for the two cross bars and if you buy the black color of pipes they will look very professional at a cost of less than $15. I tried so many commercial covers and rollers and nothing worked better than this home made one.
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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.
I started my ‘Roof Bar career’ with some cheap ones I used for windsurfing, and they lasted about 6 months before the powder coating started to split and corrosion set in. I then did what my brother told me to do from the start and buy Thule. That first set lasted about 8yrs as a permanent feature on my Vauxhall Nova and looked almost brand new when I removed them. I’ve never considered anything else since. They may appear expensive up front, but it’s not like a handbag where you’re paying for a brand name and nothing more, you’re paying for a proper quality engineered product.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The rack was easier to install than I had thought, though I suspect your average Swede is much stronger than your average American... They show a one hand squeeze on the Aero Foot cam (that scrunches down on the cross bar, securing it). I had to stand and jump up and down on it (please don't void my warranty!) to get the darn thing to close and snap locked. It was almost a show stopper as I would not have been able to get it to close otherwise (I tried squeezing it for dear life with both hand and all my 205 lbs for over 15 minutes before I gave up and stood on the darn thing: closed right up and locked). Other than that, it went in likity-split, and exactly like the fit kit said it would! It took about 45 minutes, counting the isometirc exercises with the cam. I purchased the lock cylinders: I wanted to make those hard to install, but it could not have been easier. The installation instructions are well written and specific for my car (from the fit kit). I do think there should be no charge for the fit kits...
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.
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.
The Skybox Carbonite is a long carbo box that can handle camping gear for up to four travelers, as well as skis and snowboards up to 215 centimeters long. Designed with internal lid stiffeners, it’s both durable and easy to open and close from either side, with a tapered design to reduce hinge interface and increase internal space for awkwardly-shaped gear. SKS locks come included, and the Superlatch tech ensures that the lid will lock securely to the base to protect your gear.
These bars are very aesthetically pleasing, having a lower profile and sleek ends which integrate into your car's design well. You do need to buy a specific fitting kit for your vehicle as can be expected. Installation itself took a matter of minutes, however the pictorial instructions do require a bit of patience and imagination to interpret on occasion. They're easy enough to install as one person, but this may be more difficult if you have a van or 4x4. Don't do what I began to do and assume that the thinner edge of the bar faces forward, it's actually the other way around. These bars are very quiet on their own, understandably louder with accessories/roof boxes etc attached - but then the main benefit is that you don't need to remove the whole system to enjoy a quiet journey. If you don't need the accessory then take it off, the bars can stay on and not irritate you like some of the square bars do.
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.