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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm going to buy a kayak and decided to finally get a roof rack. I priced out a Yakima system that will carry 2 bikes and 1 kayak for $630. Youch! That's nearly as much as my boat will cost. So I see a million of these racks for sale used on Ebay/Craigslist, but how does one tell if they will fit ones vehicle? For obvious reasons, both Yakima & Thule's websites are some what elusive about providing this information.

Also, I've always avoided a roof rack because I've heard that just putting the towers and bars on will reduce my gas milage by 2MPG. Is this true?
 

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Don't know nothin' about Thule, but I've had 2 used Yaks

Go to Yakima.com, or else REI or someplace with a good supply of rack stuff, and figure out from the catalog what you need to fit your car. With Yakima, the width of the crossbars is important--too long is OK, but too short isn't. You'll probably need new "Q Towers," which are about $100 a set, I think (haven't bought any in a few years, so check). Those mount to the rain gutters (or where the gutters used to be) with clips that are about $25 a set (two sets needed). All the stuff that attaches toys to the racks is pretty much interchangeable, and a cursory inspection should show you if anything's broken, cracked etc. I've bought two used Yaks, one off a neighbor's Civic sedan for my Neon and one from a Civic coupe for my Protege.The first took towers and clips and ran me about $150 extra. The second needed only the clips, and I think I did it for around $50. I also have two kayaks, but I just tie them to the crossbars with padding over the tubes.
FWIW, $600 is about what it costs to carry stuff on top of your car if you go full Yakima or Thule. I bought some offbrand hardware for mine from Nashbar, I think about $80 vs. $200 for Yakima, and it's worked fine for three years.
On the Civic and Mazda, an empty rack costs about 2-3 mpg at highway speeds, which is why I take it off when I'm not using it (couple of minutes once you learn how). With bikes on top, we drop from @34 to the mid-20s.
 

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You still driving an SL2? I'll have to check, but I may still have all the stuff for a Thule system. I haven't used it since I bought my VUE, and I don't think I got rid of any of it. The feet and the crossbars are the key components you need, and I also have the racks for bikes. I could be convinced to send it all your way if you'll pay the shipping. It's kinda heavy, though. It could cost some money to ship.
 

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mohair_chair said:
You still driving an SL2? I'll have to check, but I may still have all the stuff for a Thule system. I haven't used it since I bought my VUE, and I don't think I got rid of any of it. The feet and the crossbars are the key components you need, and I also have the racks for bikes. I could be convinced to send it all your way if you'll pay the shipping. It's kinda heavy, though. It could cost some money to ship.
Still be less than retail...

I gave a buddy an old Thule system a while back. Still cost him ~$100 for the fit kit and a few bike mounts.

M
 

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Buy the Yakima rack setup, but then consider "Rocky Mounts" bike mounts, and just go with the cheaper kayak mounts from Yakima. You'll save alot of money doing it that way, and the Rocky Mounts do the job just as well as Yakima mounts, but they just aren't quite as "slick". Don't waste your time with the "hully rollers" ($$$!!) unless you're a wimp, in which case you should probably stay away from the kayak (and bike!) altogether. Just get basic stuff and stay away from all the "bells & whistles". You don't HAVE TO have them.

I don't spend THAT much time on the freeway with bikes on top, so I don't worry too much about the mileage (I drive a Pontiac Vibe). Most of my driving is in town. and I don't think it adds up to much of a difference. Once you have a bike up there it drops a bit - 10-15%, but it's better than having it wreck the interior of your car, and there's no way a kayak will fit in there...
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Its an L series sedan

mohair_chair said:
You still driving an SL2? I'll have to check, but I may still have all the stuff for a Thule system. I haven't used it since I bought my VUE, and I don't think I got rid of any of it. The feet and the crossbars are the key components you need, and I also have the racks for bikes. I could be convinced to send it all your way if you'll pay the shipping. It's kinda heavy, though. It could cost some money to ship.
I have the bigger Saturn sedan, isn't that what you had too? And sure, I'd take care of the shipping costs.
 

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Yeah, Rocky Mounts are what I have. Work fine

Couldn't remember the name when I posted before...


axebiker said:
Buy the Yakima rack setup, but then consider "Rocky Mounts" bike mounts, and just go with the cheaper kayak mounts from Yakima. You'll save alot of money doing it that way, and the Rocky Mounts do the job just as well as Yakima mounts, but they just aren't quite as "slick". Don't waste your time with the "hully rollers" ($$$!!) unless you're a wimp, in which case you should probably stay away from the kayak (and bike!) altogether. Just get basic stuff and stay away from all the "bells & whistles". You don't HAVE TO have them.

I don't spend THAT much time on the freeway with bikes on top, so I don't worry too much about the mileage (I drive a Pontiac Vibe). Most of my driving is in town. and I don't think it adds up to much of a difference. Once you have a bike up there it drops a bit - 10-15%, but it's better than having it wreck the interior of your car, and there's no way a kayak will fit in there...
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Would you leave your equipment locked on overnight?

I found a place that will store the kayak for me...I don't have space at my place. But I can only gain access during business hours, which means I'd need to leave the kayak on overnight from time to time. Now I live in condominium. My immediate neighborhood is okay, but there the area in general has a high crime rate. How easy is it to break the equipment locks? I supose I could put it in my condo overnight, as long as it doesn't live here 24/7.
 

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Kristin said:
How easy is it to break the equipment locks?
Super dooper easy. The locks are deterents, not fail safes. For your basic fork mounted bike tray, fer instance, which locks the fork to the car, you can just loosen the stem of the bike, leave the fork locked to the car, and make off with the rest of the bike. Never tried, but if motivated I'd bet I could steal the bike sans fork in about 26 seconds, give or take.

I'd have to imagine the same is true for kayaks.
 

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Roof racks are potentially trouble. I've never had a problem though. I do wonder about seeing my bike flying off the top and in the air hitting cars in my rear view mirror. I'm really careful about overhead clearance and have never hit anything.

They still are a great way to transport bikes.

What bothers me is the quality of metal and plastic that holds your bike on. Both materials have the potential to snap and your bike will be gone. I closed the skewer on a Thule once and watched as the end cap split. If it were solid and machined steel that would be great, instead it's a cast piece. I do worry about these things as I'm flying down the freeway at 70 mph.
 
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