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I am comparing Thule and Yakima roof racks. I can't figure out which one is best. I have not looked at either in person yet, I am comparing from what I see online. As far as I can tell, the prices are similar. The features/operation and quality also seem to be similar. Both fit my car. I am looking for the fork mount style where you remove the front wheel and lock the bike onto the rack. Any opinions?
 

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In my experience, they're pretty much the same deal. Depending on where you live, you may score more "cool point" with one vs. the other if that's important to you. Functionally, you can't go wrong either way. Find a good deal and go for it.
 

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You're Not the Boss of Me
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texass4 said:
In my experience, they're pretty much the same deal. Depending on where you live, you may score more "cool point" with one vs. the other if that's important to you. Functionally, you can't go wrong either way. Find a good deal and go for it.

Couldn't agree more. Anyone who claims one "rocks" or one "sucks" is just yanking your chain, due for a commission, or similar. Both are top-end rock solid products with similar functionality. See what's on sale, but other otherwise don't sweat it.
 

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Formerly known as gotj
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I went with Yakima

I went through the same thought process earlier this year, and I ended up going with Yakima, for two reasons:

1. I found a good sale on Yakima stuff

2. I had heard that Yakima's round bars (as opposed to Thule's square ones) might be a bit stronger, and maybe slightly more aero (?). I don't know if this is accurate or not, but it made some intuitive sense.

Most Yakima and Thule stuff is interchangeable, though you may sometimes need adapters to use certain racks on the other's bars.

I just got a fairing, and it was well worth it. Really cuts down on the noise. I can use my sunroof again.
 

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Take a look at the mechanisms on the fork mounts. I've got a yakima and really like it, and find the fork mount mechanism on the Thule kind of annoying. Purely personal preference, and both work fine, but something to look at.
 

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Actually back when I made my choice, Yaks where made from cylindrical channel
alum and Thules where square channel. Circular channel anything is stronger and
more resistant to buckling than a square hollow section. Probably why bike frames
are made the same way.
Buy Yaks, if Thules are still square.
 

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Road cyclist said:
Actually back when I made my choice, Yaks where made from cylindrical channel
alum and Thules where square channel. Circular channel anything is stronger and
more resistant to buckling than a square hollow section. Probably why bike frames
are made the same way.
Buy Yaks, if Thules are still square.
I would not worry about the difference between square vs pipe construction.
Both are solid. Talking about 40 or so lbs on top. Heck, even with a full basket on top we are only talking less than a couple hundred pounds.
I even like the look of the rectangular section better myself.
I have a thule and had it for 13 years on 4 or 5 cars and cannot complain about the product.
 

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I use Thule stuff cause I got a great deal on it...8 years ago and three cars later I'm still reusing some pieces (crossbars, locks...). As to the strength of the square crossbars...well, they've been known to carry people around parking lots... :p

My advice, go with whatever your LBS stocks. That way, if you need a part, or a fit kit for another car in a hurry, you'll have a better chance of finding what you're looking for.

Can't really go wrong with either one.

O, and make sure you buy a fairing, will cut down on wind noise and improve your mpg.
 

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If you have an engineering background, you know circular is superior to a square cross
section in strength for the same overall dimensions. I use my Yaks to haul
drywall and wood paneling around. Don't try this with Thules, they could buckle.
 

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Thule, has a better fit for the roof of your car. yakima has less than half as many custom fits for cars, using a close enough approch.

I also like thule's fork mount, although they have more moving parts and wear out faster.

The weight limits are te same on both.

I have Yakima bars with a thule fork mount and yakima upright mount. They have been good. I dont think you will go wrong with either, just wanted to give some of the info i had.
 

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It's a Sledgehammer
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No bad choice, either way you get a great product.
I went with Thule only because I wanted a cargo box and I felt Thule had more options and better offerings as far as boxes go.
Be sure to check out ALL the things you may want to use your rack for (box, watersports, skis...) and see what you like better. Different attachments may help make your decision.
And yeah - get the fairing, cuts nosie way down
 

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Just one more switchback
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Strength doesn't matter

Road cyclist said:
If you have an engineering background, you know circular is superior to a square cross
section in strength for the same overall dimensions. I use my Yaks to haul
drywall and wood paneling around. Don't try this with Thules, they could buckle.
Your bike and a friend's are not going to weigh enough to matter whether the bars are round or rectangular. If you need to put things like paneling and sheetrock on the rack, then you really need a truck or trailer. Plus, a 4x8 sheet will most likely sit on the towers, not the bars unless you have a really wide car.

I have Yakima trays and Thule crossbars. I like them both.
 

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Steaming piles of opinion
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Mix 'n match

I have both.

For my car - a wagon with factory side rails - the Thule bars are easiest to put on and off. But I like the Yakima mounting hardware better for my needs. Fortunately, they're all compatible, so I usually have the Thule bars with the Yak accessories mounted, and save the Yak bars for the load box.

They're under common ownership, so the compatibility kinda makes sense.

FWIW, the round-square controversy is a marketing ploy from when they were competitors. Yep, the round ones are stronger. You'll be over safe load limits for the car long before that matters, though. Get which seem the easiest to put on and remove. For me, the Boa-style short trays are the best for that, since they don't need to be removed from the bars before removing the bars from the car.

YMMV.
 

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Road cyclist said:
If you have an engineering background, you know circular is superior to a square cross
section in strength for the same overall dimensions. I use my Yaks to haul
drywall and wood paneling around. Don't try this with Thules, they could buckle.
I had the Performance brand Thule knock-off (X-Port) that was virtually identical to the Thule and I hauled so much stuff on that rack you would not believe it. I put enough weight on the rack to make my car's suspension compress and had no issues with buckling. I certainly wouldn't worry about hauling bikes around.

If you are not 'brand-sensative', the Performace rack woudl work for you too. I recommend it. Heck of a lot cheaper than Thule or Yakima. Also, if you know you are gonna spend a lot of money at Perf , get in on their membership thing. Only worth it if you know you are gonna spend more than $200.00.

Do get a fairing though. It's a good place to put bike related stickers too!
 

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Thule makes 2 fork mount trays- one has a hard plastic clamp (the Velo Vise) and the other a full metal clamp (590-v2). I have the former and am a bit insecure about the integrity of the lock w/ that plastic. Most of the Yakima racks I see have a locking full metal clamp for the front fork.
 

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I like the idea of the fit kits and matching the car's roofline better than the Yakima Q-tower, but I know people with both and all of em are happy with what they bought.

Its basically a toss-up. Buy the one you get the best deal on. Hint: check Craigslist used racks go for a song!

M
 

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Thule and Yak's are both number 1. Anything else is number 5
 

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I can sell you my Yak System for 70% of retail. Good deal compared to Ebay stuff too. You will probably need to get clips specific for your car. Pillars, steelhead tray, fairing, 6 lock cores and keys for $175 +$15shipping.
 

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I don't have any experience with Yakima products, but I've been using/replacing a thule rooftop system for the past nine years and have been really annoyed with the durability (or lack thereof). Granted, I live in New Jersey, home of the toxic avenger and the acid rain will eat through an Abrams tank, but I'm still very disappointed with how quickly the Thule hardware corrodes. The aluminum trays on the fork mounts and the vinyl-coated crossbars have been fine, but everything else just rusts. The powdercoat or whatever covers the towers chip easily, leaving the exposed metal to easily rust, all the hardware rusts and drips rust juice all over your roof, the glass-impregnated composite 'heads' on the fork mount become brittle and crack with UV exposure.

I'm not saying Yakima's going to be any better, but you have to treat a Thule system pretty gingerly.
 
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