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viva la v-brakes!
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 1UP rack on my hitch for my bikes, but I need a roof rack for the rest of my gear. Both Yakama and Thule each have several models of cross-bars these days. What kind of roof rack should I go with?

- I want something I can install and remove quickly. I will only have the roof rack on when I'm carrying something on it. My Jetta Sportswagen has roof rails to mount to. Which brand has the slickest mounting system for their towers?

- I want something that is future proof and widely compatible, future-proof. Will round or square crossbars be around forever? Or is the "t-slot" on the newer aero crossbars the cross-compatible future? What is most compatible with aftermarket accessories like Rocky Mounts or 1UP's roof rack?

- Spending less money is good, but not at the expense of durability, longevity and usability.

- Aerodynamics not important since it will only be up there when I'm carrying gear, 10% of the time at most. But I guess it doesn't hurt either.

-I'm going to need fairly wide cross bars, I will carrying a 36"-wide canoe, plus a rod holding tube for now, maybe a kayak, ski's, cargo box, EVEN MORE BIKES, in the future.

Sorry if this has already been discussed ad-nauseum, the search function is MTBR's Achilles heel, I couldn't find much useful.

Thoughts? Thanks!
 

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No Clue Crew
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7,593 Posts
I've used all the major brands on the market. I personally haven't found any tower to be particularly easy to use, but maybe there's something I missed.

Otherwise, I don't find much difference and I've moved to buying whatever I can get cheapest.
 

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viva la v-brakes!
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2,440 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I went into REI today. The guy there was steering me towards Yakima. I can get the aero cross bars and towers that clamp to my roof rails for about $430, even better, they're going on sale for Labor day.

I guess Thule is moving towards having the ends of the bars flush with the towers, which won't work for me, my roof rails are only about 40" apart. Yakima allows you to get as wide a bar as you want (up to the width of your mirrors is legal). My mirrors are 78" wide, but I think 60" will be wide enough for my needs.

The aero bars from both Thule and Yakama have slots in them that you can stick carriage bolts in to DIY some mounting options. This is good because freaking fishing rod holders are $600, I'm pretty sure I can do the same with $20 worth of PVC pipe. Also, they have a gripper option that's like $70 per pair, I'm pretty sure I could use Quick Fists to make the same for less than $15 per pair.... and so-on.

Both manufacturers are moving away from their traditional square and round bars respectively, so going with the aero bars means it more future proof.
 

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slow
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7,678 Posts
I've had Yakima round bars since 1987 and have been happy with them. We have 66" or 70" bars that clamp to the factory rails on our Explorer. Removung them is not bad, but I leave them on most of the time. I can haul a gear box and 3 bikes, or 4 kayaks, or 4×8 sheets of plywood, or numerous skis/ snowboards, etc on the wide bars. When I ran this setup on my Accord, I had to watch my head as I got in and out of the car.

I don't know about all of the Yakima accessories, but the kayak towers I have for the aero bars on my car are backward compatible with the round bars on my Explorer.

The only problem I've had with the round bars is when the outside casing gets cracked or an end plug is lost, allowing the bars to rust. I had one set that rusted through and broke off.
 
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