Tag Archives: thule

8th Sep 2015

Small Car + Big Kayak = No Problem!

As gas prices go up, cars have become smaller.  Protecting the environment (and your wallet) is the right thing to do, but it can make carrying your 15′ kayak a challenge…but have no fear, we have the best solution for you.
It all starts with a good base rack system and a kayak carrier.  There are several types that will work including J-cradles, saddles, or rollers.  All of these systems will work great for carrying one (or more) kayaks on your smaller ride.

J-cradles work great for carrying multiple kayaks since you can carry them on their side.  The Thule Hull-a-port Aero or the Yakima J-low are some of the best; they have universal mounting hardware and fold down when not in use.

Hull-a-Port Aero

Saddles work great for carrying your kayak when it is flat on the roof.  They are also a bit easier to load and unload. Front cradles are rear cradles are often sold separately so you can mix and match styles for easier loading. They can handle kayaks that are longer, heavier, and wider than the J-cradles, but they limit the amount of usable space on your crossbars. Smaller vehicles can carry one, maybe two kayaks with the cradle style, depending on crossbar length.

Yakima Mako Saddles 8004037

A Mako Saddle set

Mako Saddles in front, paired with rollers in the back

Saddles work great for carrying your kayak when it is flat on the roof.  They are also a bit easier to load and unload. Front cradles are rear cradles are often sold separately so you can mix and match styles for easier loading. They can handle kayaks that are longer, heavier, and wider than the J-cradles, but they limit the amount of usable space on your crossbars. Smaller vehicles can carry one, maybe two kayaks with the cradle style, depending on crossbar length.

Rollers can make loading and unloading a breeze… without scratching up your car. Use them to smoothly roll the kayak from the rear of your vehicle to the front saddle with minimal effort. The Yakima SweetRoll is a complete kayak carrying set, with saddles in front and integrated rollers in the rear. This is especially useful for heavy and long kayaks, or vehicles with high roofs.

Yakima SweetRoll 8004074

Close up of a rear roller of a SweetRoll, illustrating the adaptability to fit most kayak shapes.

Yakima SweetRoll

Full Yakima SweetRoll set

Thule Quick Loop #530Thule Quick Loop #530

But, the most important thing to remember is that you also need some tie-downs.  It is imperative that you tie down the front and back of your kayak to ensure your kayak is secured and safely installed on your vehicle. There are several ways to attach bow/stern tie downs, one of the easiest is to use the Thule Quick Loop.  It installs by closing the hood or trunk over the anchors, providing a safe and secure tie-down spot for your kayaks.

5th Sep 2015

Benefits of Aftermarket VS. Factory Crossbars

Shopping for a new vehicle can be overwhelming… so many decisions and options!  Oftentimes the factory accessories are more costly than aftermarket solutions, and most people don’t realize how limiting factory racks can be (until it’s too late).  At Rack N Road, we can help you in making the decision whether factory crossbars will actually suit all your future needs, and we’ll help you save some money in the process.

FACTORY RACK CROSSBARS                        

One of the biggest downsides to factory crossbars is that they come in all shapes and sizes but only fit that specific vehicle– any equipment purchased to fit one system may not fit on the next.  Most dealer racks are flimsy and built mostly for aesthetic appeal.  Consisting of large amounts of plastic, they cannot support long or unstable loads like kayaks, canoes or lumber. Dealer racks have limited usable space so only one or two attachments can fit at any given time.

FACTORYRACK              subarubefore2

On hatchbacks, such as SUVs or wagons, the factory systems are regularly too close to the hatch and cause interference when carrying loads.  Many people find they can’t even use their old cargo boxes or bike racks and still open the back door!

Some factory crossbars are made by Thule for the dealer; in these cases the racks usually have the strength to carry larger loads, but lack the versatility of interchanging accessories or adapting to other vehicles.  Replacement parts for these Thule-designed factory racks are hard to come by.  Rack N Road is able to get keys for most of them, but most other parts are proprietary and only available through the dealer (at dealer prices!).


Thule and Yakima both do a great job of making their aftermarket solutions fit a wide range of vehicles.  This ensures that you can not only fit your new vehicle, but that most of the equipment will work on other vehicles for years to come.  Because the shape of the crossbars are standard, most bike, ski, cargo, or kayak racks should fit, even if you own multiple vehicles or change cars often.

AeroBlade-Edge-on-raised-rails         Whispbar-Raised-Rail

Many people choose the factory rack due to the aerodynamic shape and aesthetic appeal; however, the new Thule Aeroblade Edge and Yakima Whispbar Flush crossbars offer the same aerodynamics, but with far more functionality and flexibility.  These new crossbars are available to fit factory mounts, rails, and any of our custom installed solutions. If you need extra bar space but want the same aerodynamic style, the through bars offer additional length to fit extra accessories. Aside from our custom solutions, Yakima and Thule also have clips, or fit kits, that grab onto the side of your vehicle if there is nothing on your roof. The clip-on racks are typically weaker, less aesthetically pleasing, and less versatile, than our custom installations, but still are a good option if there is nothing on the roof of the vehicle. Usually all you need to do is get new fit kits to transfer that rack to another vehicle.

Custom installed racks are the best possible solution for strength and versatility.  These racks are strategically positioned on the vehicle to accommodate your gear, sunroof, and hatchback with ease.  Our tailor-fit experts ensure that your vehicle fits your family and your toys.  If you’re looking for the most flexibility and style, we install integrated smooth tracks that allow you to adjust your crossbars based on your gear. We here at Rack N Road are certified installers of Yakima and Thule equipment, and use our years of experience to help select the right choice for you.  Check with us first! You’ll be surprised how much money and time we can save you.

28th Aug 2015

The Top 3 Bike Racks of the Summer

It has been a hot summer so far and we have seen lots of families and adventurers come through our stores, looking for the best bike rack they can for the best price.  We  have found that each family or individual has a wide variety of needs based on their activities and frequency of use, and we’re happy to help.  Below we discuss the three top selling hitch mounted racks of the summer.  And remember, we can guarantee lowest price on any of these:

The Kuat NV

The NV retails for $549 and can be seen here:


The good folks from Springfield Missouri can make an awesome rack!  It has some of the same features as the popular Thule T2 and the Yakima Holdup (ratcheting arm and integrated cable lock) but the NV’s unique features help it outrun the competition.  For example, it comes in two cool color selection: black and chrome or smoke and orange.  It also has a built-in repair stand for pre-ride prep or post-ride cleanup and as they describe, “it is a fully loaded stunner.”

Thule T2 916XTR

916_sized_900x600The T2 retails for $449 and can be seen here:


The Thule T2 is probably the most cost efficient and most reliable tray style bike rack currently on the market, explaining why so many bikers prefer it. Besides offering a integrated cable lock that secures the bike without making frame contact, it also has a reinforced tray that provides maximum strength and rust-free protection. Overall, the Thule T2 is the best at getting the job done at an affordable price.

Yakima HoldUp

The HoldUp retails for $449 and can be seen here:


Both Kuat and Thule have great tray style racks, but sometimes getting the darn bike on these trays can drive a person crazy! Enter the HoldUp. This is where the Yakima platform style rack shines. In 10 seconds or less a person can have their bike up and ready to go on their next adventure. It also has the same features as the competitors, including a mast that folds up and into itself when not in use, and can tilt down for rear-of-vehicle access, and integrated locks.

Tray style hitch racks are great options if you are looking for convenience and style. They are especially useful for unusually shaped bikes or bikes you’d prefer to avoid frame contact. All of the above racks can also be extended to carry 4 bikes, although only on a 2″ hitch. If your vehicle is lower to the ground, you might consider an upright rack as the tray style does hang low loaded with bikes.

18th Aug 2015

How to Carry Multiple SUP’s

Stand-Up Paddle boarding is fast becoming the new way to travel on the water. While people love the versatility and freedom a SUP board has to offer, there are still questions over how to put the SUP board on a vehicle. Every day customers come in to the store and ask how to put not just one, but multiple SUP’s on their vehicle. Luckily for them, we always have a solution here!

Yakima and Thule, our two most popular brands, both have great solutions for how to carry multiple boards on your vehicle.

Holds up to two 36" wide boards.


First, we have the SUPDawg by Yakima which
holds up to two 36″ wide boards. The SUPDawg is a popular solution to carrying boards because of the soft rubber padding and cradles, which in our opinion sets it aside from the competition. Unlike other SUP carriers, this one is the best at protecting the board from wear and tear that might occur with other racks.  By coming pre-assembled out of the box you are able to slap this system right on your rack in a matter of minutes, allowing you to hit the water as fast as possible! Often, people find the straps to secure the board often tuck away easier than other SUP carriers too. If carrying multiple SUP boards is a priority, then look no further because the SUPDawg has everything you need to carry two 36″ boards.


Now onto the competition. While the Yakima SUPDawg has perks, so too does the Thule SUP Taxi. Besides being one of the best SUP roof racks on the market it also provides one of the best features that Yakima can’t boast: security. Although the SUPDawg does lock the boards to the vehicle, Thule 810XT has a steel reinforced cable integrated into the band that gets locked into place over the boards, so you can breathe easy leaving boards on top of your car. Another important feature is the telescoping base that allows for the best fit, carrying boards up to 34″ wide. Depending on your board shape, some people prefer the curved cushioned fit the SUP Taxi provides, or the flat adaptable shape of the SUPDawg.

Both options allow you to carry two SUP boards, fit to almost all roof rack crossbar shapes, and are a great summer solution for your next trip to the water.

29th Jul 2015

Check it out! Our top selling rack!

Thule Helium Aero 9043

Mind blowing!  We love the new Thule Helium Aero Bike Rack…but we never thought it would be this popular.
The new Thule Helium Aero comes in both a 2 bike and 3 bike version.  It’s got all the bells and whistles including fully locking features and this thing they call the AutoAttach Lock Knob.  Basically, there’s a cable to lock up your bikes and the special knob makes taking this rack on and off extremely easy.  The whole rack only weighs about 25 lbs (some type of ultra-light aluminum), so when we show it to people, we insist that they actually hold it in their hands and try the installation themselves.  Most people know they have the rack for them once that happens.

This is the perfect rack for those living the “compact” lifestyle.  Anyone with limited space, whether it be in your garage or on your car, love this rack.  The Helium Aero rack has the ability to fold down for rear hatch access and the arms can fold down for an even more compact setup.  It has a small footprint in your garage and is light enough to be stored on a shelf if needed.  It fits into both 1 1/4″ and 2″ hitches and has great ground clearance, so it is compatible with all car models.  It is especially popular on smaller cars like the Toyota Prius, Honda Fit, VW, Golf, or Subaru Impreza…to name a few.
Thule Helium Aero 90433It works like your typical mast-style rack and can carry most bike models.  It has some pretty cool cradles and cages that hold and support your bike, preventing it from banging around and damaging itself, other bikes, or your car.  One reason we feel this has sold so well is because it makes sense: it’s a good price for all the features and customer’s love the feel and ease of use of the rack.

We have several employees “testing” this rack as we speak…