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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm trying to decide the roof rack I want, mostly for the occassional random hauling, but am also going to get a carrier box that'll see use about 4 times a year. I have a couple questions for any input.

1. The all-in-one complete systems, such as the Thule 751, or the one at sale at Sears, has crossbars whose length is adjustable, right? Wouldn't the solid bars you get with a foot pack/loadbar sold seperately setup be a bit more stable?

2. If one buys loadbars seperately, what is the ideal crossbar length for an '04 Variant? 48"? Have you custom cut your bars?

3. The price on Thule 450 system and Yakima Lowrider system is about even for buying a foot pack and then crossbars, so, what are the advantages/disadvantages/your experience with the square bars vs. the round bars?

Thanks.
 

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1. Solid bars would definitely be more stable.

2. 48" is the length to buy. You can hack them down if you want. I didn't.

3. I've always had a Yakima. There are a few threads about peoples' preferences around. Here's one.


Here's my setup:
 

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It seems like either are more than adequate. In my searches though, I found the Yakima Low Rider system to be comparable priced the Thule 415 system, and both were less than the Thule 450. It seems that you are finding better deals on the 450 (or worse on the Low Rider).
 

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I also use the Yakima Low Rider system with 48" bars. I cut the bars to this length; they are from a 60" system that I had on my truck. 48" gives about 4 - 5" of length on the outside of the low rider towers - just enough for easy lashing. It is a very sturdy system for general hauling.
 

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I have the same Yakima boke carrier setup as flipsauce shows above. I'm very happy with it.

Round bars work just fine... I even use the round Yakima bars with a Thule Evolution cargo box (designed for square bars), and the box has never slid at all on the round bars. Good stuff.
 

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Yak Low Riders & 48" bars here. It's very stable & secure, and their SKS (Same Key System) lets you use one key for all locks - bar-to-factory rack, carrier-to-bar and bike-to-carrier. If I'm going to be leaving the car for some period (like into a restaurant), I also thread a heavy cable through both wheels of all bikes & through the triangular 'arms' on the bike carriers; then padlock it.

As you probably know, both Thule & Yak have fitment guides on their sites for any particular vehicle.

Regarding round vs. hollow rectangular, I like the idea of Yak's solid steel bars; but maybe the hacksaw test would be in order. I've heard it said that the round bar would create less wind noise.

HTH

Variants Rule! 8)
 

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For what it is worth, REI.com has sales on Yakima gear periodically - in May all Yak stuff was 20% off. That makes buying the whole set up a bit less painful....

I have the lowriders, 48" round bars, and a Space Cadet carrier that I use from time to time. It is amazing how much stuff you can carry with such a setup! Who needs an SUV.....
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for the pic, Flip. I'm leaning towards the Lowrider cause I'm liking the idea of a slightly lower profile.

ny1911 said:
It seems that you are finding better deals on the 450 (or worse on the Low Rider).
I realize the Thule 450 is a little more expensive. I'm getting a 4 pack of Lowriders, two Yakima 48" bars and a 2 pack lock core for $143.45 shipped, so I'm pretty pleased. Anyone know of a better price anywhere else?

Am I going to want a faring once I hear the wind noise? What's the ideal size for a Variant?
 

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The faring may not be necessary... especially with a variant. I put my bars back behind the sunroof - far enough back that I can't hear much noise. Strangely, the loudest configuation is with just the crossbars :suspicio:
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
just thought of another question:

4. If I buy a 4 pack of lowriders, do I need a 2-key pack, or a 4-key pack? Must a key be on each foot for it to be secure?
 

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Yes... I'd recommend a 6 or 8 key pack. You will use the other keys for things like a bike holder, carrier box, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
pete1 said:
Yes... I'd recommend a 6 or 8 key pack. You will use the other keys for things like a bike holder, carrier box, etc.
But I'm getting a cargo box from Sears. The Yakima SKS locks only work with Yakima stuff, right?

PVP, I'll check and see if I can pass along the price. It is a good deal. The $143 is only with 2 locks.
 

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Yes, they only work with yakima. You still would need 4 locks for the lowriders. But are you sure you won't buy somthing from yakima in the future? Bike carrier, etc? Then again, carrying two keys instead of one is not that bad.
 

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oh, we've moved on to wind noise:

I also have a yakima lowrider setup, and really like it. the noise with just the bars is annoying, but once I added the Basketcase the whistling sounds drove me crazy. So I installed the fairing. it helps quite a bit with the whistling sounds. I want to say I bought the small one, but now I can't remember if there are 2 or 3 different sizes. I know that the large one was too big to fit between the rails. (yakima site list 4 sizes...I'll measure tonite..) :roll:

If you're just running the bars, they will whistle too, just adding pads seems to help that.
 

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Yakima makes the best rack accessories IMO.
Thule's low profile mounts look the best (I don't like the rack sticking way up there like the Yakima mounts do).
You can put Yak parts on Thule rails. Best combo.
No fairing needed.
Thule bars are also slightly quieter (round bars shed more turbulence hence the wind noise--worst when "clean" as noted)
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks for all the input everyone.

I bought the Thule all-in-one system that Sears carried. It's listed as Thule 91411, and it included feet, 50" bars and locks for $149 plus tax. This looks like the pictures I've seen of the Thule 415, I think it's the same piece of equipment. Anyone know? Here's the link with a picture:
http://www.sears.com/sr/javasr/product.do?BV_UseBVCookie=Yes&vertical=AUTO&pid=02872314000

The rack does make a bit of noise once I'm over 60 mph. I'll have to decide on a faring.

I'm going to buy the 15 cu. ft. cargo box at Sears next... it's about the same price as the rack.[/url]
 

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PassatVariantPunk said:
Where did you get that deal on the lowriders and crossbars and locks?

143 seems dirt cheap :crazy:

PS Anyone use the softpacks? Do you need to have a cage to carry them or could I strap one to the two load bars?
I have an Axim softpack, bought years ago at Target. It fits great on my Yak system with Basketcase. Matches pretty well, too, since the pack is light grey and the Variant of silver. I don't think it would have worked without the Basketcase, unless you want either the whole thing or at least parts rubbing the roof. (Wait a minute.....perhaps if the crossbars were close enough together, say 30" or so, you might be able to cut a piece of plywood to fit INSIDE the softpack to make it hard/flat on the bottom. Then it would rest nicely on the crossbars like a platform, and should be really stable. I definitely would have done this if I didn't have the Baseketcase.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I just received word from customer support at Thule that the Thule 91411 rack system is a packaging of 415 feet, 50" bars, and locks. So, that's good to know for any who are interested in the custom fit of the 415, since they're not available from Thule any longer. In another thread, someone who works at a bike shop suggested that the newer model, the 450's, use band type attachment, that while more universal, is less secure.

Sears still has the 91411 available.
 
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