Educate me on roof bars / boxes

  • This topic has 21 replies, 17 voices, and was last updated 3 years ago by  jsync.
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  • Educate me on roof bars / boxes
  • Premier Icon jsync
    Subscriber

    Hi,

    Due to a recent addition to the family holidays are going to involve the transportation of more stuff. I have a 1 series (f20) that I’ll have for the next 6 months or so but would like to be able to transfer the bars and box to the new car. There is also the possibility of using the bars with some bike carriers. Ok, what do I need to know? Any recommendations?

    Thanks

    For Thule, bars are universal it’s the foot pack you change if you change car.

    591s are good bike racks

    I went with wing bars, very quiet

    Premier Icon geoffj
    Subscriber

    I’m pleased with my wing bars, just make sure you buy them wide enough for your new car if that is what you want to do. Change the foot pack to match the vehicle.

    wrightyson
    Member

    Some lengths of required bars are different. Any idea what car will be next. You could make sure the length will be sufficient which will just mean a greater over hang on current car. Also I went with mazdas own which are far cheaper but thule in disguise….

    There shouldn’t be a problem with your roof box. The pricier ones have sliding attachments to deal with bars at different distances form each other. The cheaper ones have U-brackets that you drill holes in the bottom of the box to suit, so you just drill new holes.

    Although you can buy new foot packs for Thule racks i’ve rarely just changed out the footpacks when changing cars. Your bars have to be the right width for your next car and the footpack kit price is often the majority of the overall price, so i’ve always found it to be more cost effective to just put the old racks on eBay (Thule always gets a good price) and just get a new complete rack kit.

    Wing bars are good if you’re keeping on the car all the time, if not then just get the cheaper rectangular section ones. But stick with Thule, they are genuinely the best.

    Premier Icon simon_g
    Subscriber

    F20 foot pack & fitting kit also fits a lot of other modern BMWs, up to 4 series.

    As said, the bars are usually reusable as long as there’s not a big difference in roof width.

    bearGrease
    Member

    http://www.roofracks-roofboxes.co.uk/ – call Roly at Exeter roof racks, full of advice and great service.

    Premier Icon thisisnotaspoon
    Subscriber

    But stick with Thule, they are genuinely the best.

    It’s a metal stick bolted tot he top of the car, in what objective way are Thule better? (part sarcasm, part genuine question)

    I just got the cheapest rack I could find on ebay that fit (about £50) that wasn’t direct from China, fits and works fine, holds the weight of the boat or stacks of DIY material, kitchen units and anything else I’ve put up there. They’re even oval shaped, whether that makes then quieter or not I’ve no idea.

    I’ve a hunch it was these ones:
    http://stores.ebay.co.uk/Ultimotive-Car-Accessories/Roof-Bars-/_i.html?_fsub=9355342

    Ddownside, they let water in through the mounting points on the roof, but that’s a Ford problem rather than anything wrong with the racks.

    Premier Icon Cougar
    Subscriber

    in what objective way are Thule bin what objective way are Thule better? etter?

    They never let water in through the mounting points on my Ford.

    Premier Icon benp1
    Subscriber

    The Thule ones are very well designed and engineered. I have nothing to compare them to though, I just bought Thule ones when I needed some bars and bike carriers

    The one thing I’ve been really pleased about though, is that I have confidence when the roof is really loaded up. I’ve had a full rotten shed on top of my car, WELL over the weight limit, and it was fine (I only drove few miles to the tip with it)

    To be honest, I suspect that for most uses a cheap set will work just as well

    neilnevill
    Member

    Thisisnotaspoon. Racks bolt on using threaded holes in the (covered) gutter? Had a Mondeo with the genuine ford rack that did that. I got 4 stainless steel grub screws and always fitted them, with lots of copper slip, in the holes when the bars weren’t in use. Never had water ingress in 10 years.

    The ford bars were better than the Thule bars I have now for my current car, the bars were aluminium and much lighter than steel Thule bars.

    Premier Icon Cougar
    Subscriber

    Pretty sure the last time I looked, the Ford bars were rebadged Thule bars anyway.

    Premier Icon matt_outandabout
    Subscriber

    It’s a metal stick bolted tot he top of the car, in what objective way are Thule better? (part sarcasm, part genuine question)

    I have three times seen band new, cheapor or Skoda branded bars bend when loaded with a canoe or some kayaks.
    I have also watched a Halfords rack rust away within months.

    Our Thule bars are now 12 years old and going strong.

    A Thule roof rack (and other similar premium brands i’m sure) is better than a cheap one in the same way a full carbon Santa Cruz V10 DH bike is better than a few bits of scaffolding tube welded together with a couple of wheels bolted on, a saddle and some handlebars.

    They just are. They’re better engineered, last longer,are more robust, attach in a better way to your car, more secure, stronger, lighter, nicer looking, better brand, better reputation, designed by people who have actually thought about what the best design for the job is rather than thinking “lets just bolt some metal sticks to the roof of a car”. They’re just……better. Whatever you want ‘a pair of metal sticks bolted on the roof of your car’ to do for you, the Thule ones do it better. I’ve had cheap roof racks and bike racks, and i’ve had Thule ones, and some decent non-Thule ones (though I suspect they were actually Thule but just rebranded). I’ll never buy cheap ones again. It’s a false economy. On my first car I went through two pairs of cheaper roof bars in two years before I saw the light and went for Thule. The cheap ones just rusted through, they were flimsy. I used them for carrying windsurfing gear at the time so the salt water and sea air obviously didn’t agree with them. The Thule ones lasted for about 5 years before I got rid of them, and they basically looked like new even then bar a few scuffs on the rubber coating of the rails. I’ve never looked back since.

    Sure, if you are only going to put the rack on your car once in a blue moon and they live in your garage unused for 99% of the time, then go cheap, but if they’re going to be permenantly or semi permenantly attached then invest a little more for some decent ones.

    craigxxl
    Member

    It’s a metal stick bolted tot he top of the car, in what objective way are Thule better? (part sarcasm, part genuine question)

    Have a search for Whispbar failures. Tried to copy Thule, charging similar prices and failed at other peoples expense.

    Be careful taking advice on the length of the Thule wing/aero bars. You cant just go and buy wider ones and have a longer overhang. The slots on the bottom are not the full length so they will only allow the brackets to adjust inwards so far.
    Thule are by far the best I have used. Not cheap but easily available and there are accessories for almost anything you can think of. Spares are easily available not that I have needed anything other than when swapping cars.
    They seem pretty much the bar all others are measured against.

    Premier Icon thisisnotaspoon
    Subscriber

    Thisisnotaspoon. Racks bolt on using threaded holes in the (covered) gutter? Had a Mondeo with the genuine ford rack that did that. I got 4 stainless steel grub screws and always fitted them, with lots of copper slip, in the holes when the bars weren’t in use. Never had water ingress in 10 years.

    Yup and nope, it’s fine when the bar’s aren’t on, It’s that there’s nothing sealing between the bars and the roof/gutter.

    IIRC Thule have some sort of wedge shaped rubber bit that fits between the foot of the bar and the roof of the car. Which probably does make them better (if you drive a BMW and by inference, actually care about the state of your car’s interior).

    It was only enough to make the headlining damp in a patch where it meets the plastic windscreen trim on the A-pillar after driving down the motorway at 70 in torrential rain though, I guess water fills the gutter then air pressure forces it down the screw thread.

    Premier Icon timmys
    Subscriber

    If it’s the same as with a 1st gen 1 series then with Thule you have the option of bars that overhang or don’t. Non overhangers are neater (think they are lower as well) but I don’t think you’d ever get a roof box + a bike carrier on at the same if you wanted to do that.

    I have a Thule Pacific 600 roof box and it’s fine. Seems a bit flimsy but it’s sturdy enough and anything more substantial I could imagine would be a lot heavier and more hassle to use. You’ll need T-track adaptors for Thule wing bars.

    Non overhang;

    Overhang;

    The Halfords (Exodus?) bars look VERY similar to previous Thule products. Often the latest Halfords stuff is based on (and I reckon made by) the latest generation -1 stuff from Thule.

    Thule make loads of OEM stuff too. Volvo (unsurprisingly) and Renault, plus many more.

    IMO you want to buy something that is easy to install and easy to remove. You are far better driving around without the rack on if you don’t need it.

    How is Thule stuff better? Some of it is crash tested, although this is only to City – low speed – standards IIRC.

    Premier Icon angeldust
    Subscriber

    It’s a metal stick bolted tot he top of the car, in what objective way are Thule better? (part sarcasm, part genuine question)

    Better design and manufacture. Last longer and are easier to fit.

    You do realise that this is essentially the same sarcasm you get from people who don’t understand why anyone would buy a £4K bike when you get one for £100 in Halfords.

    Premier Icon jsync
    Subscriber

    Thanks for the advice, as I have no idea what the next car will be I think the Thule bars are a good idea for the resale value.

    The next problem is what box, I think I’ve narrowed it down to one of these 2. One is short and wide and the other is narrower so I could fit a bike next to it if required.

    Hapro Traxer 5.6

    Hapro Roady 4000

    Does anyone have experience of these?

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