I’ve been using “Thule”:http://thuleracks.com for years and Yakima before then. They are both great. Just depends on what you started with. The old !>http://www.thuleracks.com/images/logo.gif! Volvo used Thule, so switched to them a while back. It is hard to get discounts on the stuff, but typically you can get 10% off of list. We’ve used “Rackwarehouse.com”:http://rackwareshouse.com in the past and they’ve been reliable. “REI”:http://rei.com also carries them and you can go visit. In Seattle, there is “Rack and Road”:http://rackandroad.com. REI sells at list price, but Rack and Road has a 10% discount. The main issue with mail order is you really have to know what you want and you should wait for a sale that knocks 10% off and gives you free shipping and hopefully no tax (not true for REI and Rack and Road as they have retail locations in Washington for me).
It is confusing, but there is a fit guide on these sites that helps you. for a typical car, which today has no rain gutters, you have to get:
* feet (400xtr Aero’s are typical)
* a bar (47″ is typical for a small car)
* a fit kit which are little thingies that tie into your cars doors
* wind shield on the front because it sure does blow and cause lots of noise
* a set of 4 locks as the above lists at something like $410 and it is depressing to have it all stolen
Then, you can move on to the actual stuff on the racks themselves. I know this costs a lot, but think about what it would cost to have your bike or skis sailing down the road. The big decision is whether to go with the traditional big square bars or their new aluminum aero bars. Personally, the square bars are functional and cheaper but ugly whereas the aero ones actually look like they might be part of the car. If you get aero like the 400xtr, they you have to get aero adapters for everything.
* Six ski rack pack. This is the most versatile. Most of the time, you can get three skis in but lay them flat rather than pressed together. You can also put your poles up there too.
* “Sidearm”:http://www.thuleracks.com/product.asp?dept_id=8&sku=594. Thule has tried many bike mounting systems, but there are so many different kinds of mountain bikes now, that they don’t work well, this one is expesnive at $145 list but should work on everything since it actually is a friction system against the bike tire which is reasonably standard. If you have a road bike and don’t want to attach it to a tube especially bikes that are carbon fiber where the tube can crush, then get the “Peloton”:http://www.thuleracks.com/product.asp?dept_id=8&sku=517 which is fork mounted.
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