Friday, February 24, 2012

Having trouble with an install? If at first you don't succeed...

The Yakima Whispbar SmartFoot Through Bar
                          Car Roof Rack

    We installed a Whispbar roof rack on a 2012 Nissan Rogue yesterday. It turned out to be a very solid fit, but it did give us some trouble at the beginning. Every once in a while, a roof rack install doesn't go quite as smoothly as you'd hoped. Maybe you dropped a bolt  on the ground and it ran and hid in a deep, dark corner of your garage. Maybe you measured in centimeters instead of inches (don't laugh-it's only funny until YOU do it). Maybe you missed a step in the instructions. Or maybe your rack just needs a little fine tuning.
    If you've installed as many roof racks as we have here at The Rack Warehouse you know that sometimes the measurements really do need a little tweak. You won't that fact written in any installation instructions-after all, these roof racks are designed by very competent engineers, and their specs are usually perfect.
    So back to our 2012 Nissan Rogue install-the front bar just wouldn't clamp down (the clips kept "popping" up over the edge of the roof). So we re-checked everything-we disassembled the front bar and started over. We re-checked the distance between the towers on the bar and the placement of the towers on the roof. We carefully tightened both clips in unison. Still no luck. So we started making small adjustments at about 1/8" at a time-and it worked! turns out we needed to move the towers further apart on the front bar, and then it fit like a glove. The rear bar went on fine without any adjustment at all. This surprised us a bit, but it just proves that you should always try an installation "by the book" first and only make small adjustments when necessary. Whispbar, Yakima, and Thule all allow for slight adjustment in their roof racks when necessary. Generally an adjustment up to 1/4 inch is acceptable in any measurement when necessary. If you're installing your roof rack and feel that you need to make adjustments that are more than 1/4 inch, please either call the manufacturer, or call us at 1-800-272-5362 for assistance.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Thule Apex 4 Bike Swing Away Bicycle Rack

    Thule's new 9027 Apex 4 Bike Swing Away hitch mounted bicycle racks combine sleek new styling with a built in swing away arm that allows easy access to your vehicle's rear cargo area. The Swing Away arm allows you to conveniently swing the rack out 180 degrees, providing full access to the rear hatch area with the bikes still loaded. The Thule Apex Swing provides superior rear
                        hatch access.To use this feature, simply loosen the large tightening knob, pull the spring-loaded retention pin and swing away. The Thule Apex Swing Away Bike Rack is compatible with 2" receivers only. (It is technically possible to mount this to a 1 1/4" receiver, but this is not recommended and would void your warranty-very few 1 1/4" receivers can handle the torque involved).
    Loading and unloading your bicycles is also easier on the new Apex Swing-the bike carrying arms are longer and lower set. Combined with the new arc-shaped design this not only eases loading and unloading, it also  helps eliminate frame contact between your bikes. Thule's new Hold Fast anti-sway cradles with Road Dampening Technology (RDT) make sure your bikes get the First Class treatment they deserve. The RDT cradle with SoftTouch Anti-Sway Cages is equipped with TPE (thermoplastic elastomer-essentially an improved form of rubber) making the Apex cradle design unique. TPE offers a flexible soft texture that gently, but firmly, secures your bike frame and enables the cradles to absorb road shock and greatly reduce vibration. Folded arms = easier parking.The new SoftTouch cradles allow the Apex Swing to carry nearly any bike frame type including carbon fiber frames (which was not recommended on other racks that hold the bike by the frame-it is possible to crack a carbon fiber frame if it's not properly supported). The bike arms also fold down when not in use via the new and improved quick release Hitch Switch, which makes an audible click to reassure you that the arms are securely locked in position. We've tested the new fold down mechanism in our store and were quite impressed-the Apex Swing is quite a bit more stable than other hitch mount bicycle racks. Thule has also included and integrated cable lock and Snug-Tite locking receiver pin to keep your bikes and your new bike rack safe and secure.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

TracRac Cantilever Extension - Now Approved For Clamp-On Racks

The TracRac Cantilever Extension

    TracRac has just announced that they officially approve the use of their cantilever extension on the TracRac T-Rac G2 and TracONE Clamp on truck rack systems. The cantilever extension adds increased stability for longer loads, but its use was previously limited to the full TracRac Sliding Truck Rack System. Unless you didn't mind voiding your warranty, that is. But TracRac's engineers have finished a new round of performance testing on the newer G2 designs, and they've given the green light to mounting the TracRac Cantilever Extension on the clamp-on truck racks. You'll still want to keep your loads evenly balanced front-to-back (and don't exceed your rack's or truck's weight rating), but it's nice to know you can carry all the ladders and lumber you need without sacrificing your warranty.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Thule Vertex 2, 4, and 5 Bike Hitch Mounted Bicycle Racks



    Thule's Vertex hitch mounted bike racks are a new product line that's anything but "standard". They replace the Thule RoadWay series, sharing many features with their high-end Apex product line while sporting much lower prices. Hold Fast cradles with anti-sway
                              stabilizersThe 2 bike and 4 bike hitch racks are compatible with both 1 1/4" and 2" receiver hitches by simply using the included adapter sleeve converter. (The 5 bike model is compatible with 2" receivers only.) The redesigned Hold Fast anti-sway cradles include reinforced rubber straps to secure bikes in place, while the No Sway Cage anti-sway mechanism helps prevent bike to bike contact. New grooved cushion cradles easily accommodate bikes with cables on the underside of the top tube and offer superior bike protection for nearly any frame design.
     The Vertex bicycle rack makes loading and unloading your bikes easier as well. The sleek, arched mast and bike carrying arms make the whole process easier, with increased clearance from the ground and rear bumper. The longer bike arms allow the bikes to sit further apart and at varying heights-not only making loading easier, but also keeping your frames, handlebars, and pedals from contacting one another while loading, unloading and transporting your bikes.
The Thule Vertex Bike Rack folds down
                              to make parking easier    The Vertex includes a new and improved quick release Hitch Switch, allowing you to fold the bike arms down and tilt the rack away from the vehicle to access the rear of your vehicle when not you're not carrying bikes. The Hitch Switch mechanism has an audible click to reassure you that the arms and mast are securely locked in position. A Thule TSTL2 SnugTite Hitch Lock (sold separately) is recommended to lock your Vertex rack to your vehicle.