When it comes to sportracks you might be overwhelmed by all the different models and features available. Hopefully this article will help you decide which one you need. We'll include those fora range of sports and not just windsurfing, since many of us also enjoy other sports.
Some of the factors in deciding which one to get will obviously depend on the type of equipment you'll carry but apart from that you ought to look at things like, adjustments, weight load, how much play there is, the type of fitting it uses and also the price.
Our Sportrack and roof rack picks
SportRack SR1010 Complete Roof Rack System
This type comes in at about $160 off amazon and is one of the most popular of the range. That's probably because it's quite versatile and you can use these racks for a number of sports.
The biggest pro is that they're versatile. They can be used on most vehicles generally speaking. You can also attach different equipment such as bikes, kayaks, surf boards and your windsurfing gear.
They're not confined to sports either and soon you'll find them more useful when you need to transport other things like household items for example, provided they're not too heavy. The price is not that bad either compared to other racks out their which are hundreds of dollars.
If you're looking to save some more dollars, then you can avoid using a professional to install them. Installing them is pretty straight forward and you don't need to be incredibly smart. It doesn't take long either which means you can remove them and use them on other cars whenever you like.
Most people are quite happy with the product.
Fitting the item is not a big deal but there is one area that could probably benefit from some improvements and that's the metal plate-clip that clamps the racks down. They seems to be sturdy enough but there are reports of them coming lose.
They might also have a bit of play depending on the roof shape on your vehicle no matter how tight you try to fit them. It's hard to tell before buying them and the only way you'll find out is after they're fitted. The problem with even the slightest shift is that over time the rubbing will create some wear.
Malone Auto Racks Universal Car Roof Rack
This Malone product is quite impressive on a number of points. Also a popular one and if you see for yourself there are 150 reviews and counting.
Considering these are the "crossbar" type, they have a different fitting system compared to the previous product we listed here.
Most people that buy them are happy which provides immediate assurance that they'll do what they're supposed to do. The major benefits are also the fact that these racks are "universal" and can carry different types of equipment. Their selling points are:
- Universal crossbar that fits nearly all factory-installed vehicle side rails
- Transports kayaks, canoes, snowboards, surfboards, roof boxes, and more
- Square profile bars provide a secure, tight fit for rack accessories
- Rust-resistant rubberized bar coating stands up to years of rugged use
- Key-locking attachment towers; supports up to 132 pounds
You can select different sizes so you'll need to do some research as to what size you need before purchasing them.
We're not quite sure on the "key lock" and seems to be a bit of a selling rap more than security device. If anyone wanted to take your racks, it should slow them down a bit. However, you should be more worried about what's attached to them.
We looked for some reports on the stability aspect and some have claimed them to "slide" a tiny bit. It isn't much of a big deal anyway considering that there is a natural roof curve on most cars which would prevent them from sliding too much. However, we would prefer to see a rock solid type to begin which. You'll notice in this picture that the roof bar sits nice and flush with the rack, which is ideal.
They aren't heavy duty (that's what you pay for), so don't try to load up hundreds of kilograms on them.
SportRack SR7011 Horizon Cargo Box, 11-Cubic Feet
If you're looking for something over and above roof bars then you might want something like this. It provides you with 11 cubic feet of storage space that can fit on most roof racks.
It won't carry your windsurfing board, but if it's snowing you can then transport things like skis or snowboards. This model will carry about 3 snowboards and 6 pairs of skis.
Some of the points worth mentioning is that these units are streamlined, which help with fuel economy over long distances. That's a major plus if you're the adventurous type that travels a lot.
The main selling points on this item are:
- Rugged construction made from impact resistant ABS material
- Secure centralized lock for easy opening and closing
- Passenger side opening for access away from traffic
- Easy-snaps hardware mounting system for quick on/off
- Fits SportRack Roof Rack Systems, square, round and most factory racks
It comes with a "Limited Lifetime Warranty" that should provide some assurance on its quality. They also state that it fits all "SportRack Frontier roof rack systems", square, round and most factory racks. The "other factory racks" could be questionable!
There are not as many reviews out there as we'd like so it's hard to tell the most common problem people have with this brand. There are a few draw backs that we picked up on. One of them is that it seems to be a tad bit too long on some cars which creates the problem of opening your hatch while it's on the roof.
Thule Pulse Cargo Box
This model has a better performance rating than the previous one listed but it's also the more expensive one. The dimensions are 89 x 13 x 27 inches and come in different sizes, 11, 14 and 16 cubic feet.
It serves as a transport container useful for carrying and protection your valuable gear. As with most of these brand their size will limit you as to what you can store in them.
This sleeker streamlined unit along is convenient and super easy to use. It uses their "Easy-Grip Mounting" and can quickly attach to your racks. It delivers on quality and also has the durable and rugged ABS material. It's claimed to be long-lasting and is designed to protect the contents during transit.
The locking system is adequate and is secure enough to be used as a security measure. It opens and locks on both sides and compared to the "elite" model, its higher price is still affordable.
One of the selling points often liked are the "Single-Side Opening for safe, passenger side loading unloading of items", which is a major plus. Most people enjoy the fact that it's very light which helps to carry it and the height is praised.
There are some people who were still not happy. It's hard to avoid the critic in all cases however, these points were worth mentioning on this product.
Some users state that it's bouncy and flexible which makes a big of a wind noise that could be unpleasant. A few reviews contain complaints related to fuel consumption, that the box increases their consumption which is disappointing as you'd expect good fuel economy considering the product is quite streamlined. Perhaps it's related to the load rather than the box.
Overall, given the few complaints that are listed and for the price versus quality, it's a good buy for most people which seem to agree.
SportRack SR4611 Locking Roof Bike Carrier
If you're looking for an affordable bike rack then this will do the job. It's designed for one bike which is great for on the go transport. It's a simple model with a simple purpose of transporting a bike and ideal if you don't need a rack for multiple bikes.
Some of the specs are:
- Maximum load - 45 LB
- Rack compatibility - Check fit guide below to determine fit to car make and model. If car make and model are not listed, no SportRack system is currently available for that car. Fits round, square and factory-installed square crossbars.
- Crossbars diameters must not be greater than 3-1/2"
- Minimum crossbar spread - 24"
- Maximum crossbar spread - 34"
- Grip arm bike tube compatibility - elliptical and 1" - 2-1/2" diameter bike tubes
- Fits most bikes with disc brakes - Yes
- Bikes lock to carrier - Yes
- Carrier locks to rack - Yes (with cable lock, sold separately)
It allows you attach a bike without taking off the front tyre. The goal is for convenience and time saving. For example, if you're doing a bike trip with mates and would like to try a few locations. Then moving from one spot to another will ensure that no-one has to wait for you to fit the front wheel and fix your adjustments, just take your bike off and go. Besides, fitting your wheel on every time before riding can get frustrating in one day, even though you might say "putting on a front tyre isn't that much of a big deal".
The price is affordable but you should consider that it needs a set of base racks to begin with. You'd need a decent pair for added stability.
The obvious one is that it cannot take tandem bikes. So if you're going out, your bike is the only one that's going with. There are a few reviews some of which are the following complaints:
- Cracks on the arm handle and unsafe
- Plastic material that has broken
- Could be too short for some bikes
It's worth mentioning that the first 2 of these review complaints are obviously from items that had problems and could indicate an issue with quality. Perhaps if there were more reviews their overall rating would be higher as people who are unhappy are more likely to review an item than those who are.
SportRack SR2901LR 2-Bike Lock and Tilt Platform Hitch Rack
Here is a bike rack that will allow you to fix 2 bikes so that you can at least take a friend along when going for a ride. The carrier features include: 1-1/4" and 2" hitch receiver compatibility with the locking functionality you need. It has fold-up wheel loop arms and there is access to vehicles from the rear.
Built for two bikes some of the specs are:
- 35 x 15.8 x 7 inches
- 30.8 pounds
- Hooks and wheel trays adjust to fit almost all bike frames and sizes
- 90 LB maximum carrying weight limit
Along with the higher price it also comes with a better rating than the previous bike rack listed here. Most people are satisfied with it and the construction seems to be strong and durable. The system is more stable which is obviously also due to the fact that it doesn't go on top of your car. Over and above that, many of the reviews claim that it's solid and sturdy.
A major advantage of having a rack on the rear of your car is that you free up space on your roof, allowing you to transport roof-top gear as well. Unlike using a roof-top bike rack which limits you to a bike only trip!
Some of their selling points are claimed as the following:
- Hitch mount bike storage conserves internal vehicle storage, and atop roof racks
- One to two bicycle stowage capacity
- Simple knob-based assembly
- Features independent adjusting, padded ratcheting bike hooks that clamp down on virtually all frame styles and sizes
- Raised wheel hoops for both bike wheels that quickly adjust to virtually all bike lengths and bike wheel sizes
- Centre post tilts away when carrier is empty and platform arms are extended for easy and convenient rear vehicle access
- Constructed of durable and long lasting high-grade steel.
- Includes locks built into each bike hook, and a SportRack hitch lock for maximum security
- Moveable rubberized hooks that secure the bike ensure protection for the finish
- The centre folds down for rear vehicle access and folds up when not in use
- Includes locks to secure the bike to the rack and rack to the vehicle
The product also comes with a "Limited Lifetime Warranty".
Some disappointments noted reported by users are:
- Some users spent more time than they'd like on setting up and fitting the rack, especially the pins.
- A few claims of the rack having a wobble due to an adapter for the larger hitch, which is plastic.
- Some complaints on the screwing bolt that goes through the receiver. That it's too short, or lock does not secure on pin.
- Time spent on assembly.
Overall the rack is used by a large number of satisfied customers who have coped fine even with the complaints stated above.
SportRack 4-Bike Tilting Platform Hitch Rack
The last item to list here for bikes is this rack from SportRack designed to carry up to 4 bikes per vehicle. It's also fitted to the rear end of your car giving you that roof space needed for other gear.
Ideal for a family of bike riders. Most of us wouldn't carry more than 4 bikes at a time so this is more than enough for families that enjoy bike rides together. Perfect for family holidays and adventurous camping trips.
The specs for this rack are:
- 70 pounds
- 46 x 13 x 10 inches
- Centre folds down for rear vehicle access
- Moveable rubberized hooks secure the bike to the rack while protecting the finish
- Hooks and wheel trays adjust to fit almost all bike frames and sizes
The majority of reviews state that the construction is solid and sturdy and the material seems strong enough to satisfy customers.
This can be debated as a problem, but some complain that the rack is heavy and is easier attach with the help of two people. However, it's obvious that it's heavier because it's larger due to the fact that it carries 4 bikes.
Rather a heavier and stronger construction than a lighter weaker one. The major consequence of heavier items is increased fuel consumption which is normal on any load.