YAKIMA Whispbar Rail Bar Roof-Rack System
- For vehicles with raised factory side rails, the Whispbar Rail Bar roof-rack system provides carrying capacity and enhances vehicle appearance
- Whispbar's optimized aerodynamic profile leads the way in noise reduction by reducing drag by up to 70%
- Attach and remove Whispbar QuickDock accessories in seconds with the patented SmartFill technology in the bar
- Integrated SKS Locks included; rated for maximum load 165 lb / 75 kg per pair (specific vehicle roof ratings vary)
- Easy to install; Reference Whispbar fit information to find correct bar size for your specific vehicle
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Adding a sleek, noise-reducing set of roof bars to your vehicle is as easy as installing the new Yakima Whispbar Rail Bar Rack Kit. If your automobile already has factory side rails, then all you need to do is order the appropriate size, watch through the window for the delivery truck, and clip the included horizontal towers when the package arrives.
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A few notes:
The locking covers are plastic. If someone wants to get the bars off your car, they can do it fairly quickly and easily. The locks will only slow them down a little bit.
The screws that tighten the bars to the car's rails extend down a little past the level of the bar. You may be able to open your sunroof without hitting them, but you might not. I eyeballed it beforehand, and it seemed awfully close. I won't risk it. If you secure anything to the bars using any method other than the T-slots, you will definitely not be able to open your sunroof without hitting the bars. For example, I have a Yakima SkyBox, which clamps around the bars. The thickness of the clamps will not clear an open sunroof.
Perhaps obviously, the bars fit BETWEEN the car's rails, rather than sitting on towers above them. Generally, I consider this a good thing. Just know that this means that the area upon which you can mount anything will be narrower than if you used bars with towers. If I mount that SkyBox on the car (and it is the most narrow SkyBox), I can fit one bike rack next to it, but not two.
Although these bars are indeed easy to install, they're a little finicky to get positioned just right. When I installed them, I found I had to pull the ends of each bar tight against the side rail while tightening the allen-head bolt, or else they would tend to slip off the side bars. Once in place, though, they fit very solidly. I just wouldn't want to plan on taking them on and off the roof often (but since they're so whisper quiet, there's really no need to remove them once they're installed).
My main gripe is with the "locking" plastic covers that cover the heads of the attachment bolts. They are very tricky to lock into place and not particularly reliable in my experience. Several times, I would slide the covers on as tightly as I could and turn the key to the lock position, yet find that I could pull the covers right off again if I tugged firmly. The instructions say to slide the cover on until you hear an audible "click," but no matter how many times I slid them on and off, I couldn't hear such a click--even after pressing the cover as far on as it would go. Instead, I found that they were more likely to lock if I locked the key first, then slid the cover into position. For whatever reason, that made them more likely to stay put. All in all, it's not a major concern because the covers fit snugly regardless and I don't think it's likely that many people will try to steal them, but I deducted one star because, for the price, the locking reliability of the covers ought to feel a little less cheap and be more robust.
Also, although my package appeared unopened, I noticed that one of my bars was lacking the little flip up mechanism to lock one of the covers. The key lock core was there, just not the part that actually pivots up to catch and hold the sliding cover. Since the cover fits on snugly--and I managed to get the other three to lock securely--I just left it that way instead of bothering with return shipping, etc. That might bother some people, though, so it's another part of the reason I deducted one star.
All in all, these are great bars that live up to their whisper-quiet promise and do not seem to adversely affect gas mileage either. One caveat: You may find it harder to attach accessories to these bars than you would with the more common round or square profile bars. I'm only using mine with foam blocks to transport a kayak short distances, or to strap on items I buy at the store (like lumber, or an Xmas tree) that won't fit in the rear hatch. If you want to attach roof rack accessories, Yakima sells adapters for many of their products, but I haven't tried them so I can't comment on how well they work.
[UPDATE 7-15-2014: I'm very pleased with these Whispbars. They look great, create no wind noise, and do not adversely affect gas mileage. Recently, I purchased the Whispbar WB400 J-Cradle Kayak Carriers, and they are outstanding.... hands down, the best way to transport a sea kayak on a Whispbar equipped vehicle, as well as the nicest set of cradles I've ever seen or used. I thought they seemed a little pricey at first, but they are worth every penny. See my review of that product if you're looking for an outstanding way to carry a kayak on top of your Whispbars.]
Note: Periodically check all roof racks to make sure they have not loosened.
The installation seems sturdy and it was relatively straight-forward to put them on using the included instructions. With the bars installed I do notice an increase in road noise at highway speeds, but quieter than most other crossbars I have driven with.