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Factory crossbars or Yakima for a roof rack?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
I have a new roof box to carry ski and other gear in (yahoo!). I usually use it on my Passat sedan, and I have that car all set up for it. I'd also like to be able to use it occasionally on our Honda Odyssey minivan, which has factory rails running lengthwise, but no crossbars.

Here's the question: Is it better to get the Yakima LowRider towers and standard round Yakima crossbars, or to go with the Honda crossbars?

Here are the Yakima towers and bars:

http://www.rei.com/online/store/Prod... t=REI_SEARCH

http://www.rei.com/online/store/Prod...t =REI_SEARCH

I can't find a handy link to the Honda crossbars, but if you go here and click the second image you can see them:


Should I go with whichever is cheaper, or does one have any noticeable advantages over the other? (The Honda bars look a little bit lower profile, but I can't tell if they lock like the Yakima towers do, for example.)

Any opinions?
post #2 of 8
I don't know if this helps. I had an '03 Odyssey. The recent redesign may have made some significant changes, although it didn't look that significant to me and the roof rails look really familiar. I used the Yakima system and it worked great. I hauled 4 full suspension mountain bikes from Ohio to Idaho and back and didn't have a problem. We even we got caught in a wicked thunderstorm in Montana with cross winds that were seriously rocking the van (we had pulled over due to zero visibility - it was harsh).

As I recall, the weight limit on the rails was only a little over 100 lbs and even with the front wheels in the back of the van, I was sure I was at or near the limit (have to include the weight of the rack system). I find it inconsistent that the Honda crossbars are rated at 165lbs so check that carefully.

Putting things on the roof of a minivan isn't easy, especially one with sloping sides and a rear tailgate that lifts upward. Opening the sliders provides a good place to stand for front access, but rear access is tougher. With four bikes, I had to alternate front facing and rear facing to get them to fit in the narrow space available. I had to have something to stand on for the rear facing.

The Honda bars probably have a slight advantage for profile (overall height and aerodynamics), but some roof rack devices require an extra bracket for the flat bars. The Yakima system is nice and has the advantage of being universal for almost any vehicle with roof rails. You can put it on a friend's car or your next vehicle. The Honda system probably doesn't lock, but locks are only a deterrent like allen head bolts. They will slow someone down or stop mischievous people, but they won't stop someone who really wants your gear. I would probably choose the Yakima system, but it is probably not the kind of decision where you could really go wrong.
post #3 of 8

Factory or Aftermarket Bars

I have a second generation Odyssey (1999-2004). I have THULE bars mounted for my cross bars and they work great. I took these bars off my Volvo Wagon when I sold it. They are the same bars for the Odyssey.

I think you are better off with the THULE or Yakima bars than the Honda bars. The Honda bars I have seen are a lower profile which will provide less wind noise; however, they do not appear to be as solid a foundation as the THULE or Yakima sytems. Another important factor is that you will have to purchase adapters to mount other THULE or Yakima pruducts to your Honda bars. Your roof box, however, should mount to any of the systems. Bike, ski and boat racks would all acquire an adapter.

I picked up my bars and towers on Ebay for under a $100
post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 
thanks for the replies, folks. my wife's Odyssey is the same vintage (2003).

how expensive are the adapters, and how hard are they to use? would you move them from one apparatus to another, or do you have to get a separate set for each attachment?

I do like the sleek profile of the Honda crossbars, but the Yakima bars seem more functional.
post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 

anyone have any further input on the adapter issues?
post #6 of 8
I think that turns into a case by case basis for each type of attachment. Many use plastic loopy things that can be replaced by special oblong loops for the flat bars. These loops are probably way over-priced, but still not that expensive. Some attachments use a clamping arrangement that works on round, square or flat bars. Some, like my bike racks, may not work on flat bars. You have to look at each attachment to see if it works on the flat factory style bars and if there is an adapter required. My truck has flat bars on the front, but I have only ever attached the safari rack there and it's mounting arrangement is a universal clamping system. I put my bikes on Yakima bars in the back. Skis go inside on a rigged up Yakima bar system. Anyway, I don't know too much about the adapters, but life is probably simpler with the round Yakima bars. Good luck.
post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 
thanks, retired! I think I'll go with the Yakima bars. I found a decent deal on them, so it's probably worth having the adaptability.
post #8 of 8
If you use the car bars, and you seriously load the case, put reinforcement between the bar and the roof. I broke my bar (probably because of misuse! IE overweight) and since then simply put the right size thickness piece of 2 x4 or whatever height is correct, about a foot long, wrapped in a towel, under the bar in the center. Mount the box, and as long as there is weight pushing down from the bar onto the wrapped wood, it isn't going anywhere, load away. The car bars are aluminum and need help if you are putting weight up there. No issues since. Of course, when box is empty at desination, wood pieces have to come out if no pressure on them, or good bye!
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