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Reviews for Thule Xsporter


Rated: 8.89/10 Based On: 9 Reviews

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06-11-2009
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I'm new to kayaking and needed a good way to carry one or more kayaks safely on my '93 Toyota Pickup. Investigated all reasonable alternatives I could find. Decided to go with the NEW X-Sporter by Thule, even though it costs more than I originally wanted to spend, especially being new to the sport. It's easy to install (just take your time) and you only need one tool, a 17mm wrench. I suggest a tape measure too. I had to pull my bedliner to do this, but I may trim it and put it back in the bed, minus the portions that cover the bed's side rail tops.

This is the NEW model, the 422XT, which is designed for both compact and full size pickups. Has 5 height adjustments instead of two. Four Thule locks are included, so the uprights can be locked onto the bases.

It's a very sturdy rack. Looks good too. When I have no plans to carry a kayak, I plan to slide both the front and rear upright/crossbar sets out of the bases and put them in my garage.

Comments have been posted here about the wind noise these make. The included rubber strips that can be installed in the top and bottom slots on both crossbars will eliminate the noise.

For my truck, there are two height positions that will put the crossbars above my cab's roof line. I think each of the 5 positions are about 4.5 inches apart from each other. I cannot use the lowest position, as the uprights will hit the floor in my bed, preventing this.

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12-27-2007
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I have a 2006 Tacoma Std Cab (6 ft bed). Model 421 crossbars block rearward vision, when bars are lowered. And yes, the tapering of the bed interferes with the lowering. Cut additional notches in uprights. Cutting doesn't compromise strength, because extrusion is double-wall. Thule should have cut notches every 3 in, so they could be positioned anywhere, depending on vehicle application. Bottom braces are so long, it required moving the Toyota bed box behind the front supports. Thule Customer Support was of no assistance at all. They didn't even understand what the problem was...
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07-16-2007
Submitted by: DaveSend Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     The Thule Xsporter would be a 10 if it werenít for what I think is a design flaw. I mounted this rack to my 2007 Tacoma, and anyone that has a 2005 or newer Tacoma knows, the plastic molding in the bed tapers in and the flange of the storage bins stick out another eight of an inch. The combination of those two things keeps me from lowering the towers at the rear of my bed near the tailgate.

Anyone out there have similar problems? Anyone out there have any solutions? Iíd really like to be able to lower my racks, even though it is perfectly aligned with center of rear view mirror in that position.

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02-21-2006
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I bought this rack system after a month of research and I love it. I got the 421 model which fits my '98 Toyota Tacoma ext. cab truck. While I mainly use the rack system for the kayaks, it helps that I can lower the bars and install the Thule Ski racks so that they are secured. For the mountain bikes I have, I chose to detach the long try from my Thule bike trey and use just the vice part of the unit. With the bars elevated in high position, I just mount the bike's fork into the vice and let the back wheel sit in the truck bed. This helps keep parts of the bike down below the airstream, yet secured while I feel the rest of my truck bed with camping gear.

I did experience wind noise like the previous review stated and it does help if you put the strips on the bottom of the crossbar. Just be sure you have the strips secured by either a saddle mount or some other means so that it doesn't fly off.

My only concern with this system is the ability to 'lock' the uprights to your truck bed. I've thought about running a cable lock into the triangle hole on each of the uprights and tie it to the truck bed's corners where there is a tie-down hinge. Dunno if I am being too paranoid about someone stealing so I haven't decided yet!

Other than my little security concern, this unit is strong, sturdy and attractive on a pickup unlike some of the more 'industrial' looking solutions for hauling a kayak on a pickup.

P.S. In my picture, I use Yakima's Hully Rollers instead of a Thule brand saddle since their Rollercoaster is not compatible with the Xsporter crossbar. I used the t-bolts from the Xadapt4 kit to mount the HullyRollers. http://i1.tinypic.com/o796jn.jpg

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12-30-2005
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     Iím writing this retraction for a portion of the Thule 421 XSporter product review dated 11/08/2005 by Kevin. In that article I stated that the rack whistles between 30 and 60 MPH, luckily someone read my review and e-mailed me back with a suggestion on how to correct it.

The reviewer had the same problem and asked me if I had installed the rubber strip on the bottom of the crossbar as it suggests doing in the Thule ownerís manual? (See step 16 in the ownerís manual)

At that point I had not installed the rubber strip because I was still in the process of moving the saddles around to see where they would work the best. After installing the rubber strip, Iím happy to say that the whistle has disappeared.

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11-08-2005
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     I probably started out like most people who are new to kayaking by hauling a kayak around with whatever means I had at my disposal, in my case it was in the back of my pickup truck. This was the cheapest way to go, after all I all ready owned the truck, but strapping it down could be a time consuming matter that was proving less than enjoyable during mosquito and black fly season in upstate New York, not to mention the fact that my Prijon Barracuda hung nine feet off the tailgate.

First let me say that there are several very good racks and saddles out there and depending on your combination of kayak and vehicle you should be able to equip all most any vehicle with some combination that works for you but maybe not for the other kayaker. And trust me once you have shelled the money out and looked at how impressive your new rack looks on your vehicle your going to see someone else go by with an even better ideal, so donít worry about it.

For myself I decided on the Thule #421 XSporter for my full size Chevy K-1500 short box with extended cab for a couple of reasons.

The overall height of the cab on my truck is around 22 inches and the XSporter #421 sits at a maximum height of 25 inches. A lot of the other racks that I looked at were in the 27 to 28 inch range and I thought that this would look way to high on my truck. Now add on a few saddles and it gets even higher, and if you donít believe me then just wait until your trying to place what you thought was a light weight kayak on top of it and you will see how a few extra inches can make a world of difference!

Now donít be confused with the word Compact on the Thule #421. When I first read about it I assumed it would only fit on a compact size pickup truck, but compact in this case refers to the overall height of the rack (25 inches for the #421 and 28 inches for the #422) most trucks could most likely get by with the #421 but measure the cab height first so you know.

Means of attachment was also important to me in that I wanted a rack that could be bolted (no drilling is necessary) onto the railing of my truck bed yet done in such a method that would be secure. In my opinion I thought the Thule XSporter attachment appeared pretty solid and except for a little trimming on my bed liner to allow it to fit I really had no problems attaching the rack to my truck.

The Thule XSporter is an adjustable rack which I thought meant you could place it at any height you wanted to; but I was wrong. There are only two heights that the cross bar can be set at. The lower height will come in handy if you want to attach a bicycle to the rack or carry other equipment. And the upper height for hauling your kayak. Personally I donít think I will use the rack in the lower position much but one thing that I like about it is that it allows me to remove the cross bar with saddles attached should I be concerned about someone stealing the rack and saddles.

The cross bar raises and lowers by simply unlatching a single latch on each rack support and to keep someone from removing the crossbar with saddles the Thule XSporter bar comes with four locks (all four locks work off one key and come with the rack) that install in the latches themselves. In the winter should the lake freeze over I will remove the rack from my truck and place it in storage while leaving the base units in place.

Saddles are available for most any possible method by which you wish to attach your kayak and the Thule 883 saddles that I use were easy to install on the rack.

There are only two things that I do not like about the XSporter rack. First it whistles like a Stuka dive bombers coming in for a kill between 30 and 60 MPH, above 60 it disappears. Now remember this is with my pickup truck and if your driving something different then you may not experience this at all, if itís raining out it doesnít whistle at all, go figure!!

In an effort to figure out were the noise was coming from I removed the saddles just incase they were causing the noise but to no avail, the whistle was still there. Itís going to take some time but I will figure out exactly were its coming from yet!

The only other thing that I would change on the XSporter rack is to allow the #877 Rollercoaster saddle to attach to it. The #877 is a great ideal and would prevent the kayak from scratching the rear bar while loading the kayak. I noticed several scratches on the bar from sand, etc that collects on the keel of the kayak and is rubbed into the bar as you slide the kayak onto the rear bar. To solve this I installed a piece of water pipe foam insulation over the bar and then covered it with black duct take, it looks great and solves the problem.

Time will tell but overall Iím very pleased with the XSporter #421. It is well made, very solid and pleasant to look at and I no longer have to have my kayak hanging over the tail gate of my truck. Expensive, Yes but when I added up most of the major manufactures racks with saddles they all came out to be about the same price, and I no longer have to keep looking in my rear view mirror wondering if the car behind me is going to run into my kayak!!

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07-27-2005
Submitted by: DanSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I purchased the XSporter for my Ford F-150 and found it to be a great easy to install rack. It goes on and off in just a few minutes. We carry two kayaks (11.5 ft long) on it and it easy for my wife and I to load and unload. It is a little pricey because you must buy it in pieces - and the price adds up real fast. Good, solid rack.
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07-18-2005
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     Have the Xsporter 422 on a '04 Toyota Tundra Dbl Cab. Use it to carry two kayaks. I could've used either the 421 or the 422 but opted on the 422 because I wanted the 28" clearance above the bed rail. I measured carefully when I first installed them and they worked fairly well. After an extended trip (250 miles) on a windy day the forces it was subject to made them go up and down flawlessly.

Observations:
- You might notice a low whistle when they are up, both loaded and unloaded.
- When lowered, the load bars go right across you rearview mirror field of vision.

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05-17-2005
Submitted by: ---
Rating: 9 of 10

     I purchased the 421 Xsporter to fit a 2002 Dodge Ram truck. I carry two kayaks and three bikes on the 72" cross bars. The load capacity of the rack is 450 pounds and can handle every bit of it. One of the nicest things about the system is that having it go up and down allows me to leave all the rack components attached, lower the rack and back into my garage. Other rack systems don't allow that. I can use the rack raised when transporting a boat or leave it lowered when transporting bikes only. I'm using the new design 'stacker' that folds down, two fork mount bike tracks and a 'Big Mouth' track. Everything fits well and the bikes and boats don't hit into each other. One disadvantage is raising and lowering the rack. The alignment between the bed mounts and the vertical rails needs to be almost perfect for the system to work easily. This is easily overcome by using a tape measure when you install it on your vehicle.
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