car racks

im about to break down and buy the yakima car rack. my question is why should i buy the round bars? wont black gas pipe do the same thing? any yakima owners out there please weigh in!

Yakima racks
Personally, I don’t like the round Yakima racks merely because they allow the attachments to turn on them as you try to slide your boat on. I think the square Thule style is more effective.

Ahhh but…
the round bars allow saddles (such as my Malones) to rotate and better mimic the curvature of the hull.


Regarding crossbars, if you want looks and slipperyness get the stock bars, or buy iron pipe. Both will rust on the interior.

I suspect
but don’t know for sure, that Yakima uses a diameter not commonly found in nature to prevent you from doing what you wish to attempt.

However, if they are the same size as normal pipe, go for galvanized. Won’t rust as quickly as black pipe.

Pipe Sizes
Yes they use a weird size. I had to replace one of mine & found out that no one has a pipe that will fit correcttly. The Pipe size is normal but then they coat it with something & it no longer is a normal size.

Saris might not be right for your needs, but if it is you should really check it out.

Search posts (and check the reviews here) for all the reasons why.

What about Fairings?
I have Yaks with two sets of land sharks mounted on them. The noise drives me crazy. I have been thinking about getting the fairing made by Yakima. Has anyone found that these work in keeping down the wind noise?

I would hate to pay $50 to find that they don’t work. (Actually I hate to pay $50 for 2 square feet of 1/4" plastic in any case.)

I bought a set of yakima towers to fit my blazer then just painted some black pipe and it fit just right there are no ends so it is just hollow pipe

Yes, the Yakima fairing does work. I have on on my Dodge Durango, and it works well. However, I bought the crossbar pads for my Forester, and they work just as well, and are only $25. All you need to do is disrupt the air flowing around the bars to quiet the noise.

I think the round Yakima bars are much stronger than the square Thule bars. Pressure is more evenly distributed.

Try Old School Hang Glider Downtubes…
…They are 1 1/8" OD and if anyone has any left (most all are aero now) they would part with them for a song. The old Wills Wing control bars were really tall so they might be your best bet.

The original Yakima cross tubes were gold anodized alu. However, they were very slippery and accessories would rotate. By going to a 1" round OD bar with a 1/16" vinyl wrap they got back to 1 1/8" OD with a surface that accessories usually grip pretty well.

The Quick n’ Easy racks use 1" steel and in the olden days Yakima sold alu shims that fit over the 1" steel so that their accessories could be used. That cut down on the use of duct tape as shim material. I guess that 1 1/8" OD steel tube still isn’t an item.

So-o-o-o you could contact you local hang glider dealer and talk him/her out of a chunk of (.049?) downtube or basetube material and make your own shims


just go buy some Yakima tubes and be done with it. I guess it all depends on what your time is worth.

Defintely look at Saris
Their racks are the “best kept secret” on the market. I’ve owned Thule and installed Yakima and neither one can compare to Saris, especially if you don’t want to leave the rack on your vehicle all the time.

Yakima rules
just suck it up and get the whole kit from Yakima. the round bars are far superior to square bars which will bend in time (a long time perhaps but they do bend) and they are a bit quieter in wind.

i worked in a rack store and feel that, while all major brands are good, Yakima is the best engineered, best fitting, most thought out system on the market.

good luck.

I’m very happy with Saris also
They come on and off without any sweat or bother at all and they just work. I have Malones on mine and have no rack concerns whatsoever.


Yakama bars are not a weird size at all.
they are 3/4 " rigid pipe, but they have a PVC coating over them which makes the O.D. slightly bigger than regular pipe

If you know any commercial electrical contractors, you can get rigid 3/4" PVC coated conduit which is used in corrosive applications, and is the exact same size as the Yakama bars, and will fit there towers.

Or if you are cheap like me, you can use 3/4 "rigid galvanized pipe and then a couple of wraps of duct tape at the towers will make them fit perfectly.

Believe it or not, I have one set that is nine feet wide, and I have carried three yaks and a canoe at once. I just have to be careful going through a drive thru.



No! Round Bars Yakima
I have a set of round bars and am perfect example of the problems encountered with them I too own a set that I purchased with a Thule mount. Here is the bottom line - they create a situation most uncomfortable. Try loading the craft and shoving and pushing it onto the rack. They torque! Then you are left standing (with a helper) trying to make sure that the craft does not rotate and land on the cement! Don’t try it.

If by “torque”, you mean rotate…
all you have to do is drill a pilot hole and put one self taping screw into the bar, and that will solve your problem.



Bicycle inner tube over pipe…
I put a few inches of a bicycle inner tube over bars where they fit through my railriders. I bought the bars at Home Depot and they fit fine. I used 48" pipe and then screwed caps on the threaded edges. If I need wider bars I just screw off the cap and add a connecter and another piece of short pipe. If I were to do it again I might use galvanized pipe since I’ve painted the bars each season as they’ve started to rust. There was a thread awhile back about outfitting on a budget, I don’t recall the title but it was worthwhile.



Congrats on being innovative!
Another way to make bar extenders out of original Yakama bars is: 1/2" rigid pipe, (very inexpensive), slides right through the Yakama bars with a snug fit. Let the pipe extend out of both ends at your desired length, and then put a a strap type pipe clamp, (a couple of bucks for two), on both sides up against the yakama bars. this prevents the pipe from sliding right or left, and makes for easy removal. Then use either duct tape or your method of bike tubes to make up the space difference for the Yakama brackets.