Malone cradle racks

I wanted to ask if anyone else has these. They were the only option at the establishment I purphased my boats at, if I wanted to stand them up.

In any case I wanted to solicit comments before I tell my annecdote and poison the water so to speak. What does everyone think of them, pros, cons. If anyone wants to opine I’m all ears.


malone racks
Mine work great. I don’t bother with the rack to rack straps-- I just throw straps over the boat and around the roof rack. I thought the plastic might be brittle in the cold, but I’ve used them in sub-zero temps, and no problems whatsoever. I recomend them.

Well thats staight to the point so I’ll jump in with my real comment.

Mine did not preform well in cold weather, or hot weather for that matter. I had mine in use at about 20 degree, when I was moving this winter, and had added bow and stern lines for the first time due to the long distance travel. We only got 1.5miles from the house and the racks on one side of the car crumpled. Thank god for the straps hanging on the rack as the boat flipped out face down and cantelevered out over the driverside. I hit the brakes and the window button similtaneously and braced the boat with my left are as I franticly tried to get out the way. I removed the one rack and resecured the boat to the rack alone and limped it back home. I ended up having to jam the boats into the moving van over all our belongings a week later.

Now that we are in florida, the heat seems to make the racks somewhat soft and flimsy. they vibrate badly when no boat is loaded and if I use bow and stern lines to try to stablize the boats for a longer trip they begin to flex to which ever side the lines are attached and result in the lines constantly loosening and the boat constantly changing angle (not staying upright).

In anycase I’m fairly unhappy, but I wanted to see if these work for anyone else. I’m also less than thrilled with the price we payed for them (comparable to metal J racks) as it would seem that the use of plastic should have dropped the price.

At this time I wouldn’t buy another malone product. Anyone agree with me? Anyone want to change my mind?


Not sure what you mean by "crumple."
Which part failed, the tall part or the lower self-loading part? Did you return them?

I’ve never heard anything negative about these racks before and was thinking of them myself, especially now that Malone came out with the loading assist system.

Both failed at the base of the tower, one failed at the base of the self loading platform as well.

There is a rubber strip for padding that runs along the inside that didn’t split or tear so the racks didn’t come appart, they just lost all the structural integrety, thus crumpled.

I didn’t return them for a number of reasons, I had had them over a year and didn’t know where anyone of the original packaging or sale slips where. I was also on the cusp of embarking on a 1,500 mile move and didn’t have the time or patience to deal with it.

These had only been used for short (30 mile) trips at sub highway speeds up until this point. This was the first real stress test and they failed, both literally and figuratively.


Still struggling to comprehend
they didn’t crack, but bent? And when you removed the straps and boat, did they remain bent, or return to upright position?

No, they cracked
They definity broke. The rubber strip was holding together the broken chunks of rack. I would classify it as catastrophic structural collapse.

Now in the heat the remaining rack does “meerly” deform under stress. But this still renders the use somewhat questionable as it is impossible to keep the bow and stern line taught. If I remove the rigging the rack comes back but then I have to restrap everything (undesirable on the side of the highway) and the process starts all over again.


I prefer them greatly to the metal J’s I used before. The Malone J’s fit my hulls better, and the quality of the hardware just seems better. I haven’t had any problems with these cradles. They also keep the boat in place without having to crank the straps really hard. That was a problem with the Thule J’s. I live on an extremely steep dirt road, and with the Thule product the kayak would slide forward going downhill, and backward going uphill. Not enough to come off the cradles, but I still didn’t like that.

totally opposite experiance
Based on everyone else’s comments I feel I might be alone here.

I don’t feel like the Malone J’s are more stable at all. I have even had them flex suddenly toward the outside of the vehicle if there is a sudden wind gust from the side. I just don’t feel comfortable when the shadow of the bow lurches suddenly at 55mph. I’ve never had issues with bows sliding forward or backward under any conditions with any racks. I do tend to crank the lines down pretty tight though.

I guess at this point I’ve just lost my confidence in the remaining rack. I constantly worry it’s going to break or do somthing weird and I’ll lose a boat.


I’ve had Malone J’s…
for over two years, and use them almost weekly.

So far, so good.

I live in Florida, so I can’t comment on cold weather use.

We even took the barge (Pamlico 160T, over 80lb, and WIDE) down to the keys on them. When we left we experienced horrible cross winds. No problem.

I never leave these on the vehicle unless they are in use, so UV damage is minimal.

Maybe you recieved a bad set.

Thanks for sharing your experience. I’ll be watching mine closely for signs of aging.

How old were yours?


Malone stands by product
I had a similar experience on New Year’s Day in very cold conditions and 35-40 mph wind gusts in open country (Yeah, maybe it was a dumb idea to be out, but it’s tradition.) Anyway, I had owned the Malone Auto loaders for nearly two years. (I’d even driven through a severe thunderstorm on the interstate with worse winds, but not cold temps, without any problem). I had no clue where my receipt was. I contacted Malone, sent them back at their direction and they gave me an entirely new set. All I paid was the postage to return them. I also have the Telos loading system (another poster mentioned they were considering that) and like it very much. Only problem I’ve had is the suction cups that help hold the loading rails (or whatever they are called) to the car don’t stick very well in cold weather.

1.5 years
I had mine about a year and a half when that happened.

I do admit that they spent a good portion of 2 summers on the roof of the vehicle. Perhaps I should have removed them between trips but I find I paddle less if I have to put the racks as well as the boats on the car before I can go.

I don’t think that UV damage is the issue though. They don’t seems to have the chalky texture or any whitening of the plastic. Perhaps there was some damage that just isen’t visible.

Like I said I think my confidence is shaken.


contacting malone
You right, thats what I should have done. The issue really was also that this happened in the first 2 miles and 1,500 mile move from mid-michigan to south florida. I was frustrated and tired from packing and I just pulled the rack off and threw it out. We were already leaving behind furnature and other belongings we wanted to take because the moving truck was full, and I sure wasent going to try to cram a broken kayak rack so I could follow up later.

I also knew there was no chance I would find the sales slips from 1.5 years back with the condition the house was in and stuff in piles we were abandoning. I didn’t think I would get much of a responce from the company without documentation and I just threw in the towel.