Would you trust a chinese ebay roof rack

-- Last Updated: May-07-13 7:08 PM EST --

I have two Riot Thunder Kayaks I need to move on my 99 Civic at highway speeds. I don't have roof racks yet or posts or bars. Just a flat top of a car.

The Yakima's and Thules are REALLY expensive and I was hoping to outfit another car as well for shuttling.

So I don't mind dropping $160 on yakima J braces for the boats but with the rack it's just way over my head this summer.

So I found these from a guy on ebay but they are totally knockoff chinese whatevers.

What you do think?


I'm not really concerned about the cars. They are both late 90's with high km already. We buy older cars so we can beat them up without worrying too much. So if it bends my roof so what. I'm more concerned about the safety of others on the road.

I was thinking of ordering this, installing it and then somehow testing it before taking it out. I could just reef on them with my arms I guess. Do you have any other suggestions or thoughts?

Also the yakima's are supposed to fit round and square bars. These look more oval? Do you think they will still hammer down on these?

Answer to your subject question:

Jack L

If you are in Canada
you might be interested in this special at Canadian Tire:


SportRack are owned by Thule and seem to be their “bargain” brand. Like your projected rack (and Thule BTW I believe)they are made in China, but dependent on your car can take a load of 130lbs. At the moment they are on special at Canadian Tire. They can be had for similar prices in the US from Amazon.

I have one. It’s more than adequate.

I would avoid the first rack!

Speaking for myself…
I’d take a pass on knockoffs, and invest in quality.

Cut spending; do without some things that are less important than the racks.

Sell some things you no longer use.

I remember selling my stereo & record collection in college; after living on a jar of peanut butter, a loaf of bread & a gallon of milk for a week.



– Last Updated: May-07-13 11:28 PM EST –

Check used. I always see people selling rack packages on Ebay and Craigslist.

Since you are using WW kayaks the stacker type systems are one of the cheapest and easiest options out there for you. Anything that looks kind of like this:


If the downstream car has a rack, you could just take the stackers off and take them plus all the straps with you.

Only downside is finding someone selling feet packs that work for you. Do the fit guides for your car and both Thule and Yakima and find out what you need and try to find them used.

There is usually a 20% off sale on both brands at the start of summer and a number of stores online sell them new at a good price to begin with.

I wouldn’t reject a product just because it was made in China. Just about every outdoors thing I’ve bought in recent years is made in China. My computer is made in China. Top kayaks are made in China.

To me, this issue is whether you want that style of rack and how well it fits on your particular vehicle. It looks like the kind of rack that clips into the top of the door opening and is then tensioned. My first Yakima rack 30+ years ago was that type. I traveled all over Northern California and Nevada with heavy canoes on that rack on an old Mazda RX3. It worked fine and was easy to put on and remove. I still have it but don’t use it.

The obvious downside is that the system can shift fore and aft with enough force. The towers are not attached to the vehicle. On the other hand, foam blocks are even more prone to movement, and many paddlers use those blocks instead of bars.

If it’s a matter of all you can afford, then it’s better to have a cheap car-topping system than not to go paddling. Just make sure you have bow and stern attachment lines to the vehicle along with two belly lines. You also may want front and rear snotter lines to further prevent any fore and aft movement.

Penny wise, Pound foolish.
Did you see this thread?


I personally wouldn’t risk my kayaks or liability on an iffy rack. I don’t know how much you spent on your kayaks but if the rack breaks and the boats are destroyed is it worth it?

If the seller accepts returns you could order one and return it if it doesn’t look safe/secure to you. If it looks good let paddle.net know.

Not that one
I would not trust that DESIGN regardless of where it was made.

I’ve seen isolated reports of problems
with tower/clip racks on Civics. Not sure why that could be, I’ve had no problems with Yakimas on Accords from '90 through 2000 to '08.

Concerned about that, I connect my front bar to the rear bar to make it one unit.

Hate to worry you more, but considering the reports, thought I should raise the issue.

If I had to guess, I would think boat motion on the racks shifts one of the crossbars until the clips no longer hold the crossbar down firmly. Might be an error in following mounting instructions.

How handy are you?

– Last Updated: May-08-13 1:11 PM EST –

There are lots of negative comments here, but it appears that it would be quite easy to modify the rack feet and the attachment method to be more secure. The feet, if the device fits right, are on the strongest part of the roof, that channel section that runs along the edge and makes up the "framework" of the door openings. If you can modify the feet so that they attach directly, in addition to using the tension band, it should be pretty secure. The main question before making modifications would be whether those feet "fit" the shape of the edge of your car's roof.

Without modification the rack doesn't look "bad" to me. If it's that cheap, maybe go ahead and buy one, put it on, and then really yank on it in various directions. If it's solid, you're probably good to go.

You say money is tight and you are not worried about how the racks affect the cars. So, perhaps you can drill through those foot pads and install some heavy sheet-metal screws into that roof-edge area. That would greatly increase front-to-back stabilization so that the tension bands wouldn't do all the anchoring by themselves. These screws would act in shear and would be very strong. Any "lifting" action would mostly be resisted by the tension bands, but screws would help a lot in that case too. This sounds crude, but factory racks often aren't anchored by a method that's any more fancy than this, and aftermarket roof racks which were really common on station wagons years ago used sheet-metal screws (dealers liked to install these racks as soon as they got the car on the lot, so then they could charge the customer extra for it. This sneaky scam worked every time because removal of the rack wasn't a viable option on account of the holes in the roof. The point is, there were a lot of racks like installed by that method and I never heard of problems with them).

I can’t even read Chinese Ebay!

Maybe not those
since you can’t see, feel, touch them before you buy them. But you could probably get a set of generic racks from your local walmart, kmart, autoparts store, etc. If you can examine them before you buy them you can get a better indication of the quality(even though they most likley be made in china too).

I don’t know if they stil make or sell them, but I bought a set of racks from Ikea that where as bare bones as could be, but they where solid and never had any problems with what I put on them.

IMHO Thule and Yakima stuff is overpriced.

I know someone who has these. He said they were made by solaris? but they dont make them anymore. He hasnt had any trouble so far. there are actual kayak carriers that go with this rack too. thats all i got.

Thanks everyone
Thank you for the reply’s everyone.

My wife got into an accident today and we may have to buy a new vehicle now. (Not her fault)

So if that happens, I’ll make sure to purchase a vehicle with a roof rack and get whatever yakima stuff we need for it.

She is okay we think at the moment. I’m just waiting for her to get here so I can take her to the hospital to have them make sure and get a paper trail started.

In Canada they don’t really have any roof racks in walmarts or ikea’s that I can see and probably for good reason. New products in this country are scrutinized very harshly before they can go to sale.

I definitely don’t want to be THAT GUY and am very concerned. I have read, and watched every accident related thing I can find on kayaks and roof racks in the past 2 weeks.

On the upside I got a temp position today at a job that pays more than my current job for the summer as my main job slows down so I’ll be able to outfit both vehicles properly with yakima stuff or maybe even custom. I gotta talk to my body shop guy to see if they do the installations and how much.

*Phew… Ive had one hell of a day.

I’m sorry to hear about the accident
I hope your wife is OK and that you soon sort out your car troubles.

When the dust finally settles and you get back to thinking about kayaks and car racks, you should (as already suggested) consider getting a ‘stacker’ system, rather than bothering with J cradles. Your white water kayaks are perfectly suited for a stacker, which coincidently also happens to be cheapest option for transporting multiple kayaks. Stackers are available from Thule, Yakima and (ahem) Sportrack:


which often can be found on special at Canadian Tire.

Stackers are totally the way to go.

Wifes X-Ray was good.

She has a pre existing spinal condition that they ordered an MRI for but I think she’ll be just fine.

I’ll find out about the car tomorrow. Once again glad we own cheap cars. lol.

Thanks again.

Oh btw anyone still wondering about those chinese racks.

I got an email back from the seller. He said, and I quote.

yes , fit well for this model .

and 45lbs it’s fine ,

need Drive slowly


There is so much NOPE in that paragraph.

cheap racks
I rely on a cheap ebay set of dakine soft surfboard racks, modified with 2 wallymart 4’ pool noodles… thye have transported my 14’ kayaks for 5 years on an '01 2dr Civic cpe. for many years and more recently on my '12 2dr Civic cpe.

I have made many hundreds of 2+ hour trips at highway speeds+ with not one problem. I do also have a bow and stern strap attached.

I can install the racks and load the kayak in about 15 or 20 minutes and be on the road. The only drawback is if it rains when you are driving the webbed straps wick a little water, which drips inside the car.

I’ve tried the yakima an thule racks, yes very expensive, and find it takes a good bit more time installing and removing the racks.

yakima on south 95 at 75 for 700 miles
Suppose your boat blows off and goes flying thru a windshield? Sometimes yakima dealers have used racks after people traded cars or hhave a different need. It is not weight, it is speed and force of wind- and piece of mind. Epic boats made in China have junk rudders. I pulled half a small nail with a Chinese hammer and the handle bent like a pretzel.