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Hello! I have a new 2011 Jetta Sport wagon and I am in search for info on sport racks, starting with cross bars. I am about to return the VW crossbars because the end caps will not stay in place and they open and fly in the wind, banging on the car top. Any other recommendations would be helpful. It will carry various items including SUP Boards. Thanks for any input.
 

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Personally, I'm a fan of Whispbar racks:

http://www.whispbar.com/roofracks/whispbar

For the JSW, their "rail bar" option makes the crossbars flush with the rails themselves. Most racks use towers that rise up 3-4 inches above the Sportwagen's rails, which is less fuel efficient and increases wind noise.

If you use Whispbar's configuration tool and pick the JSW, they'll mention that the rail bar isn't for cars with sunroofs. They offer a more traditional tower option in that case. It's not clear to me that a flush Whispbar would interfere with the JSW sunroof. I suspect the "no sunroof" phrase is a boilerplate warning. I imagine there's only one way to find out :)

Cheers,

Jason
 

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If you use Whispbar's configuration tool and pick the JSW, they'll mention that the rail bar isn't for cars with sunroofs. They offer a more traditional tower option in that case. It's not clear to me that a flush Whispbar would interfere with the JSW sunroof. I suspect the "no sunroof" phrase is a boilerplate warning. I imagine there's only one way to find out :)
Using the flush mount bars are fine if you're just going for looks. If you want to actually clamp anything on it however, you really have to careful since some clamps will extend down low enough to get hit by the sunroof.
 

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Using the flush mount bars are fine if you're just going for looks. If you want to actually clamp anything on it however, you really have to careful since some clamps will extend down low enough to get hit by the sunroof.
I've got the S53's on mine and the sunroof clears fine. The Whispbars have a grove on the top so you can slip a lag bolt in to mount your carriers so nothing hangs below the bar. Also the clamp style mount used by Yakima and Thule won't work. I didn't know this when I bought the Whispbar so now I'll be stuck fabricating an adapter to let me run my Yakima Highroller to the Whispbar.
 

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I have 'clamp-style' Thule crossbars that I got for my 2001 Volvo V70 T5 and they fit my 2011 JSW just fine.
 

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Using the flush mount bars are fine if you're just going for looks. If you want to actually clamp anything on it however, you really have to careful since some clamps will extend down low enough to get hit by the sunroof.
Who on earth puts a roof rack on "for looks?" To each his own, I guess.

Toeball is right about the slot in the Whispbar crossbars. It obviates the need for clamps. What's more, it's a de facto standard. Thule uses the slot/lag bolt concept for many of its products. The bike mount for my factory MINI rack (manufactured by Thule) would mount directly to the Whispbar crossbars with no modifications at all.

Here's a Rockymounts bike mount for slotted crossbars:

http://www.rockymounts.com/Euro_PitchFork_p/1102.htm

I don't know what the OP wants to carry on her roof, but there's a good chance it won't require clamps.

Cheers,

Jason
 

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Whispbar Experience ?

Anthros,
Do you have any experience with / or knowledge of the Whispbar, extra long ' Through Bar ' ?
I have a new Audi A3 ( no sun roof or longitudinal roof rails ) and I would need feet that clamp onto the door head. Are their clamps as well engineered as their rails? ( solid, well fitted, cushioned etc. ? ) I know I'd have to be careful exiting the car, and not bump my head / shoulders or back, but I need to carry a 4'-0" wide dingy ( boat ) a couple of times a year and the roof of an A3 isn't all that wide.
Thanks in advance for your ( or anyone else's ) input.
Thanks,
Bill
 

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Anthros,
Do you have any experience with / or knowledge of the Whispbar, extra long ' Through Bar ' ?
I have a new Audi A3 ( no sun roof or longitudinal roof rails ) and I would need feet that clamp onto the door head. Are their clamps as well engineered as their rails? ( solid, well fitted, cushioned etc. ? )
To be clear, I have no direct experience with any of the Whispbar products. For what it's worth, I'm a mechanical engineer, and I've been reasonably impressed: the drag claims are within reason, the prices are high but not outrageous for the benefits, and none of the marketing claims are obviously false.

Also, Rack Attack sells the Whispbar product, and the various Rack Attack blogs have me convinced that (a) some people at Rack Attack are pretty smart, and (b) Rack Attack wouldn't sell Whispbar products if they were complete crap.

But all of this is circumstantial. Being an engineer, I'm pretty cautious about saying something is "well engineered," especially if I haven't laid hands on it. That said, I wold buy a Whispbar rack sight unseen based on the above evidence. Still, there is a small-but-nonzero chance that I'd regret that purchase.

I need to carry a 4'-0" wide dingy ( boat ) a couple of times a year and the roof of an A3 isn't all that wide.
What kind of dinghy are we talking about? If you have a Laser or Laser II, the gunwale shape should let you secure your boat to any quality rack. (Thule and Yakima both make excellent products, so they keep each other honest. If Whispbar were of lower quality, they would have been driven out of the market a long time ago, IMHO).

I'm not convinced that you need extra-long crossbars--if you lashed nylon straps around the towers and over the hull, it wouldn't matter if the hull extended an inch or four over the edge of the crossbars and towers. As long as you have supports between the rails and the deck, you should be fine.

(Nota bene: Don't take my word for it. Find somebody local who knows both boats and racks).

Cheers,

Jason
 

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I've got the S53's on mine and the sunroof clears fine. The Whispbars have a grove on the top so you can slip a lag bolt in to mount your carriers so nothing hangs below the bar. Also the clamp style mount used by Yakima and Thule won't work. I didn't know this when I bought the Whispbar so now I'll be stuck fabricating an adapter to let me run my Yakima Highroller to the Whispbar.
Hello - I'm new to the forum. I've noticed on other forums that the S-53s interfere with the opening of the sunroof. I would like to get that rack but I have the panoramic sunroof. Can I ask how you installed the rack so that there's no interference? I'd much rather have the S-53 than the recommended S-16.
Thanks!
 

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Hello - I'm new to the forum. I've noticed on other forums that the S-53s interfere with the opening of the sunroof. I would like to get that rack but I have the panoramic sunroof. Can I ask how you installed the rack so that there's no interference? I'd much rather have the S-53 than the recommended S-16.
Thanks!


I run the S-53's with the sunroof. You have to mount the bars pretty far apart for the roof to clear but I prefer that with my bike carriers anyway as it's more stable.
 

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Satellite Radio Reception

Anyone have trouble with their satellite radio reception when they have a luggage carrier box mounted, like a Thule? I ask as the satellite radio reception is a line of sight signal and with the antenna mounted on the roof, a luggage carrier box might block the line of sight.
 

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Anyone have trouble with their satellite radio reception when they have a luggage carrier box mounted, like a Thule? I ask as the satellite radio reception is a line of sight signal and with the antenna mounted on the roof, a luggage carrier box might block the line of sight.
Fiberglass is radio transparent, that's why they use it for radar domes. As long as you don't put too much metal in there it'll be fine.
 

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Agree with the radio transparency point - good insight! Other than the clear metal aspect of the cargo, I wonder how much the luggage will degrade the signal strength. I am going to pack a travel bag and put it directly on top off the antenna and see if the signal strength is affected. I don't want to invest $700 for a roof carrier and loose the satellite reception.
 

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I use Inno "FR" locking bases on a 2011JSW that have square alloy crossbars and have no complaints, though I have to say the s-53s look like they would have less windage and look better.

http://www.orsracksdirect.com sells Inno; Yakima; and Thule, they have online fitment guides for all 3 brands.

My advice is that few people use these things enough to justify their initial cost but because they are all expensive get locking bases so you only have to buy 'em once.

Check craigslist for secondhand.
 

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I run the S-53's with the sunroof. You have to mount the bars pretty far apart for the roof to clear but I prefer that with my bike carriers anyway as it's more stable.
Thanks for confirming that the S-53s work with the JSW sunroof. I've been wondering about that for a long time.


Cheers,

Jason
 

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Some of this depends on what you'll be carrying. I carry a tripping canoe, which is too wide to use the whispbar design. I use a Yakima setup which allows me to run bars wider than the roof rails, which I feel is required for a 17ft canoe. I also did not have to invest a cent in the setup for my jsw. I already had clamps that attached to roof rails, and the proper sized crossbars.
 

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Unless your 17-foot canoe is 17 feet wide, I can't imagine why you'd need crossbars wider than the roof rails. But maybe I'm missing something. Is your canoe actually wider than the space between the rails?
Cheers,

Jason
 

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I lost too many mpg on a long trip with my yakima crossbar system when loaded with my x-large mtb on top. With just the Yakima older style space cadet box itself on top of the JSW I only lost a few mpg on another trip. Now I'm using it with a Yakima fairing and a purchased Kuat NV trailer hitch mount for the back of the car...long trip next weekend and I'll post those results after the trip.

 
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