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Subaru Outback Roof Rack Comments

nes2nes2 Member Posts: 14
edited August 2014 in Subaru
The new outback roof rack is a cute idea but its design is flawed. The bar spread is very limited and cant be adjusted and so carrying boats - such as a kayak would be dangerous because you cant disperse the weight of a long object very easily. I think a custom installed rack might be the only solution and adding an after market Thule rack wouldn't help as you would still have to attach it to the subaru cross bars.

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    robm2robm2 Member Posts: 53
    No different than any other vehicle with, or without, a roof rack. You can still tie it down onto foam/cloth, and tie the rope under the bumper and/or hitch.

    I don't see a problem here.
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    nes2nes2 Member Posts: 14
    If you want to carry a couple of kayaks or a canoe then you need a real rack.
    The 2009 outback had solid rails that you can use to attach a Thule cross bar system. The 2010 outback doesn't give you this option - LOOK at the rails. You cant have a adequate cross bar spread and the factory cross bars cannot be adjusted.
    Real outdoor enthusiasts will be disappointed. Subaru should have stuck with the 2009 roof rails. Back to the design board.
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    ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Subaru shows a kayak on the roof in their own press photos, so it can be done.

    I'd secure them like Rob suggested.
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    paisanpaisan Member Posts: 21,181
    I agree with Rob and Juice.

    -mike
    Subaru Guru and Track Instructor
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    nes2nes2 Member Posts: 14
    yes it can be done but not with grace. My point is that the 2009 rails actually allowed you to put a better roof rack on the car. The 2010 rack limits this. The photos I have seen show short kayaks that dont weigh much. Sea kayaks and canoes are 16-22feet(double) long and you cant just put a little foam underneath and expect the boats to stay on the roof if you are driving on a bumpy road.
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    rshollandrsholland Member Posts: 19,788
    On the flip side this new roof rack is now rated to carry 150 pounds (it's stamped on the rack). The old Outback rack was rated for 100 pounds.

    Also, the new Outback just one MT's SUV-of-the-Year award. Yeah, yeah, a silly award, but still...

    Bob
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    jd_24jd_24 Member Posts: 92
    I think I agree that the roof rack is flawed. With a Yakima rack (cross bars+mounts) I put 5 bikes on my 2001 OB. The spacing of the Yakima cross bars looks like they will be too close together (front to back). Keeping them spred as far possible increases the stability. WIth a 16' canoe, cross bars less than 30inches apart won't be stable despite front and rear tie downs. Now I haven't actually measued how much space there is, but judging by pictures there appears to be less than 30 inches of space to attach after market cross bars.
    Foam pads = scratches and dents in the roof.
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    rshollandrsholland Member Posts: 19,788
    I put 5 bikes on my 2001 OB.

    And in doing so, exceeded the roof rack weight limit, I'm sure.

    Keep in mind you have to include the weight of the bikes and the mounting hardware. The '01 Outback had a roof rack weight limit of 100 pounds. I'm sure the total weight of 5 bikes and hardware exceeded that. As you said, it could be done, but Subaru doesn't recommend it.

    Bob
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    jd_24jd_24 Member Posts: 92
    I'm only slightly over...rack is about 35lbs and 5 bikes between 15 and 18pounds = 120ish total.

    According to Drive Mag, the limit is still 100 pounds for the 2010 Outback. Drive Mag

    I've never found a true answer if the load limit is for the cross bars or the rack overall. The cross bars do seem to be the weakest link and flex easily. Hence I use after market bars.

    A 100 or even 150lb limit will be easily exceeded when you tie down a canoe or long kayak. The tie down tension will add many pounds of force plus a long lever to multiply that force.
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    rshollandrsholland Member Posts: 19,788
    According to Drive Mag, the limit is still 100 pounds for the 2010 Outback. Drive Mag

    150 is stamped on the roof rack. Go see for yourself. Pre-2010 it was 100 pounds.

    As to how they arrive at that figure? It probably has to do with the structural components of the rack, as well as raising the center of gravity of the vehicle, suspension, handling characteristics, etc.

    Bob
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    jd_24jd_24 Member Posts: 92
    Appears there are other not happy with the roof rack or moving old Yakima/Thule racks to the 2010. :(

    www.gear.com
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    rshollandrsholland Member Posts: 19,788
    My WRX is going in for the 15K service tomorrow. I will see if they have an accessory brochure for the new Outback. I'm certain that Subaru offers roof rack attachments for most normal needs (bikes, kayaks, etc.).

    As to older, previously bought attachments? Who knows? Some may work, some may not. As to Thule and Yakama? I'm sure they'll come up with solutions; just give them some time to develop, test and produce them.

    Bob
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    nes2nes2 Member Posts: 14
    I am afraid that it doesn't look good . I contacted Subaru and they dont have any plans to change the rack and they sais they didn't realise they were making a mistake - they have focus groups to help advise them. Obviously they were polling a bunch of armchair shoppers! Check out this thread and read the responses of more than 40 people who dont like the roof racks either and there is the opinion of a rack specialist
    http://rackattackportland.wordpress.com/2009/07/02/new-series-cars-of-the-future- -a-rack-installers-opinion-part-1-2010-subaru-outback/
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    xwesxxwesx Member Posts: 16,832
    A 100 or even 150lb limit will be easily exceeded when you tie down a canoe or long kayak. The tie down tension will add many pounds of force plus a long lever to multiply that force.

    I wouldn't worry about that. I have put well over 200# on those racks before, over some rather questionable terrain, and never had any problem. Yes, the factory crossbars are the weak link in that they flex easily, but hey, it is a better indicator of weight that way than were they to be more rigid! ;)

    I think the weight problem is most likely to manifest itself in a situation where, say, a load is being carried at the time of a frontal impact. The car comes to a stop abruptly, but the force of the load on the racks shears the bolts and sends the load hurtling forward. If the load exceeded the 100# mfg limit, Subaru is not liable for damages resulting from that chain of events.
    2018 Subaru Crosstrek, 2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2013 Subaru Forester, 1969 Chevrolet C20, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250
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    xwesxxwesx Member Posts: 16,832
    I don't like them not because they are not clever or useful, but because they limit the options of an individual owner. Yes, the prior generation racks required a little more work in terms of maintaining the cross bars (removing or installing them), but they allowed options. Not only could they be moved fore or aft, but aftermarket bars could replace the "aero" bars to increase utility for the owner. Spread (fore / aft) is not the only issue. I see many folks run 6' Thule or Yakima cross bars in order to accommodate their gear, such as multiple boats, bikes, combinations, etc. The factory bars just do not offer that type of flexibility. And, now, the option of aftermarket replacements is limited/eliminated.
    2018 Subaru Crosstrek, 2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2013 Subaru Forester, 1969 Chevrolet C20, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250
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    xwesxxwesx Member Posts: 16,832
    Also, the new Outback just one MT's SUV-of-the-Year award.

    Bob, I'm shocked... horrified! And, I am not referring to the award, I am referring to who one it. :P
    2018 Subaru Crosstrek, 2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2013 Subaru Forester, 1969 Chevrolet C20, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250
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    rshollandrsholland Member Posts: 19,788
    Me too. When it comes to "SUVs" I'm old school in that it needs to be really off-road capable, first and foremost. In this test the 4-Runner should have won hands-down, with the Outback coming in 2nd.

    Still, it's a nice feather to put is Subaru's marketing cap, and for braggin' rights.

    Bob
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    ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    A 100 or even 150lb limit will be easily exceeded when you tie down a canoe or long kayak. The tie down tension will add many pounds of force plus a long lever to multiply that force

    Tie the back down to a tow hitch - those are rated for a tongue weight of 350 lbs IIRC. If you don't have a hitch I'm sure it wouldn't be too hard to make a braket for that.

    At the front I'm sure you can find a rigid place on the grille or front bumper.

    Both would also help spread the load fore and aft.
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    steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    I haven't seen them on the 2010s, but I've read the complaints about them at a paddling forum I visit. If you visit Yakima.com and tell them you want to carry canoes, they say "We cannot fit your vehicle with a top of car rack system but you can always have one custom installed."

    This is a problem for people like me, who spent ~$300 on a Yak rack system planning to move it to future cars just by buying new attachment clips as needed. I've never bothered to try to put them on my '97 Outback though.

    The other ironic thing is that Subaru will give you a discount if you are a member of the American Canoe Association. :P

    btw, my bars are 78" long.

    Steve, visiting host
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    26cars26cars Member Posts: 19
    The new OB's were just hitting dealers when I bought my '10 Forester; I saw the new rack design and right away knew they were inadequate. I use older Thule mounts/square 6' crossbars and they are rock-solid on the traditional Subie rails. I was amazed Subaru could make such a design blunder. Most, if not all factory crossbars are flimsy and flex way too much with kayaks loaded. With the Thule kayak pads and heavy strap/buckle tie-downs, I safely travel at 65+ mph with no movement and no loosening of the straps. Bottom line: spend the money for aftermarket mounts & rails (unfortunately they ain't cheap!)- they may look a little cluttered but they work great.
    BTW, a lot of crossovers I looked at (ie, Chevy Equinox and others) had crappy rail designs- they only went part-way along the roofline, making front-back span of crossbars less than 30", not nearly enough to maintain a tight grip on long items like kayaks. The Chevy dealer was a little suprised when I ruled out the vehicle based on roof rack-rail design- guess most people don't really pay much attention to them, or don't use then for anything but occaisional luggage carry.
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    ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    My Sienna has a very wide spread - you can set them a mile apart.

    Ironically I rarely use it, because so much fits inside! :D
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    steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    Lots of whitewater kayaks and C1s are so short these days, you can put a few of them inside a minivan too. :D
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    ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Yep, my old college roommate did that when we went boating. Fits easily.
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    xwesxxwesx Member Posts: 16,832
    I ruled out the 2010 Forester X for the very same reason - lack of a roof rail! You can put single-point mounts on there, but you loose the flexibility the rail affords. I ended up with an X Premium. It boggles my mind that any manufacturer would label a vehicle "SUV" and not include a roof rail. :confuse:
    2018 Subaru Crosstrek, 2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2013 Subaru Forester, 1969 Chevrolet C20, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250
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    xwesxxwesx Member Posts: 16,832
    Same for my Caravan. About the only time I use it is when I visit the hardware store and pick up long (10'+) lumber or when I go dipnetting every July (I use it to hold the nets).
    2018 Subaru Crosstrek, 2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2013 Subaru Forester, 1969 Chevrolet C20, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250
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    ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    The X is one of those price leaders.

    It looks awkward - no tinted windows, no roof rails, plastic wheel covers.

    IMHO Subaru is just trying to get something in at around $20k.

    Remember that AWD is standard, so every competitor can sell their base model for $1700 or so less.
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    xwesxxwesx Member Posts: 16,832
    I could live with all of the deletes except the rails. After all, I had never owned a vehicle with factory-tinted windows until now, power seats are somewhat awkward when there is no memory setting and you have two (regular) drivers, and while I love heated mirrors, I could have gone without.

    I do like the price point, though. ;)
    2018 Subaru Crosstrek, 2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2013 Subaru Forester, 1969 Chevrolet C20, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250
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    ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Nissan, Honda, and Toyota have similar entry pricing but they're FWD, so they carry a cost advantage.

    Go back and look at my 1998 Forester L - I swear it was much better equipped. I got roof rails, cargo cover, mud guards, lower cladding all around, rear bumper guard, and styled steel wheels instead of plastic covers.

    Oh, and a full size spare, too.
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    xwesxxwesx Member Posts: 16,832
    You're not imagining it. It was better equipped. But, given the rise in costs over the last 12 years, and the not-so-linear rise in cost of vehicles, it is not surprising that manufacturers have de-contented their entry models in order to keep prices down. Most everything else: electricity, fuel, food, building materials, you name it, have at least doubled in that same time frame.

    Heck, you used to be able to get cross bars, a cargo tray, and a cargo cover all as standard equipment, and I'm sure those are pretty cheap to produce.
    2018 Subaru Crosstrek, 2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2013 Subaru Forester, 1969 Chevrolet C20, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250
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    ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Now it's a $400 or so protection package.
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    nes2nes2 Member Posts: 14
    Check this out
    http://subaru.eu/Legacy/wallpaper/800/s02c08f06.jpg

    This the Euro version of the outback - looks cooler to me and you can attach any rack you want. Why did they have to turn the american version into a goose with a lousy rack?
    I might have to consider the volvo XC70 - it has a solid rail and can carry 250Ibs- way more than the OB.
    Unfortunately its fuel consumption is high and its pricey.
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    xwesxxwesx Member Posts: 16,832
    I cannot really tell... is there no rail at all on that one?
    2018 Subaru Crosstrek, 2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2013 Subaru Forester, 1969 Chevrolet C20, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250
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    nes2nes2 Member Posts: 14
    It just has a rail that you could use to attach any roof rack you want without the limitations of the north american outback. Check out this link to see all the euro versions. The europeans even get a legacy wagon. How come the europeans always get the best versions?!

    http://www.trucktrend.com/features/news/163_news091014_euro_spec_2010_subaru_out- back_and_legacy_tourer/index.html
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    xwesxxwesx Member Posts: 16,832
    Oh, yeah. Very nice; very subtle! Thanks for sharing those links. The typical NA customer is a curious one; an oddity in the world. ;)
    2018 Subaru Crosstrek, 2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2013 Subaru Forester, 1969 Chevrolet C20, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250
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    abzabz Member Posts: 13
    I had been worried about how to securely carry larger kayaks on the fixed with cross-bars of the 2010 Outback.

    I just found a Thule rack system that has its own frame and allows me to extend the cradles up to 5' apart. The system is the Thule Slipstream 887XT for anyone who had the same concerns.
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    nes2nes2 Member Posts: 14
    Interesting but its still attached to the factory crossbars which have poor bar spread. When you use the Thule tool to determine which thule rack is best for you then it doesn't recommend the slipstream for the 2010 outback. I called Thule myself and they didnt recommend this model?!
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    abzabz Member Posts: 13
    I saw the rack on an Infinity FX35. The crossbars on that didn't look to be more than 30" apart. When I measured the Outback, it looked like a 32" spread. My Outback is on order (I own an '05 LGT wagon now). I'll let you know how the rack works when I have the new vehicle.
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    steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    The slickest rack system I've seen in a long time is on a guy's Prius out in California. You have to search his site to see the photos since there's no direct link to them.

    He uses Yakima Landing Pad #7 kits and if you don't mind drilling holes in your roof, you gain a nice clean look while the rack is off the car.

    Getting the factory rack off would be a whole 'nother can of worms though. Nothing a little Bondo couldn't handle though. :)
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    ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    I wonder what the max spread is on the Venza, perhaps the most direct competitor? Also on the Honda CrossTour when it arrives?
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    steine13steine13 Member Posts: 2,819
    edited December 2010
    I thought I'd post something I learned elsewhere on the web: Yakima has worked up a solution where the factory folding crossbars are completely removed, and a "Landing Pad #12" is bolted in place, which will receive Yakima's "Control Towers."

    The bar spread is reported to be 30 to 31 inches, a meaningful improvement. If you google a little, you will find a picture of the setup.

    I've had Landing Pads before, and if mounted solidly, they are my favorite rack attachment. No play, no adjustment, just set the rack in its place, rotate the lock 90 degrees, and you're good to go. It's not as good as having a track in place of the factory rack, but it'll do for most things.

    Interestingly enough, if you go to the Yakima web site and try to configure a roof rack for your '11 OB, they'll try to sell you something different; a "Railgrab" setup that has less spread and won't be nearly as solid.

    Being able to carry a canoe or two is important to me... I tried to attach a picture but I guess I gotta try the link: link title

    Cheers -Mathias
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    steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    Good to hear. Nice pic too. Maybe I'll run into you sometime up in the UP where we recently moved. Look for a green MR Explorer Kevlar on an old red Outback. :)

    Steve, visiting host
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