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Question: I'm looking for recommendations on how to select a 2011 Honda CRV bike and kayak roof rack system for carrying 2 bicycles and 2 kayaks (transporting bikes and kayaks separately.) I am told the roof has fixed-points that a rack will attach to, can you confirm this?
Answer: Yes, your 2011 Honda CRV does have on the car roofop what are known in the industry as fixed attachment points. This is a superb design that many car manufacturers are building into newer model vehicles. Essentially, this provides a roof rack attachment point if you decide to install a roof rack. The result is a very clean design that is low-profile and integrated looking. It is also very easy to install roof racks to the fixed-points yourself. As of this writing (5/20/2011), we recommend the following options...
MULTI-PURPOSE BASE RACK SYSTEMS
From Thule Racks the Thule 460 Podium roof rack system is a superb option to use as a 2011 Honda CR-V roof rack. This complete multi-purpose base rack system attaches to the '11 Honda CR-V fixed rack attachment points using the included Thule 3042 Podium Fit Kit brackets. Very easy to install and mounts right to the fix point attachments on your roof top. A pair of Thule cross bars are also included (the 50 inch length bars are recommended for your car, however you may need to choose longer length load bars depending on what kayak carriers you choose). Install video included on the product page.
Alternatively, you can certainly also use the Thule 460R Rapid Podium roof rack system. Works exactly the same way as the regular Thule 460 Podium system except that you get a pair of premium Thule Rapid Aero load bars instead of the classic square load bars included with the regular Thule 460 Podium system. The Thule 460R Rapid Podium roof rack system also includes the same Thule 3042 Podium Fit Kit brackets. You also get a pair of Thule RB47 47" Rapid Aero load bars with end caps (you must use these 47" bars as you can't choose longer bars wuth the 460R Rapid Podium system). Install video included on the product page.
And from Yakima Racks you can choose the Yakima Control Towers roof rack system that also attaches to the Honda CR-V fixed attachment points on the cartop. You would choose the #10 (LP10) Yakima Landing Pads (included with the Control Towers complete roof rack system and work just like the Thule Podium Fit Kit for attaching the roof rack to the fixed rack attachment points). Yakima cross bars included with the Control Towers complete system (the 48 inch length bars are the normally recommend length for your roof top, but you may need to select the longer 58" bars depending on what kayak carriers you choose).
With any of these base racks installed as a 2011 Honda CR-V roof rack, you can then connect any kayak carriers to the cross bars. Virtually all kayak racks are universal mounting, allowing you to choose the model that you like best, independent of whether it is the same manufacturer as the base rack system. In general you have three types of kayak rack options: 1) kayak saddles - carry the kayak laying flat / 2) kayak j-cradles - transport the kayak cradled on its side (great for when you need to carry multiple kayaks because the j-cradles use up less crossbar space than the kayak saddles style) / 3) kayak lift-assisting models - mostly kayak saddles with a rear roller that helps you to more easily load and unload the kayak, however some side-loading options are also available that work with j-cradles etc.
Finally, remember that if you are selecting two sets of j-cradle style carriers for carrying 2 kayaks then you can go with the normal 50 inch load bars with the Thule 460 Podium system (the 2 sets of j-cradles will also work on the RB47 Rapid Aero bars on the 460R Rapid Podium system) and the 48" cross bars with the Yakima Control Towers system. However, if you will be selecting two sets of kayak saddle style racks that carry the 2 kayaks laying flat hull side down then you'll need to select the longer 58 inch length cross bars with the Thule 460 Podium system and the Yakima Control Towers system. You can't use two saddle style kayak racks on the RB47 47" Rapid Aero bars on the 460R Rapid Podium system, as the cross bars are not long enough.
Finally, you can then also connect any roof bike carriers to the cross bars. Virtually all bike racks are universal mounting, allowing you to choose the model that you like best, independent of whether it is the same manufacturer as the base rack system. In general, you have two basic roof mount bike rack categories to choose from: 1) upright mount bike racks, where you leave the bike wheels on and load the entire bike onto the rack / 2) fork mount bike racks, where you take the front wheel off and mount the bike fork to the bike rack fork mount block & quick-release skewer.
Please note that if you are using the Thule 460R Rapid Podium roof rack system, some Thule bike carriers require the use of a Thule Xadapt Kit to mount the carrier to the Rapid Aero load bars. Each Thule bike rack product page specifies if a Thule Xadapt Kit is required or not with the bike rack. All Thule bike carriers will mount directly to the square load bars included with the regular Thule 460 Podium roof rack system. All roof bike carriers will mount directly to the Thule 460 Podium square crossbars and the Yakima Control Towers crossbars.
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