Submitted: 05-03-2006 by Rob W
I ordered these a month ago after thoroughly researching every type of mount available. I wanted to be as frugal as possible, but at the same time didnít want to get something that I wasnít happy with. I ended up buying a Thule rack piece by piece from eBay and other vendors, and then I moved onto the cradles for two SOT kayaks. The first and cheapest option that I considered was the upright bar from Thule. But I came to the conclusion that I didnít want to have to hold the kayak up with one hand while I tied it down with the other. After further research I noticed Thule and Yakima carried the ďJĒ style racks (which I liked), but they were too expensive. I eventually stumbled on the Malone Autoloader and fell in love.
When they finally arrived, the first thing I noticed was that they were very sturdy and seemed indestructible. Secondly they fit on the Thule bars very well. After using them for the first time, I decided that I had made the right choice. The two SOTís that I have (OK Scrambler XT and Wilderness Rave) fit very well in the generous opening of the Malone Autoloader. I can pop the kayaks up onto the ledge of the cradle and let them rest there while I strap them down. They will stay in place pretty well without the straps unless a really stiff breeze comes along. In fact, after strapping them up, I felt so secure in the cradles that I was tempted to do without the bow and stern lines. Of course I did use them (as should everybody). On the drive back home I hit a pretty nasty wind coming from the side, but the SOTís didnít move a bit. Of course they acted like a sail on top of the car like that, but they never flinched.
The only criticism that I have of the Malone Autoloader is that there is no easy way of taking them off in between kayaking adventures. Right now Iím just keeping them on, but when you look at my Honda Accord with the Autoloaders on it, it looks kinda ridiculous. Perhaps there is an easier way than unbolting them each time, but so far I have just left them up. I may try what the last poster mentioned and just loosening the bolts to let the cradles lie flat, but that also seems like a pain. I wish that they had something that worked as a quick release. Perhaps something similar to the pressure locks a bicycle uses? But other than that, great product for a great price!