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Submitted: 07-23-2008 by pikabike
This is only a preliminary review, as I just bought these cradles and have transported with them exactly one time. But that one time left me very impressed. I live on a dirt road with an average grade of about 15%. Till now, every other cradle allowed my kayak to slip a little (forward when descending, backward when ascending), unless I tightened the straps really hard and in some cases it would still slip a little.
The Malone Autoloaders kept the boat fixed in its place--NO slippage, even though I didn't crank the straps really hard. In addition, they obviously flex with bumps, and the strapped cradles fit ("cradle") my Explorer LV well. It's a good fit, and I assume it will also fit the shape of my Tempest 165 well.
One of the cradles I had previously used was the Thule Hull-a-ports, and those did NOT fit any of my kayaks. The straight, rigid cradle tops actually caused slight flat spots on my hulls, and because the foam pads were too small, the bare metal tubes always ended up rubbing the boats. In the case of the plastic Tempest, it left dark marks. In the case of the glass Explorer, it was starting to abrade the gel coat. Good thing I only used those cradles one time with the glass boat!
The Malones kept my boat secured without causing damage. They are easy to install and fit on round, square, or factory oval crossbars. They also stay put on my round crossbars far better than the Thules did. The loading ramp feature is a nice touch, though I don't need it because I use a trailer.
I hope my initial impression will be borne out after further use. At least for now, though, I would recommend these to anybody needing to carry sea kayaks with J-cradles.
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