Submitted: 09-28-2009 by pikabike
A third follow-up, to reflect changes in the reviewed item since last reviewed:
Unfortunately, I must downgrade my earlier glowing reviews. Initially, the ribbed rubber strips that Malone uses on the composite cradles were soft and flexible and sticky. That's why my kayak did not slip, and it was not marred.
However--and this is a big however--the rubber apparently hardens as it ages. Then the soft forgiving ribs become little sharp edges. I had noticed a yellowish powder from gel coat being abraded. On my last road trip, my kayak ended up having gel coat wear spots that were a mirror image of the rubber ribs. They were not just scuffed but I can actually see and feel the rib-spaced wear on both deck and hull. I will need to touch up all such areas with new gel coat.
To prevent further damage, I taped in some foam padding. But I think Malone should provide auxiliary pads with the cradles, and warn people about the rubber holding dust/grit and therefore grinding away the gel coat. I wash my kayak AND cradles after using, but this time driving on 16 miles of dirt road must've done too much damage between washes. Or maybe it was the vibration from a nonsmooth road surface. Either way, users should be warned to put clean padding around their kayaks before transporting with these cradles.