Submitted: 06-09-2010 by altruistguy
I actually use the Thule SlipStream 887. I've been using it for one year. The newer 887XT replaces the older 887. According to Thule, the 887XT has the following improvements over the older 887 that I have:
* Longer rear kayak roller extension for SUV's and other large vehicles with rear roof mount spoilers or cars with roof racks that are forward-mounted on the rooftop.
* Increased frame tubing wall thickness that better resists kayak bow impacts and heavy kayak loads.
* New improved front kayak saddles that offer universal compatibility including fishing kayaks.
* Simpler 2 slide quick-release instead of 4 and can be positioned on either side of 887XT SlipStream for ultimate ease of use.
* Extra 1" frame extension forward of front load bar improves front saddle adjustability.
I've been quite happy with my SlipStream 887. The reason I needed it is because I have a car with a short, angled roof. The Yakima crossbars are supposed to be 30" apart. With a 20.5' kayak/surfski to carry, that seems imprudently short. Ideally, the saddles would be at about the one-third and two-third points of the hull, I'd imagine. For me, that means about 82" spread would be ideal. The SlipStream 887 gets me to a max of 55". This is not ideal, but it is a dramatic improvement over 30".
I've used the unit with a kayak on top at 70 mph for multi-hour trips. There were no problems on the road.
I'm happy with the Thule Set-To-Go and HydroGlide saddles too. The Set-To-Go has kind of a chintzy plastic mechanism, but for my lightweight (33#) boat, this hasn't been an issue. I like that the HydroGlide saddles allow effortless sliding on/off and quite a bit of surface area contacting/supporting the boat (unlike the Yakima HullyRollers). The built-in plastic rollers that are supposed to further make loading easier may be useful for use with a big vehicle and/or very small person, but neither is the case for me -- so I never use it.
I Like the relatively quick installation of the unit onto the crossbars -- just four plastic nuts to be manipulated with your fingers -- it is difficult to imagine a more quick attachment mechanism that is equally secure.
Alternatives to the SlipStream that I considered include:
> > KayakPro EZ-Vee (http://www.kayakpro.com/kp/kayakpro2/wwwhtml/contents/ez-vee.htm). This is pretty expensive. It would allow me to get as much as 8 or 9 feet of spread. The downside of the EZ-Vee, as I see it, is:
- relatively high cost
- relatively difficult/long installation onto crossbars
- very little contact area with hull provides little support, high stresses
Another interesting alternative is the Adirondack Rowing Shell Rack (http://www.adirondackrowing.com/economy_shell_rack.htm). This costs about as much as the Thule SlipStream, but provides dramatically more spread (72" or 96"). It comes with two sets of Thule Set-To-Go saddles, which probably won't work too well (needs a set of Thule HydroGlides in conjunction with a set of Thule Set-To-Gos for easy loading/unloading). It isn't clear how easy to load onto the crossbars this unit would be.
Overall, I'm really pretty happy with the SlipStream. I expect the new model (i.e., 887XT) will be no worse, perhaps a bit better.
The only thing that I'd change about this would be to increase the spread and slightly increase the strength of the aluminum tubes to accommodate that (the latter seems to have already been done for the XT).