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Overall they are helpful, but not everything I was hoping for in an assist system. I purchased 2 of them (we have 2 boats) and will also have to move them to another rack on our SUV - I am not sure how easy they will be to take on and off and given their adjustment issues it might be easier to buy 2 more. Given that the SUV height will be lower, they might work better on it.
My problem now is the rollers are actually shedding material on to the kayak as I roll it up. This is leaving streaks of rubber like material all along the bottom of my kayak. Right now I've wrapped the rollers in duct tape but this does not allow proper grip to allow them to roll, so it pretty much slides up there which is not doing the kevlar hull a lot of good.
After contacting Yakima directly they have agreed to replace the set of hullyrollers at no charge. You have to love a company that backs their product. There apparently is some special care that is needed to keep the rollers from deteriorating...
Then came Hully Rollers: Good instructions, easily installed in 10 minutes for the pair. They were paired w. Mako Saddles and Yakima SSK locks. All were very easy and took minutes to install.
The whole lift and glide was a beautiful thing. After test drives of 15, 90 and 180 miles, I'm liking these more and more.
And OF COURSE I keep using bow and stern tiedowns (Thule 833s with the ratchet). Hulleys and Makos strap down just fine, but the tiedowns are the Early Warning System if the kayak load is going awry.
If the Hully Rollers hold, then they are a solid ten as far as ease of use and perfection of design for kayaks. For now I rate them a 9.
I've heard of mini-rollers that can be purchased to sit between the Hully Rollers and solve my problem, but I may first try some PVC pipe between the rollers and see how it goes. I've also noticed that when my boat or my rollers are wet, the rollers do not actually roll at all, and the boat just skids along the rollers. Truth be told, it will still load this way, so skidding or rolling, the boat does end up where it's meant to go. The rollers are not a bad product, but I am only giving them a six because they will need modifications/additions to do the job well.
I still find, however, that the optimum distance for using the rollers to load the boat is different than the distance necessary to hold the boat stable. I have a 17' Looksha IV, quite narrow bow and stern. I finally ended up with the rollers close together, so when loaded the boat sits on top of the locked rollers rather than being cradled by them. And they are close enough together that I can place the bow of the boat on the rollers, not the bar, when loading (I have a mini-van, not a car, so that makes things more difficult).
I have recently bought a Riot Stealth, which is shorter and lighter, which means that I can actually muscle it onto the roof of the van by myself (I'm a middle-aged woman with skinny little arms). The problem is that I can't seem to get the rollers to work with the Stealth at all. The stealth is only 12.5', and as I push it across the rollers and the width of the boat above the rollers changes, it slides from side to side across the chines. The boat does not have a flat bottom, either, so I can't really rest it on the bottom easily. I was ready to give up on the silly things, but reading other posts here, I figure there's got to be some way to make them work. I am going to try again with the rollers set wide, with a towel duct taped to the bar, figuring I can slide the boat across the bar and up onto the rollers as it gets to the wider portion of the boat.
Any suggestions humbly accepted!
To the person that suggested that the rollers do not actually rotate on the bar but rather the bar rotates on the post, this is only partially true. I have had the entire bar rotate on the stands. But I also made kayak rod racks for my 30' Proline boats hard top. The cross rods on them are welded to a single post (the rod cannot rotate). I put my Klepper on one of them and my Feathercraft on the other one and they both pushed the whole roller structures either one direction or another when I encountered moderate (3-5' wind chop) swells crossing to Catalina Island. This action totally gnarled the Hypalon hull material of my Klepper! I tend to remedy the situation by reengineering the design of my racks to included removeable anti rotating pins to the centerine of the rod. But as another reviewer stated, you really shouldn't have to modify a product for it to work well. I'm just lucky that I own my own machine shop.
I was surprised that Yakima didn't mention the possiblity of rolling on the package. I plan to try out the mako saddles as a substitution to one pair of the rollers and see where that leads to....
One of the first things I learned with the rollers is that the mounting bolts need to be attached on the side of the bar that is toward the front of the car and never the rear. If you fasten them on the rear side the grip is not strong enough and the back rollers will rotate when taking your kayak off. Also make sure to tighten the tower bolts that synch down the cross bar. Next, the spacing between the rollers is critical. The rollers on the front bar are spaced 12 inches apart and the rollers on the back are spaced 12 inches apart as well. My kayak is 33" wide so the rollers sit right under the scupper holes on my kayak. This configuration keeps the deep keel on the back of my kayak off the cross bar. I have never had my kayak roll off my rollers and at some of the lakes I launch at there is a dramatic incline at the launch ramp. I simply push the kayak on the racks, I don't lock the rollers, get the straps, fasten the kayak, run my cable lock through the scuppers. I push the kayak back and forth, adjust the strap tension and then set the locking pins on the rollers. I bought my rollers on eBay with no instructions. I figured this out on my own. I did have to transport the kayak a few times to work out the procedures, but the system is not as difficult everyone is making it out to be.
The round bar system on Yakima racks is strong and can handle some serious loads, however, the compression system used on the Hully Rollers to attach to the crossbar needs some redesign. I have my Yakima Hully Roller system installed on the factory roof racks of a 1989 Jeep Cherokee using Rail Rider 1 towers and 48 inch cross bars. I have driven with the load on top as fast as 75 mph and I have driven on the highways with some pretty heavy crosswind without any problems. Since I have been able to use these rollers without instructions and they have eased my loading and unloading procedures my rating is high.
Using Hully rollers on both cross bars presents another problem where the kayak will not be centered. If the kayak is not kept centered during loading and unloading it will roll off the edge of the rollers. These problems are amplified if you have a high vehicle like an SUV.
After almost losing a free rolling kayak I took one pair of hully rollers off and replaced them with saddles. I roll the kayak up on the rollers, tilt the kayak on the rollers onto the saddle and the saddle keeps the kayak from free rolling off the opposite end. The saddle will also center the kayak. When you use Hully Rollers you always have to carefully keep the kayak centered during loading and unloading to prevent the kayak from falling off the side.
Hully Rollers are a great boat loading aid, but have been known to cause stress fractures in some larger/heavier composite kayaks when tie down straps are excessively tight. For this reason, I use them in conjunction with two pairs of strategically located saddles when carrying tandems. I have the Hully Rollers mounted on a third bar supported by a trailer hitch receiver.
My only complaint is that they were rotating on my round Yakima bars when I first bought them. I switched the mounting clamps (which were designed to be used with round or square bars) with my older style (round bar only) clamps and solved the problem.
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