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  1. #1
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    2009 Subaru Outback with factory crossbars

    You've heard it before, and while I've done a search, I'm looking to get some updated information on what folks are using on their 2009 Subaru Outback roof racks with the factory crossbars.

    More to the point, what racks will fit on the roof while still allowing the rear hatch (with spoiler) to open fully? From my measurements, nothing will fit the bill, but I also figured that I have to be wrong and that there is a solution out there.

    Or, in the alternative, is it just better to put a hitch on the thing and continue to use my Yakima Kingpin 4?

  2. #2
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    I have a 2009, but I have a Yakima rack and the factory crossbars are collecting dust in the garage. I just don't trust them. With the Yakima rack I have no issues opening or closing the hatch with bikes on top.

    If you're set on using the factory crossbars I wouldn't put more than two bikes on top, and if you use a fork mount you can put the rear wheel facing forward to eliminate any hatch opening issues.

  3. #3
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    The Thule Sidearm fits the Subaru well because 16" of the bike tray extends out over the front, leaving less of the bike tray behind the rear crossbar to interfere with the hatch. Yakima Frontloader will interfere with the hatch every time...so will Yakima Highroller with universal mighty mounts.

  4. #4
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    I reverse mounted my rocky mounts to fit my 04 WRX wagon.

  5. #5
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    I have an '06 Outback, which is the same generation, and I just put Thule Sidearms on the factory bars with no issues. As noted above, the fronts extend out 16", so I have 3-4 of clearance with bikes loaded and the hatch open, even with the racks mounted pretty far back. The bikes flare outwards a bit because the factory bars have an arc to them. Doesn't look like it will pose a problem though.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by squads View Post
    I have an '06 Outback, which is the same generation, and I just put Thule Sidearms on the factory bars with no issues. As noted above, the fronts extend out 16", so I have 3-4 of clearance with bikes loaded and the hatch open, even with the racks mounted pretty far back. The bikes flare outwards a bit because the factory bars have an arc to them. Doesn't look like it will pose a problem though.
    Sorry to bring back the thread, but I just mounted the Sidearm on my Outback.

    Did you use the extra rubber spacer to level the rack out? I didn't even realize that it was a feature until I opened the box, as nobody at REI (where I purchased the rack, about my only option around here) knew it was in there.

    The only issue I have right now is that the bike tray is tipped slightly up. I'll probably go try to adjust the crossbars forward/backward until I can get the thing level.

    I'll also say, this is a wonderfully designed rack, with HORRIBLE directions. The English translation was bad enough so as to be non-sensical at times. Eventually I just ditched the directions and made the parts fit and after going back through the directions, I could see where Thule made assumptions and skipped steps.

  7. #7
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    just an FYI, there is a 2 bike maximum when mounted to factory installed crossbars. I will say that the subaru bars are stronger than most, but with 3 bikes loaded you will be exceeding the capacity of the factory installed rack...surprised that REI didn't tell you that.

  8. #8
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    I think the stock crossbars have a label saying either 100lb or 150lb max weight. I assume they are under rated for liability reasons.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by cracksandracks.com View Post
    just an FYI, there is a 2 bike maximum when mounted to factory installed crossbars. I will say that the subaru bars are stronger than most, but with 3 bikes loaded you will be exceeding the capacity of the factory installed rack...surprised that REI didn't tell you that.
    How strong exactly, would you rate these things? Because now that I have this rack installed, the factory crossbars seem flimsy at best. Will these things really hold a bike up there without ripping off on the expressway?

  10. #10
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    The bars do have flex to them but the method of mounting to the rails is very secure. I wouldn't stress about it. If you are within the weight limits that are on a sticker on the crossbars, or slightly over, you'll be fine.
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  11. #11
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    Just an update.

    I found the flex; one of the feet for the factory crossbars was defective and very thankfully fell off right before we left on our first trip with the rack. I went out and replaced the entire thing with a set of Thule crossbars and feet, and it's rock solid now.

    On our way up to where I was going to ride, somebody was stopped on the side of the road with their roof rack ripped off their car and their entire rig sitting in a ditch, and just yesterday a friend of mine lost all their gear off their roof when the rack decided to depart the vehicle. I'm glad I got the thing replaced, as the idea of everything falling off scares the poop out of me.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by jtrain View Post
    Just an update.

    I found the flex; one of the feet for the factory crossbars was defective and very thankfully fell off right before we left on our first trip with the rack. I went out and replaced the entire thing with a set of Thule crossbars and feet, and it's rock solid now.

    On our way up to where I was going to ride, somebody was stopped on the side of the road with their roof rack ripped off their car and their entire rig sitting in a ditch, and just yesterday a friend of mine lost all their gear off their roof when the rack decided to depart the vehicle. I'm glad I got the thing replaced, as the idea of everything falling off scares the poop out of me.
    Nice ... I just browsed in here looking for info on using the factory crossbars on my wife's Forester and find carnage in the first thread I checked. We are considering one bike and a kayak.
    I may or may not be laughing at you.

  13. #13
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    I have no horse in this race, but I see tonnnnnnns of Outbacks with OEM bars and stuff all over them.
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