I bit the bullet and purchased this expensive rack because I often need to load my kayak alone. I don't regret it one bit. It is easy to use and I find I kayak more often because it is so much easier to load and unload my boat. It took awhile to install (myself) as I had never really seen one. I also found the the kayak tie down method they recommended would pull the cradle askew and the rack would not lock into place properly-so I designed my own system. I love being able to put the straps on while the boat is waist high. It took some practice, but I soon found that the lift system works best if you pull it up chest high (I am 5'6") and then give it a little boost-at which point it will take over. Very easy and smooth. The adjustment screws for the rack can be a pain-I will be marking my kayak so that I load it in the same place each time and don't need to readjust the rack. It was too expensive, but I am glad I got it. It appears to be well made, and I hope to have it for many years. It works great with my 49 lb kayak.
Quality wise no issues and the price was right (especially with the 20% off deal that was going at LL Bean) but very difficult to use. I'm 5' 3", this rack is on a Subaru Outback, and I have a plastic boat that weighs 54 pounds. Loading onto this rack is awkward given the above factors...I have tried getting the bow into the front cradle and then going to the stern and lifting that, but this has not worked well as the boat tends to fall over in the process. I often am loading solo and don't want to have to rely on having someone around to help (which does make it easy to load onto this rack), so am going to switch to a saddle-type carrier that I can slide the boat onto from the rear with a rug or blanket to protect the car. I would only recommend J cradles like this to someone tall/strong or with a low car roof...and with plenty of garage door clearance. I discovered the first time I put the boat on this rack that I would not be able to pull back into the garage with it!