Bowdown Description

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Bowdown Reviews


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Yakima Products, Inc.
Bowdown Reviews

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Product itself is great

Submitted by: paddler371295 on 6/26/2017

The bow downs themselves are great products; some of the complaints here really deal with mounting to round bars. I have two sets of these... one set for about five years... and they are sturdy and protective.
When I had these mounted to my SUVs oblong crossbars they were solid as a rock. I later had to have these mounted to a round bar and I can see the difficulties of something mounted to a round bar and spinning issues. At first glance, not confidence inspiring.
The spinning issues are really only a problem when you are loading or unloading the kayak Annoying for sure. But once the kayak is strapped to the cradles it acts as a connecting brace. At that point the racks can only rotate a few degrees.
I just cannot see how some of these horror stories have happened if the kayak is correctly and properly strapped to the cradles. I have taken several 10 hour interstate trips with kayaks on these racks on round bars and never had an issue or concern.
Remember that the manufacture strongly recommends that you also use bow and stern tiedowns in addition to strapping to the cradles. Personally I only do this with my long tandem kayak.
I had to leave this review because I felt that this product is much better than the above rating. Again, I had one set for years and liked them so much I bought a second set for two kayak set ups. I would give the total setup four stars when used with round bars and five stars when use with any other kind of bars.
If I'm not mistaken, Yakima is phasing out the round bars from their new product line up anyway.


I have both the BowDown and…

Submitted by: paddler237156 on 9/30/2016
I have both the BowDown and the Jay Low mounted on my car. I have had the BowDown mounted on a square bar for a number of years and it has performed very well. It is heavy duty and very protective of my cedar strip kayak.

However, when I replaced my square bars with round Yakima bars, the situation changed dramatically. As other reviewers have mentioned, The BowDown carriers just spin around the round bars if any sideways pressure is applied. Note that there is a relatively cheap and easy fix for this: I have attached two 1-1/4" stainless steel hose clamps on the Yakima round bar at each point where the BowDown contacts the bar. I positioned the screws on the hose clamps on the bar to act as stops to prevent the BowDown from spinning. You probably only need 2 clamps where the bottom arm attaches, but I used a total of six for each carrier, 2 at each contact point. It was finicky to set up but is rock solid now.

That being said, if you have round bars, I would not purchase the Bowdown. The Jaylow is a much better design. The Jaylow attaches easily and securely to round bars, has 2 separate connections to the bar (less likely to catastrophically fail), has a stacking mode option, and is cheaper. It is not quite as well padded as the BowDown, but it is still protective.


The BowDown kayak holder…

Submitted by: paddler236403 on 7/31/2015
The BowDown kayak holder simply do not grip the crossbars well enough to allow kayak loading. Even modest pressure will cause the Bowdown to rotate sideways, coming to rest on the roof of your vehicle. Perhaps the worst product I've ever purchased.

Buyers beware. Maybe they're…

Submitted by: paddler236211 on 5/7/2015
Buyers beware. Maybe they're called bow downs because they make you thankful for (maybe) avoiding disaster.

I purchased a pricey used fishing kayak 300 miles from home,installed the bow downs on my Camry to a Yakima rack system and hit the interstate with no issues. To their credit, I was impressed with the seemingly solid connection of the components, but my 'yak looking like an orca fin sticking straight up is a bit disconcerting. I purchased the Yakima Boatloader to assist getting the boat up in the cradles by myself,but when i attempted the load, the Bowdowns spun back&forward on the round bars. The black plastic coating on the round bars is a crappy design flaw; no matter how hard you tighten them down, they'll move.

So yesterday I was going down the interstate with the yak on my roof for the fourth trip,telling myself to relax,I've made it safely to the lake 3 times now,then near disaster. All of a sudden,my left view is obstructed by my kayak! I get over to the side of the road&luckily a guy behind me (stranger) pulls over immediately,he said he saw it unfold. The boat was inches from pavement in front, luckily stayed on upright on the rear. The front Bowdown had rotated on the crossbar.With the help of my new friend,we unloaded it,switched to the passenger side of the car to attach the Bowdowns, and reloaded it. I somehow settled my nerves & proceeded to the lake, determined to not make this episode in futility. I made it home with just a dent and some scratches in my once immaculate black car.

I'm really worried about trying this transport method again,as you could imagine.I've spent about $800 on my rack set-up in lieu of using a truck bed (like previous owner), or trailer (not an option for a 2012 Camry). I may just let my beloved fishing machine gather dust while I purchase a truck to carry it. I'm a motorcyclist as well; the thought of a kayak flying at me on the interstate, or worse you or your loved ones probably will initiate the sale(and $ loss)of the whole rack system.
- Alarmed & disappointed.


I used the Yakima Bowdowns…

Submitted by: sbarbian on 7/30/2013
I used the Yakima Bowdowns for carrying my Hobie Pursuit on my 4 door sedan. While I experienced many of the complaints that others mentioned in the review, the rack was still satisfactory to my needs. The bowdowns allowed me to fit two kayaks on the roof of my small sedan. My sit-in kayak was flat on Mako Aero saddles (highly recommended) and then my sit-on-top was on its side using the bowdowns.

First, I'll address the road noise. These racks will whistle at speeds of 40mph or higher. I just turned on the radio and didn't really worry about it much. But then I also sold the car and bought a truck... so I guess I didn't deal with the whistling for long.

Second is the spinning. The racks are easy enough to install, and even get tight. The issue I noticed is that the weight of the rack with a little push of sliding the kayak would actually spin the round crossbars. However, the loaded kayak acts as a brace between the two and prevents them from rolling when in route. So really as long as you strap the kayak securely to both bowdowns, you shouldn't have an issue.

I felt comfortable driving with this rack at highway speeds without using the bow or stern straps. I recommend this rack with the exception of the road noise.


Bought Yakima Bowdowns,…

Submitted by: paddler235228 on 7/30/2013
Bought Yakima Bowdowns, followed the instructions for mounting them to the roof rack, loaded the kayaks and left for a long weekend. 15 mi. on the highway, the mounting bracket on the front j-rack broke, the boat caught the wind and snapped the rear j-rack. The safety straps held, slamming the boat into the side of my car. The boat then slid out of the straps and was dragged on the highway by the front tie-down (the rear tie-down also snapped) until we could stop the car. The brand new Pungo was completely trashed, but Yakima's warranty states that only the racks are covered for defect, NOT THE CARGO OR VEHICLE. The Yakima racks were responsible for almost $3500 damage, but I'm left holding the bag. DO NOT BUY THE BOWDOWNS. THE MOUNTING BRACKETS ARE A JOKE!!!

I bought this product along…

Submitted by: paddler234966 on 4/24/2013
I bought this product along with yakima cross bars and towers. The whole system was a nightmare. Another reviewer mentioned that they would move when trying to put the kayak on, I found this as well. That aside, the worst part was that on the highway, they will very slowly tilt, then turn, then move... then your kayak will almost fly off your car... Thank goodness for the straps! Do NOT buy this product.

The Bowdowns worked well…

Submitted by: paddler234964 on 4/23/2013
The Bowdowns worked well except the optional locks didn't work. When I returned them, the sales rep mentioned this was a known issue that the locks were "finicky". I did try a replacement pair but had to return those for the same issue. I simply cannot rate a product higher than a three with a known material defect.

Horrible. Made putting on a…

Submitted by: paddler234604 on 6/20/2012
Horrible. Made putting on a kayak by yourself impossible. Every time I would try to get my kayak on the Bowdowns they would roll to one side to another. I even tightened them so much that they stripped the Yakima rails and still rolled over. Tried it with two people trying to put the kayak on the roof... same problem. Returned them and got a cheaper Malone which works much better. The store didn't seem too surprised I brought them back, seems like it is a real problem they are having and have had many returns.

Allows me to carry two 14'…

Submitted by: kvelez on 1/15/2011
Allows me to carry two 14' kayaks on a Nissan Murano. I am very happy with my Bowdown as I can store my SUV inside the garage with them folded down. Wind noise is not a problem, minor noise if there is a 40+ wind howling outside but at that point it doesn't make a difference.

Lesson learned with 2 kayaks mounted, a strong crosswind broke the hinge part on one of the Bowdowns. I call Yakima and asked they send me a replacement part which they agreed to immediately. Yakima customer service is superb. In two days I had, not the broken part, but a new set of Bowdowns delivered to my front door. I took a another users advice and when carrying two kayaks always tie the kayaks together. If only carrying one kayak tie the kayak to the opposite side rail as a preventive measure. Wind gusts are unpredictable and no matter what you use the automobile speed and wind combination can shear anything if it hits it just right.


I had to replace the Thule…

Submitted by: Little_Frank on 8/5/2008
I had to replace the Thule Hullaports that I had for 6 years. They worked fine, but they wouldn't clear large sections of the garage where I park at work, and they took too long to put on or take off the rack for me to go through that hassle every weekend. With hardly any reviews of the Bowdown out there, I took a chance...

Yes, they fold down, but the wind noise at highway speeds is unacceptable in that position. The Hullaports added a little noise when the moonroof was open, but nothing like the howling and whistling from the Bowdowns, even with all the windows and the moonroof closed (they don't make noise when the kayaks are loaded onto them). On the other hand, they go on and off with ease. So now I take them off when I'm not using them to transport our kayaks. Not what I expected when I bought them, but they did solve my problems -- the open moonroof is quiet and I can park anywhere in the garage at work.