Thank heaven I did not pay full retail price. GARBAGE. When coupled with Yakima round cross bars, the Evenkeel pads are ABSOLUTELY worthless. I even installed bicycle inner tubes (as a liner) to create a gripping medium between pads and bars. The Evenkeel pads still roll forward and move laterally no matter how tightly mounted. Did I say GARBAGE? These worthless pads have come loose twice (sliding laterally) while driving on the interstate. I EVEN DOUBLE STRAPPED MY KAYAK!! Also had to remove the rubber-like surface pads to even slide yak onto the Evenkeel. They might work on some OEM or oval bars, but they are GARBAGE on their own Yakima brand round crossbars. I suggest buying these only if you want to watch your kayak go flying through the air. Go buy Thule instead.
Pros: -Budget price. -Bargain priced all over the internet, selling as used. -Incredibly simple and easy installation and removal on any bar. -Low profile--looks good it that's important to you. -Does not spin on square or aero bars. -Little if any wind noise when they're left on the bars.
Cons: -Tend to spin on round bars when pushing kayak on car from behind. -Small footprint can dent poly kayaks if saddle is on bottom of hull instead of on the curved sides. -When loading from behind (pushing kayak on), grippers on rear saddles grip too much. (Peel the grippy stuff off. Leave it on the front saddles.) -Easy to steal saddles if little "security" screws aren't installed. -Easy to lose the little "security" screws if they aren't installed.
As others have noted, these are absolutely useless on a round bar rack without some modifications. I can't judge how they would work on other bars, but they are free to move horizontally on the round bars when tightened by the hulk himself.
I've used these for about 4 years, and they've been great. 2 factors to consider if you buy these to make them work. Number one they work best on a Yakima rack with round crossbars. Most importantly, number two - get a bicycle inner tube and wrap it around and tape it (on the ends) on your rack. This gives solid rubber for the pads to grip to, end of problems. Just disassembled mine and taken them off, because I will be transporting a canoe upside down and have to find another solution. They are still in great shape should I ever need them again. The price was right, they do a great job, just get yourself that inner tube!
If you're looking for a challenge, you found it. Adjusting is the name of the game with this kayak rack. It took me nearly an hour to set it up, (initial installation) due to the constant adjusting for the kayak to sit well on the saddles. Distributing the weight of the kayak was another story. The pads that hold the kayak in place are fantastic; work perfect. The unpleasant part is adjusting the kayak so it sits balanced on the car... basically you can't. The rubber padding does not let you, it grips the kayak really well causing a challenge between you, the saddles and thinking of what to cover the rubber pads with to make the process simpler. My process,i had to open the doors,take a step up and bicep curl a 17 ft kayak. After the kayak was finally on the rack correctly......adjust,adjust,adjust,adjust,adjust a few more times.
There are three minor issues with these saddles: sliding on the rack, level mounting, marking the bottom of the boat.
My saddles slide outwards from the center of the kayak over time. To fix this problem and to make setting the saddles faster to set up correctly for my boat, I tied a string between each pair of saddles. This prevented sliding sideways on the roof rack cross bar. It has the added benefit of being able to install the saddles at exactly the correct spacing each and every time.
On some rack cross bar shapes the saddles do not sit level. This is minor and does not seem to cause a problem.
The saddles mar the gel coat or plastic of a kayak over time. This as irritating, but not harmful to the boat.
Overall for price, ease of use, and versatility, it's an easy 10/10 in my book.
you could also just loop a rope around the pair and tie that off to hold them together. But for the price of these things you shouldn't have to do this shade tree engineering. They do support my hull nicely though and because they flex you can tighten the boat nicely.
I have had many others, more expensive rack attachments for my kayaks yet the Evenkeel remains as my all time / all kayak's favorite.