When new, these seemed well made and worked well. Now after 2 years of use, one is cracking. Not the longevity I would have expected at the price.
I bought these a while ago but recently put them to use. I find they are easy to install and very well made. They are good for different size kayaks and when not in use they fold down nicely. I would recommend these to anyone wanting a good product to carry their kayaks.
The Jaylow has clamps that will fit on factory bars, but also a clamshell clamp that cinches down on the Yakima bars well, negating the rotating problem. The directions say to remove the rubber pads from the clamping mechanism when using the round bars, which I would definitely follow (the shop I bought them at said it didn't matter, but I am a direction follower). The two position upright is sturdy, but I can see where the complaints about it falling down would be valid. Mine was not very tight out of the box, and when clamped down, did allow a lot of movement. Rotating the red clamping arm two more times made it much tighter, and removed the play in the upright. With that, the two most common complaints I had read about were solved.
Loading the kayak and and using the straps are straightforward and provide a solid mounting point. I had no problems tightening the straps at the four mounting points, and it was rock solid. The first time I used it, I stopped multiple times to check the straps and make sure the kayak was secure. I've had it up on the interstate at 70mph, at it still stays rock solid. The straps for the front and rear have plastic covers to prevent marring of the bumper and paint. I'm not a fan of the s-hooks, and will probably swap them out for a spring loaded clip. The cinches on the straps that go around the kayak have a rubber cover, preventing scratching of the kayak and the car's paint. The pads on the base and the cradle upright provide a good amount of support and grip of the kayak. I have not tried to mount the second kayak that the directions mention. To make it work, you need to purchase another set of 4 straps from Yakima. I would probably buy another pair of these if I was regularly carrying two kayaks.
Noise doesn't appear to be an issue with them raised carrying a kayak, nothing outside of the ordinary. With the cradles lowered, I do not get any increased noise or whistling that I've seen people complain about. I have a Subaru Outback with a sunroof, which really passes through any extra noise. I still play the radio at the same level, which tells me they are quiet.
Of course as with anything Yakima makes, lock cores are an extra expense. If you have a system already, you can order extra cores keyed to the system you have already. If not and this is your first piece of Yakima equipment, you would need two cores, one for each cradle.
I'm happy with them overall, and look forward to years of faithful service. I have a lot of money invested in my Yakima racks (bike, snowboard and now kayak cradles), and hope these follow in the other equipment's footsteps.
We went out and bought some ratchet straps with a thicker hook, those seem to be working much better. But now, the mechanism that holds the vertical bars up seems to be giving out. We fear its only a matter of time before the bars snap flat down while in transit.
For the amount of money we paid for the JayLow, we've been pretty disappointed so far. It's becoming a safety issue and causing us to lose trust in their brand! We own other Yakima products, and this is the first one we haven't been happy with.
I really like the way the cradle is shaped, the lip,at the front makes it easy to hook one side in and then the other (I use Yakimas 'BoatLoader' when I load by myself and it is a piece of cake). Holds the kayak right where it should be. Easy to install, no tools, folds down.
I don't know why you'd pay more for Yakimas BowDown. I got a bunch of lock cores cheap on Amazon so I have the same key for the rack and all Jaylows. Very happy with my setup and would highly recommend it to others