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Paddle Gear J-Cradle

by Malone

Reviews

The J-cradles are a great way to conserve space on he roof…

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The J-cradles are a great way to conserve space on he roof rack. Both if my sit in and sit in top kayaks fit perfectly in the cradle. I would suggest having two people to load them unless your kayak is light. A little awkward but doable.

I bought Malone J-Racks in 2004 and the bracket that holds one…

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I bought Malone J-Racks in 2004 and the bracket that holds one to the roof rack crossbar split in two on 6/4/2011. I contacted Malone and they immediately sent me a new bracket under their lifetime warranty. It is clear that their product quality has improved since the 2004 model. I am not reviewing the product here. But I am very impressed with the quality of their customer service. I even got to talk to a real live person right away.

I'm completely clueless as to the positive reviews of this product. Even…

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I'm completely clueless as to the positive reviews of this product. Even when my J-cradles were new I hated the design for many reasons. First, the "J" part of the cradle is many inches above the roof rack bar. So you have to lift your boat an extra "many inches". Second, the way the straps loop into the top and bottom of the J are very inconvenient. The build quality never seemed to inspire confidence in me. They were quite flexible from the beginning.

They lasted ~1.5 years, then they started breaking, 3 of the 4 within a week, one broke clean in half. I posted on another board and several other people have also had theirs break.

I give them 2 stars (out of 10) because they actually did allow me to fit 2 wide kayaks on my car at once. But they did it terribly. I've never rated a product so low.

Awesome cradle. These things work just as advertised and the price…

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Awesome cradle. These things work just as advertised and the price was great. I have a very short drive to the water and started using these on the factory rack for my Jeep Cherokee, which is a horrible factory rack for a kayak. The Malone's did a great job and once I got a good rack system I loved them even more. Secure hold on the kayaks side, which is best for the kayak. I can see that it would be difficult for shorter people to use. I'm 6'6" so it's not a big reach for me but there is no way my short wife could do this. It did leave some small black marks on my hull but they rubbed out easily. I love the cradle and when my next kayak comes in during the spring I'll be another pair of Malone cradles.

The Malone J-Cradle is the way to go! Like other reviewers…

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The Malone J-Cradle is the way to go! Like other reviewers, I also have the Thule cradle and could never get it to fit properly on my factory cross bars. However, the Malone fits nicely. Last weekend I strapped my Dirigo 140 (which is a huge "barge" of a kayak) to my roof with the Malones and went on a five hour drive to meet with a fellow kayaker and hit the lake. I drove at speeds that, well might have been a bit over the limit, but all the while, my yak was safe and secure. Really great product at a great price!

I’ve traveled over 500 miles using the J cradle and can say…

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I’ve traveled over 500 miles using the J cradle and can say it is as solid as advertised. I switched from hully rollers and saddles because I need a place to put my camping gear. The J gives you a ton more room on the top.

Pros: solid performance, sideways position is better for yaks left on overnight, easy to install and will fit on factory racks.

Cons: It can be very difficult to load your yak on a high SUV (I have a Tahoe) after a long day of paddling, black streaks happened to me (I have a fishing SOT and really don’t care about cosmetics), road noise.

Overall I give the J cradle an 9 they work as advertised. Because of the loading difficulty (which is no fault of the company) I will switch back to the hully roller and saddles for day trips.

Malone has improved much in the last year, the cradles go on…

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Malone has improved much in the last year, the cradles go on so easy and fit tight. They were the best price I found and seemed of the highest quality too.

I use these to carry a very narrow carbon surfski and a…

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I use these to carry a very narrow carbon surfski and a QCC700. Previously had (and threw out!) a set of Thule Hullaports.

The Malone Autoloaders are fantastic cradles. Built like a rock- beefy plastic, nice rubber to cushion the boat, a massive steel bracket that looks like it could never, ever break, and large diameter stainless bolts that are tightened with a crescent wrench, allowing a rock-solid connection to the car. I use Yakima round bars and these don't rotate one bit. The plastic cradles flex just a little bit when you tighten the straps, very nicely conforming to the boat.

This is a fantastic product.

Add on to my original Malone review, Soon after posting my original review…

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Add on to my original Malone review,

Soon after posting my original review of our J-cradle discussing the issue we had, I was contacted by the owner of the company. You can't complain about that! Mr. Malone let me know that they use a non-marking UV resistant rubber so something very unusual had happened in our case. In just a couple days they worked diligently to resolve our issue. It is certainly important to add to my original review that the advantage of a small company is often the support you get from them when you have a problem. Decent customer support is worth its weight in gold today, so I think they deserve a better rating than I gave me originally. Thank you.

I don't know if it's the norm but we had big black…

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I don't know if it's the norm but we had big black streaks build up on our fiberglass boats from the cradles over time and had to constantly be cleaning them off. It seems like the cradle rubs off on your boats. It was rough removing the black streaks without damaging the gelcoat. In our case we had to get rid of them.

I bought the J's with the universal bracket. "Universal" should be used…

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I bought the J's with the universal bracket. "Universal" should be used cautiously as the brackets do not fit my Mont Blanc aero load bars. I did use them on Thule bars on a long trip to Montana from Texas. The strap system is crucial for a tight fit but I think could be better engineered for a more secure fit.

I have purchased the versions of the Malone J cradles available in…

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I have purchased the versions of the Malone J cradles available in 2003. I'm afraid they have taken a step back. They have tried to make the cradles much more versatile by adding more strap holes throughout the body of the cradle. Instead of having the entire cradle covered with padding they now have two strips of neopreme or rubber(depending on which version your dealer has on hand). This leaves a lot of surface that can rub against your gel coat. I have had to glue on additional padding especially at the top and bottom where the neopreme ends. The neopreme strip tappers down at the ends to end up flush with the plastic. The hard plastic then can be in contact with the kayak and rub against the gel coat. Also the neopreme strips came unglued in spots after a few uses.

The model with the rubber strips instead of neoprene may be a little better at the top because it doesn't taper down to be flush with the plastic cradle. On mine the rubber strip is raised at the point where the bolts go into the bottom of the cradle. I haven't been using this set so I don't know if that will rub noticably on the gel coat.

Malone if you read this, give us back the older style or give us more padding that stays on. The J cradles display my kayak nicely.

I just installed a couple pair of Malone of Maine J-Cradles on…

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I just installed a couple pair of Malone of Maine J-Cradles on crossbeams for my utility trailer. I think I have come to the best of worlds that combines the security and stability of the J-Cradles with the ease of putting kayaks on a trailer. Putting yaks on top the van isn't too difficult, but I was not looking forward to doing it on a windy day. Besides, for kayak storage I just put the trailer in the garage loaded.

I switched over to a Malone of Maine J-Cradle system after my…

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I switched over to a Malone of Maine J-Cradle system after my fiberglass Current Designs Gulfstream cracked while on a Yakima Hully Roller and Saddle System. I am very happy with the J-Cradles and am confident that my kayak is safe and secure while mounted that way.

The J cradle is an absolute must if you are carrying more…

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The J cradle is an absolute must if you are carrying more than one kayak. I have two on top of my Yakima bars on each side of my Yakima saddle system. The J cradles are at least as stable and allow me to carry three separate kayaks on the roof, with all of them tied down solid. (The instructions on the tie down are not too good. You must run the strap on the outside of the J cradle for stability.) The quality of the straps are better than the Yakima. I highly recommend the J cradles.

I love this product, I switched to the Malone J Cradle after…

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I love this product, I switched to the Malone J Cradle after 2 years of using Hully Rollers / Mako saddle combinations. I wish I had done so sooner. Easier to load, more stable, gives me more room on the roof. this product is a 10 all the way around. Highly reccommended.

This is for all of you owners out there with composite boats…

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This is for all of you owners out there with composite boats (gel or skin coats) and are considering a kayak transport system. If you have read all the negative reveiws on the Yakima Mako Saddles regarding damage they cause to boats with gelcoats I would like to suggest that you consider the J-Cradle system. They are relatively easy to install on any Yakima or Thule crossbar. Since the hold your boat in a more vertical position they allow for more roof top space for additional mounting accessories. They go for about $99 and can be purchased from several on-line retailers including LL Bean. I have been using mine for two years to transport my Carbon/Kevlar P&H boat. No damage to the gelcoat. Not even a scratch. Wonderful product and no, I do not have any interests in the company. I'm, just a very happy customer. I am surprised more shops do not carry them.