The Malone Downloader Kayak Carrier is a strong J-style cartop carrier that folds down and out of the way when not in use. The mini boarding rack on the face of the rack assists in loading the kayak and allows the attachment of the optional Telos Kayak Load Assist Module. The Downloader is constructed of aluminum for years of use and features universal JAWZ mounting hardware which fits round, square and most factory oval cross bars.
|Material:||Coated steel/Injection molded nylon|
I installed this on home built racks made with a 2 x 4 with rounded corners, painted black and with dock bumper screwed to the top with stainless steel washers and ss screws. My rack looks very sharp and is good for canoes and plastic kayaks and even lumber, doors and ladders. However, it is not best for composite boats which should be supported on their side for least damage. Having done much research, test fitting and even purchasing a folding vertical rack at a local outfitter, everything had short comings for attaching to my rack. My rack has no wind noise, is easy to tie boats securely and quickly and I did not want to give this up. Enter Malone. Their web site has outstanding descriptions, their people know their products technical operation very well and were able to provide me with good understanding and set my expectations. I purchased from Austin Kayak after finding their people equally competent. Plusses: - Very solid build. Best I have seen and I have been looking for over 10 years & have done a lot of looking. - good price. Much less than the 2 name brand competitors - Easy to install on a 2x4 rack. My rack is about 2.5 inches thick with the dock bumper on the top. I purchased 3/8th inch 4 inch long, American thread, galvanized hex head bolts, wing nuts and washers at Lowes to replace the provided (and very superior) bolt assembly system provided by Malone, in order to reach the distance between the rack and the bottom bracket designed to hold the rack to a bar. - installed rack is very solid. When I shake the rack, it moves my truck. It is so solid that I drove to the Florida Keys and returned without using tie down lines to the front and rear of the car, - Installation kit includes most everything needed for a variety in installations from round bar, to square bar, to homemade racks. - Installation kit is top quality. The threads on the bolts are deburred, coated, fit perfectly, and the wing nut provides good purchase so that you can tighten the Malone carrier to your rack quickly by hand and remove it even more quickly. Contrast to the bolts from lowes which I had to tighten and loosen several times using a wrench and pliers to enable me to tighten the bolts on the rack. I intend to order the extra long Malone metric bolts (if they are long enough) so I can quickly install and remove the rack - will fit most any kayak - fold down mechanism is easy to operate and is 90% sturdy. Non folding would be 100% sturdy - Malone stocks replacement parts for the cams, etc., which are subject to breaking. - Tie down is relatively easy to use Cons: - the rack is build to fit a big fat rec boat. it is not optimized for composite boats which are much more narrow and lower height. The composite boats curves to not match the rack touch points resulting in the possibility of too much pressure on the boat and possible crack when the tie down are tightened. For this reason, I took my plastic boats to Florida. I intend to make some foam fit improvements to the J touch points to resolve the problem. I have done this sort of thing before and it is non trivial to cut foam to the correct shape and then attach it so that it cannot come off. Suggestions welcomed. - There is a ledge which adds about 4 inches to the width of the rack. It's purpose is to facilitate the ease of getting the boat on the rack and it has a hole for the tie downs to pass through. I used the hole on the trip and it worked, but I feel that the tie down would be more effective and quicker by just having the strap going from the base of my rack o the top of the J and then back to my rack. This would act as a backup to the bolt system and be quicker to secure the boat. I will likely cut the 4 inch ledge off and use the extra space to enable installing one or 2 additional racks so that I can easily carry 3 or 4 boats. The fold down capability would ease the placing of the boats on the inside racks. Conclusion I buy a lot of boating tools, devices and aids. I have kayaked, rafted, canoed in both whitewater and flatwater for over 40 years and am a solid intermediate boater (not an expert). It is my assessment that this is the single best (not a boat) product which I have had during this time and I have seen some good ones. It has its faults, but I will just deal with them.
These folding carriers work well. However, I could not keep the strap in the center of the carrier top tube as it kept sliding down the side and loosening the kayak. I had to rivet a clip to the top backside of the carrier to hold the strap in plase. We it not for that oversite, this would rate a 5
I have previously purchased two sets of these carriers a few years ago and keep them on my truck rack. They had a wire loop to retain the strap at the top of the loop, now the new set has a plastic keeper that the strap can come out of under certain circumstances as someone else has mentioned. I feel the old keeper is a better option. Also the canvas cushion covers are I hope upgraded on the new ones as the older version faded and became rotten in one year from sun exposure otherwise they are a very durable and strong carrier that work very well.
I was extremely hesitant to spend this much on a kayak carrier, but I'm really glad I decided to spend the extra money and get these. They are high quality, very sturdy, and the ability to fold them down when not in use is great. I have them mounted on very large oval crossbars. They fit great, and they don't budge. I ended up looping a bicycle lock around them to prevent theft, since they could easily be removed otherwise. If you're considering these, I highly recommend them!