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Yakima CoreBar Review

Written by  Beau Johnston
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I am of the opinion that aftermarket roof racks, like those sold by Yakima, are an under-rated system that really should get a lot of respect from the offroad community. Sure I often dream of installing a full-length platform on our 4Runner, but truth be told, a set of aftermarket cross bars can be a great, low-cost, way for many entry-level offroaders and travelers to equip their pickups and SUVs for outdoor adventure.

Yakima CoreBar Review

I have been running their CoreBar cross bars on the 4Runner since I included them in our Spring issue’s New & Noteworthy section and I am here to say they have lived up to the hype in their marketing material. Not only have they produced a solid rack system but they have solved the issue associated with their old round crossbars – wind noise. Noise has plagued these types of round and square crossbars since they debuted on the market. Although each manufacturer sells wind fairings, these devices only serve to divert air over the first cross bar and don’t do anything to solve the problem –turbulent air traveling over the profiles.

Yakima’s new streamline profiles attack the issue of turbulent air head on by incorporating aerodynamic profiles into their crossbar options. I know this design shift sounds like a no-brainer but, considering the company has been selling rack systems like hot cakes since Steve Cole and Don Banducci purchased Yakima Industries back in 1979, I can see why they wouldn’t want to rock the boat. But, rock the boat is exactly what they did by introducing not one but two new crossbar profiles.

The new CoreBar cross bars are the first aerodynamic crossbars on the market to be manufactured from galvanized steel. Each bar is individually wrapped in a durable black nylon coating. Best of all, a pair of 50in CoreBars has a max dynamic load rating of 220 lbs, all thanks to it’s roll-formed construction. As with Yakima’s other cross bars, the CoreBar is available in 50in, 60in, 70in, and 80in. We found the 50in bars to work perfectly on June, our 1998 4Runner.

Testing the new crossbars was fairly straight forward. Knowing crossbars are really just the platform on which accessories are mounted, Yakima also sent along an updated LoadWarrior basket and the new FrontLoader bike rack to round the setup out. To test the new crossbars’ overall strength, we loaded up a LoadWarrior with camping gear and our inflatable paddleboard, tossed our mountain bike on the FrontLoader, and headed for the hills. To test the crossbars’ effectiveness reducing wind noise, we stripped everything off and hit the interstate.

I am happy to say that both sets of tests, which included several trips each, proved incredibly successful. Not only were the CoreBars able to securely handle the weight of our camping gear, but they were also able to support my weight without any noticeable deflection. I am also happy to report a dramatic reduction in wind noise over both the round and square load bars we have used over the past few years. Traveling at highway speeds was quite, even without a fairing.

The updated aerodynamic profile of the CoreBars has proven very effective at supporting our gear and living up to Yakima’s promise of a quite ride. I see these as a great, cost effective, way for anyone to outfit their vehicles. Beyond the great CoreBar design are the multitude of baskets, cargo baskets, bike and ski racks, and kayak cradles available to customize any adventure. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend the CoreBars, or the other Yakima accessories we tested, to anyone looking to customize their Toyota pickup or SUV for adventure. You can pick up a pair of CoreBars, starting at $119, online or from many bicycle and ski shops.

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