Originally Posted by delmarco
The BMW addition packages seem expensive..but the BMW Profile 2000 base rack is about $100 cheaper than the Thule one . . . I was wondering what is good brand for racks for our BMWs?
Can you use a Thule Ski/Surf rack on a BMW brand base rack?
Take some advice from a mountain biker . . Get a Thule or Yakima base rack. It may cost a little more, but in the end you will save and be able to reuse. Remember that you get what you pay for. These two brands have been in this business long before anyone else, and have excellent track records.
First off, all base racks use the same attachment method for the particular car, since there are only so many ways to do it. But that is where the similarities end, and the parts are not interchangeable between brands. Thule uses square load bars, Yakima uses round, and BMW uses their own proprietary system altogether. Those are the only 3 brands you should consider; anything else will be iffy as far as reliability and safety. Trust me on this- you do not want your kayak or your Cannondale going through the windshield of the guy behind you = BAD!
Now comes the tricky part- accessories. Whichever of the 3 brands of base rack you buy, their accessories will not work with the other two. However, there are accessory companies like Saris and Rocky Mounts which make stuff that fits both Thule and Yakima, but not BMW.
And you can also save bucks if you buy this stuff on eBay, and you'll have more stuff to choose from, as opposed to the BMW stuff.
3rd, if you ever buy a different car, you won't be able to use the BMW base rack on it. But with Thule or Yakima, all you have to do is get new footpacks for the new car, and sell off the old ones on eBay or Craigs List. And Thule / Yakima parts will sell much faster than any car manufacturer's brand.
By the way, BavAuto sells the E36 Thule base rack system for $163 complete, compared to BMW's Profile 2000 which goes for $175.