Whispbar is a division of Yakima, specializing in high end solutions for carrying your cargo. I had spied them early on, and was immediately drawn to the sleek design of the different carriers. A little research revealed their design philosophy: to make a simple and easy to use rack that is the quietest on the market.
I’ve used many different rack systems on the roofs of the different VWs I’ve owned, so I went into this knowing the turbulence that can be created by these racks. I reached a point where I no longer opened the sunroof. The crazy amount of noise from the different setups I’ve tried is the unfortunate by-product of wanting to carry my bicycles on the roof of my car, and I am forced to forgo using one of the best features an automobile has to offer.
When I read about the promised benefits of a Whispbar rack system, I was a bit skeptical since for many years I have tried different methods of quieting down the rack, and all failed. Nevertheless, I was going to give the Whispbar a try, if for no other reason, because the rack and accessories look gorgeous.
Installing the base rack on the Passat took a small amount of time – the Smartfoot Technology wasn’t overly complicated; it just took a bit of care. Once this was done, I moved on to the WB 701 cargo carrier. Aside from lifting it on to the roof of the car, this couldn’t have been simpler. I didn’t time it, but I imagine I spent less than 10 minutes from the time I opened the box it arrived in, to having it properly installed on the roof. Next up was the installation of the WB 200 fork mount bike carrier. This is the piece I’ve had my eye on for a couple of years. Its design is akin to a sculpture you might see in a museum. Simple, smooth, and elegant are the words that best describe the carrier. I carefully unpacked it, and convinced I can do things without reading installation directions, proceeded to hoist it atop the base bars. Here’s the best part: no tools are needed to install the carrier. It simply drops into place, then you turn a couple of levers, and it is ready to be loaded with your bicycle. Instead of cutting away rubber in the slot where the carrier fits in, the rubber gasket simply pushes down into the cavity. When and if you decide to remove the carrier, the rubber pops back up into place. This alone deserves praise. Too often on other systems, I’ve installed a setup, then changed things around, and that’s necessitated the purchase of a new rubber gasket. Whispbar solves this problem with their incredibly clever design. Changing things around on this rack system couldn’t be easier. If one day you’re cycling, pop on the bike carrier. If the next day you want to kayak, pop on the kayak carrier. It really is that simple.
So, before I even drove the car, I was already mightily impressed with Whispbar and I felt the design was worth the upgrade. Later in the afternoon, I had an errand to run, so off I went with the shiny new rack installed. Once up to speed, I noticed I didn’t hear anything coming from the rooftop. That seemed odd as I was always able to hear a little something even with the windows closed. So, with a bit of pessimism, I went ahead and opened the sunroof. Wow. I’m not sure how to convey the smile on my face. The rack made no noise. Of course the wind noise was still there, but not what you’d expect. Doing 60 mph down the 10 towards the beach was absolutely pleasant. It is quiet to the point of begging you to have the roof open. Best of all, the cargo carrier does not rattle or shimmy. It is QUIET.
Yakima made a wise decision in purchasing Whispbar back in 2010. The brilliant design of the base rack, coupled with the elegant accessories Yakima has since designed, have given the company fine bragging rights. This is the quietest rack system on the market in addition to being the easiest to install. Whispbar has achieved the pinnacle of rack design, and I expect the designs to get even better over the years. For anyone who needs a quiet and elegant system for carrying cargo, they should look no further than Whispbar.