Mazda OEM roof rail question

2021 CX-5T AWD CE
Hi, I have a new 2021 (without roof rails) that I’m wondering if I can fit Mazda OEM rails to and then use my clamp-on Thule cross bars. I like the fit and design of the Mazda rails, but they appear to be pretty low-profile and may not offer enough of a profile to clamp to. I don’t particularly care for the Mazda cross bars and they wouldn’t play with my canoe and bike racks anyway.

if you’ve got the Mazda rails, could you snap a pict? Thanks,

- Mark


see if this helps. zoom in for better view.
2019 CX-5 GTR
and to further help you have options.

fitment issue

another photo:
2021 CX-5T AWD CE
Thanks for the pict and links. Yes, I think I need to go to a dealer and find a car on the lot with the rails and see if my clamp-on Thule cross bars can be mounted securely to the factory rails. I'm not optimistic as the clamps on my crossbar are very old school and designed for rails that are raised above the roof with a gap below. These aren't the exact ones I have, but they're similar:

These rails look like they'd work, but I'm leery about the company:

- Mark
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Just pinging this thread. Was wondering if anyone had OMAC experience. I need the flexibility of being able to move the cross bars about. Can't do that with the flush rails since the location is predetermined. SOmething like yakima evo would work well for me, but I need raised rails and I don't want stuff flying off because of crappy aluminum.
2021 CX-5T AWD CE
The OMAC rails are cheap ($115) and I've found a couple of generally "okay" reviews, but nothing comprehensive. It would be nice to see the install instructions which I can't find on the OMAC site or elsewhere.

- Mark
from the linked listing...

"Important Note: We do not recommend loading or carrying anything on it."

That's a hard pass for me.

@babybackreeb did you ever end up testing out your bars at the dealership?
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Yes, I'm carrying fairly heavy things and I really don't want them breaking. Also, I need the flexibility for adjusting the rear crossbars forwards and back because sometimes I carry lumber and sometimes, smaller things. Also I go long distance a fair bit and don't want noise and mileage. Was thinking of yakima timberline, but couldn't find a solid raised rail option. Was thinking of getting the OEM flush rails and cutting the slots into them with a dremel for the timberline belts to pass through. Just wondering if anyone had other solutions.
The perfect solution is pricy and permanent. Custom tracks drilled and riveted to the roof. Full adjustability, bunch of strength, clean looks and lower profile than OEM. Exact same tracks used for truck caps but rivets or plusnuts for sheetmetal roofs.

I tracked my CX5 a few weeks after purchase. I've drilled wagons, minivans, trucks. Not for everyone and not for leased vehicles. 8 years old almost 200k miles.

Canoe and 2 paddleboards, rooftop tent, box w bikes all kinds of different combos. 36" is the ideal barspread in most cases but longer is better for boats/lumber
Would you mind sharing...
(a) Dimensions of the track (length)
(b) Which crossbars worked well for you?

The instructions seem very complicated but would be totally worth it if I can get the functionality I want.
Would you mind sharing...
(a) Dimensions of the track (length)
(b) Which crossbars worked well for you?

The instructions seem very complicated but would be totally worth it if I can get the functionality I want.
I used the Whispbar track with Yakima PlusNuts instead of rivets. Approx 56" long starting about a foot from the windshield and going right to the hatch.
The Yakima tracks (same as Thule other than hardware) have greater flexibility to fit curved rooflines. The Whispbar track wouldn't full seat at the ends in my case.

I would recommend an experienced installer like RackAttack or RackOutfitters to do this are there are professional tools and unique methods that make this easier, cleaner and more reliable. I did also custom paint these tracks to match which came out much better than I anticipated.

I only use Yakima. I've used 48" and 58" roundbars, S Jetstream and Med Core bars. Just swapped back to 58" roundbars so I could put the Med Core bars on my partner's Acadia. Jetstream bars are the strongest and quietest and are on my daughter's Accord.

The crossbars are set at 36" and I can open the rear hatch with no interference from the box which is a Showcase 20. The rear bar could go back another 12 inches. Front could go about 3 more inches forward. Tracks aren't parallel to each other but are approx 1" inboard of the roof seam/trim strip.

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Hi, I'm thinking of:


but wondering if the curvature of the roof would be a problem for the tracks. Anyone has an idea how this works out?
No experience with RhinoRacks but the hardware for those tracks is not what you want to use. PlusNuts or SS rivets. Roof curvature is a definite consideration and one reason to avoid square/rectangular bars or aero bars that can't cant.
I've ordered the two items I posted and a pack of stainless steel rivet nuts off Amazon. All your comments are SUPER helpful. Thank you so much.

Yes, aware of the Jetstreams are quiet and aero. I intend to have the roof rack OFF most of the time, so I went for cheaper and beefier options instead.

I also found a website called proline that produces pre-curved tracks. The FAQs on etrailer seem to suggest that these straight tracks will follow the contour of the roof and I suppose I can always slowly work them by heating them up if I want the seating to be perfect.

You mentioned going with plusnuts over rivet nuts. Any particular reason? Plusnuts are jacknuts, basically and I think they would provide a better grip in that the flared bit extends further out, but, the rivet nuts would provide a more "rounded" grip because the rivet flare is a circle while the jacknut flare is 4 "pieces of metal". Since you picked one over the other, would you care to explain a little?

Thank you so much again for the trouble! The suggestion for tracks was super helpful and I'm glad to be doing it the right way, ONCE.
These guys explain it way better than I can
2 primary roof rack failures are overloading and uplift.
If a rivnut or plusnut fails it'll be due to upward lift. These is a tremendous amount of uplift with canoes, kayaks, cargo boxes, lumber at highway speeds. I use rivnuts in other applications but for thin sheetmetal I want the larger surface area of the plusnut.

If you are going to installing and removing the rack on a regular, check out the skyline tower. My favorite tower. I can remove a Skyline tower system faster than I can loosen and remove 1 timberline tower. The less work and time needed to go play the better.

Just going to summarize what I'm doing in case it's helpful to someone else and post some pics when I'm all done. Pretty sure this will work. Thanks for all the input.

I got plus nuts: (commissions earned)

Will need to stop by the local store for the appropriate 1/4" bolts and open up each hole in the track a tiny bit. The M6 Hardware that comes with the set will be stored away with the millions of other stored hardware for a yard sale after I'm dead.

Flat-head 1/4-20 stainless steel bolts strongest possible should be easy to get at the hardware store. I'm going to get the highest grade possible that will fit in the track and allow the towers to slide in.

A 3/8 drill bit should come close enough for making the hole for the plusnut. Make sure to get center-punches and a couple of starter drill bits that don't walk all over.

The CX-5 roof is stainless steel, so, we should not have dissimilar metals causing a problem so long the bolt and plusnut are both stainless steel. The track is aluminum but whatever since that is replaceable. I'm going to use a gutter seamer for the plusnut-roof contact, and antiseize for all other mating surfaces. (commissions earned)

Tracks and rails:

Yakima and Thule make comparable products. Supposedly all hardware-track combinations between the 3 brands are interchangeable. You can use rhino track and thule towers for example.

I went with these because:
(a) strong, flat (not bowed) crossbars, these are rated at 225. Yes, I'm aware the setup is as strong as its weakest point. I'll try to install the tracks as close as possible to the side of the roof.
(b) easy to remove and move around
(c) don't care about aero since they can be taken off

This is useful:

I considered:

OEM-style flush rails:
but it wouldn't provide me with the flexibility I want.

Raised rails:
Just don't trust it.
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I ended up buying the rails ( (commissions earned)) and adding the crossbars I currently have ( The clamps fit and are solidly attached, but the plastic towers are torqued/warped slightly, possibly due to a slight mis-match in the longitudinal angle of the roof rails vs the towers/clamps. We'll keep a close eye on it and let you know if anything develops, but seems to be a successful proof-of-concept at least. May try to find replacement bars/towers. Will try to remember to update with pictures.

UPDATE: Never got around to posting pictures, but...removed the rack to re-install on our other car. The clamps/towers failed on installation (had probably gone through 8-10 installations in 2 years). Concept still valid, but I do not recommend that rack.
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