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Thule Aeroblade 53-Inch Roof Rack Load Bars (1 PR)
Color: Silver|Style: Aeroblade 53"|Change
Price:$158.95+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime


on June 14, 2016
QUIET!
No, really, these things are seriously quiet while driving. They aren't inaudible but probably the closest you're gonna get without flat out removing them. I can't imagine any other cross bars being this quiet. And they give you rubber stripping to cover any holes (well, troughs actually) that might otherwise upset the laminar flow and cause unnecessary noise. Very nicely done.

I put these on a 2012 VW Tiguan (using the Thule Rapid Crossroad Foot Pack) and probably should have gone with the 53" version for 2 kayaks. I only anticipated 1 kayak at time of purchase but the collection grew. Ended up getting a Takima J-Low to mount one on its side and one flat on the bars. Very tight squeeze (the J-Lows max weight for 2 kayaks isn't high enough if they are fishing kayaks - 110lbs). The J-Lows are VERY noisy and whistle when empty (gotta break out some duct tape and work on that...) but the bars - you won't notice they are there unless actively listening for them when unloaded.
2 helpful votes
3 helpful votes
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on July 5, 2017
Pros:
Once the rubber strips are installed, these are whisper quiet compared to most bars.
Fits all Thule roof-mount gear that I've thrown at it so far, and can accept some Yakima roof boxes.
Nice width that works seamlessly with the Thule 450R feet to transition from an '03 Jetta wagon to an '11 Rav4.

Cons:
$200 is steep for what basically amounts to a pair of aluminum extrusions.
Flip up/down caps to the T slots are basically cosmetic (all of your gear should be bolted down to the bars), and two blew off in two months.
Whistles like mad without the rubber strips in place to cover the T-slot (it comes with plenty of material, but if you ever lose it or it degrades, or you cut pieces too small for your various roof setups, you'll have to get more).
1 helpful vote
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on December 27, 2016
As expected. Installation was a little tricky. First I got the wrong 'foot kit' for my vehicle on accident. Once that was corrected, the measurements in the included instructions were wrong for my vehicle. I looked up my kit online, found that there was a new version of the manual with new measurements for my vehicle. This turned out to be a closer fit but still not quite right. I had to 'widen' the measurements slightly... in order to allow the "doors" on the "feet" to close (these are the doors where you use the tool to crank down the brackets to your vehicle body to ensure a snug fit). Once completed, I'm happy with the product, just wish the installation instructions were a little easier to follow. There is an online video available through the 'thule fit guide' which was helpful but also not entirely accurate. I like this product because it is "modular" in the sense that when ski season is over, I can remove the attached ski racks and replace with bike/kayak racks.
1 helpful vote
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The manufacturer commented on the review below
on October 24, 2017
They are far from silent but work well enough. I get a whistle above 50mph which is quite annoying. If I wasn't concerned about the appearance of the square bars I think I'd prefer them over the aero's because accessories like kayak J hooks are much easier to fit on the square bars than the aero's.
1 helpful vote
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on March 19, 2012
I just installed these on Friday and then spent 6 hours in my CR-V on Saturday. I had the square bars on before these and the difference was huge. Not only did the noise go down significantly but my gas mileage crept up a bit, too (only .3 MPG, but still). Easy to install and good looking. Only two drawbacks, and this is why they get 4 stars and not 5. The first is that with their silver color all the bugs you hit while driving show up. A little silly but it is noticeable. The second is regarding the use of roof racks. You will need to buy extra parts to mount any rack to these bars. They do not tell you this in the instructions or any where else. Thule has some of the worst documentation regarding this. I found REI to be very helpful in finding what i needed to actually secure my kayak racks, its a relatively cheap and easy fix but was major annoyance for 2 hours while I read online and researched the fix.
91 helpful votes
92 helpful votes
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on July 20, 2017
A lot of money for a simple cross bar, but it worked well once I figured out the incredibly difficult instructions which are all picture boxes and very little actual instruction on how to fit it to your vehicle. You have to interpret the pictures and they aren't easy to follow. Measurements which were supposed to be for my vehicle and fit kit - once I found them - weren't quite right. Had to adjust them myself to get the proper fit. That said, once all was said and done, it works well with my Malone J-Pro J-Style Universal Car Rack Kayak Carriers.
1 helpful vote
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on March 10, 2016
I previously purchased the Rave Powersports Aero Cross Bars for my Ford Escape and for the price they were good value. However, they made a huge racket. After 4 years I took them off to see if I could plug up the bottom slot to see if that would quite them somewhat. What I found was the mounting clamps were very rusty, and I began to wonder if I would soon be losing my kayaks as I was driving down the road. God forbid they should hit someone driving behind me. So I purchased these Thules for about 4X the price. I have not used them for my boats yet, but they are SO much more pleasant in terms of wind noise. In fact they sound no different than having nothing up there. They look a lot better too. BTW: these 60" bars were not recommended for my 2014 Ford Escape, but they fit nicely.
1 helpful vote
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on May 18, 2013
This review is for 3 parts, the 47"Aeroblade, the 480R foot packs, and the Kit1064 fit kit.
I have an old Yakima Rack that I used for snowboarding. It spent a couple years in attics, and to keep from loosing the foot pads, I had duct taped them to the Q towers. I don't foresee the need for tape with Thule's system. The design and construction of each of the above mentioned pieces is every bit as good as it looks in the pictures. I was very impressed. I don't think there were instructions included with the blades, or with the 1064 Fit kit, but they were included with the 480R traverse foot packs. For the most painless installation instructions, go to Thule's site, click on fit guide, and input your vehicle data, select your rack, then download the PDF installation instructions. There are 3 dimensions you'll need to install these rack;
1. the distance between your foot packs on the blades
2. the distance between your front foot pack and windshield
3. the distance between the front and rear blades
Once you have those 3 numbers (that are vehicle make and model specific) search youtube for "How to Install Thule 480 Traverse Roof Rack Presented by Rack Outfitters". This 5min professionally made video has no talking. It just shows a guy installing the rack with some text where needed. Rack Outfitters really made this install idiot proof with this video.
As highly as I think of the Thule system, I am returning mine. It does not allow me to drive out of my garage with my kayak on the rack on my Tacoma. I don't think this rack sits too tall, and I don't consider my kayak excessively tall (its a WS Tarpon120). I don't think my Tacoma with 31" tires is too tall. I fault the architecture of my home. What was sold to us as a "2 car attached garage" could be more accurately described as a 1.5 car garage. Or 1 car with room to walk around it. I'd really like to have a talk with whoever in modern home building decided to designate 7' as an adequate height for a garage door. Of the 4 trucks I've owned while living in this house, only 2 have fit in my garage. For me to be able to drive out of my garage, with the kayak on the roof, it has to sit flush (or very nearly) with the top of the cab. It looks like the only kit that will allow this out of the box is the Thule Xporter 500. At $584 on amazon compared to the $372 I paid for this setup, it's a quite a price increase, but based on my opinion of this system, I'm sure it will be equally engineered. That extra $200 will save me 5-10mins each time I need to load my kayak. If ease of loading the kayak on the truck gets me on the water more, then over time, it will be worth it.
1 helpful vote
2 helpful votes
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on January 4, 2013
First things first, use Thule's fit guide to get all of the items that you need: [...]
My wife pitched the idea of buying a car topper to free up room in our Ford Focus for an upcoming 11 hour car ride with 2 dogs. After a lot of research, paying closer attention to other vehicle racks around town, and trying to think of the best use of my money I settled on Thule (apparently pronounced "tool-ey"). The final selling point was the wide variety of products they sold that can be reused easily on other cars and with other products. For example, I could use the car topper and then use a bike rack, raft rack, or just the bar to transport plywood, etc.

I ended up purchasing the custom feet pack, aero bars, rapid traverse feet, locks, and cargo box. Although we spent several hundred dollars on everything if we wanted to use these products on our Scion all we have to do is buy the customer feet pack at ~$70. The custom feet pack come with the specific measurement and placement of the feet and bars. Follow the instructions and the install will go smoothly with some time. Once you have it figured out installing and remove the bar and box will take 2 minutes. During our trip we removed the cargo box and I was able to easily do it by myself in a few minutes. The entire setup survived a 22 hour round trip at highway speeds up to 80 mph. The box also sat in the rain overnight and went through rain on the road and the contents stayed dry. Setup stayed in place, tight and secure, and did not scratch the paint.
45 helpful votes
46 helpful votes
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on June 4, 2017
Easy to assemble, wider than I thought which is good. Haven't used yet but I really like the rubber pads that will help keep paddle board in place until I get paddle board attachment.
1 helpful vote
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