Thule AeroBlade Frequently Asked Questions

7th Sep 2011

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Strength

BoxBeam - The sophisticated BoxBeam aluminum extrusion creates one of the strongest load bars on the market.  Using a vertical load test, the AeroBlade can sustain over 800 lbf of force.

 

Compatibility

SwingBlade - The new SwingBlade end cap pivots open to allow full access to the t-slot for easy accessory installs.

Thule AeroBlade Strength p/b Rack Outfitters

 

Thule AeroBlade SwingBlade p/b Rack Outfitters

Aerodynamics

WindDiffuser - A textured surface on the t-slot cover that distrubs the airflow better than a smooth surface to greatly reduce wind noise.  The AeroBlade design also features a kamm-tail to promote clean "air flow release" helping to reduce aerodymamic drag.

 

Easy Fit

SmartSlide - The new SmartSlide is a molded measurement system providing a quick, no-hassle, tape measure free foot installation.  SmartSlide also covers the underbar slot to improve aerodynamics and noise diffusion.

Thule AeroBlade WindDiffuser p/b Rack Outfitters

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Thule AeroBlade SmartSlide p/b Rack Outfitters

Questions?  Visit our Frequently Asked Questions Page for more details on the AeroBlade Load Bars.


Product Video


Product Comparison

Considering the Whispbar by Yakima®?  The Whispbar™ by Yakima® may offer a specific attribute that make it the right choice for an individual, however, for the vast majority of users the Thule® AeroBlade clearly offers an exceptional set of beneficial features that set it apart and above others.

Thule® AeroBlade and Whispbar by Yakima® both offer comparable aerodynamic attributes as well as some other common features.  The table below details the key differences among these manufacture's aerodynamic aluminum load bars.

Key Differences

Thule®
AeroBlade™

Whispbar
by Yakima®

O.E.M.
Factory

City Crash Tested Complies with ISO Norm Watch Video (QuickTime) check-mark.png image-x.png image-x.png
Interchangable with Current Foot Packs / Towers check-mark.png image-x.png image-x.png
Uses Current Traverse Fit Kits / Q Clips check-mark.png image-x.png image-x.png
Uses Current Podium Fit Kits / Control Tower Landing Pads check-mark.png image-x.png image-x.png
Fits 100% of the Top 25 Selling Vehicles in North America* check-mark.png image-x.png image-x.png
Fits over 95% of the Top 50 Selling Vehicles in North America* check-mark.png image-x.png image-x.png
T-Slot Mounting of 80% of Thule Bicycle Carriers check-mark.png image-x.png image-x.png
Solar Powered Factory? check-mark.png image-x.png image-x.png
80% of Product Line Made in USA? check-mark.png image-x.png image-x.png


*Thule AeroBlade fits 100% of the top 25, Whispbar by Yakima® fits 84%.  **Thule® AeroBlade fits 96% of the top 50, Whispbar by Yakima® fits 86%.  Whispbar™ by Yakima® names and related marks are property of of their respective owners.  Information obtained from manufacture's web sites Aug. 2011.


Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What are the key benefits of the Thule AeroBlade?
A: No full-length rack system is quieter or stronger than Thule AeroBlade.
B: Thule AeroBlade fits the most vehicles than any other aerodynamic bar system.
C: Thule AeroBlade and Thule accessories together have the best compatibility and easiest, quickest attachment of any aerodynamic bar system.

Q: Why is Thule AeroBlade an improvement over the Thule Rapid Aero?
A: AeroBlade’s WindDiffuser strip, innovative SmartSlides and low-profile under bar covers combine to make it measurably less wind resistant than Rapid Aero, delivering a significantly quieter, more fuel efficient ride.

Q: Why spend more for the Thule AeroBlade than the standard Thule Square load bar?
A: The AeroBlade pays for itself! Upcharge from square to AeroBlade is $60. For a typical driver traveling 15,000 miles a year, the AeroBlade will save $100 in fuel alone. Add in a fairing ($95) to make the square bars quieter (but not as quiet as AeroBlade!) and the AeroBlade is a relative bargain.

Q: What lengths of AeroBlade are available?
A: The same lengths as Rapid Aero: 60 Inch (ARB60), 53 Inch (ARB53), 47 Inch (ARB47), 43 Inch (ARB43).

Q: What colors of AeroBlade will be available?
A: Silver anodized, just like the current Rapid Aero (RB) bars.  EXCLUSIVE...Rack Outfitters offers AeroBlades in black semi-gloss powder-coat, a perfect match to Thule's black powder-coated carriers in both finish and durability.

Q: Is the AeroBlade compatible with existing Rapid series feet?
A: Absolutely. All Rapid feet are compatible.

Q: Rapid footpacks currently come with Rapid Aero (RB) endcaps – will those same endcaps fit the AeroBlade?
A: No, the AeroBlade takes the new SwingBlade endcap, which will come with the bars. Rapid footpacks will continue to include RB endcaps as long as they are still have those bars in the field, and then we will phase them out of the feet. Anticipated discontinuation of RB endcaps in Rapid footpacks is end 2012.

Q: Do all Thule accessories fit the AeroBlade?
A: All accessories that fit the Rapid Aero bar will fit the AeroBlade, with the exception of the 987/987XT Hullavator, 884 RollModel, 847 Outrigger, and 516 Peloton.  Xadapters are required for other Thule bike carriers.  FYI:  A special adapter is being designed to fit the 987XT Hullavator to AeroBlade load bars, details to come.

Q: Do Xadapters work with AeroBlade?
A: Yes, all Xadapters will work with AeroBlade.

10) Q: Will Thule fairings fit the AeroBlade?
A: No. The fairing exists primarily to help quiet down noisy load bars. The AeroBlade design is so quiet that wind tunnel testing showed a fairing actually made it louder.

Q: For a particular vehicle, will Thule specify the same length AeroBlade as it does Rapid Aero?
A: Yes. AeroBlade and Rapid Aero bar widths are exactly the same per vehicle. So, the Rapid Aero lengths in the 2011 print Fit Guide should be used for AeroBlade. The 2012 print Guide will feature both AeroBlade and Rapid Aero part numbers in that section.

Q: People have been asking to be able to use longer Rapid Aero bars, enabling them to carry more. Can they do this with AeroBlade?
A: Allowing users to go as wide as they like would require a full length slot under the AeroBlade, but a slot of that length removes too much material and doesn’t pass our testing. However, the AeroBlade does have 2” additional under-bar slot depth per side vs. Rapid Aero, which will allow users greater flexibility to step up a size. Use this guide to determine whether longer AeroBlades than specified may be used:

  Thule 43 Inch AeroBlade ARB43 Thule 47 Inch AeroBlade ARB47  Thule 53 Inch AeroBlade ARB53 Thule 60 Inch AeroBlade ARB60
Thule Rapid Foot Packs
 Min.  Max. Min.   Max. Min.  Max.  Min.   Max.
450R Rapid Crossroad  26"  37-3/4"  29-3/4" 40-3/4"   31"  47-1/2"  42-1/4" 53-1/2" 
460R Rapid Podium 29" 42" 33" 46" 39-3/4" 52-3/4" 45 1/2" 58-3/4"

480R Rapid Traverse

21-1/4" 35-3/4" 25" 40" 31-3/4" 46-3/4" 37-1/2" 52-3/4

INSTALL TIPS:
480R Traverse and 400XTR Aero Feet:
1. Look up foot placement measurements found in the vehicle Fit Kit instructions.
2. Refer to chart to see what bars are compatible with your measurements.
3 Using a tape measure, install rack using Fit Kit instruction measurements (Note: changing your bar length renders SmartSlides obsolete).
450R Crossroad, 460R Podium and 430R Tracker II Feet:
1. Measure from the center of the side rail or fixed point to get proper foot placement measurement.
2. Refer to chart to see what bars are compatible with your measurements.
3 Install rack system as you normally would.

Q: Will these additional length options be listed in any Fit Guides?
A: No. Just as one length of steel LB bars is recommended – the minimum length, but longer can be used – the guide recommends one length of AeroBlade and users can decide to use another length (using the above chart) if preferred.

Q: Will the new parts that come with the AeroBlade – SmartSlides, WindDiffuser, plastic under-bar strips – work with the Rapid Aero bar?
A: Yes, technically they will work. They will be available to order as spare parts but not as finished goods. Detailed answers for each:
SmartSlides: Will fit into the under-bar slot on Rapid Aero, but because the slots are a different length on Rapid Aero than on AeroBlade, the numbers on them will not line up correctly. Therefore, they will work to reduce wind noise but not to make measuring foot position any easier.
WindDiffuser: Will fit into the top t-track on Rapid Aero with no problem, and will (depending on vehicle and conditions) help to reduce wind noise slightly.
Plastic strips: Will fit just like on AeroBlade, and can be cut to length and inserted inside or outside the foot. These will make a significant difference in reducing noise on the Rapid Aero.

Q: The AeroBlade has more parts than the Rapid Aero, and with the SmartSlides it obviously installs differently. How will people know how to install it?
A: The AeroBlade comes with its own instructions. In the case of Traverse fits, the AeroBlade instructions will reference the Fit Kit instructions where appropriate.

Q: Will Traverse Kit instructions that are already in the field give the right dimensions for the AeroBlade?
A: Absolutely. They will not contain an image of the new bar, but installers/consumers should follow the 480R/Rapid Aero instructions to install the AeroBlade. We will add the AeroBlade to Traverse instructions as a running change.

Q: For the Traverse rack systems, which section of the Fit Kit instructions should be used for setting foot position using the SmartSlides?
A: The upper section of Step 3 contains the numbers needed for the SmartSlides. The dimensions in the lower section can still be used for installing with a conventional tape measure, but they will not work with the Slides. See below for an example:

Thule AeroBlade SmartSlide Guide

Q: “I’ve followed the Traverse Kit instructions to place the feet using the SmartSlides, but the feet seem to be too far in on the roof (too close together). What’s going on?”
A: Take a look back at the 480R section of the AeroBlade instructions on p.5. Pay particular attention to the illustration of foot and Slide position. The feet should be flush against the adjustment tab on the Slides – but not overlapping. Correcting this will put your feet right where they should be.

Q: What will happen to the existing Rapid Aero (RB series) load bars?
A: RB bars will be available on a limited basis in September, and will be phased out completely in October. They will be available as a spare part for 5+ years.

Q: I've installed the rack with AeroBlades and I'm still getting some wind noise, what can I do?
A: Decibel numbers will vary with each vehicle.  To minimize noise, position the bars as far to the rear of the roof line as possible.  Use the rubber under bar filler strips on both sides of the feet to better manage air flow on the underside of the bar.  Use the filler strips rather than the SmartSlides on foot packs other than the 480R Rapid Traverse.

Q:  How can I get replacement end caps, WindDiffuser strips and under bar slot covers?
A:  Rack Outfitters has these items listed for sale under Roof Racks Locks & Accessories

Q: I want to use a shorter bar than what Thule lists for my vehicle in the fit guide, can I do that or can I cut down the AeroBlade bar to a custom length?
A: Thule always recommends the shortest load bar that will fit the vehicle.  The Thule Square bars can easily be cut down and the end cap will cover a imperfect cut.  To cut down the AeroBlade, it is necessary to cut all four ends in order to keep the bars centered and an imperfect cut will show.  Filing the ends can bring an imperfect cut back into square.  Additionally, the end cap has a clip that engages into a notch at the end of the under bar slot, if you cut the bar you will cut away that notch, however, the end cap will still press and hold into place without the notch.  So, the answer is yes, the AeroBlades can be cut down but it requires more precision and effort.  A rotery miter saw with a non-ferrous metal cutting blade would produce the best results.

Q: I want to attach my Atlantis roof top cargo box into the T-slot on my AeroBlade load bars, can I do that?
A: Yes, the Thule XADAPT10 Adapter mounts certain Thule cargo boxes into the load bar T-slot channels found on the Thule Xsporter, Thule AeroBlade, Rapid Aero Load Bars, Jeep Comander bars, or Hummer H2 bars. The Xadapt 10 is compatable with Thule slide strip-equipped cargo boxes (Atlantis and Ascent) as well as Thule cargo boxes with 45mm drilled hole spacing (Time Travel boxes: Frontier, Excursion and Mountaineer). Verify fit to vehicle using the Thule Fit Guide.