The Swedish brand Thule – pronounced [tool-e] – is no stranger in the rack market. They’re one of the largest providers of roof, hitch and trunk racks in the world. But with all their experience, how is their top of the line roof rack system? We’re taking a closer look at their AeroBlade setup and gathering our thoughts after a few weeks on the road.

Thule AeroBlade

Most configurations are different since most cars are different. The Thule Fit My Car function online matches the appropriate components to your car’s body. We received the kit for a 2017 Honda Fit which includes 47″ AeroBlade bars and the Rapid Traverse foot pack (KIT1751). The bars are available in silver and black while the feet only come in black. The complete set system retails for $510 with lock cylinders costing an additional $40.


Flying crossbars:

Taking a closer look at the bars we can see the wing-shaped aluminum form. The aerodynamic contour reduces both noise and drag compared to a square bar setup. Plus, with their BoxBeam extrusion, it provides enough strength to hold 220lbs which is 55lbs more than their SquareBar.

The WindDiffuser is a rubber strip that has small ridges angled across the top. These ridges disrupt the air enough to dampen the sound of it as it rushes over the wing. A squirt of bike wash helps to easily slide these into the bar’s t-slot. SwitchBlade bar plugs flip open making it easy to install accessories and stay in place with a click.

Thule AeroBlade

On the flip side, the bar has Thule’s integrated SmartSlider which helps make foot placement easier. Slight friction on the slider keeps it from moving while driving which also reduces whistling. Just remember while setting up, the slider’s numbers represent a scaled value and not cm or inch values. So match accordingly to the instructions.

Thule Rapid Traverse Feet

Sturdy towers:

The Rapid Traverse feet slide into place under the bar and latch onto the car’s rooftop. Rubber pads – car specific –  lift the feet to the appropriate height while plastic-dipped metal brackets hug the rack to the roof. Both being rubber and plastic should reduce any paint wear. The complete setup stands only 4,1/2″ from roof to diffuser which keeps a relatively low profile. It’s important to note the feet have a weight limit of 165lbs which is less than the bar itself. Plus, the vehicle’s roof capacity may vary so double check before loading it down.

The roof rack:

Overall, setting up the Thule AeroBlade system on the Honda Fit was relatively easy. Having prior experience with similar systems helped, but following the instructions makes it a job nearly anybody can do. Personally, I found a roof rack to be a good option since I’m 6′,4″ and drive a relatively short car. Besides, the compatible hitches for the Fit hang down below the bumper which – for me – is a bit of an eyesore.

Thule AeroBlade Roof rack

On the road:

After a couple days on the road with the AeroBlade system, I could tell a noticeable difference between wind sounds compared to other square bar setups (on other cars). There’s an occasional whistle here and there, but 98% of the time the bars just swish through the air. I do expect more noise as accessories are added but it’s a good starting point. As for efficiency, the bar’s influence on fuel consumption seems negligible. Prior to installing the system, I was averaging about 38mpg/tank. Since then I’m closer to a firm 37mpg/tank. It is a difference, but weather and driving habits alone can have larger impacts on fuel economy. Again, this is something that will likely change as more accessories are added; especially with a bike up there.

Thule.com

12 COMMENTS

  1. $510 just for the bars? For half that price you can get class 2 hitch installed and have enough left over to mostly pay for a 1up rack and most of a Kuat NV on sale even better you can remove both of those racks in like 5 seconds. Or a sea sucker for less than 3 bills which packs away in 5 seconds and is functionally the same as using any other roof based carrier.

      • Does that include bike rack? I understand Thule’s system is modular so the cross bars, footpads etc. all price out separately

        • The given price is for what we’ve covered here. Racks are a separate price cost. Stay tuned for some – roof rack – bike mount reviews.

      • In my experience the volume of cars that cant accommodate a hitch are about the same as cars that can’t accommodate roof rails. The last 3 vehicles I’ve had have been company cars all of which sedans and all were able to fit hitches and have them removed when I returned the cars. Heck you can even fit a hitch on a Mustang best part is all the hitch stuff is hidden underneath the car so you don’t have to worry about scratching paint etc.

        • This system was my only option. My car, for example, has centre exhaust and sits too low to make it possible to install a hitch.

    • I comfortably installed two ProRide trays and bicycles. Can likely mount 3 (with the middle one facing backwards.) In fact, if they’re road bikes, you can probably fit 4. I’ve got my system on a 2017 Civic Hatchback.

  2. Been a loyal Thule customer for years and I have a set of these on my wife’s car since 2013.

    Overall they work fine but if I had a choice again I would likely just get the square bars for ease of use.
    The reasons are;
    -If you use bike racks on top you then have to cut the rubber strips to fit in between the sleds. Though this is not rocket science it is another step…for if you choose to not use the strip or one goes missing in between the whistling gets pretty loud at the 30-50Mph speeds.
    -the aero bar is not a ideal match fit with the box clamps on Thule boxes. The bar shape is a NACA aero foil and it takes a bit of fiddling to get the box lined up and the bumpers in the right place. If you don’t the clamp wont tighten all the way around the wider bar and you will have a shifty box driving down the road.
    -Over time the rubber strips either fall out or go missing after you have cut them up to fit whatever configuration you have. Did I mention the whistling? All said the local rack dealer sells new strips for 8-10 bucks…but if you just got the square bars instead none of the 3 issues I describe above would ever exist. (and you would have paid alot less).

    Last bit…Thule if your listening…get rid of the NACA aero foil shape. Though it is common on airplanes it is not an ideal shape for a rack on a car…those foils were made for inducing lift not reducing drag. A elliptical shaped bar which is symmetric would give better aerodynamics…and would be less of a pain in the arse for the user to line up components on the rack. Otherwise…great stuff.

What do you think?

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