Thule Aeroblade arb53 Reviews
The Thule Aeroblade arb53 comes in five parts made up of the aluminium bar, the rubber spacer, aerodynamic spacer, end cap and the numbered spacer that goes into the bottom.
It is an aerodynamic aluminium bar that reduces any cabin noise. It is also strong and fits most vehicles though different accessories must be bought to fit the particular vehicle.
This bar has a built-in T-slot which enables you to mount other accessories you wish to have. It has a wind-diffuser surface which helps to reduce wing noise by having a rough texture. This diffuser surface is located on the T-slot cover.
In order to access the T-slot there is an end cap provided. You just swing it open and pull it out. There is also a measurement system to enable quick installation without the need for a tape measure.
1. Positive reviews – Thule Aeroblade arb53
- The construction of these load bars makes them some of the strongest in the market. There is a cross-section of separate compartments all along the length of the bars. These bars have separate load-bearing vertical sections which add to the strength of the bars. The bars have a capacity of 800 lbs.
- They are very quiet. These bars have been built to precision. When you select the correct ones for your vehicle, you will notice that there is no noise resulting from them. Many other bars produce some noise but these ones are very quiet.
- You do not need a tape measure when using these bars. The bars come with a SmartSlide feature enables you to install the feet without a tape measure. This is a band which has measurements embedded on the exterior. It helps when cutting the T-strips and the wind diffuser.
- When purchasing them you can visit the Thule website and select the precise ones that will fit your motor vehicle. Thule has a feature that allows you to input the make of your car, the model and the year of manufacture. This way you are sure that you have purchased the correct ones.
- When you have the correct bars and install them properly, you will find that your fuel efficiency improves.
- The bars come slightly arched. This allows them to contour to the roof of your motor vehicle better than square bars do.
- The colour is very appealing. Some places also have the bars being sold with a black powder coating.
- They are very sturdy and they can carry a craft over a long journey. There is no wobble as they are very strong and firm.
2. Critical reviews – Thule Aeroblade arb53
- It has poor installation instructions which consist of pictures without wording or labelling. The installation instructions fail in several ways:
- Rubber foot pads are provided but they are not symmetrical. They are designed this way on purpose and fitting them incorrectly will result in a faulty installation. The thicker, longer foot pad should be installed on the downward slope of the contour of your roof and the thinner one on the upward slope.
- The importance of the tubing to cover openings is not emphasized. Leaving these openings uncovered will result in noise (caused by interrupting laminar flow of air) and less than desirable performance.
- The instructions do not tell you that you will need extra parts to mount anything on the racks. Thus when purchasing these bars, ask about all the other parts that you will need to make them functional. This will give you an estimate of just how much you will need to spend before you can use them.
- The ruler feature does not help much. You may be better off using your eyes to guide you on correct placement.
- The aluminium colour will show any dirt that you drive through on your trip. This includes any bugs that you hit on the way. Some places do sell these with a black rubber coating. You may want to coat yours after purchase.
- It can be tedious to keep removing the rubber stripping every time you need to use the T-slot. You will have to rip it out and the press it back in.
- They do not come with mounting brackets. You must purchase these and any other accessory necessary to carry your craft, bike or luggage.
- The price can be a deterrent. They do not come cheap. In addition to the price of the bar there will still be some cash outlay for a fit kit in order to make the product useable.
- The bars scratch easily and so the finish will not last very long. This ahs especially been noted on the black powder coated bars.
- The aerodynamic plastic cap that is supposed to lock down the bar in place is not tight. It will be tight at the start but it frequently comes up. It may thus be a good idea to purchase the four locks that Thule offers as an extra purchase. This will ensure the safety of your bars when you have to park in a public spot.
- The rubber covering on the bar can wear out with one trip when carrying a heavy item such as a canoe. The company does not make replacement parts. Thus you may need some padding to protect the bars when carrying heavy items.
- If you have Thule fairings, please note that they will not fit the aeroblade. They were made to reduce noise on the square bars and are actually not necessary on this bar.
3. Frequently bought together
3.1. Thule Roof Rack Fit Kits
Important when install: When you look at the foot pads, you’ll notice the foot pads have differing edges to them; one side will be thicker and one side will be thinner. Insure the thicker side is installed on the downward slope of the roof of your car and the thinner edge is on the upward slope (The edges should make up the difference in the rooftop curvature). This insures maximum contact of rubber to the car for the proper secure fit.
3.2. Thule Rapid Traverse Foot Pack, How To Install
An AcuTight tensioning tool lets you know when the rack is in place so that you can add your Thule Aero bars.
How To Install (Source: Amazon.com)
The Thule Aeroblade arb53 is a very strong bar. It aerodynamic system is compatible with more vehicles than any other system in the market. Its SmartSlide feature and the wind diffuser make it a very quiet system to have. It comes in a silver anodized colour and recently in black as well.
Remember to keep all the instruction manuals that come with various parts. All measurements that Thule gives are very specific. You must adhere to them to make the product work perfectly. The instructions may not be great, but the product definitely is. Once it is in place it will serve you for a long time.