When you need to transport anything from point A to point B but don’t want to clutter up that extra space inside your car, a good roof rack system is what you need. It doesn’t just give you additional space, it allows you to carry larger items as well. But, what does a good roof rack system consists?
Every roof rack system consists of these components; fit kit, foot pack, and crossbars. Most vehicles nowadays cover you with fit kit and foot packs. For you to utilize them, to be able to carry your load, adding crossbars will be a good move.
As there are so many cross bars out in the market, it can be difficult to pick which one to buy. However, if you research further, it will only bring you down to the two major names in the hauling industry – Thule and Yakima, and their crossbars, AeroBlade and JetStream.
The Comparison: Thule AeroBlade vs. Yakima JetStream
If you are a salesman for outdoor gears, you must have heard someone asking which they should pick, Thule or Yakima?
In most cases, both manufacturers can deliver. They will get you covered with all your hauling needs. However, just because it can do the job doesn’t mean it is the right one for you. Carefully assess each item before buying them to make sure they will carry on with what you need them for.
Sure, they are looking good, but do they fit what you have on your roof?
“These crossbars can do this and a lot more for $105!” Have you checked that $75 crossbars that do the same?
Let’s get into comparing Thule AeroBlade vs. Yakima JetStream with some of the things you need to consider in getting them.
Thule has been around as early as 1942. A family founded business from southern Sweden, they specialize in roof racks and automobile accessories. They wanted car owners to facilitate their own outdoor adventure by bringing with them all the outdoor equipment and luggage they need.
Thule Group which consists of Case Logic, SportRack, Charriot, Yepp, and Tepui has been acquired and turned over three times from 1979 to 2007. In 2008, due to restructuring caused by the height of the Global Financial Crisis, Nordic Capital acquired Thule Group and has since then been listed on Stockholm Stock Exchange through IPO.
Thule is the most popular brand that makes up the Thule Group. The product line that comprises of roof boxes, racks, strollers, bags, luggage, and tent has been well known and well received throughout the world.
Materials and Fabrication
The Thule AeroBlade load bars are constructed of extruded aluminum to guarantee an extra-tough roof rack system. Fabrication process had the materials shaped to form a complex BoxBeam design. This contributes to the strength and rigidity of the bars. It also builds them to be primarily hollow but still reinforced with added strength. The extrusion process results in a crossbar that can endure over 800 pounds of force yet weighs so light it takes up just a minor portion of your vehicle’s load capacity.
Thule engineers took notes from manufacturers of sports cars like Ferrari and Maserati combining with their design Kammback-like crossbar. They do not have the whole teardrop-type tail, but instead, it was cut off, leaving square ends at the rear of the bars. Such aerodynamic effect allows air to move continuously in a streamlined fashion, aiding big time in fuel economy.
Wind Diffuser technology was applied to this system. An integrated T-Track sits on top of each bar redirecting airflow for a noticeable decrease of wind noise and drag. This also aids well in keeping dirt and grime from each T-slot. This distinctive feature comes from the raised angled vectors. Its textured surface disrupts the air flow, trips it to create turbulence and cleans the air released. It causes not just less wind noise and drags, but little to no annoying whistle, not too mention a more aerodynamic crossbar.
Thule AeroBlade mounts to your factory installed or aftermarket fit kit. But, they sure will work better with Thule Podium fit kit. Simply position the bar correctly, center them, remove the covers from the legs and then slide the crossbars in and out of the legs as far out so they can be at the center of the roof. There are numbers displayed on the integrated ruler at the top of each leg which will help you determine whether the crossbars have been centered. The numbers should match as they indicate positioning. Then, just tighten them up with screws using the included tools.
Thule AeroBlade is superior to most vehicle manufacturers cross bars since they exceed the carrying capacity at 800 pounds. They are not fixed therefore you have the flexibility to re-position them to suit your needs. Its aerodynamic design has been commended a lot of times by consumers for having minimal to almost no wind noise at all even when at certain driving speeds. Installation is relatively easy, and it can fit most roof rails. The only drawback is the difficulty in finding out which sizes will fit your vehicle. They come in 43, 47, 53, and 60-inches. But, this is just minimal. Nothing a quick call to their customer service can’t fix.
Overall, Thule Aeroblade gets 8 out of 10 stars.
Yakima has been designing, manufacturing, and supplying cargo and gear racks since 1998. Their product line comprises of cargo boxes, baskets, and bags, truck racks, load assist gears, keys and cores, bike hitch racks, trailers, accessories. They also offer replacement parts and gears for a bike, boat, sup/surf, travel, snow, and hunt and fish activities.
Yakima sells its items through local retailers and online dealers. They also market internationally through global dealers in Canada, Asia and Oceania, Europe, and Latin America.
Yakima Destination Hardware was Yakima Products Inc. originally known as. They changed their name to Yakima Products Inc. in May 2005. Since December 28, 2009, Yakima Products Inc. runs as a firm under Kemflo International Co., Ltd.
Materials and Fabrication
Yakima JetStream boasts a strong and durable construction with them being made of anodized aluminum with internal JetTruss extrusions. The extrusion process reinforces the bars to its maximum strength without increasing their weight. This is vital for the crossbars to not take so much from the vehicle’s overall weight capacity.
You wouldn’t worry about rust and corrosion. These bars are constructed out of aluminum and have been finished with a black powder coat. You can be assured you can leave them up your roof for so long.
Designed with asymmetrical JetFlow shape, Yakima JetStream helps create an exceptional aerodynamic roof rack system. It has integrated WindRidge that aid in controlling the airflow over and under the bars. This design causes a noticeable reduction in wind drag, noise, and vibration. No need to add fairings, such factors are eliminated even at highway speeds.
Yakima JetStream efforts in getting that hassle-free installation process. Each crossbar has the bottom channel that lets you mount it to Yakima’s StreamLine towers – BaseLine, RidgeLine, SkyLine, or TimberLine. It features a rubber strip in the channel. This can be cut down to the exact size needed during installation. It also aids in keeping the dirt out of the bar while reducing wind noise.
To center the crossbars accordingly, simply follow the etched measurements along the bottom channel of the cross bars. The rulers on each end are there to ensure they are spaced properly. With the correct measurements, simply install the brackets in the bottom, set the bar on top of the towers and tighten them down with the torque tool.
Crossbars Buying Guide
Picking crossbars is the highlight of choosing an aftermarket roof rack system. Choosing such should be factored by the application you will use it with at the same time what you intend to use the rack system for. Keep in mind that for carrying larger and heavier items, some roof rack systems may require additional accessories. Most of the time, such accessories are only ideal with the same brand.
We’ve scoured reviews and commentaries of consumers who have purchased crossbars.
Before anything else, find out the type of roof you have. This will help you determine the specific gear that will fit. The basic roof types are:
- Side Railed – Roof that comes with factory raised side rails that allow towers and racks to be attached easily. These rails aid a lot with the clearance especially for cars with a sunroof.
- Naked Roof – As the name suggests, are roofs that are naked. No rails, rain gutters, or anything you can attach your rack into.
- Rain Guttered – Roofs that have their edges with strips that run from the front to the rear side of your vehicle. With the main purpose of preventing water to spill onto your windows, they also act as the ideal space to install roof racks too. But, only for light to moderate load.
Ideally, these crossbars should be able to hold and transport a myriad of gears. From watersport toys to cargo boxes, bikes, skis, and more. Along with versatility comes the materials used to fabricate these crossbars. Make sure, they are made of components that withstand not just the external factors, but the weight it will haul.
Anything that you put outside your car will have a great impact on wind resistance and drag. Make sure your crossbars are aerodynamically designed to reduce the wind drag and noise. Whistling and fuel consumption can turn into an inconvenience over time.
Ease of use
The faster you can set them up and put them down, the better. It only means that you will have more time enjoying outdoors than spending hours figuring out how to install and installing them. Crossbars now can be fitted in minutes instead of hours. Drilling and bolting them in have seemed to be a thing of the past. You may just clamp them to attach to the roof rails.
Great looks and Affordability
Admit it, you don’t want a crossbar that doesn’t complement the whole looks of your vehicle. But, make sure that as you are self-conscious about how sporty your car will look, that the crossbars are well serving their purpose.
Check out this chart that gives a brief comparison between Thule AeroBlade vs. Yakima JetStream.
Aerodynamic JetFlow Design
Yakima JetStream is one of the latest in the Yakima StreamLine system. It uses the JetFlow system which is a very high-performance aluminum teardrop shape. This is not just strong but is quiet and blends well with aerodynamics.
The WindRidge has effectively made an evident improvement with wind drag and noise, giving out a quiet drive on long drives at certain speeds. Another feature it comes with is the T-slot. This lets the gears to be snugly secured to the bars while keeping the wind noise reduced.
From its predecessor, it increased the weight carrying capacity with an added support on the insides of the cross bars. This is a major improvement in the overall strength of these cross bars.
Overall, Thule Aeroblade gets 8.5 out of 10 stars.
Thule and Yakima are two of the most revered names on the market when it comes to hauling gears. They have, on our every automobile gear review topped almost every category and have never been out of any top ten list.
The reviews presented should be able to give you an idea if not the least knowledge you need which gear to take on your next outdoor trip. The important features have been highlighted too. This should help you identify which from the list of features you think can work for you.
The question remains. Which one to buy? AeroBlade or JetStream? Both brands have appealed considering the factors we weighed them with. They have features that cover each aspect you may need in a crossbar and perform equally well. What made Yakima JetStream get a .5 advantage is the fact that they are cheaper while maintaining the supposed expectations from them.
In any buying situation, provided all the variables are the same, then the price should be of the greatest factor to make your decision.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
✅ Where are Thule Racks made?
While Thule Group is a Swedish Company, most of its facilities and sales centers are in the United States. Therefore, they are predominantly made in the USA, still with a few percentages made in Europe.
✅ Where are Yakima products made?
Yakima Inc. was originally situated in Beaverton, Oregon. They moved to Lake Oswego, Oregon in 2015. This move to the 89000 sq. ft property has been their manufacturing site ever since.