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· Registered
2020 Forester
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7 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone,

I'm considering getting some crossbars for my Forester 2020. I was hoping someone here might have had experience with these two products. Other product submissions from lesser known vendors that compare favorably also welcome.

My criteria:
  • Carrying a decent sized cargo box large enough to be suitable for a family for camping. I plan to put lighter, bulky items in it, like sleeping bags, tents, and mattresses.
  • On separate occasions, carrying skis.
  • It'd be nice to leave my crossbars on for longer stretches for convenience sake, but have the option to take it off. For something I expect for keep a while, some improvement in noise and drag is worth some extra money up front.
  • I'd like the sunroof to remain operational when not carrying a cargo box or skis. My car has a wind deflector.
  • I am also wondering how important a lock is for the crossbars (I've emailed a couple local police stations to get their sense).
Looking around, it seems that the Whispbar and its successors are highly regarded for these qualities, though there seem to be two variants, the Flushbar and the Railbar. But the OEM crossbars also seem to be generally regarded as fine. I haven't seen too many direct comparisons, so here I am. And again, other submissions welcome.

Thanks in advance.
 

· Super Moderator
2014 2.5i Limited CVT
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5,986 Posts
I have had the factory aero crossbars on my Forester since about 6 months after I bought my Forester over 8 years ago.

The factory crossbars would be less likely to be stolen because they're pretty much designed to work on the Forester. They clamp on the roof-rail bars with a star type nut (I think a T20?). They're not universal.

You can leave them on all the time and take the coffin (cargo box) off or on as needed, use ski/snowboard attachments as needed and such. They're designed to work with every other Forester of your generation (SK). So they do not and will not interfere with your sunroof.

Most (all?) of the aftermarket cross bars are genetic to work on many different vehicles and the variance is the bracket that clamps to the roof-rail and attaches to the cross bars. Often times, they are a generic length (or width when on the roof). This means that they COULD be much wider than the roof rails and stick out beyond the roof rail. The factory cross bars would not.

All cross bars (OEM or aftermarket) will cause noise because they cause aerodynamic drag. When I first installed my crossbars, there was a slight increase in noise, maybe a few decibel points? I can just turn the radio up one or two points and the noise disappears.
 

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Betty
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47 Posts
OEM Aero is Thule but with dealer markups. Aero bars are great, they can hold plenty of weight, and don't need to be taken off unless you need them to. I have bulkier, but still aerodynamic Thule bars that I keep on for anything that's not a long trip. I bought non-aero bars because we put a roof-top tent on our Forester and aero bars can't handle the static weight requirements of our tent. Aero bars will do everything you're looking for and more. Locks are pretty cheap, compared to the cost of a full set of bars, and are a good insurance against theft. To me it's worth the extra cost.

If you're sticking with the Yakima system I'd go with the Railbars, they're 90% as quiet as the whisperbars and you can spend the extra money you save on extra gear.
 

· Registered
2021 Forester Touring (Canadian version)
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432 Posts
Whether you do OEM aerobars or go with the Yakima, the load they can carry still remains identical. This is a limitation of the roof rails, roof strength, etc. and not so much the aero bars. However, having said that, I wish I had the wider bars. The OEM aerobars have a curve to them so when you put on something like a bike rack, the bike leans to the side a bit. I managed to overcome this by mounting one of the side clamps right on the aerobar mount which did level it out.9021926498 The Yakima bar is flat, as are the Thules, Rhinorack, etc. and they overhang over the roof rails and they are flat. This would make loading up a bike easier, accessing a cargo box, etc. because it is overhanding to the edge of the car.
 

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Betty
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47 Posts
Whether you do OEM aerobars or go with the Yakima, the load they can carry still remains identical. This is a limitation of the roof rails, roof strength, etc. and not so much the aero bars. However, having said that, I wish I had the wider bars. The OEM aerobars have a curve to them so when you put on something like a bike rack, the bike leans to the side a bit. I managed to overcome this by mounting one of the side clamps right on the aerobar mount which did level it out.9021926498 The Yakima bar is flat, as are the Thules, Rhinorack, etc. and they overhang over the roof rails and they are flat. This would make loading up a bike easier, accessing a cargo box, etc. because it is overhanding to the edge of the car.
No, the bars and their design make a difference. Thule Aeroblades have a max load of 165lbs while the Wingbar EVO have a max load of 220lbs.

Overhang is great if you aren't using aerodynamic bars, those are specific to each vehicle as they sit between the roof rack. Yakima round bars, Thule square bars, and others that attach to a podium style mount can also go wider, but don't go too wide.
 

· Registered
2021 Forester Touring (Canadian version)
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432 Posts
Yes. I agree that the bars might have different load ratings, but the car itself limits the weight of roof cargo, including racks, etc. to 176lbs.
Font Parallel Pattern Paper Line art
So having bars that can handle 220lbs makes no difference.
 

· Registered
2020 Forester
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7 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
OEM Aero is Thule but with dealer markups. Aero bars are great, they can hold plenty of weight, and don't need to be taken off unless you need them to. I have bulkier, but still aerodynamic Thule bars that I keep on for anything that's not a long trip. I bought non-aero bars because we put a roof-top tent on our Forester and aero bars can't handle the static weight requirements of our tent. Aero bars will do everything you're looking for and more. Locks are pretty cheap, compared to the cost of a full set of bars, and are a good insurance against theft. To me it's worth the extra cost.

If you're sticking with the Yakima system I'd go with the Railbars, they're 90% as quiet as the whisperbars and you can spend the extra money you save on extra gear.

Yeah, I don't have any concerns about width or load. I thought that Railbars were the successor of the Whispbar? Can anyone speak to acoustic/drag performance difference between it and OEM?

I thought that the OEM bars were cheaper than aftermarket bars (like a Thule). Am I wrong?
 

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2019 Forester Sport Plus
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103 Posts
If you plan on locking the cargo box, ski's etc for security then yes it will pay on getting lockable racks. Otherwise it would be very easy for a couple of guys to remove the roof racks with cargo box etc still attached and throw it onto the back of their ute (pickup) to dismantle later.
If you are not worried about what is stored on the racks or items are too large to be easily taken (sea kayaks etc) then probably not as important. But it would be a real let down on your way to a ski holiday if you walk out of a café to the car and see all your gear on the roof has disappeared.
 

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Subaru Forester 2018 Limited Black
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15 Posts
I just installed OEM Aero Crossbars on my Limited SJ and like them so far, no perceivable noise added while driving on the highway. I placed them at 2/3 so they are not visible inside with the moonroof open.

There is another post discussed here on tamper proof screws for the crossbars, supposedly you need M6 x 1.0 x 40mm screws and a T30 torx bit. Here's my list ✌😎
  1. Tamper proof crossbar screws 10x purchased here ( CA$ 11)​
  2. Tamper proof Torx bits (needed T30) purchased here ( CA$ 13)​
  3. Roof Rails Cross Bars purchased here ( CA$ 219 w/tax)​


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2017 XT Limited + Tech
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759 Posts
A lot depends on what kind of attachments you are loading onto your bars. I have old bike racks that go on either the older squarish Thule or round Yakimas, so I simply got some Malones cheap and deal with noise with bungee cords.
 

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2018 Forester XT Limited CVT
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1,528 Posts
I got the aero bars from the dealer when I got the car. I did the same back when I got the 2007 Forester. The arms on the cargo box (Yakima Blacktop 16) drop down, and then you slide the box onto the crossbars, and then you clamp the arms onto the crossbars. The problem I have is that the arms drop down a lot and will hit the roof of the car (paint) so I have to put a bedsheet or similar on the top of the car before installing or removing the rooftop box. It's not a HUGE deal, but I would have liked the bars to be higher away from the body of the car.

I used to carry baby stuff (stroller, playpen, other stuff) in the rooftop box but these days all I use the rooftop box for is ski stuff. I leave the crossbars on year round, and don't lock them. I guess in some neighbourhoods you'd want to lock them. When I lock the rooftop box, I consider it secure. It's likely much easier to pick the lock on the rooftop box (check out the Lock Picking Lawyer on YouTube), or just force it or cut the box, than it is to steal the whole box with crossbars attached to it, but both are risks. There is a bit of a curve to the bars, but I have a hitch-mounted bike rack.

I don't leave the rooftop box on the car unless I'm using the box, because it does affect fuel economy quite a bit.
 

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2020 Forester
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7 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
I got the aero bars from the dealer when I got the car. I did the same back when I got the 2007 Forester. The arms on the cargo box (Yakima Blacktop 16) drop down, and then you slide the box onto the crossbars, and then you clamp the arms onto the crossbars. The problem I have is that the arms drop down a lot and will hit the roof of the car (paint) so I have to put a bedsheet or similar on the top of the car before installing or removing the rooftop box. It's not a HUGE deal, but I would have liked the bars to be higher away from the body of the car.

I used to carry baby stuff (stroller, playpen, other stuff) in the rooftop box but these days all I use the rooftop box for is ski stuff. I leave the crossbars on year round, and don't lock them. I guess in some neighbourhoods you'd want to lock them. When I lock the rooftop box, I consider it secure. It's likely much easier to pick the lock on the rooftop box (check out the Lock Picking Lawyer on YouTube), or just force it or cut the box, than it is to steal the whole box with crossbars attached to it, but both are risks. There is a bit of a curve to the bars, but I have a hitch-mounted bike rack.

I don't leave the rooftop box on the car unless I'm using the box, because it does affect fuel economy quite a bit.
I see a lot of crossbars on vehicles laying around, so they must not get stolen too often. The police station said that they don't see much crossbar theft, but a cargo box is more tempting. So really I might only be concerned about the periods with a box.

Good tip on the arms of the cargo box, thanks.
 

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Subaru Forester 2018 Limited Black
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15 Posts
The tamper proof screws are useful since anyone could steal the content of your locked box or locked equipment by simply removing the crossbars with a torx screwdriver. For about 20$ it's worth the peace of mind!
 

· Registered
2020 Forester
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7 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
The tamper proof screws are useful since anyone could steal the content of your locked box or locked equipment by simply removing the crossbars with a torx screwdriver. For about 20$ it's worth the peace of mind!
Yeah tamper resistant screws seems like a pretty decent level of security considering it's really just for opportunists anyway (which is the most, uh, business-friendly way to be a thief)
 

· Registered
2021 Premium 2.5 CVT
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14 Posts
Hello everyone,

I'm considering getting some crossbars for my Forester 2020. I was hoping someone here might have had experience with these two products. Other product submissions from lesser known vendors that compare favorably also welcome.

My criteria:
  • Carrying a decent sized cargo box large enough to be suitable for a family for camping. I plan to put lighter, bulky items in it, like sleeping bags, tents, and mattresses.
  • On separate occasions, carrying skis.
  • It'd be nice to leave my crossbars on for longer stretches for convenience sake, but have the option to take it off. For something I expect for keep a while, some improvement in noise and drag is worth some extra money up front.
  • I'd like the sunroof to remain operational when not carrying a cargo box or skis. My car has a wind deflector.
  • I am also wondering how important a lock is for the crossbars (I've emailed a couple local police stations to get their sense).
Looking around, it seems that the Whispbar and its successors are highly regarded for these qualities, though there seem to be two variants, the Flushbar and the Railbar. But the OEM crossbars also seem to be generally regarded as fine. I haven't seen too many direct comparisons, so here I am. And again, other submissions welcome.

Thanks in advance.
I have the aero crossbars on my ’21. They rate lower carryover capacity than the others (Thule?), but they look LOTS better in my opinion. I don’t carry much, and when I do, it’s less than 100 lbs of camping gear, so I knew I wouldn’t need anything heavy duty.
 
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