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Thule Load Bar vs SquareBar Evo

Thule Load Bar vs SquareBar Evo

For years, the “square” Thule Load Bar served as the primary crossbar for roof racks. Measuring 1 ¼” x7/8”, this became the de facto standard, with other brands making crossbars that match these outer dimensions.

When aerodynamic crossbars came around, the towers had to attach to the crossbar differently, utilizing a slot on the bottom of the bar. This meant that Thule had two versions of nearly each tower: a standard or “hooded” version for Load Bars, and a version for aero bars denoted by the term “Rapid”.

In 2019, Thule launched their new Evo series towers and crossbars. These systems eliminated the hooded style towers, and instead, all crossbars attach with a Rapid-style lower slot. This means the classic square bars had to get a slot on the bottom to attach to the new towers, and subsequently got a new name: SquareBar Evo.

The slot on the bottom of the SquareBar Evo means it now has a more seamless appearance and even has measurement numbers on the bottom to make installation easier.

The SquareBar Evo can fit Evo and Rapid towers, but cannot safely be attached to older hooded style towers.

The old Load Bars only work with hooded towers and cannot attach to Evo or Rapid towers.

There are also differences in endcap compatibility. Many of the older endcaps for the Load Bars will fit the SquareBar Evo, but they may not remain very tight. The SquareBar Evo endcaps will not fit the Load Bars. They have a tab in the bottom of the endcap that fits into the slot and has a notch to hold them on.

SquareBar Evo endcap on the left (1500052968), and Load Bar endcap on the right (1500030661). 

Load Bar endcaps have a few different part numbers:

EC1 includes a set of 4 endcaps.

1500030661 is a single endcap.

1500030660 is a single endcap that was used for a short time with a more square shape.

SquareBar Evo endcaps are sold as a set of 4 under part number 1500052968.

SquareBar Evo keeps the classic Thule square bar alive and allows you to use all of your old square bar accessory carriers. However, you may have a more difficult time mixing old crossbars with new towers. Feel free to contact us with any other compatibility questions!