Bestop In­tro­duces New Prod­ucts and Pro­to­types for Wran­gler JL and JK

- WORDS AND PHO­TOS BY PERRY MACK AND JA­SON TANSEM Louisville, Colorado · Colorado · Louisville · Kentucky · Wrangler · Summit Racing Equipment · Samsung Galaxy S8 · Tommy Knight · Youtube

On the plane to Louisville, Colorado (pro­nounced ‘Lewis’ville in Colorado, rather than the ‘Loue’ville in Ken­tucky), we were won­der­ing why we were go­ing. Press re­leases de­tail­ing new af­ter­mar­ket prod­ucts for Wran­gler JL drop into our in­box like cat de­posits in a lit­ter box. Just some­thing else to clean up and move to trash. After­all, not many of us own JL’s. When we ar­rived for the brief­ing, the im­por­tance of this in­ter­na­tional JL Sum­mit be­came clear. It was about JK as much as JL, and about re­fin­ing pro­to­types for both be­fore pro­duc­tion. Rather than see­ing the fi­nal prod­ucts - love it, leave it, or bitch about it - Bestop and fil­ial com­pa­nies

PRP Seats, Baja De­signs, and Tuffy Se­cu­rity were look­ing for in­put from two in­vited me­dia, in­clud­ing 4WDrive, and from their key whole­sale part­ners like Quadratec and Sum­mit Rac­ing.

One of the most ex­cit­ing things about the Wran­gler JL is the prod­uct in­no­va­tion it has spurred for Wran­gler JK. There are an es­ti­mated 2.3 mil­lion Wran­gler JK’s on the road vs a rel­a­tive hand­ful of JL’s. And if you are plan­ning to up­grade from your ex­ist­ing JK to the JL, this will help you de­ter­mine what parts you can trans­fer to JL be­fore you take the JK to the dealer lot to trade in.

Here is a sum­mary of the Sum­mit’s key prod­uct and pro­to­type in­tro’s.

Baja De­signs (BD) Cowl/Dual A-Pil­lar Mount The JL no longer has the A-Pil­lar mounts of the JK, so BD has de­vel­oped the new Cowl/Dual A-Pil­lar Mount, which will let you mount two sets of their S2 or Squadron Se­ries lights, or one set and a 40” S8 light bar. Ei­ther com­bi­na­tion will give you wide-cor­ner­ing (ditch) light­ing as well as dis­tance light­ing. More on the lights here - https://youtu.be/ mDcJhM­go0Q4.

Tuffy Se­cu­rity Deck En­clo­sure

Jeep has re­designed the cargo area of the JL in­creas­ing the width of the tail­gate. As a re­sult, folks like us can’t trans­fer our JK en­clo­sure to the new JL. Like the JK en­clo­sure, it mounts to floor, has its own side­walls and works with both hard tops and soft tops to give you a se­cure stor­age space. A new fea­ture for the JL ver­sion, which should ap­pear in the up­graded JK model, is a strut to keep the lid open while load­ing and un­load­ing.

Wheel Well Lock­box & Tail­gate Lock­box

Ev­ery bit of space in a Wran­gler counts says Tuffy Se­cu­rity. Jeep re­designed the JL’s rollcage, mov­ing it in­board leav­ing enough room for a cou­ple of lock­boxes. Tuffy has de­signed these boxes so they can be ac­cessed from ei­ther in­side or out­side the Jeep. If there was one prod­uct that left me feel­ing ‘in­dif­fer­ent’, this was it. On the other hand, the new Tail­gate lock­box was in­trigu­ing. The wider JL tail­gate al­lowed Tuffy to cre­ate a good size, welded, 16 gauge steel lock­able box with a cou­ple of trays to or­ga­nize your gear. It works nicely with the Deck En­clo­sure.

PRP Seats Per­haps bet­ter known for their race seats, their new part­ner­ship with Bestop led to the cre­ation of cus­tom cov­ers for the stock JL seats. These are not baggy, ill­fit­ting mun­dane seat cov­ers. They are avail­able in 60 fab­rics with a choice of colours to suit your taste, and the op­tion of adding cus­tom em­broi­dery to the head­rest (think your name, club name, event, shop logo). They fit like fac­tory, and look stun­ning. Best of all, they should be avail­able for Wran­gler JK next year (cross your fin­gers).

Bestop Re­tractable Sunshade for 07-17 JK

The sun - love it, hate it or ad­just it. Let’s go with love and ad­just. The new sunshade, which we saw in pro­to­type, works with Bestop’s Sun­rider and most other soft tops. With the top or Sun­rider open, you ex­tend the UV-re­sis­tant sunshade and it clips in be­hind your vi­sors, in­stantly cut­ting the power of that sun blast­ing in. It’s a no drill easy in­stall. Un­for­tu­nately adap­tive hard­ware to make it work with your hard top is not cur­rently avail­able.

Highrock Mod­u­lar Bumpers

They have been re­designed to fit JL, so while they are not ex­actly new, they are worth high­light­ing since they are one of our favourite bumper sys­tems. They can be stubby bumpers us­ing just the cen­tre sec­tion, or go full pro­tec­tion with end caps to pro­tect your fenders - es­pe­cially in JL since the turn sig­nal lights are now mounted in the fenders. Add a skid plate, and/or front/rear roller bars to grease your way over ob­sta­cles.

Best of all, the rear tire car­rier assem­bly uses an au­to­mo­tive spin­dle, which takes all the weight off the tail­gate. Jeep has light­ened the JL tail­gate and beefed up the hinges so that you can now carry a 37” tire on your stock Wran­gler JL. BUT, what about ev­ery­thing else? Us­ing Bestop’s sys­tem, lead de­signer Tommy Knight says the spin­dle will hold 270 kg (600 lbs)

no prob­lem. Now you can load this car­rier with cans, chain­saws, racks, Max­trax etc. - all within easy reach not tak­ing up space in­side the Jeep or on the roof rack. More on the bumpers here - https://youtu.be/ mDcJhM­go0Q4 Su­per­top for Truck Un­cov­ered pickup truck beds are stel­lar for haul­ing tall items but your gear gets wet. Ton­neau cov­ers can make them a small cov­ered dry space. Truck caps make it a siz­able dry cov­ered stor­age space - but you lose the tall haul abil­ity. Why not a con­vert­ible to get the best of both worlds? En­ter Su­per­top. Avail­able for mid- and full-size pick­ups, the top ex­tends to cre­ate a cap or folds to open up the bed. You can re­move the win­dows if you want to ac­cess tools and gear from the sides, al­low­ing you to still keep your gear out of the sun and rain. Is a soft top as se­cure as fi­bre­glass shell? No. But our A.R.E. trucks caps get bro­ken into on a yearly ba­sis so what is ‘se­cure’.

Bestop OE Soft top for JL

No you can’t or­der one to­day. But keep read­ing. The new orig­i­nal equip­ment soft top for Wran­gler JL is built by Bestop and was de­signed by Bestop engi­neer Steve Lewis. And al­though you cur­rently have to buy one from Jeep when you buy your new JL, the ex­cit­ing news is that the new top is com­ing

for JK. It is a full con­vert­ible top whose Sun­rider fea­ture pro­vides full sun for both front and rear pas­sen­gers. For JL the latches have been re­designed so they are eas­ier to use and don’t re­quire us to move the sun vi­sor to op­er­ate them. Al­though we were skep­ti­cal of the new JL latches abil­ity to hold while bump­ing down our favourite trail, Bestop as­sures us it has been thor­oughly tested.

Two new ad­di­tional bows and link­age aid in fab­ric man­age­ment and gas struts re­duce op­er­a­tor fa­tigue. And we do mean op­er­a­tor, not op­er­a­tors, one av­er­age height in­di­vid­ual can open and close the top alone.

This is a zip­per­less roof with ‘p’ & ‘c’ glide sys­tem al­low­ing both side and back win­dows to eas­ily glide out. The top then hand­ily opens to a full con­vert­ible po­si­tion.

Start­ing to close the top from the com­pletely open po­si­tion is eas­ily ac­com­plished by a one handed shove. Pinch points have been re­moved at the front of the top while clos­ing to the latch po­si­tion. It is a huge im­prove­ment over the OE softop for JK and we’ve been jonesing for one since we saw it. Check out our full re­view on the op­er­a­tion on YouTube at https:// youtu.be/K-TIVFLbc4I. There were more in­tros than we have room for in these pages. Visit our YouTube chan­nel for updates.

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 ??  ?? The Tuffy Tail­gate Lock­box looked great.
The Tuffy Tail­gate Lock­box looked great.
 ??  ??
 ??  ?? We weren't too ex­cited by the Tuffy Wheel Well Lock­box.
We weren't too ex­cited by the Tuffy Wheel Well Lock­box.
 ??  ?? Highrock Mod­u­lar Front Bumper
Highrock Mod­u­lar Front Bumper
 ??  ?? Highrock Mod­u­lar Rear Bumper with au­to­mo­tive spin­dle
Highrock Mod­u­lar Rear Bumper with au­to­mo­tive spin­dle
 ??  ??
 ??  ?? Bestop OE Soft top for JL
Bestop OE Soft top for JL

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