Bestop Introduces New Products and Prototypes for Wrangler JL and JK
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.
The Tuffy Tailgate Lockbox looked great.
We weren't too excited by the Tuffy Wheel Well Lockbox.
Highrock Modular Front Bumper
Highrock Modular Rear Bumper with automotive spindle
Bestop OE Soft top for JL