Solid Foldable Tonneaus - What ones are the best and why -
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Thread: Solid Foldable Tonneaus - What ones are the best and why -

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    Brian's Avatar
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    Solid Foldable Tonneaus - What ones are the best and why -

    The older I get, the less I like looking for something for my truck. I can still get into new Jeep stuff, but my truck is becoming more and more of a tool rather than a toy. So for the past 8 months I have left the back of my F150 open. This is my first half ton since 2000 as I have been in 3/4 and 1 tons due to towing. I have been enjoying the open bed in the summer but I have issues once and a while with security and wanting to go to multiple places shopping but not wanting to leave my purchases in the back. I also have to watch that I do not put light stuff back there that can blow away.

    I started looking at covers the last week in December after a long trip the the U.P. and having to pack stuff inside around the kids. I have had many fold up covers on the larger trucks and I never missed the bed space they cover when folded because I always had an aux tank in my trucks. Now I wanted something that I could haul my ATV's or large objects without having spend much time removing the cover or folding it.

    I came down to two covers, the Bakflip G2 and the Extang Solid Fold. Looking at other peoples pictures and experiences, I put this together to help make the decision.

    Open & Close (BakFlip Wins):
    --BakFlip opens and closes with a quick pull of a latch from either side of the truck. Panels are lightweight and fold up with ease. Once open, you can either lock it down with the locking arms (fully open) or use the d-rings attached to a bungee to leave open in a partial-open position. In the closed position, just simply drop or push the panels downward and they auto-lock in to place. The BakFlip can be driven with any combination of the panels open.


    --Solid Fold must be unlocked from both sides before you can fold up. When opened all the way, it has fasteners that simply snap it down quickly. You can't use it in a 1-panel-open position. To get access to 100% of the bed you have to remove it (simple enough to do but it takes more time than the few seconds it takes to flip up the BakFlip). It can also be used in a "partial" open position (which they call fully open because to get it further open you take it off).

    Sturdy (Solid Fold Wins):
    While the BakFlip seems sturdy enough, the Solid Fold is much tougher and holds considerable more weight on top of it. If you're out tailgating or watching the fireworks, the entire family could sit on top of the cover if you wanted. This is because the Solid Fold sits on top of your rails rather than inside them. And the panels themselves are much stronger.

    Top Load Weight Limit (Solid Fold Wins):
    Evenly distributed weight:
    -- BakFlip G2 model will hold 300 lbs.
    -- BakFlip HD or F1 will hold 400 lbs.
    -- Solid Fold model will hold 700 lbs.


    Security (Solid Fold Wins):
    Yes, both units are secure but give me a hanger and I'll break in to any BakFlip by just lifting the corner near the bed and reaching for the release wire. Probably not practical but a thief could do it in seconds. This is a double-edged sword though. The quick action on the BakFlip makes it easier to open from either side of the bed vs visiting both sides of the bed to release the spring loaded mechanisms on the Solid Fold. I actually prefer the quick action of the BakFlip (which is why it won the first category above) but technically, the Solid Fold is more secure.


    Day-to-Day Functionality (Solid Fold Wins):
    The Solid Fold lets you close your tailgate while the cover is already in the down position (more below).
    Plus, you can get the these add-on tie down cleats that allow you to put the tie down almost anywhere along your bed rails. You can even leave them put if you have no reason to move them because they fit under the cover.

    Alternatively though ... if you have the bed cap with stake pockets, BakFlip retains access to those whereas the Solid Fold would cover them. Extang won this category because their cleats can move to where you need them and because they can be used under the cover. If you use those stake pockets more than cleats on the inside, you'll probably prefer the BakFlip in this category. My stake pockets are covered by plastic on my truck so I did not worry about it.

    Pay Load Functionality (Tie):
    The BakFlip is pretty nice to be on-the-go and open the cover all the way, then close it all the way, even if you weren't expecting to need full access to the bed. And if you do need access to the whole bed you don't have to worry about throwing the cover in with your load. However, I find it bothersome to have the back window covered. If you're hauling something that could damage your rear window then you would appreciate that added protection. Its all a matter of how often do you really carry something that you're worried is going to fly through the rear window?

    Pricing (Solid Fold is Less Expensive):
    Assuming you have a 2010 F150 w/ 5 1/2 ft bed:
    If you look around, you'll find the BakFlip G2 model for about $650 and the BakFlip HD for about $900. There are two additional models which are even more expensive.
    If you search for the Extang Solid Fold you'll find it as low as $610. There's only one model.


    Real World (Bottom Line):
    By a long shot, I use the bed of my truck for daily family activities vs heavy duty or large things. I want to be able to close my tailgate after grabbing those last bags of groceries, or when I've grabbed the last bag of mulch, or when I'm talking on the phone and have a drink in my hand (or basically anything taking up both hands at once). The BakFlip requires you to free up a hand so you can grab the release string, then open the cover, then close your tailgate, then close your cover. Its a total inconvenience that you take for granted until you're unable to simply shut the tailgate with your arm loaded with bags (or whatever).

    What's more? Depending on what you're hauling you might not appreciate how nice it is to see out your back window to see if your tube has blown away, your bikes have shifted or that large item is getting ready to tip over. ...unless you're carrying something that might fly through the back window.

    I guess it comes down to how you plan to use the bed of your truck. Large and bulky payloads very frequently = BakFlip. More family friendly daily use = Solid Fold.

    There are probably a dozen other pros and cons for each unit. I wrote this to hopefully help the next guy trying to decide which unit might be best for him. These two seem to offer the best of features and function within the hard, folding tonneau category. I hope the review is useful, but its a clear choice for the Extang Solid Fold for me.



    Brian

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    Just to muddy the waters...I've been a fan of Rolltops...Had a Pace-Edwards rolltop on my last 2 trucks, well, the same cover lasted 2 trucks I should say....
    http://www.pace-edwards.com/

    While I loved it when I had it, I couldnt justify spending that kind of money to replace it when it DID let go in the fall of 2009 as my truck wont last forever, so I was shopping around for a cheaper alternative (Soft top)...Now having gone 1.5 years without a tonneau, I dont think I'll ever have a truck with one again.

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    Brian's Avatar
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    I have owned a retrax cover (roll up) and it was nice, but I hated the lost bed space. It worked for me with a smaller aux tank, but the winter time it was horrible. The ice buildup on it would make it hard to roll. It was nice to lock in any position, but the negative were too much.

    When you only have a 5.5 foot bed, you need every bit of it when its used! I have a soft tonneau on the cummins at the farm. I hate it.



    Brian

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    RandyM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spudland_Dave View Post
    I dont think I'll ever have a truck with one again.
    Dave, I am in your camp on this one. Though at times they provide some benifit, most of the time they are just a PITA. Winter is particularly hard on them.

    Good luck with your decision Brian.
    Randy __________________________________________________ ___ Be Safe!

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    Brian, I have the extang solid fold on my f250 short bed. FWIW, I have had it a month and you may have already made your decision but....I looked at all types with a desire to add a little security but have the functionality of the bed when I want it. It should fit in the back seat of the cab as well in a pinch(though I have not had it completely off yet.) I was steered away from the more complicated mechanisms due to ice and other jamming issues etc and was not really interested in a rail system. Basically wanted a weather resistant, hard surface that could be removed and installed easily (and looked ok as we'll)

    I have been pleased with the fit and ease of use - It has been water tight and very easy to fold with the two spring clamps that fit the rails. I have had a pallet in the back with it folded (though my bed is a foot or so longer) and as an added bonus my trash bins fit snugly with one flap folded for the ride to the end of the driveway.

    Overall, I feel for the price relative to other systems and ease of installation (took longer to get out of the box), it has been great to be able to toss stuff in the bed and not worry about moving everything into the cab when I stop while also not feeling like I am compromising the truck as such. Not sure about the long term but it seems the biggest issue would be the weather stripping which should not be difficult to replace if necessary.


    -Dana
    JD 3320, Box Blade, Rake, WRLong Diverter, Gator LD Grapple, CCM Toplink, RIM Guard, iMatch, Befco BRB - 284 Rear Blade, Pallet Forks, 448 Backhoe

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    mjncad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RandyM View Post
    Dave, I am in your camp on this one. Though at times they provide some benifit, most of the time they are just a PITA. Brian.
    That's how I feel about pickup bed shells. I had one on my first pickup, and when it crapped out, I was glad to have a fully usable bed back, along with my rearward visibility.
    I have more ideas than ambition.


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