BAKFlip Basics: The BAK Difference
Midwest Aftermarket Style
Considering purchasing any of the top-of-the-line BAKFlip tonneau covers? In this article we breakdown some of the differences and similarities between each series and product line so that you can make the most informed purchase for your truck.
The BAK Difference:
The BAKFlip--an industry standard in folding tonneau covers--comes in five different styles (not to mention the Contractor Series). All five varieties are excellent products that specialize in specific needs. So the question is: which is best for you? Let's take you back to BAKFlip Basics by examining BAK Industries new folding tonneau cover comparison chart and contemplating what is most important for you as the consumer. It might depend on various factors: where you live, how hard you play, and whether or not you prefer matte finish or leather grain vinyl?
What's Inside (& Outside) Counts
Panel Top Skin with Aluminum Core Material
Aluminum: Maximum UV Protection
The All Aluminum Series (G2 & MX4) is--you guessed it--made of all aluminum panels both top and core. The advantage of having aluminum top skin is largely due to its superior UV resistance. If you are planning on having your truck out in the hot summer sun on the reg, you should really consider a product from the All Aluminum Series. This material is light weight yet still highly durable.
FRP Fiberglass: Nigh Scratch & Dent Proof
Less concerned about sun damage and more concerned about dropping-a-brick-on-my-brand-new-tonneau-cover damage? The FRP (Fiberglass Reinforced Polymer) Fiberglass Series is scuff and ding resistant. This composite material is tough as nails and colored all the way through, so even in the unlikely event that it did get scratched, it won't show up like it would on aluminum top skin.
Vinyl: a Sleek & Smooth Combination
Believe it or not, a vinyl top skin is actually the best of both worlds. It is dent and ding resistant since it has some give, while still offering premium UV protection. Of course, vinyl can get scratched up and isn't as durable as aluminum or fiberglass. However, the BAKFlip VP has the same core as the other two products: aluminum. So it does still have solid strength underneath that sleek top layer.
Welcome to the Fold
The most important feature of any folding tonneau cover: the fold. The Aluminum frame construction is where durability and function mess into a seamless union that seals and protects your vehicle. It sits above a water drainage channel that funnels water off of your cover and out through drainage tubes. These mechanisms in concert make the design of these tonneau covers hard to beat. There is no velcro here! Each individual folding section locks into place with a latch at its end, which can be deactivated with the simple pull of the locking cable, allowing the fold, as shown, to occur. And the rail construction it rides on is secure yet easy to operate. Installation requires no drilling, using no drill clamps to mount the whole system in under an hour. This intuitive & ingenious design allows for full access to 100% of your bed from cab to tailgate when you need it, while providing full coverage and protection to your bed and whatever is riding in it when you want it. The BAKFlip is a tonneau cover that easily flips up completely even on the go, so if you are out and about window shopping and your wife suddenly decides you do need that new washer & dryer set or better yet you can buy that new gun safe you've been eyeing, there is no need to run home first to remove your cover. Simply park, unlock the tailgate, pull the cables, and flip.
The First Question Everyone Asks:
Can I Stand on my Brand New Expensive Tonneau Cover?
Well, I wouldn't, and you probably shouldn't either. Here's the deal: while most of the BAKFlip line can probably support you--the VP vinyl top has a weight rating of 250 lbs, G2 & FiberMax 300 lbs, and MX4 & F1 up to 400 lbs.--the weight is considered to be distributed evenly. In other words, its not designed to support someone who is standing up walking around. However, should you have to stand on one of these folding tonneau covers, try folding one of the sections back and standing on the edge of the sections (front or back) as that will provide the most support by increasing the density of the material. The Standard lines of each variety (the G2, FiberMax, and VP) have what BAK calls standard density aluminum panel core, while the Premium lines (MX4 & F1) have denser cores to support more weight. The weight rating is given to show that if something fell on the cover, like say two feet of snow evenly distributed, you shouldn't have to worry about the cover bending, not whether or not you can lay something that heavy on top of it. This is ill advised. If you do need to haul something like that, simply flip the cover up and use the easy access to the entire truck bed. Again, I still wouldn't stand on my tonneau cover unless it was an emergency. But since this does seem to be the first question everyone wants an answer to, while I wouldn't advise it, here's a video of Big Tuna standing on a Lomax Tonneau cover:
A Question of Security
The second question seems to always be about security. The entire BAKFlip line has a flush fit, meaning that unless the tailgate is down, without puncturing the tonneau cover itself you cannot get into the bed of the truck. If the tailgate is closed and locked, it would take some serious crowbar action to break into your bed. This is even more true for the Premium line with its Universal tailgate seal. Of course, we'd be lying to you if we said this all meant that anything you left in your bed overnight for instance in a bad neighborhood would be 100% safe from any possible theft. However, another vital deterrence to stealing is visibility. Anything you leave in your truck bed with a BAKFlip tonneau cover closed over the top of it will be hidden from plain sight. So unless someone knows you left expensive tools in the truck bed, for all anyone will know the bed is empty.
Furthermore, the flush finish means that all these truck bed covers are water & weather resistant. Your tools will certainly be protected from the environment & visibility.
CHMSL Visibility & Other Shared Features
As you can clearly see in both last last and the coming images, the CHMSL is visible. Of course, we prefer plain speak 'round here, so what those technical words and acronyms mean is that your 3rd brake light, the one over the top of your rear view window, will be visible to other vehicles even when your BAKFlip is completely flipped up, as shown in both images. This may not be true on some trucks with beds over 6' 9" long, in other words, long beds, so check first if this feature is something vital to you. This brings to light another great feature: the ability to lock the cover in place with a buckle system and prop rods. The entire BAKFlip line comes equipped with these prop rods & buckles. Each BAKFlip also comes with a pair of bumper pads that should be installed on the window itself at the place where the folded up cover touches the glass. These bumpers will not rub off paint and do come with a self-adhesive back. We highly recommend you install them if you plan to drive around often with your BAKFlip flipped up. Additionally, all BAKFlip models offer complete access to all your stake pocket holes if you want to add on any rack system or use them in any other way (such as with bungees or tie-downs when hauling particularly large items). And, as you've likely seen now, you have 100% bed access when the tonneau cover is completely flipped up, so these BAKFlips are truly versatile for hauling both the big and small items.
Demarcating the BAKFlip Line
You've seen the similarities; now let's discuss the differences.
While each BAKFlip offers all of the features discussed above, the ultimate purpose to this guide is to aid you in choosing the right BAKFlip for your pickup. We've already covered the top skin question, so you may be well on your way to purchasing that folding tonneau cover you've always wanted. Let's breakdown the BAKFlip Differences: from Standard to Premium. The Standard Line includes G2 (All Aluminum Series), FiberMax (FRP Fiberglass Series), and the VP (Vinyl Top, though she is in a league of her own really as you'll see below). Premium lines are the MX4 (All Aluminum) & the F1 (FRP Fiberglass). The question is what would make you upgrade from Standard to Premium and is it worth it. The quick answer: probably in most cases.
3 Reasons to Upgrade to Premium
Universal Tailgate Seal
Perhaps the biggest difference from the Premium line and the Standard is in the tailgate seal. The Standard seal is similar to those found on most tonneau covers: a bit of rubberized material that is designed to set on top of your tailgate after you close it--meaning you can't close the cover until you close the gate. While this feature isn't the end of the world for some consumers, if you're like me and you've ever (repeatedly) forgotten to close your tailgate first, then you know how this rubberized seal starts to bend and lose its shape over time. The Universal Tailgate seal, shown above, bypasses all this nonsense, creating a tight seal to keep out harsh environment & local gawkers alike. I prefer this feature simply for my own peace of mind.
Upgraded Injection Molded Latch Housing
The latch system is what keeps the tonneau closed and secure. While the standard latch housing provides the same automatic function as the premium upgrade--both lock easily into place as soon as you slap down a section of the BAKFlip cover, latching at the back end (towards the tailgate) of each section--I can't help but see the extra level of quality and durability that comes from the injection molded latch housing on the Premium line. This is another feature that may make the upgrade pay for itself overtime. If you are the kind of user who plans on flipping up on the reg to haul larger items that won't store underneath the closed cover, this upgrade is for you, as it will improve the life expectancy of the cover by minimizing normal wear.
Speaking of being concerned with the durability and lasting of the product, the warranty may be even more important to you. Here's where the VP (the Vinyl Top) falls into its own category, as she only has a 1 Year Warranty. While all the BAKFlips, even the VP, have that durable aluminum core, vinyl is still vinyl. If you are concerned about damage from your hardcore lifestyle, you may want to consider the other Standard, or even the Premium lines, as they come with a 3 Year or 5 Year, respectively. BAK's tag line is "Built to Outlast your Truck" and the products live up to that motto. Nevertheless, the peace of mind alone may make it well worth it to consider the Premium, especially considering all the additional features that come along with this upgrade.
The Final Decision: Aesthetic Differences
What Does It Look Like on your Pickup
Just as, if not more, important than all the rest, is that aesthetic aspect: does it look good on my truck? This one will come down to personal preference, as it almost always does. While there was a time when shiny was all the rage, today's truck enthusiasts have started looking more for unique style and design, leading to a shift. See the difference below & decide for yourself:
G2's Semi-Gloss Powder Coat Finish
The Standard All Aluminum option provides a semi-gloss shine. When caught in the right light, as shown above, it gives off a reflected glow. Otherwise, it is only semi-reflective. Many consumer's prefer a little shine.
Fiberglass Series High Gloss Finish
Both FiberMax and F1 are finished in high gloss for a little extra shine. This look matches the reflective nature of your polished truck exterior. Again, this comes down to personal prevue, so if bling is your thing, high gloss provides a shine.
MX4's Unique Matte (or Flat) Black Finish
Looking for something a little different? An extremely popular newer offering is the MX4's Matte Black Finish. As you can see it has a less reflective surface that offers superior scratch resistance and additional UV protection.