The Pace Edwards Switchblade Review
A Retractable Tonneau Cover that is Easy to Remove and Reinstall
Imagine the perfect Retractable tonneau cover, one that has all of the great features of a retractable truck bed cover, plus some great additional benefits. Now remove the biggest issue many truck owners have with retractables: lack of full truck bed access. Add a little bit of ArmorTek “soft-cover” vinyl like finish, and you’ve got yourself this amazing hybrid of a tonneau cover, a truly versatile retractable--the Pace Edwards Switchblade.
Bullet Point Breakdown
No time to read this whole article? Just want the quick and dirty dets? “Too long; didn’t read” you’re fav acronym? Don’t worry. We hear ya. Here’s our Midwest Aftermarket Bullet Point Breakdown of the Pace Edwards Switchblade:
- Quick and Easy No Drill Install
- Low profile with a sleek vinyl look
- Paired with the security of a hard metal retractable cover
- ArmorTek creates this leather look with hard metal underneath
- Aluminum panels underneath, top coated with a polymer that is weather resistant
- All the look of vinyl with none of the drawbacks
- All the pros of a Retractable with none of the shortcomings
- Cover retracts smoothly in seconds due to Pace’s Continuous Tension Springs
- The bulkhead mounted canister removes in minutes, allowing for Full Bed Access
- All the convenience of a retractable, easy pull strap operation
- Handle extends the full width of the truck bed, making opening and closing easy
- No obstruction to rear visibility like some folding covers
- Fits most extra short beds as well as standard and long bed trucks
- Comes with a One Year Limited Warranty from Pace Edwards
- Finally a Retractable with No Drawbacks and All the Pay Dirt
Retractable--the Way They Should Be Made
If you’ve read various reviews and blogs on our site before, you’re likely tired of me ranting and raving about retractables. I sing their praises, talk them up, and then tear them down, cut ‘em down to size, and sometimes--just occasionally--chop them up into little pieces.
You might say we have a love / hate relationship.
The problem is pretty standard, I suppose. Theoretically, I should have a retractable installed on my truck.
I love the low profile of most retractable tonneau covers. Since most ride low on their rails, lots of retractables are even flush with if not slightly below your truck bed rails. Granted, the tonneau rails ride on the truck bed, so that part is above. But that look of the truck bed cover itself sitting inside the truck bed--there’s just something about it.
The slatted look of the retractable too is so unique and appealing. It makes your trucks bed look armored and bad ass. Of course, there’s also the added security of metal slats that are interlocking or in Pace Edward’s Switchblade’s case, a bonded and molded aluminum skeleton. Strong and durable metal makes your tonneau cover even more secure than say a soft vinyl cover. And retractables, with their recessed top, sitting down beneath the rails, means it is even harder to break into with something like a crowbar for instance than a folding tonneau cover.
As usual, too, I’m not claiming the Switchblade is impenetrable. Of course not. No truck bed cover is. But it does have that added security.
And there’s something also about the way retractable covers function. That smooth in and out motion--seriously, gotta watch my phrasing there--but I mean it. It’s sexy, for lack of a better word. And when properly executed and installed, a retractable cover is truly the easiest to open and close of all truck bed covers.
In other words, I sound like a damn school girl or nerd fan boy over here. I f-ing love retractables.
there’s this one or maybe two stupid little things.
The Canister Conundrum
Here’s the thing about most of the great stuff I love about retractables: things like the smooth glide of opening and closing the tonneau cover or the way the cover sits down inside the rails or even the metal and its added strength and security.
All those features are only made possible by having a--typically massive--canister installed at your bulkhead. And what’s that canister do? Well, it sits there and takes up space, mostly. Of course, it houses and stores the cover when you open it. Duh! But if I’m being honest here, this ends up being the single biggest drawback of almost every retractable, and frankly, why I don’t have one installed on my truck right now.
But Pace is giving me a reason to reconsider with their Switchback.
First let me explain why this is such a deal breaker for guys like myself. The issues is full bed access.
Now brace yourself--cause papa’s gonna preach.
Full bed access means you can use all the space God--or your truck’s manufacturer--gave your truck. In other words, you can load up your truck from bulkhead to tailgate, front end to ass, with as much sh!t as you can, to the brim and overflowing--add on a couple tie-downs and a bungie, and move your little sister into her first apartment in one solitary trip.
That’s what I’m talking about! Full. Bed. Access.
And really it only comes up when you’re doing things like helping people move or if you are a contractor or carpenter or just do odd jobs on the weekend, then it probably comes up all the time. There will be times--mark my words--when you will need to load something in your truck that requires all the space provided, from bulkhead to tailgate.
And retractable covers limit that space. On most you can slide something under the canister, so you could put a few pieces of lumber or plywood or even drywall under there. But you might not be able to load a mattress with box springs and a headboard, plus a dresser, all in one trip, if you have a retractable cover installed.
I’m sure there are truck owners out there who don’t have this issue. They must live in a magical land where no one asks them to help them move at least once a year. Not the same person, but you know what I mean. It just seems like it always comes up. And I’m not complaining. I’m just being honest. I’m going to have to move one of my cousins or siblings or aunt’s or someone this year and the next and the one after. It’s just a fact I’ve come to live with. Am I right?
And for some out there, the pros outweigh the cons here. And don’t get me wrong, I am in love with the positive aspects of retractable tonneau covers. I think this is a style of truck bed cover I feel for right out the gate--a love a first sight kinda experience that I never had with a physical human being before--but a truck bed cover, yeah, I think this might be what it feels like.
But that feeling soured and died off as I realized all I would lose if I installed a retractable cover.
The Pace Edwards Switchblade saves Retractables for me.
And again some might gloss over that bullet point above, but the ability to easily remove the canister and reinstall it later just nails it for me. Finally, we have a retractable cover that can easily give you full bed access when you just have to have it. And you didn’t have to give up any of the great features of a true retractable to do it.
You just had to make the canister removeable and make it simple and easy so it wasn’t such a pain to do. That’s all. And Pace Edwards just nailed it.
Now for the second, much less egregious thing.
The Look of the Typical Retractable
For me, this isn’t as big of a deal. But for some, the metal slat look of most retractables is a deal breaker.
I don’t know exactly what it is. Some witty psychologist type would probably say that when we were all young the first time we say a tonneau cover it was a vinyl cover, and for some reason, no matter how irrational it might seem, we still feel like that is what a truck bed cover is supposed to look like.
Did you hear my psychologist tone come out there? Yeah, let’s lose that nonsense.
Point stands though. There’s just something about vinyl soft tops. They have that low profile look and the sleek leather grain. It’s sexy and appealing to many of us.
So when I went to get my first tonneau cover, I went vinyl soft top, like so many of us do. Some of it was the cost, but a lot of it was that finish. That look of black leather over the top of your truck bed--it speaks to our inner man.
Today, though, I have more income than I’ve had before. I’m a little more mature. Let’s just admit it. And I’d like a cover that is more secure, one that’s easier to open and close than my old soft top.
I like hard folding covers, but while they are more secure, they aren’t really any easier to open. I’d look at hard roll ups, but I don’t know if I like the look of them. And while a retractable has all the features I want, there’s that damn canister issue.
But then Pace Edwards solved that canister problem.
And here I am, ready to roll out a Switchblade for the first time. The last and only hurdle is the look. Now, as I’ve said, I don’t hate the metal finish of many retractables, but I know guys who really want that vinyl top look. So Pace took it a step further. They have the Switchblade Metal for those into the metallic look. But they also have the Switchblade.
Since the Switchblade has the hard aluminum underneath coated with the Armor Tek Vinyl top, you really do end up with the best of both worlds. It’s secure like a retractable, but has the finish of a vinyl top.
And just like that, my quest for the perfect hybrid, the best combination of features without any of the drawbacks of a retractable cover, suddenly came to a close. I’ve found the holy grail of retractable hard covers:
The Pace Edwards Switchblade
Honestly, I didn’t think it would ever happen. That I’d ever be willing to take the plunge into the world of retractable covers, but Pace has addressed all my concerns and kept the great aspects of the retractable intact without any of the problems. They’ve done it. This retractable cover is one solid piece of truck accessory ingenuity. I can’t wait to get my hands on one.
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