IMPORTANT NOTE: THIS IS A PROTOTYPE RACK, AND ONLY REFLECTIVE OF THE PRODUCTION UNIT IN GENERAL APPEARANCE AND FUNCTIONAL DESIGN, NOT FINAL DESIGN, STRUCTURE, ETC.
Expedition Portal had the opportunity to install the very first prototype JK Wrangler rack from BajaRack. We fitted the rack to a 2009 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon, which immediately after the rack was installed, the Jeep crossed the border into Mexico for Guatemala. This wrangler is part of our team for the Ends of the Earth Expedition.
Overland Journal and Expedition Portal has had a long relationship with Baja Rack, starting when we first met Sergio and his team as I was in line for contingency at the 2007 Baja 500. Personally, I am a huge fan of their racks, and the company. Their designs are robust, original and made in Baja- how cool is that. I am all for supporting a company that employes people from a place we love to visit (similar to Sandstorm of Kenya).
The schedule was tight with our team members leaving, but Sergio and the BajaRack team pulled out the stops and completed the rack, then having the unit overnighted to Prescott.
The Rack is comprised of two parts. The JK mounting system, which secures at the A pillar, using factory bolts in the windscreen hinge. The attachment is 1/4" steel plate, to which the 1 3/4" steel tube is welded. This tube is then bent at the top of the windscreen, where it then runs along to top (hard or soft), before again bending and turning downward to the rear mount, just next to the rear turn indicator assembly. Both the driver and passenger side main support units are constructed the same. To ensure pitch rigidity and to strengthen the overall assembly, there are four crossmembers. Each crossmember mates to a plate on the main hoops and secures with two 5/16" bolts per side. These crossmembers serve as the mounting point for the next part of the package, the expedition rack.
The JK Baja Rack kit is available with either a full-length rack, complete with 4" side rails, or with a slick expedition rack, which is designed to mount an Eezi-Awn tent or similar. The 94" roof line of the Unlimited Wrangler allows for a small basket in the front for storing a few Pelican cases, etc. and still mount up to a 1600mm tent. We actually mounted an 1800 tent, though it does stick out past the rear roofline by a few inches.
This unit is a prototype, so a bit early to comment on overall quality, fitment and durability, but I can attest to the clever design and ease of installation. I expect several refinements will be present in the production models. This unit is very light weight, and will most likely be a great value too.
BajaRack has just send an update on the JK rack, including some great images.
The prototype rack lasted throughout Central America, including some serious trails and jungle tracks.