I found Retrax™ which is a beautiful cover. Like a kid at Christmas I opened the box and put it on. I installed it out in the parking lot with just a couple of hand tools in under and hour and a half. In a word, "wow!". What a beautiful work of art. You could put a frame around it and hang it on the wall of a museum.
The first thing you notice that is unlike any other cover, is that the cover rolls up into a spiral track that prevents the cover from touching itself when rolled up. The top or bottom of the cover never touches itself, or anything else. This solves all the premature wear, tear and scuffing problems most all other covers have.
It also has sealed roller bearings every few inches along the cover that makes rolling it up or down as smooth as polished glass. You can easily roll it up with just your pinkie finger! The second thing is just the overall high quality of every component, not to mention the very secure packing materials ensuring your cover will make it to you undamaged, the first time. The powder coated finish on everything was beyond show quality. I was expecting some little defect, flaw, scratch, scuff, something, somewhere. There just had to be! But after wasting a half hour with a magnifying glass looking for one, I gave up and just decided to enjoy the luxury of such a beautifully crafted product. The gloss & finish was spectacular.
Finally, the installation was a breeze. Even installing it out ion the parking lot by myself, other than lifting it into the truck. I decided to start taking pictures...
Retrax Pro bed cover Installation
I installed the Retrax Pro on a brand new 2014 Ford Super Duty dually pickup with an 8 foot bed.
The 6 foot long box containing the canister was heavy and extremely well packed with closed cell foam end caps and heavy cardboard cladding. The 8 foot long slender box containing the side rails was equally well packed with the box itself outweighing the parts inside. All components were delivered free of any damage or mishaps.
1. The rolling cover within the canister is secured by two aluminum shipping tabs that are removed with a screwdriver and a heavy twisted wire. Since the installation appeared to be so easy, the job was done out in the store parking lot. First a blanket was laid on the ground at the rear of the truck so the canister could be set on it without any scratches.
2. Then each side rail is bolted to the canister with just a Phillips head screw driver needed. In the photos you can see that each part is covered with a clear plastic protective sheet that is easily removed after the system is installed. (Side note: even with the plastic covering on it still looks better than most other covers do at their best!)
3. Once the two side rails and canister unit are bolted together, it is just lifted up into the bed as a unit and set down at the headboard of the box. This is the only segment where two people are needed to precisely place the heavy duty canister in place. This thing is not light, and it was made for some serious heavy duty usage!
4. On the 8 foot model there were six heavy clamps, three for each side and a total of six pairs of nylon allen head fine adjustment screws which are used to perfectly space and align the side rails so they are nice and straight and parallel, no matter what shape the sides of the truck bed are in. No drill is needed, just a single wrench and a tape measure.
5. One installed you can open the weather proof cap and push the button to release the grab handle which also unlocks the cover from whatever position it is in. The first thing you will notice is you simply will not believe how easy and effortlessly it is to pull the cover out. One finger is all you need due to the Sixty (60!) sealed roller bearings making this possible. That's probably a couple hundred bucks just in these little bearings... and that's also a couple hundred bucks other cover makers are saving in extra profit.
6. So ok... that's it! You are done and ready to rock. In fact it was so easy I had to go back and re-read the instructions thinking I must have missed something, but nope! I was done and ready to go.
A. With the cover retracted, the canister takes up very little space even for an 8 foot bed. The cover also retracting much farther up the bed than the previous cover... and keep in mind this is all done while having an air space between the top and bottom of the cover when rolled up in the canister!
When in "pickup bed mode" the glossy smooth side rails look very nice and classy. Heck, even if you didn't put the canister in and just used the rails, it would already enhance the beauty of your truck. But... just wait 'till that gleaming glossy cover is pulled out and closed... you'll never want to have anything else, ever again.
B. Now here is what I'm talkin' about. With the Retrax cover rolled back and all the clear protective tape removed you immediately are greeted with the absolutely gorgeous high gloss coated finish which really gives your truck a high end classy appearance with this simple yet significant upgrade.
Now don't think the Retrax product is just is all show... it will hold 500 pounds! Yes, you can stand on the darn thing, but it looks so good I doubt you'd want to stand on your hood either. But I have to admit, I was just a little curious so I took that blanket that was on the ground and shook it off and laid it over the top of the cover, and grimly crawled up on top of it. Sure enough! It held 280 pounds without a problem and while I wasn't brave enough to try, I'm pretty sure I'd have a bent "V" shaped had I tried that on any other retractable brand cover. I'm impressed.
Now, this is not some space aged secret. This whole system weight about 150 pounds so there is some serious aluminum here. The aluminum cross panels are about 1" thick of hollow braced channels, and not just flat thin slats like other covers have. Of course all this material and quality costs money... and you get what you pay for. And in the case of Retrax, you get more than what you pay for!
C. Looking back at the cover, you can see it almost has a better finish than the brand new factory paint job on the truck itself!
Another nice feature is that the very rear of the cover rolls OVER the tailgate and not just bumping "up to it" like many other covers do. This creates a sleeker and cleaner look and better weather seal which is located underneath the cover against the tail gate. This also prevents from having to slam the tailgate shut to overcome the resistance of a tight fitting cover that merely "bumps up" against it like others have to.
Another very unique and useful feature is that the Retrax cover can be locked into ANY position you choose, anywhere between open and closed. Other covers make you lock it in at every 6 or 12" intervals, which makes it a pain when you need the cover pulled back to just the right position, not further in or out. I like to close the cover so it just barely does not touch the gooseneck trailer post making for a very clean look as well as allowing me to store dry goods under the front portion of the partially closed cover and improving aerodynamics while towing. With the previous cover either it was touching the gooseneck or almost a foot away.
D. This is another view of the cover right out of the box, and I did not even get a chance to wipe it off let alone wax it or anything else. It is as glossy smooth as a shimmering crystal clear pond at sunset.
While the individual cross bars appear to be "rounded" like a window shade, they are almost nearly flat with no space between them. The underside looks almost as good as the topside but with the structural engineering prowess you'd expect to find under a major arterial highway suspension bridge. The cover does not shake up and down at all, does not bounce, wiggle or move once locked in place.
In fact driving 60 mph down even the roughest of roads with the rear window open you can not hear a thing. The existence of the Retrax cover is cloaked in sheer silence. My previous cover sounded like a box of chains rattling around in a metal tray in the same situation. finally, I can use my rear window, anytime I want!
SUMMARY: This cover is so much nicer in every way than my previous cover, or any cover I had ever seen for that matter that I had to show it to you. In order to do this product justice, it require a webpage dedicated just for this. Retrax has been around since 1996 and is a family owned company out of North Dakota. It's obvious they made their product on the heels of improving on every other cover's shortcomings making this by far, the most significant investment you could possible grace your truck with.
BELOW is a view from UNDER the covers... nicely coated and color matched rather than "raw aluminum" found on other brands.