One of the things that we have learned over the years building roof and bed racks is that if you think you have something designed to be stout enough to handle the off road environment, you should go over it again, add some welds, maybe a gusset or five, make the bolts bigger, and use nylon locking hardware.
You would be amazed how many times in testing a product we ripped things to shreds on what we thought was a mild trail. Broken parts. Fractured welds. Bolts sheared right in half. Access to the best design software on earth is no match for the Rocky Mountains at speed.
Trails show no mercy to your vehicle or the things you have mounted to them. Hit a dirt road with the wrong suspension and 40 Psi in your tires and not only will you jar your soul but you will also shake things loose on your vehicle that you wouldn’t imagine could come loose. All of this experience and knowledge has to come together for the Ute in a final design that can be shipped relatively flat, assembled by someone without a degree in structural engineering, and ready for an adventure before it’s time to readjust your clocks. This should be easy , right?
Design a system that can shows up at your door in some boxes, assembles into the sinister looking tray and canopy we’ve promised you, and survives every dirt road, mountain pass, sand dune, and river bed you can point your truck at. Oh yeah...we also must figure out how to make parts interchangeable between vehicle platforms to keep the production lead times down. So... how?
You abandon what you are used to and aluminum gives way to materials like stainless steel because it is stronger and more rigid. It’s less likely to scratch when you drag it through the bush. You bring in experts on structural steel and you listen to what they have to say. You research bushings, bearings, latches, and handles to find the right one for the job. You embrace stress analysis, metallurgy, and learn about new types of hardware that can handle the abuse a Ute will have to endure to wear the badge. You acknowledge that simply having an idea doesn’t necessarily mean you know the best way to build it.
The airFRAME™ is the first step in that direction. Adaptable to nearly any pickup truck on the market we’ve engineered and re-engineered the most rigid structure for a tray platform ever conceived that doesn’t forget that it is on a vehicle that will be twisting, turning, jumping, and climbing over mother earth and it will do that job while allowing fender adjustment for large tires and long travel suspension.
It integrates weather-resistant boxes and drawers adding storage in places that not only make sense but expand the amount of gear you can bring and how you organize it.
At the end of it all the Ute might be the hardest product we have ever designed. It’s definitely the biggest - but you know what they say? If you have to eat an elephant, then you do it one bite at a time.
The airFRAME™ was the first bite and we cannot wait to show you how It works.