Rock Gear's WindBreaker System
Rock Gear's unique Jeep soft top Short Cuts
by: Ron Hollatz - 3/2001
WindBreaker installed
Project Money Pit with the WindBreaker system installed.
Photo by Laurie Hollatz
collapsed upper door
The upper doors collapse for easy storage.
Photo by Laurie Hollatz
side window
The side windows fold up into pockets along the side of the top.
Photo by Laurie Hollatz
rear tensioning strap
Tension straps keep the top tight to eliminate flapping.
Photo by Laurie Hollatz

After being exposed to the elements for 5 years, the soft-top on Project Money Pit needed to be replaced. Instead of replacing it with the typical frame/soft-top combination, I decided I wanted to go with something unique. While at the 1999 Easter Jeep Safari, my wife and I saw a couple of Jeeps with the WindBreaker System made by a company based in Farmington, New Mexico, called Rock Gear, Inc. What caught our eyes were the bright colors instead of the typical blacks and browns produced by most manufacturers. Since our Wrangler came from the factory with boring white paint, a unique colored top would really make it stand out in a crowd. After some research, I found out there was a lot more to the WindBreaker than it's 11 standard and 56 custom colors.

More than just a "Pretty Top"

The WindBreaker System is built out of Sunbrella fabric. This acrylic-coated polyester fabric is usually seen on boat covers and awnings. The fabric is colored using a solution-dying process that the manufacturer claims will last for years without fading or washing out. The fabric feels very strong and is suppler than the vinyl usually used in soft-top construction. The Sunbrella fabric is also the same color inside and out. This gives the top a more finished appearance than others on the market. The WindBreaker is also built using separate pieces for the side windows and rear hatch. This allows customers to mix and match colors on the same top. Rock Gear, Inc., has models available for Jeep CJs, YJs, and TJs.

What really makes this top unique is that there is no frame needed for mounting. The WindBreaker uses a windshield channel in the front and tension straps in the rear. The top is supported by the factory roll bar and the side windows use a combination of rails and snaps. This mounting method allows the oversized side windows to roll up into pockets on the underside of the top. Now instead of having to carry a soft-top and a bikini top, you can get both with the WindBreaker System. There are also tension straps inside the pockets that allow you infinite adjustment for the perfect fit. The rear window is also oversized, and is easily accessed with two snaps and some Velcro. This makes the rear hatch easier to open than the zippers found on most tops.

The WindBreaker can be used with most factory and aftermarket doors, but the doors produced by Rock Gear, Inc., are among the best I've seen. The most noticeable feature is the two-piece construction of the lower doors. Both sides of the metal frame are skinned with insulated Sunbrella fabric and the hinges are adjustable for proper fit. Heavy rubber weather-stripping is installed where the door meets the body and a pocket is attached to the inside of the door. The upper doors feature an oversized window with heavy-duty zippers. What I really like about the upper doors is they are collapsible. This feature allows the upper frame to be disassembled (a matching bag is included for storage), and the skins can be rolled up. Both the skins and the frame can then be stored in a mesh pocket inside the top.

Impressions

When it came time to order my top, I chose a bright purple named Concord. I ordered both the top and sides in the same color, but had them use black for the piping along the edges. When the top arrived it was well packaged and included all the necessary hardware along with instructions for installation. The top looks great! The Concord really stands out against the white and black body. It took about an hour to install the top and hardware using only some basic hand tools and a drill. Now that I have been using the WindBreaker for a while, it only takes me about 5 minutes to raise or lower the top. It is very nice carrying a top that gives you the option of using it as a full top or a bikini top, all in one product. Since the WindBreaker has no frame, it can be easily removed and folded for storage when you want to go with no top. The WindBreaker doesn't fold up as small as you would think because of the stiffening rods in the top, but it is easily manageable and well worth the space. On the road, the WindBreaker stays tight and is a lot quieter than my old top. I truly don't miss the flapping noise at high speeds. The oversized widows help to minimize the blind spots.

Overall, I have been extremely happy with the top and highly recommend the WindBreaker System by Rock Gear, Inc.

Contacts: Related Links:
  • Rock Gear, Inc
    Dept. ORN
    214 S. Fairview Ave.
    Farmington
    , NM 87401 USA
    Phone 1-888-ROK-GEAR