Bestop Supertop NX for Jeep JK Wrangler

Feb. 14, 2012 By Pete Bach
Our factory top was in good shape but still ready for replacement

With our project Jeeps, we normally stick to the old saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”  Upgrading parts that don’t need upgrading just seems a bit silly … unless a new product catches our eye that begs to be tested and proves to be a big improvement over its predecessor. Our factory Jeep JK soft top was taken care of with the correct cleaners and conditioners from the day it was purchased and it looked and functioned as if it were almost new.  However, when Bestop announced that they were about to release the new Supertop NX for the Unlimited JK, we threw the old cliche “If it ain’t broke” to the wind.

After speaking at length with Bestop about the the Supertop NX, it was decided to replace our factory soft top. Our neatly packaged top arrived shortly and we eagerly released the fabric top from our JK and then unbolted the factory soft top frame. It’s a fairly simple process when removing the entire soft top assembly from any Jeep.  We wondered if the new Supertop NX would make it even easier to fold down and/or completely remove the Jeeps soft skin and frame. We began the installation of the Supertop NX by assembling the frame and top rails. We’ve installed many soft tops in our 25 years around Jeeps and can usually have them fitted snuggly in a matter of minutes, without directions. The Supertop NX, however, had us stumped and scratching our heads. We believe it would not have been a difficult task had the instruction sheets been more detailed with better illustrations. This little snag slowed our install time down and put us in the two-hour range to complete.

A nice new black top always improves a Wrangler’s looks, even after it get dirty!

Once the top was on and fitment perfected, we stepped back and took a look at our new product.  The Supertop NX looks very similar to the factory Jeep top and fit like a glove. There are no wrinkles or waves, and the windows are taught and glassy.  There aren’t many aftermarket products that bring a well broken- in Jeep Wrangler back to life, better than a brand new soft top.  We now realized that, perhaps, our old factory rag top was not in the excellent shape we had thought it was.

Fliping the sunroof open is simple with the Supertop.

The Supertop NX looks and fits great but function is what we were after most.  We like to fold the top back during spring and fall seasons. We also like to completely remove the top and frame during summer months and store it away while running a bikini. The most unique part of the Supertop NX is the way the front portion of the top folds back. With the quick flip of the factory-like windshield latches, spring-loaded cables allow easy and ridged movement of the sunroof. The factory-style door surrounds feature an open channel at the top that eliminates the need of struggling to remove the traditional plastic tabs that tuck under rails that’s found on most soft top designs. Simply fold it open and you’re done! To fold it back closed, we were able to use one hand to operate it. We’ve never had it so easy.
The soft top sits in these channels in the new door surrounds.

Folding the top all the way down into the back of the Jeep cargo area was just as easy as opening the sunroof. We always take care of our plastic windows and remove them before going topless; storing them in our Jeep vinyl tote bag. This also helps when folding the soft top down while still on its frame.  More importantly, we wanted to see if the new “quick release” function of the top frame really worked. Rather than using bolts to fix the frame to the Jeep’s roll bar, Bestop uses their quick release bow knuckles on the NX. With the push of the buttons, the entire soft top and frame can be lifted off the Jeep for easy handling and storage. This is our favorite feature of the Supertop NX and we plan to use it a lot. 

The quick release bow knuckles make remove as easy as pushing the buttons.

We hear a lot of complaints about wet weather and Jeep soft tops not mixing well. Bestop’s testing facilities are in Colorado … one of the driest states in the U.S. However, we’ve witnessed the torture chamber that Bestop sends all of their top designs through to see if they are leak proof. The rain booth pelts the Jeep top with thousands of gallons of simulated rainwater, testing these well-engineered tops to their limits.  Once the top gets a stamp of approval after many, many hours in the booth from the Bestop engineers, it is ready for the market … and we can report, after several torrential down pours from Mother Nature, we never had a drop of water enter the Jeep cab through the NX top. 

Much like factory, the Supertop NX frame is super strong!

With dry weather in Colorado also comes high winds. Soft tops and wind also do not mix well, and there is nothing worse than a top that flaps, whistles and creaks while driving through gusty conditions. Our factory soft top was barely acceptable during the most windy days but the Supertop NX is something that must be experienced to appreciate. The sailcloth material is simply outstanding and completely eliminates any flapping. The top’s frame is extremely rigid and will not allow the top to move, keeping the Jeep cabin noise-free. We can confidently compare noise levels in our Jeep to other Jeeps with factory hard tops.  On the coldest days, well below zero degrees, we were warm and toasty inside the Jeep with the Sail Cloth barrier around us. The Supertop NX shrugged off some of the most extreme Colorado weather conditions.

The Top Arch bows keep the top in its intended shape all the time.

We’ve bought used Jeeps in the past that had sit out in the elements for years. One thing they all had in common was the swimming pool that had formed in the soft top. Ultraviolet rays break down the material, allowing it to get brittle and stretched, and inevitably sag in the middle. Rain will collect in the sagged-out area of the top, which ultimately stretches the top so it is unusable. Bestop includes its Top Arch bows with the NX top that keeps the sailcloth material in its necessary shape and sheds water whether you’re driving 75 mph or standing still. To minimize the damaging effects of the sun, we also slathered Bestop’s Protectant all over the outside material. Think of it as Sun Block for your soft top!  It really works.

The Supertop NX was well worth replacing the factory Jeep soft top. The convenience and function are its best attributes, but the way it brings a Jeep back to showroom looks and style are also worth considering, especially when a Jeep is covered by nearly 40 percent cloth.  A new soft top really enhances the look of any Jeep … and if your Jeep runs a hardtop, what better way to make the change.  Check out the new Bestop Supertop NX for the whole Jeep line up. 

Bestop, Inc.
P.O. Box 307
Broomfield, CO 80038 U.S.A. Newsletter
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