The tops we have on our Jeeps are a personal choice. Some people like hardtops, others prefer soft tops, and still others don't want any top on their Jeep at all. When it comes to which soft top, the debate only gets rowdier. Should it be framed or frameless? Which material? Zipper versus hook-and-loop? Which brand? The debate never ends.
For our needs, the factory soft top was great, but the back window was always a bit of a pain in the, umm, rear. We were constantly getting in and out of the back end of our JK, and the zippered window was sometimes hard to deal with. As it became worn out, we had trouble opening and closing it. Finally, the zipper broke, and that began our search for a new top. Because we had gone back and forth between the factory hardtop and soft tops, the decision was practically made for us when Bestop came out with its Trektop Pro.
The Trektop Pro is a soft top with some of the features of a hardtop, so it seems to fit just about everybody's needs. It's a hard-framed soft top with sliding glass side windows, and a glass rear window. We bolted the frame of the top together, beginning with door surrounds, and then worked our way to the back. Following Bestop's instructions, it took us about three hours to complete the initial installation. The most difficult part was getting all the pieces lined up. The hard frame has several parts that go down each side that need to be loosely bolted on and then lined up properly before they're tightened up.
One of the big differences between the Trektop Pro and some other tops on the market (as if glass windows weren't enough) is that there are no zippers. The side panels come together using a slide rail instead. Considering the number of zippers we've had break on soft-top windows, we're eager to see how the rails hold up over the long run. The only thing we would like to see Bestop add is some kind of a bracket to damp the movement of the side windows. They still flutter in the wind like any other soft top, and with that hard-framed window, we wonder how the fabric will hold up after a couple of years. However, in general, we couldn't be happier with the Bestop Trektop. It combines the best parts of a hard and soft top, and as best we can tell so far, Bestop may have hit a home run with this one.
01 There are quite a few parts to this top. The hardware comes in one box, while the cloth parts come in another. Aside from making sure all the pieces are there, laying the cloth out in the sun is a good idea. Especially for a new install, warming the cloth up first helps it to stretch, making for an easier install.
02 With this many pieces to put together, you'll definitely want some help. One thing that can't be overstated is to get everything loosely assembled on the Jeep first, and then tighten everything down.
03 This spring is easily overlooked—we know from experience. It's a tension spring for the Sunrider feature of the top. Make sure to follow the instructions and wrap the cable under the pin on the door surround. If you don't, you'll be like us and have to pull the top back off so that you can do it properly. Learn from our mistakes.
04 The windows slide along a groove in the frame built into the cloth side panel. The cloth side panels are secured with plastic tabs that go under the metal lips along the rim of the Jeep's rear tub and the upright sections of the new top's door surrounds at the C-pillars. Zippers are used at the top and rear. As tight as the fabric was, we found that starting at the back and working our way forward was best.
05 The sliding side windows with screens and the glass window on the rear panel are what set this top apart from the rest. As often as we get into the back of our JK, the glass window makes things so much nicer. It also doesn't scratch as easily as flexible plastic soft-top windows. We will see how the factory window tinting holds up, though.
06 Although our 2011 JK never had a rear window washer and defroster, the adapter wiring for it is included in the Bestop kit. You have to provide the washer motor, but Bestop's adapter harness plugs in to it through the factory wiring. Another one of our favorite features is the capability to remove the rear window, and it's no more complicated than removing your doors. Unscrewing the acorn nut from the end of the hinge bolt allows the window to be easily removed.