For Serious Off-Road Use
There's a big difference between that chromed grilleguard they sell down at the local truck accessory store and a real off-road bumper that will stand up to actual use. In the off-road world, form always follows function, so when shopping for a bumper it's important to look for the key components (2-inch receiver mount, approach angle, corner protection, winch mount, light mounting tabs) that separate the real thing from the poseurs.
While researching various options for our Ultimate Super Duty (USD), we came across this handmade tubular bumper from T.R.E.A.D Offroad. It's a true off-road ready platform that we can mount our winch, lights, and front hitch to. It features a 11/44-inch steel plate foundation that bolts to the front framerails in 14 locations. The hefty main tube and hoop are made out of 211/42-inch 0.180-wall DOM tubing to protect the headlights, fenders, and radiator. This is the kind of protection you need on an off-road vehicle. And no, it's not available in chrome! We spec'd our T.R.E.A.D Offroad bumper with four optional light mounting tabs and a front 2-inch receiver mount to make maneuvering our trailer easier. Unfortunately, we screwed up when specifying the winch-mounting configuration. The Warn M15000 winch we use needs to be installed with the mounting feet facing forward, not down as shown in the photo. When ordering your bumper, make sure to specify what model winch you plan to use.
Paint Vs. PowdercoatingSerious off-road bumpers are typically shipped in bare steel or with a light coat of primer to keep them from rusting. Most people will choose to either paint the bumper with spray paint, or will have it professionally powdercoated. The upside to paint is that it's cheap and can be touched up after you scratch it. The advantage of powdercoating is that it will look better and be tougher to damage. The downside to powdercoating is that when you do scratch it or chip it, the whole piece will have to be sandblasted and powdercoated to look new again. For a fullsize bumper like our T.R.E.A.D. Offroad piece, figure about $250 to powdercoat it and maybe $30 to paint it.
|Fits||'99-'04 Ford Super Dutys|
|Winch capacity||16,500 lbs|
|Factory tow hooks retained||Yes|
|Number of light mounts available||8|
|Number of bolts that hold|
|it to the frame||14|
|Top tube and hoop|
|211/42-inch 0.180-wall DOM|
|Lower tube||2-inch 0.135-wall DOM|
|Mainframe||11/44-inch steel, fully boxed|
|Price||$800 plus shipping|