Short-bed truck owners know the horrors of fitting two dirt bikes in their haulers without lowering the tailgate. It’s almost like motorcycling’s version of Twister. We prefer to leave the tailgate down, but then gearbags and gascans litter the roadways, especially with Lump’s startled-rabbit launches from red-lights. If you use extra tie-downs to secure everything, you end up with a demented spiderweb that makes unloading a nightmare. AMP Research addressed the problem with its Bed X-Tender, but that system requires drilling six holes in your truck’s tailgate for installation. If you’re anything like Lumpster, you’d rather drill holes in your own cranium with a dull drillbit than burrow into a $20,000 vehicle. There’s also the hassle of removing and re-installing the aluminum framework every time you load or unload a bike. That’s why Advant-Edge, the company that brought us comfort with its terry-cloth shin-guard covers, produced the Tailgate Net. This system uses two folding steel frames that quickly attach to your truck’s tailgate latch system and a three-piece net that stretches between the two frames. Rather than removing the whole system to load a bike, simply undo three quick-release clasps, and the net swings out of the way for loading/unloading. Or you can quickly remove the whole set-up by loosening two wing-bolts and popping the tailgate latch. The unit then folds to about the size of a truck’s scissor-jack and stows behind the seat. We installed the Advant-Edge Tailgate Net on Lump’s C1500 Chevy in 20 minutes using nothing but a 9/16-inch boxend wrench and a #2 phillips screwdriver. It actually takes longer to read the directions than install the Tailgate Net. Lower your tailgate, unfold the frames, and attach the sliding box catch clamp bracket to your truck’s tailgate box catch. You’ll thread the two eye bolts into one of several holes (whichever lines up with the tailgate latch on each side) then adjust the net to the size of your truck. The Tailgate Net comes in two sizes – one for mini trucks and another for full-size haulers – with the only difference being the length of the center net. The unit went on quickly and easily with the most time spent adjusting the eye-bolts and net. We had to pry the eye-bolts open a bit for them to fit over the tailgate latches. The kit comes with stick-on rubber pads to keep the Tailgate Net’s frame from rubbing on the lowered tailgate, too. Once you’ve got everything lined up properly, use two provided self-tapping screws to keep the box catch clamps from sliding on the frame, and you’re done! Advant-Edge recommends leaving a little slack in the main net to ease undoing it for loading. You might want to round the sharp edges of the support plate with a grinder or file, as they’re pretty sharp, stock, and can catch your shirt-tail or pants-leg. That’s the only modification we made, and the net eliminates air turbulence that occurs with the tailgate closed. Best of all, the Tailgate Net comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee and creates peace-of-mind when hauling. Cost is $138.67, which is about 60-percent of the cost of the AMP Bed X-Tender. Call Advant-Edge at (800)238-2683 and relate the year, make and model of your truck.
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