Bestop vs Mopar Soft Top, my take (OEM, Supertop NX, Softtop) - JeepForum.com
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Unread 02-12-2013, 08:31 PM   #1
bigjeep127
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Bestop vs Mopar Soft Top, my take (OEM, Supertop NX, Softtop)

As someone who just purchased and returned a Bestop Supertop NX and then bought a Mopar soft top I believe I'm in a great place to offer a good comparison. A few disclaimers first...

First, this is for people who are currently in the market so that they can make an informed decision, it may get long and my goal is not to stir any debate but just put my two cents out there for others to chew on.

Second, I am admittedly a very picky person, my standards for what I find acceptable may be different than yours, keep that in mind.

Third, this comparison has been done on this forum, but I see much incorrect or misleading information out there that led me to purchase the Supertop NX first. Hopefully this will save some people some time/money.

Okay here goes, let me start off by saying that the Jeep I just bought is my 3rd TJ. The first two came with factory soft tops, an 00 and 04. I purchased the 04 new so I know what a new OEM top is like. The Jeep I just bought came with a hard top which I had no use for. I sold it and did some searching here and decided to go with the Bestop Supertop NX. I settled on this based on 1. the price difference ($650 Bestop, $1200 Mopar) and 2. the idea that the Supertop was "pretty" close to the Mopar. The Supertop NX is "pretty" close, I'll try to describe how close.

THEY ARE NOT THE SAME: If you learn one thing from this post make it this. The Supertop NX is NOT the same as the Mopar. By not the same I mean that the Supertop NX is clearly engineered and manufactured to a lesser standard than the Mopar. IT IS DESIGNED TO BE CHEAPER, THAT'S WHY IT'S CHEAPER. It's not as simple as "the Mopar is a Bestop with a Mopar tag, you're paying $600 for a tag". I read sooo many posts on JF where people said "Bestop makes the OEM/Mopar top, they're the same" or something along the lines. Lot's of people just reply "Bestop is the supplier of Mopar tops" and do not elaborate. This is true, but it can imply that they're the same top. So let me be absolutely clear, I just experienced both within days of each other (install and use), they are NOT THE SAME. Yes, I know many are aware of this, but there is such a mix of info out there I wanted to post this thread to make it clear. Yes, they may be made and designed by the same company and even made in the same factory (my new Mopar top was made in Mexico like the Supertop NX), but that doesn't make them the same.

HARDWARE IS SIMILAR IN DESIGN, NOT QUALITY: The design is very similar for both tops. It was Bestop's goal to repeat the design of the OEM hardware for the Supertop NX and they're almost identical in shape and function with the exceptions of the "sun rider" feature of the Supertop NX and as well as the bow above the front passengers. Now some people may really want the sunrider function but I was not impressed. It only opens about half of the fabric above the front passengers heads'. If I had this top in the summer I doubt I'd even use that function, but that's my preference. As for the bow, this is designed to keep water from piling up on the fabric above the front passengers. I've never once had this issue with an OEM top, I believe it's because the fabric fits tighter than with the Supertop NX. As for the hardware quality, this is where there is a huge difference. The Mopar hardware is thicker, better machined (drilled) and even looks better. The Supertop NX hardware feels flimsy, it does not inspire confidence and makes the top more difficult and less pleasant to put up and down. The plastic door surrounds on the Mopar are vastly superior to the Supertop NX. They are much beefier, they fit better (my Supertop NX surrounds didn't even fit, the bolt holes didn't line up), and they even look better, the Supertop NX surround plastic finish looks cheap.

FABRIC IS NOT THE SAME QUALITY: Now this seems to be the consensus on JF but just to reiterate... The Mopar fabric is thicker, quieter and better looking (windows and cloth less wrinkly looking). The Mopar just feels tremendously heftier. It also fits better. It was easier to install and it looks like it's on there tighter. Now people seem to think that the Bestop Sailcloth Replace a Top that fits over OEM hardware is identical to the Mopar. I can't comment on this as I haven't seen it in person. BUT, since the cost of the sailcloth itself almost equals the cost of the Supertop NX (cloth plus hardware), this may be accurate. If this is true I was very disappointed to see Bestop's own video describe the fabric on the Supertop NX as "sailcloth" material. If they are different, this is misleading.

PROS OF THE BESTOP SUPERTOP NX: Okay not to completely bash the Supertop NX I'll leave these thoughts. If you're looking for a soft top and don't want to spend $1200 on Mopar, the Supertop NX is "okay". It works, it can be raised and lowered by one person, it's not terribly loud, but again not as quiet as the Mopar. I just really really don't see some of that hardware lasting a long time. Also, the Supertop NX looks fine, great actually. It's almost indistinguishable from the Mopar once it's on, not bad looking at all. Mine was more wrinkly than the Mopar but it may have settled more if I kept it longer.

RECAP: It is obvious that Chrysler has high standards for their OEM tops and that is still what you get when you order a replacement Mopar top. The Mopar top I got is identical to the one that was on my 04 fresh out of the dealership, as it should be. The Supertop NX is a clear attempt to make an aftermarket top at a lower cost and hence the lower selling price. So in the end, I was just too disappointed to keep the Supertop NX after having OEM tops in the past. I don't know if maybe I was expecting too much, but even after reaching much deeper into my wallet I could not be happier with the Mopar. My Jeep feels brand spanking new now. Now sure, your mileage may vary and you may be perfectly happy with the Supertop NX. Just know that if you got used to the OEM top (especially 2003 up where they were a little nicer IMO) then you may have trouble going to a Supertop NX. In closing, regarding value, I believe the Mopar is worth the money I paid for it, I don't believe the Supertop NX was worth what I paid, maybe knock $200 off and it'd be about right.

Okay, I hope this helped someone make a decision. Congrats if you made it through all of this. If you think I got anything wrong or left something out please let me know

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Unread 02-14-2013, 08:13 AM   #2
GMBNT42
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Its common knowledge that the only Bestop tops that are the equivalent of the original OEM Mopar tops are the sailcloth "replace a tops" that are available without hardware. All the other stuff is a step or 2 down. If you want OEM quality, then buy an OEM top, or buy the Bestop "Replace a top" sailcloth equivalent. Thats it.
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Unread 03-11-2013, 09:42 PM   #3
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Hey bigjeep,

Thanks a million for taking the time to write this up I'm in the process of ditching my hard top and you answered every single question I had.

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Unread 03-11-2013, 09:55 PM   #4
hustler905
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Interesting.

I had a Rampage top and just sold it, I have had a Sailcloth Replace-A-Top, and an early TJ factory soft top.

It's time again to get a top with hardware and I am seriously debating the Supertop NX vs. buying a trashed OE top/hardware and getting a new skin. This thread gives me something else to think about.
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Unread 03-12-2013, 12:11 AM   #5
Kracka00
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I have the Bestop NX with the sunrider feature etc... I really like the top. Obviously nothing works as well as the original OEM parts but for an aftermarket top i've really enjoyed my Bestop NX its easy to remove and does the job of keeping the weather out... I really like the unique look of the Bestop nx over the OEM top especially in the back portion of the jeep, and i like the Safari roof feature as well.... But yes i admit the OEM top is always going to be better quality over aftermarket.
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Unread 03-12-2013, 02:58 AM   #6
crateampscal
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GMBNT42 View Post
Its common knowledge that the only Bestop tops that are the equivalent of the original OEM Mopar tops are the sailcloth "replace a tops" that are available without hardware. All the other stuff is a step or 2 down. If you want OEM quality, then buy an OEM top, or buy the Bestop "Replace a top" sailcloth equivalent. Thats it.
I wonder if the "Replace-a-Top and the "NX Supertop" are same sailcloth? If they are and this review is accurate, then the "common knowledge" must be thrown out. The OP is clearly saying that the fabrics are NOT the same and that the 'Common Knowledge' is wrong.

This is a comment by Jerry Bransford in another thread:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerry Bransford View Post
I have one on my TJ, it's a great top. But how it compares to the OE top depends on what model year TJ you have. If your TJ already has a Sailcloth fabric top, which is made for Jeep by Bestop, then there is no real benefit since the Supertop NX is made from Sailcloth as well.

The big deal with the Supertop NX is that you could finally get an OE style frame which with it. Before the Supertop NX was released by Bestop, you could not buy a new OE style soft top frame from anyone but the Jeep dealership. The other aftermarket soft top frames were terrible and were hard to erect, take down, etc.

So if you need a new top, one of Bestop's Sailcloth Replace-A-Tops is what you need. If you also need the frame, then the Supertop NX is the way to go... it comes with everything you need. The frame it comes with is also adjustable for tension in the rear which the OE frame is not... which is handy for when the top gets old and stretches a tad.

One more benefit with the Supertop NX is that it can be flipped up in front to give you something like a sun roof. To me, that is more trouble than it's worth, I have only flipped mine up once to see how it worked.

By the way, if you saw the Supertop NX in Bestop's soft top brochure, that is my TJ they used to show what it looks like... they gave me a prototype top to install and try out and they took a bunch of photos of it on the beach.
These two reviews don't match up. its also hard to compare a new OEM top to a new NX Sailcloth top. One never gets to see two NEW tops side by side. this is what's intriguing about the OP's review. Are the manufacturing standards for OEM sailcloth from jeep higher than the sailcloth you can get through bestop? I wonder if the fabric that comes with the NX top is lighter due to its frame tolerances? The tensioner that the NX frame comes with makes me think in that direction. Either way, this thread can't help but pop questions into your head.

Id like to hear if Mr. Bransford has anything to say about this review
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Unread 03-12-2013, 07:15 AM   #7
TheBoogieman
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I replaced my OEM sailcoth top top on my 03' with a Bestop sailcloth RAT.I found no noticeable difference.I got mine brand new for $200 on craigslist.I wouldn't pay $1200 for a soft top unless it was sewn with pure gold thread and had a 25 year warranty.My original top on my 98' wan't sailcloth and it still lasted 10 years.
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Unread 03-12-2013, 08:50 AM   #8
GMBNT42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crateampscal View Post
I wonder if the "Replace-a-Top and the "NX Supertop" are same sailcloth? If they are and this review is accurate, then the "common knowledge" must be thrown out. The OP is clearly saying that the fabrics are NOT the same and that the 'Common Knowledge' is wrong.

This is a comment by Jerry Bransford in another thread:


These two reviews don't match up. its also hard to compare a new OEM top to a new NX Sailcloth top. One never gets to see two NEW tops side by side. this is what's intriguing about the OP's review. Are the manufacturing standards for OEM sailcloth from jeep higher than the sailcloth you can get through bestop? I wonder if the fabric that comes with the NX top is lighter due to its frame tolerances? The tensioner that the NX frame comes with makes me think in that direction. Either way, this thread can't help but pop questions into your head.

Id like to hear if Mr. Bransford has anything to say about this review
On the NX supertop the actual sailcloth fabric most likely is the same as the sailcloth "replace a top". But the hardware is different, and the zippers/zipper seams are too. THe OEM hardware(And zippers/zipper seams on the OEM tops)is more rugged.

With the sailcloth "replace a top" you use the original factory hardware(big key). The sailcloth material is right on par with the OEM material(which very well may be the same as the supertop nx material) minus again the zippers and zipper seams, but due to using the factory hardware and way its cut will fit on par with the OE top which it replaces.
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Unread 03-18-2013, 09:34 AM   #9
bigjeep127
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The Supertop NX fabric vs the Sailcloth RAT is still a mystery to me. I've never had a Sailcloth RAT but the consensus on this forum is that it's just about smack dab the same as the Mopar cloth. The mystery lies in the fact that the Bestop video for the Supertop NX mentions that it uses Bestop's "Sailcloth material". Here is the description of the Supertop NX from Bestop's website...

"Supertop® NX is Bestop's factory style soft top comes with factory-style door surrounds, factory-style windshield channel, and tinted windows. Plus, it includes a Top Arch to support the fabric, quick release bow knuckles for tool-less top removal, and a new adjustable plate to maintain top taughtness.
Available in variety of colors and black sailcloth.

Complete top with OEM style hardware
High grade premium fabric
High Strength steel and OEM composite plastic hardware
Fold back sunroof feature - standard
Multiple door kits available
Available for TJD applications
Two Year Warranty
The YJ Supertop NX is designed as a factory replacement top: it does not have a sunroof feature, Top Arch, quick releases knuckles, or plastic door surrounds."


You can see that they call it "high grade premium fabric".

On the video however they do use the word "Sailcloth". They don't say it's THE same sailcloth as the RAT. Here's the Sailcloth RAT description from their website...

"Replace-a-top™ takes advantage of your still good factory hardware, and gets you all new fabric and windows.
The Sailcloth Replace-a-tops™ takes the award-winning formula of Replace-a-top, and adds in heavier sailcloth fabric. Sailcloth tops are the quietest soft tops on the market. The secret to this Jeep soft top lies in the unique multi-ply Sailcloth fabric. Each ply plays a different role, but together they reflect road sounds, absorb wind noise, and prevent buffeting to create a silencing effect that absolutely must be heard to be believed.
The tough, premium fabric dramatically reduces outside noise and enhances insulation.
Kits include soft top, windows and optional door skins."

They really talk up the fabric here of course. If the Supertop NX came with the exact same fabric I would think Bestop would play that up in their description, but they do not. Also, on Quadtratec the Supertop NX is currently $710 and the Sailcloth RAT is $590. If the cloth is identical, that means all of the hardware included in the Supertop NX is costing you $120, which seems a bit low.

So it's still a mystery to me. Only someone who's had both can say if they're the same cloth. I can only tell you that the cloth from the Mopar definitely felt heavier/thicker, fit better, and sounded quieter than the cloth from the Supertop NX, so they are indeed different.

If I had been able to find a good set of OEM hardware used I would've bought that and gone with the Sailcloth RAT (and hopefully had been happy). Unfortunately after selling the hardtop I was topless in the winter and had to get something fast. It's somewhat depressing to see people talk about how cheap they got unused or very good condition Mopar tops second hand, but I just couldn't find anything out there in the time I had.

Here's another bit of info for you. Though I'm happy with the Mopar, even it is not perfect. I noticed my left window was sagging compared to the right. Turns out that the snaps on the rear bow were drilled a little to the left and it pulled the top that way. I spoke with the dealer I ordered it from and they said Chrysler required a whole new top to be shipped under warranty. So they sent me another complete top and had me swap any parts that were defective. I took the bow from the new one and it was much better, but it's still not perfect. The top itself is off to the left so I installed the new one and it fit even worse. The right rear corner sagged. I spent much time aligning it properly too (believe me, I'm a pro at installing these things now). Also, the windows (yeah I know they scratch easily) were a bit scuffed/scratched from the factory. Maybe I'm expecting too much, it is cloth and not machined steel after all. I'm not sure if it's just that the factory in Mexico doesn't produce as good of a top as the one in Colorado used to (My older Mopar tops fit perfectly) or I'm just too darn picky. Maybe it's a little of both. Also I realize it will probably break in more when the warm weather comes.

In closing, if you've got some time I'd recommend finding used OEM hardware plus Sailcloth RAT or a complete OEM top instead of going with the Supertop NX. If you're not a super picky person who is essentially trying to make his used TJ "like new" again, maybe you'll be okay with the Supertop NX, but make sure you find a deal (Amazon is good).
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Unread 03-18-2013, 09:46 AM   #10
hustler905
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigjeep127 View Post
In closing, if you've got some time I'd recommend finding used OEM hardware plus Sailcloth RAT or a complete OEM top instead of going with the Supertop NX. If you're not a super picky person who is essentially trying to make his used TJ "like new" again, maybe you'll be okay with the Supertop NX, but make sure you find a deal (Amazon is good).
Sounds like we're on the same page here. I have cooled my jets on the Supertop and have started looking for one of these NIB Mopar tops that seem to fall from heaven and into the classifieds, or a top for sale used that needs a new skin.
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Unread 03-18-2013, 10:01 AM   #11
2jhanna
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for those looking and who live in california. just posted a few days ago.

http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f176/.../#post15139223

i happened to luck into one of these deals a few years ago, new/never used complete top with hardware, $350, plus sold my old top for $200.
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Unread 06-03-2013, 09:50 PM   #12
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I got my NX frame/hardware set and 2pc soft doors a couple weeks ago and I have to admit, I'm less than thrilled with the quality. I live in Asian and had to ship it to a friend state side and then carry the entire thing all the way back home to Taiwan on my flight. I can't imagine how pissed off I'd be if I actually payed to have it imported. The header bar showed minor signs of rust and had scuff marks on it.


The window surrounds were scuffed as well.

The packaging was ok so I imagine it left the assembly line like this. Also, the two piece soft door instructions show special anti-theft screws for fastening the door handrails. However all I got were standard Philips head screws.

These issues wouldn't have been that big a deal had I not spent 800 bucks for the stuff. Thank god I was able to find a decent fairly priced OEM canvas.

Sent from my JeepForum using iPhone...oh wait...what?...
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Unread 06-04-2013, 08:12 AM   #13
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Or you should considered a local marine top maker. That way you can get the color and fit , style you'd like! Much rather give to an local fabricator the business and paying half the price for a top!

For TJ-L owners like myself, Tops are one color only, and very costly!

I'm working with a local canvas shop for a new top with blank side panels that can be rolled up or removed. With blank panels they'll store easily without fear of ruining the clear plastic. Also they'll cost less than having a window'd panel!

Now I have to decide on which khaki hued canvas to choose!
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Unread 06-04-2013, 01:15 PM   #14
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Where would the Bestop Twill Supertop NX fit in/compare to the factory top or regular NX? It is priced about the same as the stock top up here.
I'm looking for a top, need to decide which to get.
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Unread 06-05-2013, 05:30 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Icarus View Post
Where would the Bestop Twill Supertop NX fit in/compare to the factory top or regular NX? It is priced about the same as the stock top up here.
I'm looking for a top, need to decide which to get.
Twill fabric was not offered as a stock option. Acoording to the Bestop ads, twill is heavier than sailcloth so it should be quieter. Note, you may want to check on it if you off road. I believe I saw some post that said twill is hard to clean mud off.
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