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  #1  
Old January 4th, 2008, 10:53 PM
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Alex Lapidus
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Soft Top Choice

I know that the Badger top is the indisputed best top and worth every penny even at $3000, but I've found a 4-month old Rovers North top locally that I can buy for $1000. Is the Badger truly $2000 better than the Rovers North top? I mostly care about noise, and secondarily about water-tightness.

Any advice would be appreciated.

-Alex
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  #2  
Old January 4th, 2008, 11:31 PM
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Brad Harris
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I can't comment on a comparison as I've only ever used the one top (Rovers North)

It seems to work great and doesn't leak or even drip through some pretty terrible snow storms. I honestly don't know what the Badger top could do to earn 2k more (maybe they clean themselves and include solar panels or something)
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  #3  
Old January 5th, 2008, 01:55 AM
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Alex Lapidus
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Does your RN top flap around much? Can you talk on a cell phone at 60 mph? My 13-year-old Tickford top is so loud I can't even hear my phone ring on the freeway...
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  #4  
Old January 5th, 2008, 01:56 AM
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Alex,

Chances are that is a Badger copy...and not a good one. See if you can snap some pictures of it and send them to Chris (Badger)...he'll be able to tell you if it's a hack copy of his or the ones he was making for RN. From what I understand the stitching on the hack copies aren't the best.
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  #5  
Old January 5th, 2008, 02:11 AM
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Jim Cheney
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Yep, here is one of the big reasons I dont like to support RN. In their big attempts to source cheaper parts over the past years, they've screwed some of their suppliers - namely Chris at Badger. For years they sold Badger tops under their own name, but -when they wanted to offer a cheaper top for the same price, they sent one overseas and had it copied.

I wouldnt touch one of their new tops, partly for quality, and partly out of principle.
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  #6  
Old January 5th, 2008, 02:41 AM
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nate
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seems to me Badger offers $2000 tops that do not use the gutter kit (much like the RN tops), but are still made of top notch materials and with top notch craftsmanship.... maybe somebody else could elaborate. regardless, i'd far rather throw my money Badger's way than RN's way.

I havn't seen the cheap RN tops yet, but I saw the one that Badger was making for them. If it is in fact a Badger made top, i'd jump on it, if it's the knock off- I don't know what to tell you, other than I have received some pretty crappy products from RN.
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  #7  
Old January 5th, 2008, 05:50 AM
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It isn't a top question, but an economics question. Badger developed and refined the top to be infinately better than the others- LR or Bestop. RN sells them a while, then sends one to the Far East for reproduction, and sells it for 30% less( while initially selling them as Badger tops). Not a comparable copy, but a cheaper copy- ie stitching. When there is a problem, has Chris ever not handled it? Good luck w/ RN and the little guy in China, whether used or new. But knowing Chris, he'll do all he can to help when( not if) there is a problem.
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  #8  
Old January 5th, 2008, 01:21 PM
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Christopher Laws
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If you are trying to save money, than you should buy it. That is a great price for that top. Rovers North sells their soft top for approx. $1900.00 new.

We have many different options for tops because we are a canvas top specialist. Our Badger I & II FDS (fabric door seal) tops are both priced at $1995.00 (presently). There has been a price increase of the convertable topping from the manufacturer and we will have to increase prices shortly.

Our Badger I &II GK (gutter kit version) as a package are both priced at $2975.00. The top cost the same as the FDS price, but you have the added expense of the Gutter kit at $695.00 and 1 Piece rubber door seal kit at $285.00.

We have not sold any tops to Rovers North since Dec. 13th of 2005. The top they sell is an unauthorized copy of our Badger I FDS.

Bottom line is if you need a top to put on your vehicle quickly with cost consided- buy it.
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  #9  
Old January 5th, 2008, 04:12 PM
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Nadim Samara
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Nothing beats Badger Coach Works' tops...they are BEYOND fabulous...have one with GK on my D90 truck cab and couldn't be happier...
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  #10  
Old January 5th, 2008, 07:33 PM
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Alex Lapidus
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I think I am going to pass on the RN top. Just sounds like bad karma. I'll have to get a louder cell phone until I can get a Badger.

Thanks to everyone for the input!

-Alex

Follow-up Post:

By the way if anybody wants the top it is at Green Oval Motors in Portland, and the previous owner apparently took it off after 4 months to buy a Badger.

www.greenovalmotors.com

-Alex
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  #11  
Old January 6th, 2008, 11:15 PM
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regardless, a couple of grand for a soft top is retarded. It makes me mad that we are taken advantage of just because we are Rover owners. A similar qualitly jeep top would be 1/3 the price. I have a crappy besttop, and I would like something nicer, but I refuse to bend over for a 200% or more profit margin from these guys.
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  #12  
Old January 6th, 2008, 11:34 PM
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Donald McDowell
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Quote:
Originally Posted by huck1974
regardless, a couple of grand for a soft top is retarded. It makes me mad that we are taken advantage of just because we are Rover owners. A similar qualitly jeep top would be 1/3 the price. I have a crappy besttop, and I would like something nicer, but I refuse to bend over for a 200% or more profit margin from these guys.
use your head....count the number of jeeps out there and then count the number of Defenders...do the math. If there were thousands and thousands of Defenders on the roads the price would be 1/3 less too. I think Badger is doing a service for us. I own 2 Badger tops and would gladly fork out the $ if I needed another, the quality is unsurpassed and if I ever sell my truck I know I will get the money back.
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  #13  
Old January 6th, 2008, 11:38 PM
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Nadim Samara
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Quote:
Originally Posted by huck1974
regardless, a couple of grand for a soft top is retarded. It makes me mad that we are taken advantage of just because we are Rover owners. A similar qualitly jeep top would be 1/3 the price. I have a crappy besttop, and I would like something nicer, but I refuse to bend over for a 200% or more profit margin from these guys.
No one is putting a gun to your head...or, as you put it, making you bend over...get a sewing machine, get the canvas, and enjoy...
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'84 Rangie 2 door classic (32"s, OME, ARB bar & M8000)
'04 Disco II stock
'07BMW G650X Challenge (farkled)
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  #14  
Old January 6th, 2008, 11:59 PM
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nate
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Quote:
Originally Posted by huck1974
regardless, a couple of grand for a soft top is retarded. It makes me mad that we are taken advantage of just because we are Rover owners. A similar qualitly jeep top would be 1/3 the price. I have a crappy besttop, and I would like something nicer, but I refuse to bend over for a 200% or more profit margin from these guys.
we arn't talking mass produced crap here.
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  #15  
Old January 7th, 2008, 07:13 AM
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Christopher Laws
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Shane,

Your posting is not off base for the general public. I guess that you have not seen one of our tops in person. You are correct in the fact that the jeep top is 1/3 of the price of a Badger top. The Bestop jeep replacement top line is made with vinyl and the tops that we make are made with a convertable topping that is far superior in strength and construction. The top that Bestop made for Land Rover North America was made with the same vinyl that was used on a Chrysler Le Baron. The dealers charged $1300-$1400 for that top and that didn't work. You can't use a material that is going to shrink on a top frame that has no adjustment. It worked on jeeps because that top frame was adjustable.

The cost of the materials is much more than the materials used on a Bestop. I've been in the Manufacturing industry since 1980 and have learned a lot of properties of materials and fabrication of auto interiors and convertable tops. Beside the cost of materials, you have a lot more to add to the equation such as operating cost of running a business, etc. I would probably charge less if I worked out of a van on a dock some where. You should be glad you don't own a boat and need canvas work. I've been running my business since 1988 and continued to suffer for years because I had a vision of what I wanted to accomplished. That all changed when Land Rover North America called me to consult for them on their soft top problems. The company that showed up that was chosen to produce tops for them was Bestop. The person from Bestop told me at lunch that someone with my knowledge of materials and fabrication was .02 percent of people in the industry. That was 1994 and I was a one man shop.

Now as to taking advantage of Land Rover owners? I bought my first car, a 1964 Land Rover in 1975 as a senior in High School. You can read abot that on my "Badger Files" page. Then bought another in 1978 for $250. I still own both of them and it's 32 years later.

What do you do for work?

The bottom line is that if you think it's too high a price than go have someone make a top for you and see what you get. There are plenty of used Bestops out there for cheap money. Perhaps this is would be the best choice for you.

Chris
Badger Coachworks




regardless, a couple of grand for a soft top is retarded. It makes me mad that we are taken advantage of just because we are Rover owners. A similar qualitly jeep top would be 1/3 the price. I have a crappy besttop, and I would like something nicer, but I refuse to bend over for a 200% or more profit margin from these guys.
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  #16  
Old January 7th, 2008, 12:26 PM
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Robert Ragland
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Unfortunately, it seems the board is now witnessing charges of price gouging against some of the finest in the industry. This came up a few weeks back with ECR. There is no need in going into the economics of small scale, high end specialists - regardless whether they service cars, boats, planes, stereos, watches, furniture etc.

Some shop at Wal-Mart, others like Neiman Marcus. Value and worthiness are relative for everyone. Let's avoid making allegations against vendors who post here. They will leave, and the board will be collectively poorer in their absence. Yes, it is frustrating our vehicle costs more than a Jeep to buy and maintain. But Astons run more than Jags, and Mercedes more than Lexus. Generally, though, you know this going in. There is no need to flame the very people who are leaders in our area of interest.

As a matter of fairness, I myself posted here about a top made in the UK (by a supplier supposedly related to the original Tickford top). I did reference the price, and the fact it uses snaps for us '94 owners. However, I did not suggest any cost differences implied a fleecing was at root. Perhaps a little discretion might be helpful next time.
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  #17  
Old January 7th, 2008, 01:28 PM
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Doug Crowther
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There's a reason that someone removed the $1900 RN top after a couple of months to replace it with a Badger and is willing to take a $900 shellacking to get rid of it. That person wanted the best for their vehicle. The margin you reference is most assuredly not "profit" but rather the difference between the best possible materials and american craftsmanship, and inferior grade materials and offshore labor.

If you want mass produced and cheap- be prepared for crappy merchandise.

If you want the highest quality, hand made item- be prepared to pay.

It's your money spend it any way you want, but don't sling mud at a craftsman.
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  #18  
Old January 7th, 2008, 03:05 PM
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Badgerman is correct about the boat reference. My dad had a custom made bimini top made for his boat in 1994 for $700. He wanted a specific style and since he could not take the boat out of the water the top guy had to come to him. This guy specialized in boats and he deserved every penny he got.
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  #19  
Old January 7th, 2008, 03:06 PM
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Until you have seen a badger in person, it seems like a lot of cash (3k) but to be fair it is really only 2k and the additional cost of the gutter kit. When compared to the $250 you can get a jeep top it seems like a gouge, then you realize it is like buying sweatpants at walmart for $17.93 or buying polo purple label pants and Niemans for $450.00. The quality is not even comparable, though both will cover your a**.
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  #20  
Old January 7th, 2008, 04:11 PM
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Chris Snyder
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The material really is top notch. If you can't afford one... save up and buy it when you can!
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