FOX RACING TAILGATE COVER REVIEW
THE BEST BUDGET TAILGATE PAD?
Review by Sourpatch | Photos by Dusten Ryen
More and more brands are expanding their range past the products that they are typically known for. For Fox Racing, this stretches as far as producing their take on a tailgate pad. While others are just getting into the arena, Fox has offered their tailgate cover for a number of years now and to be frank, we’d never really considered owning this pad. That was mainly due to a poor experience years ago with some moto gear that left a taste in Sean’s mouth sourer than his candy diet. Fast forward to today and Fox makes up a good share of our mtb gear bags and makes some of our favorite products as of late. It only made sense to give their tailgate pad a shot and see how it stacks up to our high standards for a pad.
The Fox Racing Tailgate Cover is as bare bones as a tailgate pad can come – there are no fancy features here. The Tailgate Cover is available in either small or large size options to fit mid or full-size trucks, which are capable of carrying 5 or 6 bikes respectively. Fox also offers the Tailgate Cover in two colorways, black and camo. The small pad is 54-inches across while the large pad measures in at 62-inches, filling the width of the bed of most. The Tailgate Cover is fastened to the vehicle using three adjustable straps. The pad is outfitted with six Velcro hook-and-loop straps that are designed to keep the bikes secured to the pad. There is a simple Velcro flap for easy access to the handle, but it is only designed for just that, without provisions to keep it open for use with a back-up camera. The Tailgate cover is made up of a PU-coated polyester tarpaulin outer shell, and has a tough, woven polyester inner shell. On the fork stanchion side is a generous ¾” thickness of padding, with a thinner ¼” on the downtube side.
We received Fox’s Tailgate Cover as part of our #TailgateTuesday video series and shootout. We tested the large Tailgate Cover as most of crew only have full-size trucks. We installed on three different vehicles to check fitment, Dusten’s 20xx Ford F-250, my 2015 GMC 2500HD and a 2021 Ford F-150 that we borrowed from Kendall Ford.
Fitment on the F-250 was pretty solid, though Dusten wishes it were a little taller to cover all of his tailgate. The placement and design of the pad offered easy access to the handle on his truck. Loading bikes into the back of Dusten’s truck, we were able to fit 6 bikes and then some.
Moving to the F-150, the fit is a little different as this truck has the dreaded curved / bulbous tailgate. While the Tailgate Cover fits just fine, the thicker stanchion padding gets eaten up by the large top of the F-150’s tailgate. Again, we were able to fit 6 bikes into the back of this test vehicle.
The Fox Tailgate Cover has spent the most time on my truck, which oddly enough, I was against due to the lack of a fleece interior and not wanting my tailgate to get all scratched up. Coverage on my truck is darn near perfect, the Tailgate Cover literally covers the entire tailgate from top to bottom and side-to-side. The handle access port is directly centered over my tailgate handle, more kudos there. Regarding carrying capacity, if you guessed it fit six bikes and then some, you would also be correct.
It’s not all sunshine and rainbows though, there are a couple short comings to Fox’s Tailgate Cover. Aside from having a rough, sand paper’ish inner material as mentioned above, the Downtube straps are poorly made. The straps themselves are 80-percent hook (rough part of Velcro) and 20-percent loop (soft part of Velcro). This prevents the straps from hooking around most modern downtubes, and if they do it’s just a tiny sliver that could easily come undone. Our precious cargo still transported fairly well though without the straps, and during most of my driving the bikes stayed in place and perfectly vertical. It wasn’t until the hot rodding started or when hitting severely bumpy roads that the bikes started moving around or rotating. As long as there is no “Doing it for Dale” most won’t experience any transport issues. Also, the straps can easily fly away if you don’t re-close them after use…ask me how I know.
Adding to the minor nuances, at least for myself, is the limited padding where the downtube lands on the tailgate cover. It’s not the end of the world for me since my truck rides pretty smooth, but if you drive a brick, it could pose a looming problem. We’d reckon the downtube foam is about 1/4 of an inch thick while the stanchion foam is about ¾” thick. Nuance number two involves the handle flap. The flap can be tucked up into the pad to use the camera, but the likely hood of scratching your paint increases quite a bit in that region. Now, obviously if you don’t use a backup camera or have a handle mounted camera it is not a big deal, but still worth mentioning.
The Wolf’s Last Word
For those looking to ditch their moving blanket for a tailgate pad, the Fox Tailgate Cover is a viable, budget friendly option. It follows through with its claim of carrying six bikes, though you could probably get seven if you don’t use the straps (not that anyone ever carries that many bikes). The pad offers near perfect coverage on many full-size tailgates. The Fox Tailgate Cover does what it’s supposed to do and does a fairly good job, and that is to help get your bikes from point A to point B. For the dollar, is an excellent option and it is so close to being one of the best with a couple changes.
There are two aspects in which I think the pad needs to get improved. The downtube straps reflect the price and are poorly made as there is more “hook” than there is “loop” meaning they don’t secure well to larger downtubes. A simple redesign of these straps would solve that issue and shouldn’t add many additional costs to the pad. The other improvement I would like to see, is the use of a microfiber fleece inner shell to protect the tailgate paint, as the material used right now is a bit coarser and get easily scratch the paint. One could install their own fleece liner for a few dollars if they are handy with a sewing machine, however we don’t imagine many would bother. If those two changes were made, I could confidently recommend the pad and would likely give it a 9/10, but as it stands, I’ll have to give it a 6/10.
Price: $119.95 – 129.95 (Black) / $139.95 (Camo)
Sizes: Small (Mid-size) / Large (Full-Size)
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