Editor Matt Scott is the first to get a sneak peak at ARB’s newest range of bull bars. An Unsealed 4X4 industry first.
Since ARB released their first bull bar about thirty years ago, they’ve been telling us that steel is the only viable option for the four-wheel driver. Well, guess what, ARB is now getting ready to launch an alloy bar. That’s right, ARB is going alloy – and we’re excited.
Believe it or not, there’s a good chance ARB has been the king of alloy bars for some time, but they just haven’t worn the ARB brand. They’ve been manufacturing OEM alloy bars for some of the top automotive manufacturers for years. ARB is now combining that experience in building to an OE-standard with their knowledge in building four-wheel drive products to make the new ARB Alloy Bull Bar a serious game changer. We flew to ARB’s headquarters in Melbourne to take a closer look.
The winch cradle and chassis mounts on the new ARB Alloy Bull Bar are the same as you’ll find on their Deluxe Bars – high-quality powder coated steel. This provides a solid mounting point for the alloy bar itself, and alleviates any potential issues with mounting a winch to softer-than-steel alloy. Other than that, everything else is made from beautifully crafted alloy with visually-pleasing CMT pulse welds to give that awesome ‘stack of pennies’ look. They’ve also been able to work the bar into a shape that nicely complements the Toyota Landcruiser Prado which will be the first 4X4 to receive the alloy bar.
The biggest draw to alloy is obvious: weight savings. The ARB Alloy Bar doesn’t disappoint here, as the bar assembly is 55 per cent lighter than its steel equivalent; an overall saving of 25kg. It does come at the price of slightly sacrificed strength, but ARB isn’t trying to replace their steel range, they’re just trying to add more options for the consumer.
Who Is It For?
The ARB Alloy Bull Bar isn’t for your diehard bushman. It’s not the sort of bar you’d want to fit if your commute to work involves hitting a dozen kangaroos. But if your commute involves the highway and you find yourself doing more touring work on the weekends than you do hardcore technical tracks, the Alloy Bar is for you.
By specifically designing a bar to be made from alloy rather than just copying an existing design, they’ve been able to make it stronger than most alloy bars on the market. This means in their finite element analysis testing the Alloy Bar can withstand a frontal animal impact at simulated speeds of up to 80km/h with the vehicle remaining mobile. ARB has also spent plenty of time in the field giving the Alloy Bar a real world test, and even gave it a go at the Australian Automotive Research Centre to get controlled testing results.
It looks good, and it feels solid. I was the first person outside of ARB to see the new Alloy Bull Bar, and even though the model I saw was technically ‘pre-production’, I’d have no problem slapping it on my 4X4 today. It was well-built and had a more ‘solid’ feel to it than I’ve seen from other alloy bars. It might have taken them a few decades to bring a serious alloy bar product to the marketplace, but now that they have, they most certainly did it right.
Available this June, priced from $2,504 (East Coast Metro, excludes fitting costs).