metalcloak overland fender

First a couple opening words about this article:

Taste is a subjective topic, and the designs I like the most might be your least favorite, conversely a feature you love might be something I suggest avoiding. I'll be talking about design and critiquing minute details in these various offerings. If your needs, priorities, and most of all tastes are different from mine feel free to disagree.

I have split this article into two pages, this page is all metal fenders, and this one is all non-metallic fenders.

 

The Contenders

Here is a nice video from Poison Spider explaining the difference between armor fenders and non-armor fenders.


 

Poison Spider Crusher™ Flares

Perhaps the most well known name in tube fenders right now is Poison Spider. Their fender is a top quality product and I think that out of all the companies that actually use a tube in the construction, their fenders follow the Jeep body lines the best. The curved top tube desgn makes their fender the nicest looking "tube" fender on the market.

poison spider fender1
Nice contour.
poison spider fender2
Thoughtful styling.
poison spyder flare fit
Nice fit with just the very slightest distortion.

You can also see that the rear fender flare, like the front, is not flat on top, but has a very subtle bend in it. Although subtle, I think the difference is amazing. You'll see that some of the other venders fenders (River Raider for sure) use a completely straight tube and it doesn't compliment the Jeep like the Poison Spider design does.

I think the radius Poison Spider uses for the bottom ends of the fenders (the part where the tube bends back in toward the body) looks very nice too. I'm not a big fan of the fenders that just taper from the wide area on top down to nothing at the bottom. As an exemple compare the Poison Spider's rear flares to the front side of MetalCloak's Overland rear flares. I think the back of the Overland is fantastic but I prefer the front of the Poison Spider fender to the front of Metalcloak's.

Poison Spider uses stitch-weld construction so for me the Steel is out, but they do offer aluminum so that's what I'll look at. They use a .188" OD tube for the aluminum version (compared to .120" for steel) to help compensate for the weaker aluminum. The Crusher fenders include a concealed inner brace to connect the fender thru the outer body sheet metal to the thicker structural metal tub. They also provide a rubber liner to keep the fender from scraping the paint off of the Jeep as well as helping to provide a seal against grit and other contaminates from worker their way into the seam.

The only drawback of the Poison Spider offering is that they come as bare metal and need to be painted or powder coated. As of 2018 Posion Spider now offers their steel fenders in black "SpyderShell™ Armor Coat™ Armor Coat" powder coat finish or bare. The Aluminum product is only available bare. Current price for the front fenders start at a little over $500 a pair and go up from there depending on options. The Crusher series are available in three widths, narrow, standard, and extra wide, and they offer a matching inner fender kit in either solid wall or vented. 

MaterialTube
Diameter
Sheet
Thickness
WeldInner
Brace
Seal or
Gasket
Finishes
Available
Aluminum 1.5" .188" Stitch Yes No Bare
Steel 1.5" .120" Stitch Yes No Bare or SpyderShell™


 

Genright

The Genright Off Road aluminum fender is very similar to the Poison Spider in construction, they both use 1.5"x.188" tube, and they both use 1/8" sheet on top. Both are sold only in bare aluminum. Genright's tube also is not flat, or if it is flat, it certainly isn't straight. The front fender has a nice radius bend bend at the back and I think the contour is unique and appealing. The fenders are available in two widths, 4" and 6" in both steel and aluminum.

genright fender3

genright fender2
Unique profile.

 

On the downside, it doesn't appear that Genright provides any bracing to reinforce the Jeep fender. Genright doesn't have installation instructions on their website so I'm basing this information on this installation video which make no mention of any type of bracket. You just bolt the flare to the Jeep sheet metal. Price is $660 for the fronts and $660 for rears.

Material Tube
Diameter
Sheet
Thickness
Weld Inner
Brace
Seal or
Gasket
Finishes
Available
Aluminum .188" .120" Stitch Yes Yes Bare

 

Metalcloak

Metalcloak offers three different series of fenders, the Overline, the very similarly named Overland, and the Hardline. The Overline and Overland fenders both feature metal ball mounting points at the corners and the fronts have leading edge skirts with the Metalcloak logo cut into them. The Hardline series lacks the metal ball mounting points and the logo skirt, but is otherwise similar in construction and installation. The Overline and Overland fenders both have flat top tubes but they have very nice radius bends. The Hardline has a very nice long-radius bend on the top tube making it's design very complimentary to the Wrangler body lines. The Overline and Hardline are available in steel only, the Overland is available in steel or aluminum. I am disappointed that the aluminum version of the Overland uses the same wall thickness tube as the steel at .120". This makes Metalcloak the only company using anything thinner than .188" for their aluminum fender tubing.

Metalcloak's Fender Lineup
Hardline Overland Overline
metalcloak hardline fender sm metalcloak overland fender sm metalcloak overline fender sm
metalcloak hardline rear sm metalcloak overland rear sm metalcloak overline rear sm

Overline

The Overline series fenders are Metalcloak's narrowest and highest clearance fenders. An add-on flare is available for the Overline front fender to expand the coverage to 8". I think this is for those who want maximum tire clearance but perhaps live in an area where showing too much rubber can get you in trouble. Both the front and rear fenders feature a design where the tube has a straight taper from the top of the fender down to the rocker panel. At the bottom of this taper is Metalcloak's signiture mounting point ball. I like the ball, but don't care for the straight taper, especially how it looks on the rear fenders, however I'm sure this design keeps the fenders off of the rocks. The rear fenders are not installable by themselves. they are and accessory mounted to the Metalcloak Exoskin corners. The Overline rear fender can easily be added and removered as desired. Prices start at $599 front and $269 rear (not including the $369 Exoskin corner required for the rear)

metalcloak overline flare
Overline add-on flare

Overland

The Overland fender is the only Metalcloak fender available in Aluminum or Steel. Personally the Overland front fender is my favorite, I like the logo skirt on the front, I like the mounting point balls, and most importantly I like how the tube from the top of the fender to the rocker panel holds the width of the fender partway down the fender before beginning the taper. I really wish the back fender had this same design on the leading edge. The trailing edge of the rear fender holds some of it's width but the leading edge has the same long boring taper as the Overline rear fender. Prices for steel start at $499 front and $499 rear, aluminum are $669 front and $669 rear. (February/2016).

metalcloak fender1

Hardland

The Hardline series have a very consistant look front to back, but it loses the uniqueness that the Overland and Overline have. The Hardline doesn't have the metal-ball mounting points or the logo skirt, but that's probably the point, the Hardline is a neutral design that appeals to everyone. If I were buying steel fenders I'd have a tough time choosing between the Hardline and the Overland. Prices start at $489 Front and $489 rear (February/2016). [UPDATE Aug 2016: Hardline fenders are now available in aluminum!]

metalcloak hardline fender radius
Radius bend on top tube

All Metalcloak fenders include an inner fender support bracket and spacers to help reinforce the fender and they also offer an optional bracket to brace the front fender mounting point.

metalcloak fender brace
Included fender support bracket

metalcloak optional bracket
Optional support bracket

One final thing about the Metalcloak fenders, and perhaps aftermarket fenders in general, and that is the fit. Although Metalcloak is a top brand who I have great respect for, the fit of these fenders doesn't knock my socks off. On their website they point out how the Metalcloak's fender flares fit is better than the competitions and includes the photos below:

metalcloak fender comparison
Is this supposed to be impressive?

That does not impress me. When I look at the fit of the fender on the left I would not have even tightened the bolts before taking it off and sending that piece of shit back. When I look at the Metalcloak fender I think I might have taken that off and sent it back as well. You can clearly see how the line between the grill and Jeep fender is not consistant because the Metalcloak fender flare is twisting it. You can also see how close the fender and hood are to touching, if they aren't already.

As a comparison take a look back at Poison Spyder's fit:

poison spyder flare fit
It's not perfect but it's close.

The fit of the Poison Spyder flare looks much better, but it's still not perfect either. If you go to Poison Spyder's website and look closely at the pictures in their slide shows you can often see fit that is worse than the picture above. I think the photo above is an example of the best possible fit they could come up with. I wonder how typical that fit is, is it the best they've ever seen or is it average? If you want to see the best check out the Nemesis Industries fender flares.

Here are the specifications for the aluminum Metalcloak fender flares:

Material Tube
Diameter
Sheet
Thickness
Weld Inner
Brace
Seal or
Gasket
Finishes
Available
Aluminum .120" .120" Stitch Yes No Bare &
Powder Coat



 

River Raider

The River Raider fender is the only fender I've found that continuously welds the sheet metal to the tube. For this reason I feel this product, even in steel, should remain rust free for an acceptable amount of time, probably as long as the rest of the Jeep. They offer them in four widths, narrow, normal (factory width), 2" wider than stock and 4" wider than stock in both steel and aluminum.

river raider JK tube fender 1
Fill welded and sanded outside edge looks great.
Also, great fit!

river raider fender1
Flat tops and tight radius corners look out of place.

I think it's amazing how these don't even look like tube flares from some angles, the textured epoxy finish looks very much like a factory textured plastic flare. Although I love the construction of these fenders, I dislike the sharp radius bends at all the corners that contrast with the curved flare openings of the Jeep. Perhaps if you are trying to make your JK look like a 40's era Willys this would be the fender for you, but I find it looks out of place. I think if they softened up the radius akin to Metalcloak's fenders this would be the best looking fender on the market.

Below is a video from River Raider showing the construction of the flares and talking about how they are mindful of the rust problem with tube fenders. The video says they have just 2 widths available but if you go to the wedsite there are now 4 distinct widths available.

 

River Raider offers these in bare steel, black satin (powder coat?), and textured epoxy (spray bedliner). Prices start at $660 for the fronts and $660 for rears.

Material Tube
Diameter
Sheet
Thickness
Weld Inner
Brace
Seal or
Gasket
Finishes
Available
Steel 1.5" ?" Full Spacers No Bare
Powder Coat
Epoxy



 

Nemesis Industries

The Nemesis Industries Notorious fenders are not "tube" fenders because there is no tube. The fender components are cut with a waterjet out of .188" thick aluminum then CNC press brake formed and welded together. The outside edge is continuously welded and sanded to a smooth contour, the inside edge is stitch welded to the mounting flange. For the front fender flares Nemesis supplies 2 internal braces per side to reinforce the fenders by bonding them thru the Jeep sheet metal to the sturdier inner tub. You can see how their system works in the installation instructions for the front flares. Here are the installation instructions for the rear.

Nemesis Odyssey fender flare
Perfect fit with no distortion of the steel metal.

nemesis fender2
Fill welded and sanded outside edge looks great.

nemesis fender3
Fender contour follows Wrangler lines perfectly.

Nemesis offers something called the "Skeletos Upgrade" which consists of internal reinforcements welded to the underside of the Notorius flares. This adds rigidity to the flare so that it can survive reasonable abuse without becoming deformed.

nemesis skeletos
Optional Skeletos reinforcements

Of all the metal flares I've seen I think the Nemesis Notorious flare does the best job complimenting the look and style of the Jeep Wrangler. In my opinion they look better than the stock flares. The design just looks like it belongs. I have no complaints whatsoever. If you want the rockcrawling buggy look, these probably aren't for you. Personaly I want my Jeep to look sharp and refined, this flare fits the bill. 

Here is an "unboxing" video from JeepLab that does a good job of showing the construction of the fenders. You can also see that they do ship a gasket with the fenders.

 

Here is an install video by Offroad Power Products. In this video you can see how the bracing for the front fenders installs along with the amount of trimming required to maximize tire clearance.

 

Prices start at $599 fronts ($724 with the Skeletos option), and $649 for the rear ($774 with Skeletos option). Nemesis will sell them bare or you can order them powder coated in either a semi-gloss or a textured finish. They also offer custom powder coat and paint services.

Material Tube
Diameter
Sheet
Thickness
Weld Inner
Brace
Seal or
Gasket
Finishes
Available
Aluminum none .188" Full &
Stitch
Yes Yes Bare
Powder Coat
Paint


 

Ace Engineering

The Ace Engineering fenders are nice looking, fill welded fenders. Their construction is unique in that the sheet metal panel is regressed part-way down the tube whereas everybody else puts the sheetmetal flush with the top. They are narrower than stock, providing 5" of width in front and 4.5" in rear. They are sold in sets of all four fenders, only available in steel, and can be ordered as bare metal or finished in a textured black powder coat.

ace fender front
Ace Engineering front fender
very little body distortion.

ace fender rear
Ace Engineering rear fender

On the negative side, the material is the lightest gauge material of all the steel fenders mentioned in this article. The tube they use is 1.25" OD with just .083" wall thickness. As a comparison Metalcloak, Poison Spider, and Genright who all use a 1-1/2" x .120" tube. For the sheetmetal Ace uses 16 gauge (.051") compared to Metalcloak with 12 gauge (.081"), and Genright with 1/8" (.125"). Continuing down the light-duty path the Ace fenders fasten only to the Jeeps outer sheetmetal, they do not provide any brackets to reinforce the mounting locations.

ace fender set
You can see the internal bracing.

Ace does add some stregth to their fenders by way of some additional tubing underneath the sheetmetal skin that connects the outside tube to the mounting flange, this is something the others manufactures don't do and perhaps this puts them on even footing strength-wise with the others. Also nice is that Ace fenders have a "no questions asked" lifetime warranty:

"Lastly, we back it with our Lifetime Warranty. Even with a part like this that is a little more susceptible to damage, the story remains the same. You break it during off-road use, send it back to us and we will replace it free of charge, minus shipping costs. No questions asked."

Fenders are sold in sets of all four and can be had for $995 in textured powder coat or $950 bare.

Material Tube
Diameter
Sheet
Thickness
Weld Inner
Brace
Seal or
Gasket
Finishes
Available
Steel 1.25" 0.051" Full No No Powder Coat
Bare

 

Honorable Mentions


Here is a list of some more metal fenders that I didn't cover in this review that you might want to consider:

  • Rusty's Off-road has a nice stamped steel skinny fender. I would have included these if I could have found more information about them.
  • Crawler Conceptz also offers a formed steel fender that looks very nice (Amazon link). They also have inner fenders available to work with them.
  • Warrior Products offers fenders in a variety of materials including diamond plate.
  • Rock-Slide Engineering has several sizes and styles of aluminum fenders.
  • Barricade Off-road has fenders, but I couldn't find a link.
  • Aries has aluminum fenders, not many details available.
  • Smittybilt has their XRC and XRC Flux steel flares.



Click here to read about non-metallic fenders




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© Mike Riley 2016.