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Fina-damn-ly, I'm going to do some updates to the original post here as there have been some decent changes. A few new offerings, some have disappeared, etc. Also, pricing seems to have changed as well.

Because I'm pimpish and bored, here's a decent comparison of the major options at this point (and at the request of a few folks in another thread):

Calmini Winch Bumper

  • Base cost = $1,040 (definite price change here)
  • Now with recovery points
  • Winch cradle is 1/4", wings are 3/16". Should be an upgrade and more solid than the original.
  • Winch capable and they say up to 9,500lb winches.
  • Powder-coated
  • Light guards included
  • Skid plate included (note that if you get additional skids from Skid Row, NX Rocks, or others that there may be some compatibility issues)
  • They've also added spots for the factory fogs, which is nice.
  • No room for customizing here.
  • Unsure on the lead times
  • I'm not sure if there's a need to trim the grill now or not. They advertise it as bolt on.
  • If anyone has this new bumper, let me know your thoughts.
  • Linkalicious


Calmini Pre-Runner Front Bumper (new! Now with shiny!)

  • Looks to run about $430
  • Now, before you start getting all excited about the price, this is a prerunner bumper. It does NOT take a winch. Nor is it as sturdy as the winch bumpers. However, it will do hella-good things for your approach angle. It's also going to be tons lighter than those others.
  • Built from 2"x 0.120" DOM tubing, so it does have solidity to it, just not as much as the others.
  • It has the integrated 1/8" dimpled aluminum skid plate, so I'd bet none of the other skids are going to work with this.
  • Factory fogs are right out, though you can mount your own lights if you'd like.
  • Linkabob



ShrockWorks

  • Based cost $1,049 (price increase)
  • Powdercoated in black, can get gray for an upcharge
  • Light and grill guards included (if you don't want those, you can have them not put them on. Honestly, though, the savings there is minor.
  • If you want, they'll also include lights - again, for an upcharge
  • Skid plate included (see note above for compatibility)
  • Does come with holes for factory fogs
  • Front recovery points included (I'm not pricing shackles here as you can get those anywhere)
  • You can go bare steel if you'd like to save $90
  • Winch mounts inside the bumper, saving space on top for lights
  • Long lead times - 3-5 months is the general I hear.
  • Linkareno



KMA / TAG / Bluelake

  • Lots of options here, so I'm going to try and get things right. One thing worth noting here is that three options have existed. They all seem to be the same company, so any comments about one may exist with the others - unsure and it's difficult to say.
  • Also, there are lots and lots of options listed. However, I didn't find pictures of what all those options might look like. If you think you want something, you'll need to reach out to them to get a pic or description.
  • Base cost = $580 - but that doesn't make them comparable to the other bumpers. If you look to the below, you can see how much a comparable bumper would cost.
    • Winch box - $60
    • Gloss black powder coating - $60
    • Shackle mounts - $40
    • 3.5" cut outs for fogs - $75
    • Hoop-style grill guard with light guards - $280
    • Total cost = $1,095 (without the skid plate that others include)
    • I looked at Shrock and the rad skid is $189. Total cost is now $1,284.
    • Winch mounts inside the bumper saving space on top for lights
    • There are several other options out there worth exploring.
    • Very good at customization, per Rook.
    • Lead time is about 1-2 months
    • KMA Linkaloopa
    • TAG Linkaloopa
    • Bluelake Linkaloopa



    ARB
    • Base cost = $1,023 is the MSRP, though I think you can catch sales from time to time through their dealer network
    • Black powdercoat
    • Grill and lightguards included
    • No skid (add $189) - note that the stock skids and Shrock skids are compatible here, which means pretty much everyone's aftermarket skids should work as well.
    • No front recovery points
    • Fog lamps are an option
    • Winch appears to go inside the bumper
    • Trimming of the bumper necessary
    • Total cost = $1,200 ($860/$815 without the skid)
    • Parts ship from WA and generally ship same or next day. This is a normally stocked item.
    • Linkasloppy



    Hefty Fabworks
    • Base cost - $1,150
    • Comes with a standard semi-gloss black satin textured powdercoat.
    • Does come with holes for the factory fogs if you've got them -
    • Comes with their front skid
    • They do have shackle mounts up front, but they appear to be different than the original style.
    • It is winch-compatible for non-integrated solenoid winches that have a 10x4.5 bolt pattern.
    • Doesn't look like any trimming of the bodywork or grill is necessary, which is way cool
    • Lead time is roughly 3-6 weeks, from what I've heard.
    • Shipping is from CO to the lower 48, freight. No mark-up here, we pay what they pay.
    • Linkaspiffy



    XT Fabrication
    • I believe they're running $800, based on what I can see
    • Made by Boondox, who's on all of the forums.
    • Customization is available, just reach out to him.
    • While not one of the bigger manufacturers, I've seen his work and it's quality. No worries there.
    • I've also wheeled with him a few times. He's straight up crazy, which is a good thing.
    • I don't believe there's a skid included at this time.
    • Linkacrazy - note that this is to his website, which is under fab at this time (Sep-2013)
    • Here's the link to his thread on the site. Lots of good info in there.
    • You can also find him on the Facebooks.

    Since it's been some time since I reviewed this, the pricing order has changed. For the most part, it seems that they're all going to be in the same range with the exception of the Calmini Pre-runner or potentially a very basic Bluelake bumper. The others will all be relatively close in price, but the Bluelake one can get pricier due to the lack of a skid and all the extras you have to order in order to compare apples to apples.

    I'm happy to make updates to this - if you think I've got anything wrong let me know and I'll update it for you.

    1. Shrock is widely known to have unparalleled fit and finish. Welds are spot on, everything lines up perfectly, etc.
    2. KMA occasionally has quality issues, but lately they seem to have corrected that issue and have delivered some quality gear (see Rook's rig). Also, it appears that, due to the issues, they've changed names a few times. Currently, they appear to be Bluelake. Quality issues still persist, though.
    3. Hefty definitely seems to be a cool company. They've got some innovative design features that set their bumpers apart from some of the other competitors out there. So far customer service appears to be excellent and the lead time is up there, if not better than, all of the "custom" options out there.
      1. Worth noting is that some folks have had issues with Hefty bumpers and there's a significant debate out there around their product. My suggestion is to reach out and discuss this with the folks who've bought them as they may have opinions or experiences that you would want to know.
      2. Note number the second: I have one of the first Hefty bumpers out there (both front and rear). I did get them used, so that's worth noting. If you've got questions, just PM me.
    4. Note that I'm including the cost of the skid plate in certain comparisons. It's purely my opinion here, but if one's looking at the Total Cost Involved in making the upgrade, it's most appropriate to see what's necessary to get comparable gear. If you don't want to include this cost in your comparison (as you already have the skid) you can remove that from the cost - as I've done in parenthesis behind each total cost.

    Let me know if I've missed anyone out there.
 

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Interesting comparisons.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but I wouldn't necessarily say that ARB "guarantees" that their bull-bars allow an airbag to work. They claim "air bag compatibility". The "Vehicle Application Guide" for the Xterra makes no claim for air-bags whatsoever; it is simply a listing of available products for model year.

IMHO a guarantee implies compensation for failure.

AIR BAG COMPATIBILITY

With an air bag equipped 4x4 it is essential that the vehicle's crush rate and air bag triggering is not altered when a bull bar is installed. To ensure compatibility, ARB assesses each vehicle's frontal crush characteristics and replicates the crush rate into the design of each air bag compatible bull bar and its mounting system. This method enables engineers to achieve maximum possible vehicle and passenger protection without affecting the crash pulse. ARB has invested heavily in vehicle crash barrier tests to validate the performance and compliance of its air bag compatible bull bars, and as a consequence, our bars offer a far greater level of protection than most standard brush guards and grille guards.
Please note that a few of the bumpers for older model vehicles are not air-bag compatible, refer to the Vehicle Application Guide for confirmation.
ARB has integrated Hi-Lift jacking points.


Nice, concise listing.
Good work.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Updated - and a good point.
 

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One thing I don't have and I'm not sure about is compatibility with aftermarket skids so I'm definitely after some info here. This is kind of important for those of us who'll be buying skids prior to the bumper as it could lead to some modification of the pricing as shown.


  • KMA says they're compatible with the stock skid or theirs. I believe that NX Rocks would also work, no idea on Skid Row or Shrock.
  • Shrock - I know they're compatible with their own - how about Remy's?
  • ARB - complete blank
  • Calmini - also a blank
Another question - if you already have skids, would the Calmini, KMA, or Shrock skid be compatible with Remy's, Skid Row's, or Shrocks?

Installation question - do you have to remove the bar that the stock skids mount to when installing any of these? And is there any other additional cutting that needs to be done with any of the bumpers?
 

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One thing I don't have and I'm not sure about is compatibility with aftermarket skids so I'm definitely after some info here. This is kind of important for those of us who'll be buying skids prior to the bumper as it could lead to some modification of the pricing as shown.


  • KMA says they're compatible with the stock skid or theirs. I believe that NX Rocks would also work, no idea on Skid Row or Shrock.
  • Shrock - I know they're compatible with their own - how about Remy's?
  • ARB - complete blank
  • Calmini - also a blank
Another question - if you already have skids, would the Calmini, KMA, or Shrock skid be compatible with Remy's, Skid Row's, or Shrocks?

Installation question - do you have to remove the bar that the stock skids mount to when installing any of these? And is there any other additional cutting that needs to be done with any of the bumpers?
When installing an aftermarket bumper you will have to remove the bumper shell whch the stock rad skid mounts to. therefore they will need a new mounting point on the front. Your best bet is to purchase a shrock or NXrocks skid and throw it on...as they are not dependant on those 4 mounting holes. They use the bolts in the cross member and the 4 bolts under the frame in the front (where the tow hook would attach)
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Updated with this info.
 

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Do you have a photo example of one that is available for purchase?!?
 

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Yep - I didn't include MaxTerra until Dave tells us he's going into production. While I realize that this mention might help spur him to do so, I didn't want to force his hand (as maybe that'd get me first dibs and a discount... hint hint...).

As for Ironbull, I'm torn on including them. While a few people did pick them up, it seems that the general consensus here is "no bloody way in hell would I buy a bumper from them" due to their customer service. Then again, I can't find pricing online on their site, so that's another reason they aren't up there.

If there's enough of a push, I've got no problem including them.
 

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Do you have a photo example of one that is available for purchase?!?
I was just noting that the Maxterra front bumper is not available for purchase so if a new member finds this thread, they dont spend 3 hours scouring the internet trying to figure out where/how to buy it. I'm letting them know that they cant. ;)
 

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Now I'm thinking to myself,

Whats the use of the grill guard and light guard (of which both are optional on the KMA). Do they do anything useful? or do they just look cool? They are heavy and cost extra :)
 

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When going through the brush and tighter trails they take the hit so more fragile things don't. That's not just useful for planned hits (i.e., you know the trail is tight and the branches are in the way and you go through slowly anyway - Tread Lightly) but for unplanned hits (where your vehicle slides down something and those guards bump into something solid). For the $85 each if they do nothing more than bump the hell out of one tree and prevent the crushing of a headlight you've probably come out ahead, monetarily.

One other thing that I see is that folks will run a cable from the corner of those light guards up to their roofrack (normally a replacement rack) to help keep the branches off the windshield.
 
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Now I'm thinking to myself,

Whats the use of the grill guard and light guard (of which both are optional on the KMA). Do they do anything useful? or do they just look cool? They are heavy and cost extra :)
Deer.
 

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I like the KMA because;

1. simple look without the guard for the grill and headlights

2. gotta be less weight, more weight equals lousy gas mileage (bad enough as it is without the mod), sagging heavy front end, and heavy equals poor handling on pavement

3. looks substantial enough for a winch (tell me if I am wrong)

4. Price is more acceptable (to me anyway)


Iron Bull is my second choice, I don't like the rough finish.

My 2 pennies worth.
 

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Awesome thread.
Similar to the lift options sticky that is VERY helpful.
we also need sliders, rear bumper, and armour threads!
Mybe add estimated shipping//arrival time?

someone get to it!
 

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Discussion Starter #19
06XSE - bummer about your bro. Hopefully everyone's alright.

I agree that the guards do add some weight. Nothing horrific, though, when you're comparing it to the rest of the bumper. Personally, I'd rather have the protection. Another thing you can do is bolt your hi-lift to the grill guard. I wouldn't leave it there long term, but it definitely looks cool for the trips.

As for gas mileage, it's not that I'm not concerned at all, but it's the priority here. The bigger and stickier tires already cost me and this will cost me some more. However, the added capability's worth it.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Awesome thread.
Similar to the lift options sticky that is VERY helpful.
we also need sliders, rear bumper, and armour threads!
Mybe add estimated shipping//arrival time?

someone get to it!
If I get more downtime I'll get on it. Rears that I know of right now would be KMA, Shrockworks, Calmini, Maxterra, and potentially IB. I've not checked to see whether or not ARB does one as well. I know that most of those come with the option to have the rear tire mounted or not.
 
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