With so many different types and brands of bull bars on the market that are suited to a wide range of vehicles, how do you know what’s right for you?
On one side, you’ve got your mates preaching the world about how good an ARB deluxe bar is. On the other hand, the blacked-out stealth bomber aesthetics of an Off-Road Animal bull bar can’t be matched.
When it comes to choosing a bull bar for your fourbie, it’s often tempting to simply go with the best looking bar from a reputable brand (or go for an el-cheapo one).
But there are far more important aspects to consider other than looks when choosing a bull bar, one of them being functionality, among others.
What is the purpose of a bull bar?
The primary function of a bull bar is protection. It serves as the first line of defence, protecting vital engine components in the event of an animal collision.
Secondly, bull bars are used as a mounting platform for all your essential 4×4 accessories including driving lights, winches, UHF antennas, and let’s not forget fishing rod holders.
You need to ask yourself where do you intend on driving your 4×4, the terrain you’ll be driving on, how much gear are you lugging around and what accessories you want to install.
Of course, you’ll also need to make sure the bull bar you end up choosing is properly designed, engineered and manufactured to the highest standards to withstand the harsh Australian outback.
Finally, it needs to be compatible with your vehicle make and model as well as all your vehicle’s safety systems, such as airbags, parking sensors, lane departure warnings, cruise control and so on.
With all this in mind, here’s a quick guide on how to pick the right bull bar. It all starts with a purpose:
Do you need a bull bar mainly for mounting accessories?
Most bull bars have been designed to provide plenty of mounting options, however, you’ll need to make sure they are ADR compliant and compatible with your vehicle’s airbag system.
These days, most modern 4WD’s have additional safety features including parking sensors, cruise control, emergency braking systems which all rely on sensors and cameras to function.
Manufacturers will generally state which model bull bar is compatible with these systems.
Are you planning on going serious off-roading?
If you plan on competing on some of WA’s most hectic off-road tracks, such as Mundaring Powerlines, you definitely want to opt for a bull bar that is both functional and protective.
But be careful, you don’t want to go all out on a heavy-duty full-hooped bar, as greater approach and departure angles take precedence.
A lightweight and simple tube bar such as those from the likes of Off-Road Animal and XROX, which provide serious good looks and extreme off-road capabilities, as well as being airbag and ADR compliant.
They are lighter than traditional bars, smart wing designs allow for fast easy replacement while maintaining strength.
- Built-in hi-lift jack points
- Mounting positions for winches, tow hooks, recovery points, aerials, driving lights and sand flags
- Modern design
- ADR and airbag compliant
Do you often drive remotely on dark roads?
For those who spend most of their time travelling to remote locations day and night, or even spending the long weekend adventuring with the family, you’ll need maximum protection and functionality.
No one does it better than ARB. The ARB Summit Bull Bar is suitable on all kinds of terrain around Australia, provides premium protection against unsuspecting ‘roos and can be installed onto most 4WD makes and models.
- Wing design for greater strength and maintains optimum offset approach angle
- Aerial brackets
- Driving lights provision
- Winch compatibility
- Off-road jacking points
- Steel uprights
- Large tubing 60.3mm mandrel steel
- Wider edge radius 30mm wing
Do you just want to dominate the streets?
If you’re just after aesthetics and simply want to have the best looking 4WD on the street well then, you’ll be spoilt for choice.
Providing the bull bar you choose is ADR compliant and is compatible with your vehicle’s airbag system, and of course legal — you can opt for the blacked-out aesthetics of OFF ROAD ANIMAL Predator Bullbar, ARB Summit Sahara Bar, TJM Outback Bullbar and many more.
The bottom line
The best advice I can give you? Get a top-quality bull bar from a trusted manufacturer that’s suited to your lifestyle and fulfils your 4×4 requirements.
Whether that be serious off-roading, touring Australia, family camping adventures or having the ultimate rig on the road — always consider ADR and airbag compatibility, can it house the accessories you want and is it road legal.
If in doubt, you can always contact me here at Total4X4. I know how annoying it can be when you find a bull bar you want but it’s not compatible with your vehicle make and model.
You can drop us a message here and we’ll be able to give you some information on what’s compatible with your vehicle and make sure you get the best bull bar suited to your lifestyle.