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Ford F150 Roll Bars & Chase Racks: Overview Guide

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For as long as you own a truck you'll hear people asking, "Can you help me move?" or "I can't move this". Sometimes it's as simple as stacking boxes, but for the more complex jobs you'll need better exterior storage solutions.

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Bolting on a roll bar or chase rack to your F150 not only will make it look tougher, but add some serious functionality—plain and simple. Whether you’re a weekend warrior looking to carry some spares as you bomb through the desert or woods, or someone wanting to give your F150 a meaner look, either a chase rack or roll bar will do the trick. Confused on which one fits your needs? We’ve compiled information about both roll bars and chase racks into this tech guide, so choosing one can be made simple.

F150 Roll Bars & Chase Racks – What’s the difference?

The main difference between roll bars and chase racks are their intended uses and functionalities. A roll bar is designed to be strong and provide added structural support to your F150’s cab in the event it rolls upside down.

These safety devices are constructed with thick steel tubing—for example, Black Horse Off Road offers roll bars with 4” thick steel tubing—for protection, but they also act as a mount for accessories like LED lighting.

Chase racks can often be mistaken for roll bars if spotted from a distance, but they are designed to provide more storage for spare tires and tools during your off-roading adventures. Like roll bars, chase racks offer great mounting locations for additional lighting, and are typically designed to fit with roof racks and tire carriers.

Benefits of a Roll Bar

Adds structural strength to your F150’s cab: Just like a Ford, roll bars are built to be tough. Thick steel tubing provides strength to prevent warping that can cause serious damage to your pickup and its passengers during an accident.

Great mounting location for lighting accessories: A roll bar is a perfect spot to add additional lighting that can come in handy during your next off-road excursion. Some roll bars—like units offered by Black Horse Off Road—come pre-drilled to easily fit LED lighting.

Benefits of a Chase Rack

Increased cargo capacity: Adding cargo capacity to your F150 should be the main reason behind purchasing a chase rack. The base of a chase rack is typically constructed of high strength steel, which is sturdy enough to support spare tire racks without taking away from your precious bed space. Like roll bars, most chase racks come pre-drilled to fit aftermarket LED lighting.

Easily customizable:  Although the frames of most chase racks are built with steel that have been powder coated, some are equipped with removable aluminum side panels that can be customized with different finishes.

Aggressive styling: On-road or off-road, chase racks look seriously mean. Searching for a specific look? There are several models of chase racks available with different styling cues—even an “urban” chase rack is offered by LEX Motorsports.

Roll Bar or Chase Rack – Which Should You Choose?

Choosing between a roll bar and chase rack comes down to determining your driving style and preferences on the appearance of your F150. If you find yourself on all-day desert runs where no cell phone service exists, a chase rack is the ideal pick for you.

The chase rack will offer more capacity for tools and spare parts just in case the going gets rough. Chase racks are also chosen for their mean-looking designs. It’s okay if your pickup never hits the dirt, an urban chase rack can give it the illusion of being the ultimate race truck.

Roll bars are built for drivers who live on the ragged edge. Full throttle across the Mojave can get hairy in an instant, and having a roll bar to better protect you is just an added piece of mind. Here’s to hoping you never have to test it out.

Installation Tips for Roll Bars and Chase Racks

Instruction manuals for roll bars and chase racks suggest their installation processes are relatively short (about 2 hours) and easy, but there’s no getting around that they are big pieces of equipment. Be sure to have someone capable of lifting the weight of a roll bar or chase rack onto the bed of your truck.

Chase Rack Add-ons for Your F150

Tire carriers: Tire carriers are the ultimate add-on for your F150’s chase rack. Eliminate the worry of puncturing a tire and being stranded in the desert once and for all. Most tire carriers are designed to fit spare tires between 35 and 40 inches, with space underneath for additional storage.

Rear bumpers: Companies like Addictive Desert Designs offer off-road rear bumpers built with premium steel to complete the rear end of your racer. Aside from just looks, most come with built in tire carriers, which free up room in the bed for more storage.

Roof racks:  A perfect complement to your new chase rack is a matching roof rack, designed to provide even more storage. Roof racks provide more points for LED light mounting, and some come with built in toolboxes.

LED lighting: Bolting on LED lights to your chase rack should be a no brainer, especially when most come predrilled for easy installation.

Fitment includes: 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, XL, XLT, Lariat, Lightning, KingRanch, HarleyDavidson, STX, FX2, FX4, Limited, SVTRaptor, Platinum, FXTremor