by Bill Johnston
A roll cage is not a permanent structure. It is designed to keep the passenger area from collapsing during a collision with another object (ground, tree, rock, etc.) Depending on the situation, it can end up being a one time use component, but it will keep you safer than the stock windshield and roll bar. About six months ago while backing down a sand hill, I rolled the trail Zook over onto its drivers side. The passenger rear tire caught a dirt mound that I didn't see and... thud. I was running a nice cage that was designed to keep me safe. It did its job very well. But as in any kind of impact, something has got to give. The cage 'tweaked over' about an inch to the passenger side. With the windshield down and the doors off it wasn't even noticeable, but when I tried to button it up to keep the elements out over the holidays it became clear - Time for a replacement! Rock 4X Fabrication stepped in to provide a front cage with a new look.
|The rear of the cage was still fine, so we just cut off the front and prepped it for the new kit. This cage uses the stock center tube to build off of, so we had to make sure we cleaned it up nicely. Art Lilly* stopped in for a visit and helped out.|
|Art has the first cage Rock 4X built installed in his bright orange Zook, you may see it posted on many web sites and bulletin boards. Here are a couple of pictures of his cage going in. As you can see he had Rock 4X create a front and a rear cage for him.|
|As you can imagine, a cage doesn't get delivered to your door in a single piece. Some bolt together while others are weld-in kits. This one is a weld-in model. Here we temporarily removed the side vents to allow the front hoop to slide into place.|
|One of the nicer advantages of a Rock 4X Fab cage is if you have an idea about how you want it to look, The guys at Rock 4X will work with you to make it as custom as you want. I came up with an idea for a set of crossed bars overhead for strength, and they made it work allowing for the needed head room.|
|Holding everything together with a ratchet strap, we made small adjustments in the tube positions until all measured up straight. It was very easy because Rock 4X had already completely assembled the kit, tack welding it in place to ensure proper fit and alignment. Then they take it apart and send it out. We just needed to put the tubes back into place lining up the tack points. As you can see there was plenty of clearance in the places where it is important, like the dash and targa bar area. They take their time making sure the notches allow a perfect fit so you won't have to do any grinding.|
*Art Lilly was a good friend and fellow Zook pilot that stopped in to lend a hand when he was in town. Shortly after this article was written his military unit rotated to Afghanistan. His life was taken from him while proudly serving his country. He is missed, and he will not be forgotten by the Suzuki community.