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Old 08-13-2022, 04:54 AM   #1
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Decisions, decisions!

Ok... need to tap the brain trust here.
Blue Ox or Roadmaster seem to be the two premier flat tow systems...
And they seem to be constructed differently, with different hookups.
Any dirt on which is better and why?
Have never had a flat tow system and know little...and I can prove it!
So we will gratefully accept most any and all input.
Thanks!
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Old 08-13-2022, 05:17 AM   #2
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I have had a roadmaster for six years with over 90000 toad towing miles without issue. Very easy to hookup and unhook. That said you will likely hear many great things about Blue Ox. Don’t think you could go wrong with either. I went with roadmaster because of availability and price.
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Old 08-13-2022, 05:20 AM   #3
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we have the ready brute, ready brake system. very simple to install & to use. Great warranty & factory support.
No connection, just a happy customer.
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Old 08-13-2022, 06:49 AM   #4
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We have all Roadmaster products with no issues. Both Roadmaster and Blue Ox produce very good products. You canít go wrong with either.
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Old 08-13-2022, 07:51 AM   #5
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I have owned Blue Ox, Roadmaster and Demco components now, and will say I don't like what Demco has done in recent years declaring their tow bars to be end of life and no longer supported after about 8 years under the theory that they are then worn out as if wear on a tow bar is the same for a full timer as the 2 weeks per year crowd. Also while my sample size is limited, it seems the manufacture tolerance on my Blue ox base plate is far sloppier than my Roadmaster one, and my Demco Tow bar seems much more beefy than my old Demco one of about the same tow rating.


As to customer service interactions, mine have mostly been limited to minor details, calling Demco and Blue Ox support once, and Roadmaster 2 or 3 times (Mostly due to also owning a Roadmaster braking system), where I would describe all as good. If anything I would rank Blue Ox and Demco higher on the friendliness scale and Roadmaster a bit more terse, like they want to get you off the phone, but this might be due to the culture of where the companies are located (Blue Ox is in Kansas, Demco Nebraska, and Road Master in Washington state)
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Old 08-13-2022, 12:45 PM   #6
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BP - you are in Oregon. Roadmaster is in Vancouver Washington. I would consider them as your towbar manufacturer since they are close to you. That was the primary logic I used in our choice of the RM Nighthawk.

However, I did not purchase a RM brake system. I liked the RVI-3, because it was light weight and smaller in size. The control of the unit is very similar to the brake we used on the travel trailer. Familiarity is a seductive advantage.

"You, Me, and the RV", a you-tube channel, posted a video on transitioning from tow dolly to four down towing. They went with the Blue Ox towbar, because Phill liked the boots that protected the sliding surfaces from debris on the Blue-Ox unit.

Phill went with Airforce-One braking, because the MoHo unit was installed. That's kind of cheating, but who would not have taken that into consideration.

We all make decisions for different reasons but generally it is because that product supports what we believe to be the best, most convenient, or cost effective solution.

Note - Roadmaster will usually do a free baseplate install if they use your vehicle to design the baseplate configuration for a new model. Do have to give them the vehicle for one to two weeks.
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Old 08-13-2022, 12:51 PM   #7
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If your base area is still in the Salem area, one advantage of Roadmaster equipment is that it's a company that was, of course, founded and originated in Portland and is now headquartered in Vancouver (WA). Since we're PNW natives and now currently back in WA state, we found an affinity of sorts using locally based companies. Another example is that decades ago, we'd pretty much did all our tire purchases at Les Schwab, another Oregon-based company.

However, that shouldn't really play an important part in the decision on what product is chosen from a consumer standpoint other than in a case such as Roadmaster, it was convenient to drop into their facility in Vancouver to have equipment checked, pick up parts, or ask questions. At the time, they were very consumer oriented and were always willing to help and solve problems. I have no idea if their service is still that customer-centered today.

I'm not going to state what product is better but I've always used Roadmaster towbars and other equipment with no complaints whatsoever. There are many NSA (Ready Brute) fans here on the forum and many who prefer Blue Ox saying that they have superior design attributes but some also say they are under-engineered. Blue Ox at one time was an iRV2 sponsor. If you search, you will find a few very concerning threads about Blue Ox towbar failures through the years but there will also be several threads on Roadmaster and Ready Brute failures too. So what I just said is really not relevant to your decision as just like any product, there are going to be good reviews and bad reviews ...you'll just have to use your own judgement as to what product you think will serve you the best.




eta: oops, I was writing my post as PKI was posting and he/she explained the product support issue much better than I did. It is something to consider, though.
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Old 08-13-2022, 12:53 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brick Pilot View Post
Ok... need to tap the brain trust here.
Blue Ox or Roadmaster seem to be the two premier flat tow systems...
And they seem to be constructed differently, with different hookups.
Any dirt on which is better and why?
Have never had a flat tow system and know little...and I can prove it!
So we will gratefully accept most any and all input.
Thanks!

They're certainly two of the brand names that advertise the most. I'm not sure that equates to much, other than a lot of people buy them for that reason. The NSA brand has a built in braking system and lot of people buy it for that reason. Any of them will do the same thing, with minor differences in how they are marketed. They all have a large installed base and any of them should give you years of good service.
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Old 08-13-2022, 05:07 PM   #9
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I just purchased our third Blue Ox tow bar in over 20 years of towing a toad. The first one was new, the second was used ($125) and had it rebuilt for $35. Last year I bought a new one and gave the old one to my niece who will keep towing with it. All of the bars on the market today will get the job done. Blue Ox has been so reliable to me there was no need to look at anything else.

Edit: I have backed up with all three of them which is considered a NO NO, but have had no issues.
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Old 08-14-2022, 07:41 AM   #10
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Thank you... I had never even heard of it.
So the brake system is basically a solenoid piston that pushes the brake pedal in the car?
Does the key or lights have to be on to use it?
Thanks again for the input.
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Old 08-14-2022, 07:48 AM   #11
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Thanks for the response...
And you hit my main concern: I cannot imagine NEVER having to back up! Is it that the car has two wheels that turn unlike a trailer? Or is it that the towbars themselves pop off or fail if you try? Online there are MANY stories (many of them conflicting)!
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Old 08-14-2022, 07:56 AM   #12
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Thanks for the response...
And you hit my main concern: I cannot imagine NEVER having to back up! Is it that the car has two wheels that turn unlike a trailer? Or is it that the towbars themselves pop off or fail if you try? Online there are MANY stories (many of them conflicting)!


Both scenarios happen. When backing up the car wheels turn fully to one side or the other, which causes great stress to the tow bar because of the sideways pressure.

You get used to itÖ never backing up. In the rare cases we needed to, you simply unhook the car first, then rehook after.
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Old 08-14-2022, 08:51 AM   #13
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For the few times I have backed up for any distance, I start the engine and tie the steering wheel straight with the seat belt. Once tight the front wheels will stay straight. Then backing up "Cautiously" works just fine. I could unhook and do in cases where I have to turn, but it's a hassle to take off the protect-a-tow skirt, brake hose, safety cables and tow bar if I only have to back up less than 50-75'. If you're not confident doing it safely, don't attempt it.
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Old 08-15-2022, 11:45 AM   #14
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Brick Pilot.....you need four things to flat tow and each item needs to be considered in your decision. First, you need to choose a baseplate, the part that is bolted to the frame of the car and what the tow bar attaches to. Blue OX and Roadmaster are your two big base plate options.

Next you need a tow bar. You want to match the tow bar's capability with the weight of your toad. I have a 10K tow bar because I tow about 6500 pounds. I want a decent margin of error.

Next you need a braking system. There are many ways to accomplish this and SEVERAL companies making them.

Lastly, you need to add lights that are either an addition to your toad's lights or use the lights on the toad by installing diodes. There are now many plug and play systems that allow you to use the toad's lights without interfering with them when not being used as a toad.

Hold onto your wallet......the above items are going to take a bite out of it, depending on what you buy and who does the installation, you or a professional. A self-install can be close to $1500.00 - $2000.00 while a professional install could be as high a $3000.00 - $4000.00.

Whatever brand of product you choose will typically work well as all the companies have been around for a while. Personally, I like and use Roadmaster products. I like pairing up Roadmaster base plates with Roadmaster tow bars.

On my coach, I use the RM tow bar, RN base plates, Demco Air Force One Braking system. This braking system has a piston that mounts under the dash and pulls the brake pedal when I step on the coach's brakes. This is where there are a LOT of choices. There are systems that use a box you place on the driver's floorboard, and it presses on the brake pedal. There are pistons that mount under the driver's seat (removable) and press on the brake pedal. On mine, it uses the air from my diesel pusher to activate the brakes, others us the vehicle's motion (suddenly slowing) to trigger the brakes. The braking system is one of the hardest choices to make as there are so many and of them and different ways they operate.

Many like the Ready Brake tow bar system. The Ready Brake tow bar has the brake incorporated into the tow bar itself. As you slow down, the toad pushes on the tow bar which has a piston that is being depressed and at the same time, it moves a lever that pulls a cable connected to your brake pedal.

Many like the Ready Brake as it saves purchasing a separate braking system and installation. I believe that unit can be found for about $1200.00.

So, you have a several decisions to make. If you're going to have a local company do the install, your choices may be limited to the products they like to use.
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