New Product Test – Inside the Shark Kage

New Product Test – Inside the Shark Kage you’re headed to the dunes, woods, motocross track, or the deer camp, you’ll almost certainly have to haul your ATV or Side x Side to get there. That means your best trail buddy will be riding in the back of your truck or trailer, and getting it loaded can be a sketchy maneuver fraught with the possibility of disaster.

Boat ramp and loading ramp catastrophes are the stuff of YouTube legend. There is a reason for that; it can be downright hilarious to all but the poor guy trying to load his machine. We’ve even had a ramp spin out and a machine come crashing down ourselves once, and in our case, the hurt was more to our pride than our hide. It’s surely not a good feeling though. Riders have been using ramps made of everything from rough cut lumber to plastic for years, but the Shark Kage ramp is designed to be much more than a loading tool. If you’ve got to carry a loading ramp along on the ride, it may as well do many tasks. That’s just good design and the basis for the Shark Kage.vendor.2014.shark-kage.ramp.close-up.mounting-plate.jpg

Kage Match

The Shark Kage is first a loading system, and getting your machine in the back of your truck is what the Shark Kage does best. In many ways the Shark Kage looks similar to other aluminum ramps. It has extruded aluminum main beams, and cleated cross members for strength and traction. There is a lot of welding in this part and all the welds looked great! Hinge points between panels let the Kage unfold into a gently arched ramp that transitions smoothly onto the bed of your truck, but it’s when folded back up for transport where the Shark Kage gets its name.

With multiple hinge points between the four main panels, there are numerous ways the Shark Kage can be folded. It can form a box (à la the shark cage part), a stretched out bed liner, a cover for the gear you are hauling, a tailgate extension, a tabletop / work surface, and with a couple accessory legs and an awning, a welcome shelter or shade. The Shark Kage is no one trick wonder ramp.

Installing the Shark Kage means popping a few holes in the tailgate of your truck, embedding a blind hole nut called a RivNut, and bolting down a panel they call the Shark Bite. This is actually one half of a hinge, but by attaching this part to your truck, the ramp is stabilized during loading. The adjoining panel (with the other part of the hinge) is then installed with steel rods as the hinge pins, and the next panels are added until the 92” full length is reached. Next, grab your gear bag and gas cans and you’re ready to go!vendor.2014.shark-kage.ramp.loading.side-x-side.jpg

Load & Go

With an overall width of 47 inches, the Shark Kage works best with ATVs and a few narrow Side x Sides like the Honda Pioneer 500 and the Polaris ACE. When loading any machine with the wheels right to the outside edge of the ramps, though, we highly recommend you have a buddy nearby to guide you up safely. Overall weight rating of the Shark Kage is listed at 1200 pounds, but that probably exceeds the weight rating for your tailgate as well. Once your machine is safely inside your truck bed, you can fold the Shark Kage behind the back tires to form an effective tail gate. With an ATV this is no problem. With longer machines, you might have an issue. Most Side x Sides are longer than an ATV, and that means they are already setting on the tailgate. This leaves little room for the Shark Kage. A long bed truck would certainly help, but depending on the length of your bed and some creative folding, you can most likely get everything loaded. Regardless of the length of your bed or whatever you are hauling, whether it is your ATV or even your garden tractor, the Shark Kage still retains its versatility as a loading ramp, bed extender, cargo box, cargo cover, worktable and shelter. It’s an innovative design that can serve many needs.

SHARK KAGE msrp: $699

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December 20, 2014

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