I was looking for a roll-up but ended up changing my mind after reading and do some homework.
I also didn't like the idea of the plastic canister holding the front tire of a motorcycle, even though the companies said it would/should work fine.
A friend has the Pace Edwards "jackrabbit" and would not buy anther one. He has troubles with it falling out of the track... I think it is just a bad install but he is not impressed. He also had to make a chock for the front tire of a dirt bike. He didn't like the way the motorcycle pushed up against the plastic canister and he thought it didn't look strong enough.
I will have an update on the BakFlip HD (all metal) in a few weeks. I have already ordered mine.
I went to 4Wheel Parts and they had some small samples setup on the showroom floor that a person can play with and try out.
The BakFlip was super simple, clean fit, not alot of moving parts to go bad. I ended up going for the BakFlip since a person doesn't lose any bed space and they are super simple to remove if needed. Also I already have the short bed truck so I didn't want to give up any more space in the bed to a roll-up with a canister.
Thanks for the input. I looked at the flip covers. Of the ones, the bakflip will give most room but you block the rear view. I wont carry a motorcycle in the bed, I have a trailer if needed. To tough to get a Goldwing in the bed!
You will lose about a foot at the bulkhead with any retractable cover.
Retrax: Made of Lexan, which is a type of plastic. Retrax is a good cover. The cover is not spring loaded like the other retractables, so move the cover at will. It does not lock the tailgate when closed. It may cover or partially cover your stake pockets. The Lexan can scratch, but then so can the vinyl and aluminum. However, since the Lexan is perfectly smooth, you will tend to more easily see those scratches as opposed to the Pace Edward Metal which has a texture.
TruckCoversUSA: The best retractable cover in my opinion. Black powdercoated double walled aluminum, spring loaded, locks every 12 inches. The cover can hold over 500 pounds. The slats are interlocking (unlike the PE Full Metal Jacket). The canister is the smallest of the retractable covers at only 8" by 8". There are 4 drain tubes instead of the usual two: Two in the front and two at the rear. The cover is rather expensive.
RollNLock: Vinyl laminated aluminum. This cover has a piece of hardware that must be installed on the tailgate. This allows the cover to effectively lock your tailgate closed. The vinyl on this cover will fade pretty badly unless you keep a conditioner on it. It's possible to tear the vinyl.
Pace Edwards: They have a vinyl laminated cover (Jack Rabbit) like the RollNLock and a black powdercoated cover (Full Metal Jack Rabbit) like the TruckCoversUSA. Not much more to say about the Jack Rabbit.
Bak: I'm not a fan of Bak products. I have nothing against Bak, but their products are not know to be high quality.
Pace Edwards: Jack Rabbit on top, Full Metal on botton.
I am trying to find a cover that will allow me to carry my bikes in the back when open. Not sure I can make it happen with a retractable. With the shorter bed of the crew cab its tough to lose any space up front and make it fit! Seems like the
TruckCover is the way to go. I'll check them out to get specs on how much space it takes up in the front. Seems to be more than 8' from the picture you posted.
Bicycles. I have a 2x6 that I have mounted locks to hold the front forks of 2 bikes. I made a template that was width of the bed and 12" deep to simulate the front of the retractable cover. In order to make it work, the tailgate will have to be down with the rear bike tire sitting on it.
Seems if I do either the folding cover or the retractable cover, I'll need the cargo extender to keep things secure.
I can't see another way to carry the bikes in the bed. I could always get a hitch mounted carrier but I'd rather use the bed.
On the motorcycle front. I have a Goldwing and definitely wouldn't want to load that beast into the bed!
I don't think the retractable covers is the best solution for me. I like the truckcover version but there are no local dealers for me to see one in person. $1400 is a bit steep when buying site unseen. The other part I dont like is the fairly large rails to deal with when carring other items in the truck. I am concerned they may experience damage.
Thanks to all who offered info. It was invaluable in reaching my decision.