When we purchased our Reconn R2 hybrid camper trailer, it came with an Ark Jockey Wheel. A couple of months ago, I did a review on how the hybrid had faired, and what we liked, and didn’t like about it.
I was reminded by some readers to add the Ark Jockey Wheel to the list of items that are fantastic, and its absolutely true. We’ve used a number of Jockey Wheels over the years, and the Ark is truly fantastic.
I mean, at the end of the day, its a jockey wheel and not the most exciting part of a camper trailer, but as far as they go its up there with the best jockey wheel that I’ve seen.
It’s solid and strong
I’ve seen some pretty flimsy looking jockey wheels on heavy trailers. Given the role that they do, its nice to know that I’m not going to have a drawbar land on my feet any time soon, and that I can push the camper around with a bit of force without worrying about the jockey wheel taking offense.
These are good for 750kg, and if you are applying more than that to your drawbar, you’ll have other issues.
The materials used are substantial, and its certainly one of the strongest around.
Now, I will mention that I did bend the brackets a bit one weekend when I was trying to remove the DO35 hitch without taking the pressure off the car (it needed to move forward a bit to stop it binding), but it hasn’t affected anything, and it bent due to misuse, not because there’s anything wrong with the unit itself.
I’ve not bothered to remove it and fix it either, as I can’t see it being a problem.
It’s easily adjustable
One of the things that I really like about the Ark Jockey wheel is you can adjust its height very easily. Not only does it have the normal up and down winding function, but you can literally lift the entire jockey wheel up and down on a second set of locking pins, in 4 positions.
If you come to a camp site that is going to require your camper to be up high at the front, you simply pull the pins out, move the jockey wheel down and lock it up again.
This is a game changer, as you no longer have to worry about running out of stroke (up or down).
I will say that after countless mud and dirt roads, this function no longer works smoothly and I have to resort to a hammer to knock it one way, and then using the pressure to push it back.
Perhaps some lubrication would solve this, but we don’t bother adjusting the jockey wheel in this way anymore.
You don’t have to remove it
A lot of Caravans or Camper trailers have removable jockey wheels. These have their own pro’s and con’s, but they take extra time and there’s more chance of things not being used properly.
The Ark Jockey Wheel simply flips up, and gets locked in its horizontal position.
It’s built to never come loose, and you can position the wheels in an upwards position so the drawbar will hit long before the jockey wheel does.
The handle is removable too, which means there’s nothing to come off, undo or catch off road
The wheels have plenty of surface area
Most jockey wheels only have a single wheel on the bottom. The Ark has two, and this is fantastic when you drop the camper onto ground that is soft.
Whether it be sand, mud or grass, the extra surface area means you can shove the camper around easily without it sinking in, and damaging the ground.
The jockey wheel also has little locking pins that allow you to keep the wheels above the drawbar. Even if it were to loosen a little, the pins stop the wheels swinging around and becoming a target off road.
It is heavy
Of course, you don’t get all of this in a Jockey Wheel without it being heavy. I believe they are somewhere around the 20kg mark, which is a reasonable amount of weight especially considering its position.
If you had a heavy tow ball weight, removing this would help considerably.
4 year update
It’s hard to believe that we’ve nearly had our Reconn R2 for 4 years, and our Ark Jockey Wheel has been used hundreds of times.
It still works perfectly fine, with exception of the adjustment that slides the unit up and down to gain or reduce the height of the wheel (not the winding part). This is somewhat seized, and requires some hammering persuasion to get it to move.
The blue plastic bits are badly faded, and cracking, and it wont be long before either the top or the handle cracks off.
I also noticed that the rubber on the jockey wheel is cracked in a couple of places, which could have been exacerbated by the fact that we had a piece of timber to stop the van moving down the driveway at home (and that its always sat in the sun), but its certainly going to break at some stage in the future.
Overall; is it any good?
These are fantastic, and I’ve not seen anything better. Ours has been out in the weather for a number of years, and asides from the normal wear and tear (and I’m sure cats and dogs are biting the plastic!) its performed flawlessly. I’d have no issues recommending it.
That said, after 4 years of use you can see its not new anymore, and despite working fine it is starting to come apart a bit. I still haven’t seen anything any better, and wouldn’t have a problem using it.
If possible, I’d consider a centre mount one though, as this gives you more ability to manoeuvre your 4WD. We cracked the bumper on the Dmax when I jack knifed it a bit too far!