While Rivian R1T / R1S Running Boards and Rock Sliders may seem very similar in appearance, their functionality is vastly different. Since this topic varies by vehicle and product manufacturer, we’ll focus specifically on Rivian R1T and R1S vehicles and Team 1EV RMaxx brand products which are engineered exclusively for Rivian usage.
Rivian R1T R1S RMaxx Running Boards
Starting with Running Boards, we’ll explain the purpose, design features that make them unique, and how they vary between Rivian R1T trucks and R1S SUVs. We’ll then explain the purpose of Rock Sliders, how they compare to Running Boards, and how these products are unique for Rivian R1T and R1S. The Rivian in itself is highly unique in that it is an electric vehicle, where aerodynamics matter, and the vehicle structure is unique and unlike any other mainstream ICE truck or SUV.
First off, if you never plan on taking your Rivian R1T / R1S off road and have no concern about the risk of damaging the underside of your Rivian, Running Boards are likely the right choice for you. We’ll explain more about Rock Sliders and their usefulness below, but we will start by fully explaining Running Boards. Running Boards are primarily used as ‘steps’ to make getting into and out of the vehicle easier. Rivian R1T and R1S are generally tall vehicles, even when dropped to ‘kneel mode’. What do we mean dropped?
Let’s start with explaining the Rivian air suspension. The Rivian R1T and R1S platforms use an air suspension. Air suspension is highly unorthodox for trucks, which are predominately spring and torsion bar suspension designs. Other high-end SUVs do often utilize air suspensions, however. The air suspension has various benefits, but for now we’ll just need to understand the air suspension in the Rivian enables the Rivian R1T and R1S to easily raise and lower itself.
The Rivian driver can also manually raise and lower the vehicle. For instance, Rivian drivers can set the Rivian in ‘kneel mode’, which is the lowest setting, or ‘off road mode’, which is the highest setting. Now, back to Running Boards, they provide a ‘step’ which is lower than the vehicle’s interior floor, creating a ‘step’ up and into the vehicle. Very popular and useful for people of all types, including but not limited to older people, shorter people, kids, dogs / pets, or anyone who has any difficulty stepping up and into the vehicle without a ‘step’ to help.
The Running Board must be strong and steady, so when one steps on it, it’s stable and sure footed. A Running Board that flexes too much under load, has a slippery surface, or doesn’t offer a wide enough tread plate for both front and rear passengers will not function well. To achieve the proper Running Board performance, the design must be engineered accordingly.
For instance, the Team 1EV RMaxx Running Boards for Rivian R1T / R1S are engineered to bolt directly to the factory Rivian frame attachment points. These factory Rivian attachment points are structural components of the Rivian frame. The RMaxx attachment brackets have been engineered with proper strength considerations.
The brackets feature gusseting and load bearing surfaces which have both been engineered specifically to support extreme Running Board loads (well over 600 lbs) and dynamic situations (jumping up and down on the Running Boards) while safely and effectively transferring the load and forces to the Rivian R1T / R1S frame structure, without bending or damaging the Rivian frame structure or the RMaxx Running Board components.
Running Boards live in a challenging environment. They get stepped on and face the endless beating from rocks and pebbles slinging up off tires. Team 1EV RMaxx Running Boards for Rivian R1T and R1S are manufactured in the USA from high quality alloy steel, which has been precision laser cut and fixture welded, coated with OEM automotive zinc corrosion resistant primer, then finished with a heavy duty durable textured black electrostatic powder coating. The RMaxx Running Board tread plates are bolted together using included marine-spec, black oxide coated, stainless steel hardware – the best!
Beyond the structural and functional aspects above, the Running Boards must also be designed with proper aerodynamic consideration. On any vehicle, the ‘aerodynamic drag’ created from Running Boards will adversely impact the fuel efficiency or electric vehicle range.
Rivian R1T and R1S engineers elected to cover the entire underside of the vehicle with flat surfaces, in effort to optimize the aero and minimize range-robing aero drag. Team 1EV engineers are no rookies to understanding aerodynamics, as they’ve been designing products for Tesla since 2013, well before anyone else was even thinking about aftermarket EV products.
Armed with more experience than others, Team 1EV engineers worked carefully to design Running Boards for Rivian R1T / R1S which fit within the ‘aero envelope’ defined by the wheel and tire frontal planes. This means Team 1EV RMaxx Running Boards provide the widest possible tread plate, while still remaining within the aero envelope. All the while, the design of RMaxx Running Boards was carefully set to align with the factory Rivian body cladding bottom edge design features, so it looks properly designed specifically for Rivian fitment.
Additionally, the aero design focus is also evident on the bracket designs and Running Board underside designs. The bottom edge of the RMaxx mounting brackets are tucked up tightly to the Rivian underside, barely exposing themselves to the airstream. The top tread is strategically positioned at the optimal height, relative to the doors. This height allows adequate clearance to the door bottom edge, keeps the gap between Running Board tread and vehicle tight and tidy looking, while not compromising ground clearance on the bottom side.
Finally, the RMaxx Running Boards do not interfere with factory Jack Puck locations. Even once the RMaxx Running Boards are fully installed, all factory Rivian R1T and R1S jack puck points remain fully accessible.
The Rivian factory mounting points are located on the bottom side of the Rivian R1T and R1S under small removable plastic panels. These panels were created by Rivian to be removable for a few reasons, first so you can directly access the frame structure for vehicle lifting, and second so you can access the frame structure to attach accessories such as Running Boards.
Team 1EV offers a few options for the factory plastic covers, so each customer can decide which option is best for their interests. For the Rivian owner who doesn’t want to modify the plastic panels, the panels can simply be removed and not reinstalled after installing the RMaxx Running Boards.
For the Rivian owner who prefers to retain the plastic panels, at least two modification options exist. The easiest option is to simply cut holes in the plastic panels using the Team 1EV provided cutting templates. 4 holes per side of the vehicle are required, to make clearance for the 8 Running Board mounting brackets. A 4” round hole saw can be used to easily make these clearance holes. The plastic panels do not need to be removed at all, the provided templates can be used to hole saw the plastic panels on the vehicle (click here to view Team 1EV video instructions).
For those Rivian owners who want to cut precision clearance holes for the brackets using a knife, snips, or Dremel type cutter, that is perfectly acceptable as well and Team 1EV cutting templates outline these precision cut outs as well. With the plastic panels clearance for RMaxx Running Board Brackets, the panels can be re-used!
The installation of Team 1EV RMaxx Running Boards on Rivian R1T and R1S is fairly easy and DIY friendly. The RMaxx Running Board kits include the two required specialty bits, so only basic tools are required (Socket set and Standard screwdrivers). You can view Team 1EV’s full installation video tutorial here.
Rivian R1T R1S RMaxx Rock Sliders
Let’s dive into Rock Sliders next. First, a few basics. RMaxx Running Boards and RMaxx Running Boards with Rock Slider Armor are two entirely different products. You cannot buy RMaxx Running Boards and plan to ‘add’ the Rock Slider Armor later.
The RMaxx Running Board version that incudes Rock Slider Armor is welded together as one unit, and the design is totally different than the ‘just’ Running Boards version. So the decision ‘Running Boards’ or ‘Rock Sliders’ is a decision you should make up front, because a change down the road means changing the entire product.
Why Rock Sliders? As the name suggests, the primary purpose of the Rock Slider is to protect the vehicle when slider against or on an obstacle or hazard, such as a rock or a stump, a pole, or anything that you’re driving over or around. Rock Sliders are nothing new, they have been add-on in the off road and overland community forever. Different names for Rock Sliders apply as well, such as Nerf Bars, Sliders, Step Sliders, Armor Sliders, Body Armor, Step Rails, and more. Secondarily, Rock Sliders can typically provide step functionality. Generally speaking, quality Rock Sliders are designed and engineered to withstand the most aggressive of damage and obstacle risks.
The RMaxx Rock Slider for Rivian R1T and R1S is a design that incorporates a step (aka Running Board), so the product is officially named RMaxx Running Boards with Rock Slider Armor. Rock Sliders vastly vary by design, some are just for looks, others offer functionality, and some offer protection. The RMaxx Running Boards with Rock Slider Amor for Rivian R1T and R1S offer a very comprehensive collection of great looks, added step functionality, incredible armor protection, underside aero preservation – and the easiest of installations.
The RMaxx product bolts onto factory Rivian frame structure points without any modifications. The factory plastic underbody panels are removed and replaced with a full coverage alloy steel plate armor. The RMaxx steel plating armor provides proper underside hazard protection, aerodynamics comparable to the plastics, along with debris protection to help keep the factory Rivian RUS clean.
The RMaxx Running Boards and Rock Slider Armor assembly is precision manufactured from alloy steel components, which are entirely fixture welded, OEM zinc coating primed, and finished with electrostatic black textured powder coating. Similar to the RMaxx Running Boards, the design is optimal from a form, fit, function and aerodynamic perspective.
As for ‘jacking’ the Rivian R1T or R1S with RMaxx Rock Sliders goes, the product is a structural extension of the factory Rivian frame. It is perfectly acceptable to jack up the Rivian on the center side of the vehicle, directly on the RMaxx Rock Slider. The Rivian R1T and R1S can be jacked up using Jack Pucks or by jacking directly on the RMaxx structure. The addition of jacking functionality across the length of the Rock Slider is an invaluable gain for the off-road enthusiast who may find themselves unable to ‘reach’ factor jack points when in recovery.
Team 1EV RMaxx Running Boards and Rock Sliders have been carefully designed and engineered and manufactured in the USA 🇺🇸 by lifelong off-roading enthusiast engineers and perfectionists. Not only do we live and breathe Rivian, we grew up on (and still own) Jeeps and F150s – and more recently Teslas! Since the 1990s, we’ve been designing and developing the automotive aftermarket’s leading products, with a proven track record of innovations. We charge happiness!
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