Curt developed two towing products, a RockerBall Cushion Hitch Gooseneck Ball and an improved fifth wheel slider hitch. The company plans an extension to the RockerBall gooseneck ball hitch line later this year.
RockerBall Gooseneck Ball
The 60654 RockerBall Cushion Hitch Gooseneck Ball 2-5/16-inch uses the same patented technology Curt had on its conventional RockerBall mount, but on a gooseneck. The company launched the new gooseneck product in August 2022.
According to Curt Director of Product Jesse Bauer, “Instead of that clunking and banging, hitting the brakes hard or taking off accelerating hard, with a rocker ball gooseneck it is given you… just a little bit of dampening, you know shock absorption and a kind of break. It just gives you a smoother and more comfortable ride.”
The Curt RockerBall Cushion Hitch Gooseneck Ball drops into Curt’s own underbed gooseneck hitch or a similar hitch. It is for use with fifth wheels up to 20,000 pounds.
Consumers towing fifth wheels can use a fifth wheel to gooseneck adapter, such as the Lippert gooseneck Connect aftermarket pinbox with the hitch.
According to Curt Marketing Coordinator Kristi Feeney, some replacement couplers in the industry have shock dampening. However, Feeney said those tend to be larger, expensive and heavy replacements. With the Curt RockerBall gooseneck hitch, consumers can swap out a smaller accessory rather than removing a large coupler replacement.
Curt holds regular brainstorming sessions with their staff and salespeople, Bauer said, to discuss issues the company is trying to solve. Joel Diller, director of engineering – new product development; Eric Jevanord, manager, product; Curtis Bowe, senior design manager and Stan Neal, territory sales manager, worked to develop the rocker ball gooseneck hitch. After a consumer feedback and testing process, the product passed the SAE J2638 standard defining strength requirements for gooseneck systems.
Feeney said the RockerBall gooseneck ball received positive reviews online since its release.
Feeney said, “It is an accessory you do not necessarily think about. You think, trailer ball is a trailer ball, but this can add great improvement to your overall ride quality for a slight investment more.”
The RockerBall Cushion Hitch Gooseneck Ball comes with a hard-sided carrying case and a rubber plug or cap. A consumer can unlock the ball, take it out, put it in the carrying case to protect it from dirt and grime and plug the gooseneck hole, creating a clean, flush truck bed.
Curt teamed with horse trainer and influencer in Matt Mills in August 2022. He is a champion equestrian with a three-axle gooseneck trailer. Mills uses the RockerBall Cushion Hitch Gooseneck Ball and has been pleased with its performance, Bauer said.
“It is unique, and it is actually very functional,” Bauer said. “It is helping somebody and that is what we want to do. We want to serve our customers and the consumers out there… we can actually show how it is providing shock dampening that does provide a smoother ride.”
The team is working on a new gooseneck rocker ball version, Bauer said, “for an adjacent application” which is planned for a Fall release.
Fifth Wheel Slider Hitch
Curt released a fifth wheel slider hitch for consumers with short bed trucks late last year. The hitch comes in 20,000-pound and 25,000-pound versions.
Curt had a similar product on the market, but decided it needed to be refreshed, Bauer said.
According to Bauer, the company wanted to ensure the new hitch slid smoothly and quietly for a good price and in a lighter footprint. Diller, Engineer Aaron Crotteau and Kevin Rabska, Curt product manager, worked to create the product and test various iterations.
This fifth wheel hitch provides a fifth wheel with its patented head technology. The head is built on a cast yoke with poly-torsion inserts to reduce shock loads, chucking and noise at the coupling point. The slider hitch is tested according to SAE J2638 specifications.
The fifth wheel hitch comes with a roller for 12 inches of additional turning clearance with short-bed trucks. It mounts onto any industry-standard fifth wheel hitch rails.
The hitch comes pre-assembled. The slider assembly is also easy, Bauer said, as consumers “just have to put the handle on it.”