|In2Dirt / SDR Motorsports RZR XP 1000
By Cody Hooper, In2Dirt
When we first got our hands on our 2014 RZR XP1000, we couldnt help but put a couple thousand miles on it. The mix of power, handling, and suspension a stock XP1000 offers is downright intoxicating, and between mountain trails, desert floors, and huge sand dunes, our XP saw it all. After adding a couple small mods, we sought out to build a rig we could take anywhere in the world and run it hard, having the added safety, cargo capacity, and suspension we desired. So after speaking with SDR Motorsports Tim Berendes at the 3rd Annual UTV Industry Ride, we made plans to drop our 2-up off at their shop.
SDR Motorsports has a knack for building some of the baddest UTVs we have ever seen, doing all of their fab and design work in-house at their Corona, California facility. We started up the drawing process in Tims office, adding some design tweaks and details that would set it apart from the rest of the sand and desert cars we see roaming around.
The RZR was stripped down to the frame, and outfitted with a host of electronic and performance accessories. For reliabilitys sake, we left the engine bone-stock except for a Sparks Racing clutch kit and and HMF dual exhaust system. We found the XP had more than enough power to get up to speed and stay there, and since we would be taking it deep into the heart of the Baja peninsula, we wanted the engine to be the least of our worries.
SDR ran all the wiring for a Lazerstar Endeavour 34 combi-beam light bar, which fits the cage profile perfectly and pumps out a massive 18,000 lumens. The combination beam features flood and spots for a full spread of light, and we coupled it with a few well-placed LED light pods for side floods, reverse lights, and even a clutch compartment work light.
Wiring was also run for the led underlighting, third brake light with amber spotting lights and a cargo lamp, Tribal Whips 6 Whipzilla LED whips, and some in-cab lighting. A GlazzKraft fiberglass dash was added for extra switch space, and a Rugged Radios 50W race radio was bolted in place of the stock center storage compartment. We ran a Rugged intercom with a two-piece helmet kit, allowing passengers to talk freely when blasting down the trails, and a Bluetooth adapter to play music through the headsets while on the trail. The Rugged Radio system is a must-have for group rides, making communication simple and adding more enjoyment to the riding experience.
On the passengers side, we added a Lowrance GPS loaded with custom maps, so we could lay out our trails and pre-run race courses. Plus, it adds a bit of fun for the co-driver. Both driver and passenger are held in place by a pair of ultra-comfortable Pro Armor Interceptor G2 seats done up in a custom black and orange vinyl. The G2 seats have deep bolsters to keep you held in tight, and feature a suspended mesh bottom that greatly increases comfort on rough terrain. Keeping passengers cinched in are a set of four point Pro Armor 3 harnesses.
SDR began forming a cage for our XPR-2 build, and we collaborated on some design ideas to make it a little more versatile. A large, low-profile roof rack was added with a spare tire carrier and a mounting point for our Radflo Hydro-Jack. A full size 30 STI Roctane XD tire fits perfectly on the roof rack, while still having enough room to tie down more cargo. In the bed, a Pro Armor vinyl bed storage bag was added, and we fastened a set of Lock N Ride plug adapters to the straps for easy removal. The bed storage bag holds a tire plug kit, a compressor, a full-size tool kit, a spare belt, two pairs of spare goggles and gloves, and two sweatshirts. Behind that, we mounted a heavy-duty Pelican cooler, which they claim can keep ice for up to ten days.
On the suspension front, HCR Racing built us a spectacular long-travel kit with 2.5 King IBP (internal bypass) racing shocks. The kit was powdercoated clear, because lets face it- the craftsmanship of this suspension kit is just too beautiful to cover up with paint. It bolts up to the stock mounting locations, utilizing a bolt-on front tower brace that evens out the shock geometry to keep the leverage ratio correct. Summers Brothers chromoly axles were added for durability, which were rebuilt in-house by SDRs expert installers. The kit makes the RZR 8 inches wider and 3 inches longer in wheelbase, making for a very broad, stable stance. The whoop-devouring long travel kit cycles well over 20 inches of travel (close to 24), and makes driving the RZR hard much more comfortable. The long travel kit adds quite a bit of safety to the performance envelope, allowing you to hit obstacles harder without worries of upsetting the car.
When it came to tires, we wanted a bulletproof option that wouldnt leave us stranded. During talks with STI Tire and Wheel, we settled on a set of massive 30×10 R14 Roctane XD tires. The XD is at home on the gnarliest terrain on Earth, which was perfect for our build. We wrapped the 30.4 tall 8-ply XDs on a set of STIs HD4 beadlock wheels, which are attractive, functional, and strong. The beadlock rings came from STI powdercoated to match our rig, which is an option they offer off the shelf for all buyers. The Roctanes make the stock Bighorns look tiny, even though they are only about an inch taller. With the added grip obtained from the new meats, the XPR-2 will claw its way up just about any incline you can find.
In the accessories department, we turned to Assault Industries to supply us with some billet mirrors and one of their trick quick-release steering wheels. The steering wheel hub disconnects with the press of a button and a lift of the aluminum collar, and you dont have to worry about putting the wheel back on straight. Slide it back onto the hub, spin the wheel any way you like, and it automatically locks itself into the correct position. For keeping our helmets safe during trips to crowded places, we installed a set of Assaults billet helmet locks, which bolt on to the roll cage and provide both a hanger and lock for your head gear.
SDR turned the build around just in time for the Idaho Dunes UTV Invasion, so we grabbed the car, threw it in our toy hauler, and hitched it up to another test unit- our 2015 Ford F350 King Ranch 4×4. Ford was kind enough to let us test out their newest UTV hauler, outfitted with a 6.7 liter Power Stroke diesel engine that pumps out a mind-boggling 440 horsepower and 860 lb-ft of torque. We will feature a full review of this plush hauler soon, so make sure you check back.
Our 1,200 mile (each way) journey to Idaho began in Los Angeles, and took us through the whole state of Utah on our way up to St. Anthony Sand Dunes in Idaho. We arrived at 1 AM, pulled the XPR-2 out of the hauler, and went to bed.
The next day, we went out for a few test runs to dial the car in, spending about three hours getting the suspension and clutch tuning set up just right. After a rear shock spring change and some fine-tuning, our SDR-built monster was devouring anything in its path. The speed at which we could hit dune faces, G-outs, and obstacles was exhilarating, opening up the performance envelope to a size we only associated with race-built UTVs beforehand. Airing the RZR out was a breeze thanks to having nearly two feet of suspension travel provided by the HCR long travel kit, and landings were plush and drama-free. The biggest surprise with the car was the speed at which you could slam into big G-outs; without having to dive on the brakes before a transition, your dune speeds really start to pick up. The car is sure-footed over the roughest trails, and is just downright fun to drive. Whether its a rookie or a pro behind the wheel, the benefits of added suspension prowess make the experience thrilling.
At UTV Invasion, Fullerton Sand Sports set us up with a wicked set of Sand Tires Unlimited paddle tires wrapped around DWT aluminum wheels. The 28 Sand Blaster 16 paddle rears provide incredible flotation in the soft sand, allowing the RZR to make the most of its horsepower without digging in. STU makes one of the best sand tires on the market, and while they are expensive, they are worth every penny for serious duners. For more information on ordering a set, call Fullerton Sand Sports at (714) 484-5996.
King builds one mean off-road shock, and their reputation is backed up by some of the toughest racers on the planet. The massive internal bypass shocks on our HCR long travel kit resist fade no matter how hard we push the car, and big hits always end in the car leveling out with little drama. Dont expect the kit to be perfect out of the box- just like any suspension setup, the HCR long travel kit is set up to do all things well. Fine-tuning your preload, spring rate, and compression damping takes time, but once the car is set up right, the results are incredible.
SDRs full cage and door kit was powdercoated in a mix of titanium-grey metallic and black to match the car, and ProLine Wraps draped a beautiful orange and black vinyl skin over the entire car. ProLine has the ability to design custom wraps for any of the UTVs on the market today, and having a custom wrap on the vehicle really helps it stand out. The high-grade vinyl material is resistant to fading, scratching, and tearing, so we werent worried about beating the RZR up with bushes, roost, and rocks.
After Dune Invasion, the car traveled to Costa Mesa, California to grace the UTV Offroad booth at the Sand Sports Super Show. During the event, countless UTV enthusiasts flocked to the RZR, complimenting on how they could tell the car gets driven hard and enjoyed. Among the many high-profile builds at the show, we received a ton of compliments on the functional, versatile build that all of these great sponsors helped us create. Since the build was finished, the car has done another 1,000 hard miles, showing no signs of squeaks, rattles, or cracks.
What we ended up with after the dust settled was a car that can be driven fast or slow, hard, or soft, in nearly any environment. The XPR-2 is more comfortable than the stock RZR, with much more safety equipment added to the package to keep the occupants intact in case of an accident. SDRs fit and finish is incredible, and the parts are built to last. The only issue we have had with the car was one faulty fuel injector plug, which we replaced in the sand at the UTV Invasion event with the help of UTV Guide and Dobeck Performance, who were both on hand as key sponsors of the incredible gathering.
While this build did tally up to an expensive total, it is still well within the reach of affordability for the hardcore UTV enthusiast. The best part is that all of the great companies that helped make this build what it is offer multiple price points for their products. SDR Motorsports can help you build the car of your dreams on any budget, you just have to give them a call. Trust us- you wont be disappointed.
About in2dirt Media
in2dirt Media is a small company based out of Santa Clarita, California. Former magazine editor and photographer Cody Hooper wanted a way to stay connected with the industry he loved when another career offer presented itself, and thus, in2dirt was born. Specializing in photography, editing, and PR, in2dirt works with top-level OEM and aftermarket companies, as well as the leading editorial outlets in the industry. in2dirt and UTV Guide have a longstanding relationship, and worked hand in hand building the car you see here.