2016 Sand Sports Super Show
Oh, what a time to be a UTV enthusiast. Every year, this industry is lucky enough to enjoy enormous growth patterns, both in new customers and product sales. This year’s showing at the California Sand Sports Super Show was the strongest yet, with more UTVs present than any previous year. Every major player in the Sport UTV segment showed up with a semi this year- Arctic Cat, Can-Am, Polaris, and Yamaha. Polaris and Arctic Cat both unveiled brand new 2017 models at the show, while Yamaha and Can-Am showed off their product with very interesting cutaways and a host of partnered builds that really drew in some big crowds. If 2016 is any hint at how the next five years in the segment are going to go, we have a lot to look forward to.
We ran our booth light this year- with only a single RZR XP4 Turbo in the booth, we chose to focus on our partners, working in multiple build cars into vendor booths to spread the love. We saw some insane builds at this year’s show, and judging by the talk we were hearing, next year is going to be even bigger. If you missed this year’s event, don’t make the same mistake again in 2017!
RUGGED RADIOS – This year, Rugged went all out with their vendor mall. The enormous Rugged arena was packed from Friday to Sunday, with hundreds of blue bags walking out accompanied by smiling faces. Rugged chose to unveil their Beach Buggy RZR, a Meyers Manx inspired concept built on a turbocharged XP1000 frame. To the naked eye, it appeared to be an old school VW chassis- until you look closely and see that it retains its 4WD system, long-travel suspension, and 160+ horsepower engine.
ASSAULT INDUSTRIES – Assault has been on fire with build cars recently, and their new widebody white monster was no different. Featuring an all-new body kit from Glazzkraft which includes a matching fiberglass dash and center console, the HCR longtravel-equipped RZR 4 was a showstopper. The white and copper metallic color scheme really popped in the Costa Mesa sunshine. While Assault sold all of their hard parts through 4 Wheel Parts this year, their entire team was still on hand to meet customers and talk about new innovations.
BOONDOCKER – This year, the Idaho natives from Boondocker chose to show off a few new products. Their brand-new “Long Car” RZR XP stretch kit was displayed in plain sight on two very attractive 280 horsepower turbo RZRs. The Long Car kit is a 100% bolt-in wheelbase extension package that extends the RZR XP 2 seater to a 102” wheelbase, matching that of the new Maverick X3. We have seen the kit in action, and it does wonders for suspension performance on the 2 seat cars!
SANDCRAFT RCR – Sandcraft had a few new builds on display which highlighted the ultimate high-dollar suspension upgrade. Their long travel kit essentially turns your RZR into a mini Class 10 car, with an entire new front bulkhead design that allows them to push the A-arm mounts past the front fascia for the correct geometry. Sandcraft was also displaying their full lineup of RZR drivetrain upgrades, as well as a new oil cooling kit for the 2016 RZR XP Turbo that replaces the recall parts.
STI – STI had a full display of tires and wheels for any terrain. What caught our eye first were the new Chicane RX 32” tires, which were featured on our XP4 Turbo build. STI has a host of wheel and tire options for any machine, with enough offset combinations to perfect any rig’s handling.
COGNITO – Cognito had a few beautiful cars on display, but the most fantastic was their enormous Hell Raiser race chassis car. This stretched desert racer makes a stock RZR 4 look small, and the attention to detail and craftsmanship that goes into their manufacturing is second to none. Check out those trailing arms!
TMW – TMW’s booth was packed with builds, including a brand new 2 seat long travel RZR XP Turbo that they deemed “Red Rocket”. All jokes about the name aside, the car was absolutely gorgeous, and was unfortunately sold, so we couldn’t get our hands on it. Their Destination Polaris Build “Sand Hog” was also on display, showing off just how stellar TMW is at building an entire car package.
SDR – SDR never disappoints with new car builds, and 2016 was no different. With over a dozen SDR-built cars at the show, there was something for everyone. From turbocharged Yamaha YXZs to fully-built RZR showcars like the yellow and black “Hornet”, SDR showed their versatility well.
DESERTWORKS – DW chose to unveil their new chase roof rack at the show, built on one of our Project RZRs. The full-length 4 seat roof rack is phenomenally complex in design, using a laser-cut sheetmetal frame with stamped gussets and space for 360 degree surround lighting. Our halo lighting was provided by Vision X, and will be featured in an upcoming build story where we take this Desertworks-built beast across hundreds of miles of rough terrain in search of some amazing scenery. Desertworks showed that they can mesh beauty and functionality in a seamless manner.
SIMPSON – Simpson’s all-new multi-fit Vortex seat was an eye catcher. By using different mounting rails with each package, Simpson developed a seat that fits all RZR, Maverick, Commander, Wildcat, Teryx, and Rhino models. Since being acquired by Simpson, the Twisted Stitch name seems to have gone, but the style and flair has not!
SPARKS – Curtis Sparks is a legendary name in the ATV world, and they are making quite the name for themselves in the UTV market. New at the show was their YXZ1000R exhaust, featuring a beautiful header design and large diameter muffler. Their RZR systems were also on display, as well as a host of engine upgrades for the XP platform that can take your car from mild to wild.
ITP – ITP had a ton of new wheel and tire combos on display, including this very attractive 17” 8-spoke Storm Series wheel wrapped in Blackwater Evolution tires. We are patiently awaiting ITP’s entrance into the large (28-30”) sand tire market, as their large-carcass dirt tires have been stellar recently. Our Desertworks build car features a set of 32” Ultra Cross tires wrapped in 15” polished beadlocks.
GMZ – The guys at GMZ haven’t been taking any holidays, putting in solid testing and R&D hours on their new Sand Stripper paddle tires to ensure that you can get all of your turbocharged horsepower to the sand. The new XL HP tire is massive, measuring over 30” in diameter. For big-power sand cars, GMZ has you covered!
DRAGONFIRE – Dragonfire was on fire this year, debuting a new RT seat line and a host of accessories for RZR and YXZ owners. Their YXZ rear bumper was one of our favorites, and the host of cars in their booth showed off their bolt-on accessory lines very well. Want a stronger cage, but don’t want to shell out the dough for a full custom build? Dragonfire has bolt-on cage strengthening pieces that add style and performance to your ride.
WOLF DESIGNS – Wolf was taking wrap orders with a show discount, showing the simplicity of their new website UTVWrap.com. The online design tool allows you to build out a custom wrap very easily and have it shipped to your door. Wolf had their UTV Invasion Show ‘n Shine-winning “Werewolf” V8 RZR on display, and man, did it turn some heads!
TRIPLE X – Triple X chose to focus on their entire line and their versatility, showing off dozens of custom seats that fit any style and budget. Some of the material choices in these custom chairs were stunning, and the interactive display allowed customers to pick which seat fit their frame the best.
RIGID – Rigid had an enormous semi filled with lighting and technology displays, and they were also showing off RJ Anderson’s XP1K4 build. The new build featured some trick parts, including new prototype mirrors with LED lighting built in. Also on display was
VISION X – Vision had one of the most incredible YXZ builds we have ever seen in its booth, built by Powdercoat Industries and FabWerx. The orange widebody car featured a host of Vision X lighting, showing off their versatility with an LED chip. Vision has lighting at every price point, from entry to full-race.
LAZER STAR – Lazer Star was showing off a ton of light bar combinations, including their new Prerunner series. The Prerunner LED lights comprise of X series Cree emitters packed into an IP67 rated waterproof housing, and start at a very reasonable price point. They also had some incredible sales going on, offering up to 40% off on some show special lighting!
KC HILITES – The star of KC’s booth was their new Pro 6 light rack, featuring a row of 6” slim Daylighter-style light housings packing a whopping 20W emitter in each housing. They are available in 32”, 39”, and 50” lengths, offering a maximum 20,000 lumens and over 1,600 meters of beam distance. Plus, they look fantastic!
FULLERTON SAND SPORTS – Fullerton Sand Sports is a veteran of the Sand Sports Show, and they had some show specials that would make your head spin. How does a set of four Arisun 30” tires wrapped around Raceline beadlock wheels for under $1,000 sound? Fullerton is the sand tire guru, putting in testing time on every machine to figure out which tires work best for each car. Their expertise should not be overlooked when purchasing a new set of tires for your UTV!
HCR – HCR had a few beautiful cars on display, including a 2 seat long travel RZR with a mixture of two different long travel kits on it to show the difference in options that HCR offers. The elite kit is the choice for the sand crowd- light weigh, incredibly complex looking, and plenty strong. Their dual-sport kits are less flashy, but feature a fully-boxed arm design with more interior bracing and structuring than you could imagine. When it comes to long travel, HCR knows how to build some strong parts.
SHOW STOPPERS – The hottest cars we saw at this year’s show were XTC’s 2.5 liter Subaru-powered HellRazr and Rugged Radios’ Beach Buggy RZR. Both feature one-off full-frame builds and an incredible attention to detail. Bravo to the build teams of both cars, which included help from TMW on the HellRazr and NV Fab on the Beach Buggy.
Pictures from past shows: