When the Sand Sports Super Show originally launched little did they know that it would become the most important show in the UTV market. What started as a show for mostly sand rail and off-road truck enthusiasts evolved to showcase every aspect of the Sand Sports industry. This year’s show, just like those before it, attracted visitors from across the country and the best vendors in the industry! As the popularity of sand sports increase the products and services available increase. Every year this trend is evident by the quality of products unveiled, the popular vendors who attend, the large crowds and the industry professionals who visit the three-day show. This year the Sand Sports Super Show was held September 14-16 at the OC Fair & Event Center in Costa Mesa, California.

2018 Sand Sports Super Show

Another indicator of the UTV markets rise is the continued growth and development of new UTV models each year, and several new models were recently released just before the show from Polaris, Textron, Can-Am, and Yamaha. Also, Nikola offered the public to check out their new electric offroad vehicle at the show as well this year.

Just days before the show, Polaris announced the new Polaris RZR XP Turbo S 4, which was on display at the show, and several companies even had fully built machines on display. We had a chance to meet up with Evan Schendel from Polaris to get the details on the new four seater, “It has been a long time coming but the RZR XP Turbo S4 is finally here! It has all the cool stuff we launched on the 2 seater Turbo 2 including the new toughness technologies, suspension upgrades, 32inch tires and the cockpit changes. Polaris says the biggest engineering feat of the vehicle was creation of a new drivetrain, suspension and chassis,” said Schendel.

Yamaha was also showing the highly updated 2019 YXZ 1000R, which received several major improvements this year including changes to the transmission, roll-over bars and updated front end. The gear ratio has all been redesigned similar to their gear reduction kit so that low-speed (1st and 2nd) are going to be significantly smoother especially for those in the tighter riding areas. On the SS models, they re-did some of the mapping on the shifting points, so you don’t have those issues with the half-clutching creating a smoother and sharper shift. The roll-over bars are redesigned with really high off-camber angles allowing you to see through the bars easier. The front end has been redesigned to give you better visibility over the hood by moving the radiator to the back. The move also allowed more room for new lighting and the dual battery option. The larger radiator in the back comes equipped with dual fans and receives better airflow than ever before. The brakes have been upgraded to larger calipers and rotors along with a redesigned hub and stainless brake lines all the way around.

Textron also teased us with an all new UTV designed in collaboration with Robbie Gordon. Textron has worked with Robbie to create this Baja specific UTV that will inspire an all new Baja UTV from Textron. With only a few details available at this time we do know that this specific edition comes with a 72-inch wide travel kit that Robbie Gordon built. That’s a big increase from the stock width of 64-inches. Specific accessories, price, and release date are still to be determined.

Baja UTV from Textron at the 2018 Sand Sports Super Show

Also on display at the Textron was the new 2019 Wildcat XX LTD which includes an aftermarket deluxe Bimini roof, front and rear bumpers and a half windshield. The Wildcat XX LTD comes equipped with a 130hp (5hp gain from 2018), 998cc Naturally aspirated EFI Engine. Textron’s Sport SXSs Product Manager, Mathew Fields gave us the heads up that the Wildcat XX LTD will be shipping to your loal dealer later this month!

Jace Croshaw, the Event Director for Nikola was excited to display an off-road vehicle like nothing before. Jace walked us through the main points, “Our vehicles are all 100% electric. Our new off-road style vehicle is not your standard ATV or UTV. It will come equipped with a 125-kilo watt battery pack that is good for an average of 120-150 miles. 722 pounds of torque. 590 horsepower.” The Nikola NZT boasts instant torque with almost no noise! Although the batteries are heavy, causing the machine to sit at around 5,000 pounds, they are located low on the machine making it difficult to roll-over.

Nikola Electric UTV at the 2018 Sand Sports Super Show

Jace explained that, “the maximum speed is 120 miles per hour but it comes limited to 80mph from the factory”. With no belt the machine moves thanks to four motors, one on each axle driving each wheel individually. Yes, you read that correctly, each wheel has its very own electric motor driving it. This allows you to choose from front wheel drive, rear wheel drive, four-wheel drive and if you wreck a tire on a ride you can get back to basecamp on three wheels! The Nikola NZT features 13-18” of travel on all four tires thanks to the 3.0 Podium internal bypass shocks from Fox. They come equipped with 7 compression stages and 4 rebound stages along with bottom-out control. Nikola has set the official Production Launch date for April 2019 and they plan on delivering vehicles by the end of 2019 or early 2020.

Nikola also hosted ride-alongs all weekend for fans looking to check out the all-new, not-yet-released, Nikola NZT prototype.Erik Tallo from Sacramento, California went to the show specifically to see the Nikola NZT, “I am a huge fan of Nikola. I think it is super cool that they are going electric on these UTVs.” Erik was one of hundreds who test drove the Nikola at the Sand Sport Super Show over the weekend. Nicole Furnish from Arizona said she’d been coming to the show since she was 14 and thought the Nikola was good but she liked her Turbo RZR more. The Nikola NZT had another fan, Mitchell Haack from Bellflower, California. Mitchell has been coming to the Sand Sports Super Show for a very long time. To get the idea of just how long, he told us he has an old-school sand buggy that was built in 1965. He is still using that same buggy to this day. He’s a diehard and won’t even think about switching to a UTV, however, he did say the Nikola was impressive.

While there was plenty of new machines to see, there was also plenty of new products on display as well, and Mike Jaynes from AIM Sports talked us through their new CV Belt Temp Gauges that monitor your belt temps with a two-stage alarm system, “The alarm system gives you the option to select the trigger temperatures and gives you a color display that turns yellow, or you can set an alarm and it will turn red. It also has an LED you can set to flash. It monitors battery voltage as well and has the same alarm options. It shows the last 54 minutes so you can monitor the history of the belt temperatures. It can also recall the last 25 starts and shows you how long the test was and the highest temperature reached.”

2018 Sand Sports Super Show

Another new product on the market is a brand-new aluminum trailer that folds in half like a ping-pong table. The tongue also folds down for even more space saving abilities! Marcelo Danze from Assault Industries explains the reasoning behind the trailers “the guys that don’t have a lot of room to store trailers on their yards can now roll these into the garage or back corner.” These American Made trailers are going to cost around $3,500-$5,000 with a 12ft option and 14ft option. Marcelo tells us that the coolest features will be the accessories that they are making, “the floor boards are aluminum and they are all sectioned off where you can remove and replace them with different accessories.” Some of these sections include in-floor storage bins, ice chest, spare tire racks, gas tank and more! Marcelo said they are also looking at coming out with enclosed trailers and a quick release system instead of the standard nut and bolt.

Another product hitting the market that makes our lives a little easier if the new intercom sytem from Rugged Radios. You might be asking yourself what is so special about another intercom system? Well, Greg Cottrell from Rugged Radios had the answers. The new RRP696 Bluetooth Intercom System offers you wireless music streaming, control over your cell phone and the ability to chat with 2 to 8 people through the intercom! Once connected you can put your phone safely away and not have to touch it again! The intercom system comes with a play/pause button, volume control and the ability to scroll through your music. When a call comes through a simple button click links you to your caller. For ultimate performance in high noise environments, the RRP696 also includes Voice Operated Control (VOX). This feature allows adjusting microphone sensitivity to cut out loud background noises. VOX will also lower the music volume when someone begins talking and resume once the conversation has ended.

Bell Helmets shows off their new Qualifier DLX and Qualifier Forced Air Helmets during the weekends events. The differences are pretty distinct between the two models. Danny Chumman from Bell Helmets explained that the DLX comes with a transition lens and an extra couple of vents along with an upgraded interior system while the Standard Qualifier has a bit of a downgraded interior and doesn’t include the brow vent. Another helmet from Bell that hits the market this November is The Eliminator. Danny explains that, “Some people like air vents on the top while others like them on the sides. This is a side vent helmet.”

This year’s Sand Sports Super Show showcased all the latest Sand Rails, UTVs, ATVs, Side x Sides, accessories, apparel and more! Cole Seely from Team Honda Motorcycles & ATVs was on site signing autographs while 4 Wheel Parts was handing out FREE BEER! There was also the opportunity to meet legendary Ivan “Ironman” Stewart! We can’t forget all custom builds by the likes of Monster Energy and Can-Am, Madigan Maverick, TMW OFFROAD and Assault UTV just to name a few.

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