Sand Sports Super Show Top Tech Picks


The Sand Sports Super Show was brimming with race cars, custom UTVs, and lots of the latest technology. Sometimes new tech gets lost in the sea of flashy paint, and pretty girls that are vying for your attention, but if you ask a few questions, you will find it.

McQeen Prototypes was showing off their new honeycomb carbon fiber pattern on this truck hood (left). K&N filters displayed a new intake and filter for 2014-16 Polaris RZR XP1000 and Turbo (right).

Walking around the show we were on the hunt to find the latest and greatest in off-road technology. Let’s take a look at what we found!

Driven Performance Brands

The manufacturers are constantly upping the horsepower ante, but there is also talk of electric vehicles that are right on the horizon. Also on the horizon is a full product line for UTV’s from Driven Performance Brands. If that name doesn’t sound familiar it’s because they are more known for their individual brands. We are talking about Hurst, B&M, and Flowmaster.

Flowmaster will be releasing a complete line of performance exhaust for Polaris 1000 and Turbo, Can-Am Maverick and X3, and Yamaha YXZ in October. They are completing their Delta Boost tuning technology that was perfected in the automotive market and adapting it to UTV’s.

It will allow you to adjust boost in the boost sensor without sending your ECU out for programming. You can download an app on your phone that will control how much boost you want. They are also developing shifters and possibly a line of axle shafts under the B&M name.

Hard Core Tuning Cooling Tank

If you are going to crank up the boost, you might need some additional cooling for your engine. Regardless if you are running hard in the desert, the mud, or in the dunes, your cooling system gets pushed to the limit.

Hard Core Tuning has a split cooling tank system that sends 100 percent of your coolant through the radiator. The coolant from your engine and the heat exchanger are now running independently which lowers the intake charge air by about 100-degree delta across the tanks.

Not only does the tank look great, it serves a vital part in keeping temperatures down.


The system also lowers engine temperatures by about 20 degrees and increases your coolant capacity by about a quart. The kit will give you peace of mind and keep your engine happy in extreme conditions.


Ruff Stuff Specialties Suspension Components

Now that your UTV sounds great, is putting out additional boost, and keeping your engine cool, you might want to beef up your suspension. Ruff Stuff Specialties might not be a household name in the SXS market but their new suspension systems may change that. Ruff Stuff is well known in the 4X4 and Ultra4 racing series.

Ruff Stuff Specialties worked with 3 Time King of the Hammers Shannon Campbell when developing their kits. At last year’s event, Shannon won the UTV race, and his son Wayland finished right behind in second. Both had only hours of experience behind the wheel of a UTV.


They make all types of components for fabrication and general hardware supplies if you are building your own vehicle. At the famous King Of The Hammers event that takes place on the rock trails in Johnson Valley, California they have been providing repair services during the event for several years. Known as the toughest single day race in the world, Ruff Stuff has seen their share of broken parts so they know what works and what doesn’t.

The Ruff Stuff kits use a combination 7075 aluminum and chromoly steel. Their rear trailing arms have a solid 7075 aluminum shaft that is pressed into a tube of two-inch .120 wall chromoly. Trailing arms made from boxed plate can be dented by rocks. Once they are dented, they can bend or fail. The Ruff Stuff arms are nearly impossible to dent so they maintain incredible strength.


Their lower radius rods are 1.25-inch diameter quarter inch thick wall chromoly tubing with double bends to increase ground clearance. They represent a 600 percent increase in strength over the factory parts. The upper radius rods are 7075 aluminum.

All the hub pins use a uniballs and are made from 300m material. These arms are not built for show; they are built for ultimate strength. They might not look glitzy, but some say their clean simplicity is beautiful in its own way.


Tactical CNC Plasma Cutting

What if you want to make your own suspension parts? Tactical CNC had one of their heavy duty CNC plasma cutting systems on display. Several things make their system stand out. One feature is their five-axis capabilities.

This means their table can cut out all kinds of shapes but it also cuts profiles and beveled edges. You can also change the cutting head out for a drilling and tapping head. You can program the machine to add drilled and/or tapped holes and then cut the parts out.

Their systems come with two sets of CAD design software and onsite training. If you don’t want a plasma system they also do water jet and laser cutting systems. Just think of the parts you could make with one of these in your garage.

Vision-X Lighting Solutions

We stopped in to talk with Evan Keck from Vision-X lighting and found out the details on some of their newest innovations in lighting. “Our new light cannon is using flat chip technology,” said Evan, “We use a 10-watt chip that we are under driving to seven watts. We are getting over 110 lumens per watt.”

“From the older Gen 1 cannons, we are able to up the wattage and add efficiency,” Evan continued.” With the single source chip, we went from 25 watts to 40 watts. From the single chip to the multi-diode we went up to 49 watts. So the Gen 2 single diode is 40 percent brighter than the Gen 1 and the multi-diode is 40percent brighter than that.” To sum it up, the new Vision-X light Cannons are very, very bright.

One display we were able to see how bright the cannon was.


Evan also showed off their Borg system. Borg is a mobile phone app that has several functions including remote control of Vison-X lights using your smart phone. A simple adaption for any Vision X Light that is equipped with Prime Drive Technology, Borg can be used as a simple on/off switch or a long list of other features. Everything from strobing intervals to light intensity can be controlled by your smartphone via Bluetooth connection.


Borg displays data relayed from your LED Light such as humidity, temperature, voltage, Received Signal Strength Indicator (RSSI), and elevation. You can even track your g-force level and acceleration with only a few taps on your phone. Vision-X has a bolt-on application that includes a 26-inch Xmitter Prime Xtreme (36 LED) Light Bar with Borg built in. Simply connect the bar to a power source and the Borg will become operational.


Steel-It Coating

Also spotted at the show was a company that makes a new coating called Steel-It. They make several different coatings for a wide range of industries. Using various resins including polyurethane, epoxy, and silicon depending on the formulation, Steel-It contains custom-engineered 316L stainless steel micro flakes.

The 316L micro-flakes create a horizontal layered alignment of tightly overlapping flakes that form a metallic barrier film near the coating’s surface. This stainless steel shield makes materials coated with Steel-It nearly impervious to corrosion and corrosive elements while providing a durable finish that resists scratching and flaking even under the most challenging conditions.

When preparation procedures are followed, you can weld directly through the coating. It’s one of the reasons why Steel-It is becoming so popular in racing. Field repairs can be made quickly with no preparation. It is extremely durable and is easily applied with spray equipment or from aerosol cans.

AIM Sportline Displays

We love it anytime race developed technology makes it to the general public. AIM Sportline makes a line of dash displays that show data logging from added sensors or, depending on your application, directly from your ECU. Their MXL 2 has eight analog inputs that sample one thousand times per second, per channel. It has four digital speed inputs that can monitor anything that rotates; camshafts, hubs, axles, etc.

Depending on the unit, they can customize the graphics display to create a warning. If your oil temperature or drive belt starts to climb into the red zone, the display can change color to red, or yellow or whatever you like. AIM dash units can do some very cool things. It can log your driveline, as they call it, and upload it to Google Earth. If you are out exploring and find a great spot, you can save that driveline and find it again.

They also have camera systems that interface with the data logging. Anything that was sampled in real time can be overlaid onto the camera footage. You can know exactly how many engine RPM’s you were turning, what gear you were in, whatever you log is displayed on the video footage.

Their logger has real capacity too; four gigs worth. All their units interchange so you can upgrade seamlessly. They are currently making plug and play units that will plug directly into your UTV. Just tell them what you drive, and they will send a unit that plugs right in. They work closely with the manufacturers because the manufacturers use their data loggers for their own testing.

As you can see, there is a ton of new technology coming to UTV’s. We have just scratched the surface when it comes to innovative technology.

About the author

Mike Ingalsbee

For more than two decades, Mike Ingalsbee has worked as an automotive writer and photographer and covered just about everything that burns fuel or throws dirt. His writing and photography has been published in over 20 magazine titles and websites in North America, Europe and Australia. He has worked as a design engineer for several manufacturers in the automotive aftermarket and is a founding member of the Association of Motorsports Media Professionals, (AMMP), an organization that consults with racing sanctioning bodies on safety and media issues.
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