UTVUG Arctic Cat Wildcat
The 2013 Arctic Cat Wildcat X was high on our list of builds this year. Luckily, Arctic Cat felt the same way about us building one as we did about building one! Our 2012 Wildcat build was a hit so we knew we wanted to go all out with our 2013 build and get it done just in time for display at the annual Sand Sports Super Show held back in September. Once again we teamed up with SDR Motorsports out of Riverside, CA to help us lay it down and get the build down in a short amount of time. We work with a lot of companies in the industry, and few can build a machine from the ground up like SDR can in such limited amounts of time. We were pumped the day our machine was delivered and couldn’t wait to see the end result!
For us, the build is really the fun part. Sure, playing with the car is the payoff but in some cases I still have a hard time breaking in this bad ass builds because I don’t want to jack them up! I know it sounds silly, but that is one of the reasons why we sold our first UTVUnderground.com build, the FAT ROD. It was too nice, I mean, it was a ripper in the dirt and to this day I don’t know of a nicer, cooler or more custom Rhino, but every time a rock would bounce off the tire and hit the tins, or if I got mud flung onto it, I cringed. It almost took the fun out of it because I always wanted to keep the car nice. Well, fast forward quite a few years and many builds and my urge to keep the builds sheltered has subsided but, it hasn’t all gone away! However, these days we are expected to not only build the best machines, but also put them to use so we can show the world just how capable our builds and these UTVs really are. Unfortunately for me (Joey D.) I couldn’t break in my Wildcat, so I sent it to Lake Havasu with my good friend and UTVUnderground.com contributing photographer Jason Zindroski to put the Wildcat to use and get some amazing imagery.
Tim Berendes at SDR, like many of the top builders in our sport, always has a vision. He doesn’t need a ton of direction or any babysitting, he just gets the job done based on your time frame. This was the second build we had done with him and like the first, I give him a general outline of design, I round up the parts and accessories and he does his thing. We love the fact that when we drop a car off with SDR they turn key it for us. Everything is built into the machine from wiring, to performance, safety and even the graphics. They help and assist with all phases of the build which really helps us because of how limited our time is. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy spending a day in the shop turning wrenches but the schedule we keep these days just doesn’t allow for much “wrenching”. Not to mention, we want to get more custom with our builds and frankly, I’m no fabricator and anyone who has seen the wiring I have done on some of my vehicles know that I ain’t no wiring guy either! hahah I know my way around a UTV, can fix most anything I break (with tools and time) but when it comes to detail work, I just assume leave it to the experts. You can tell by looking at a build like our Wildcat-X that Tim and his team know details. From the whip mounts, to the custom hood mounted Rigid Industries 10″ light bar, to the installation of the PCI Race Radio and Bluetooth Intercom. SDR doesn’t cut many corners.
While we reserve much of the glory for Tim and his team at SDR Motorsports, its important to acknowledge the BEST partners in the industry who contributed to this build. Usually one of the first accessories we start with when building our machines is the lighting. Lighting is crucial for the build and the guys at Rigid Industries have always supported our visions of building high end, custom UTVs. Like other builds before this one, Rigid Ind. provided us with the very best lights they build and in the case of our Wildcat-X they once again went above and beyond. One of SDR’s signature features on their builds is the integrated top light bar scoop on the roof of the cars. Here the team custom fitted a 30″ Single Row LED bar with standard flood/driving beam patterns. Originally I had ordered the Single Row 10″ bar for the front bumper, but they went above and beyond with moving it up and with some cutting, fitted it into the hood plastics giving it a sleek and custom look. From there, and with the help of some kick ass Axia Alloy pillar mounts, they mounted 2 Rigid Dually D-2’s on the A-Pillars. Out back on the rear bumper are 2 Single Row Mini’s and in all 4 corners of the car and inside working as a dome light are the A-Series accent lights. Rigid & SDR went a step further in giving us that custom look by ordering the D-2’s, A-Series, and SR-M’s all in a GREEN color pattern. This not only sets it a part but looks super cool when posted up at night!
Next up was wheels and tires. You can’t call your ride custom and not have a trick set of wheels and tires right? Ok, we are guilty of going stock on some cars but not this one. For this build we hooked up with our good buddies at Method Race Wheels who dialed us in with a new set of 14″ Method Beadlocks. Method is one of the top names in off-road, so when they asked us to help develop and promote their new line of UTV wheels we jumped at the opportunity. Not only do they bring a cool factor to our industry, they also bring a ton of knowledge and quality to our sport as well. We customized the bead lock rings to match our graphics scheme, and then wrapped them in a set of 30″ GBC Kanati Mongrel tires. The Kanati Mongrel has taken the sport by storm. IN a short amount of time, the Mongrel took the spot of being the most sought after tire by the UTV community. Gone are the days of people only wanting to run a Big Horn! These wheels and tires gave us an aggressive stance and a look that we were super pumped on. Not to mention, adding the taller tires also gave us additional ground clearance and a huge reliability upgrade over stock!
While the suspension on the Wildcat-X is arguably the staple of why people buy them, for us, everything can always be better. So we hooked up with the boys at FOX and lined up a set of their brand new Factory Series shocks. These Kashima Coated dampeners are the top of the line shocks FOX offers and we were fortunate enough be one of the first to have a set. They not only added a ton of improved dampening to our Wildcat-X, they also added a super trick & custom look. The gold Kashima Coat screams “look at me” and with all the high speed, low speed adjustments, we can really tune the shocks into our liking. Bottom Out Cup Technology is installed in these dual rate monsters giving us that last second cushion we need when launching the car. Zindroski put the shocks to work and never once did he bottom the car out. The shocks absorbed all he through at them, from being smooth in the low speed chop, to being the right amount of stiff in the high speed big bumps, the FOX Factory Series shocks definitely impressed. Shocks are an item that are really only as good as the tune you have in them, FOX did a great job offering up 3 different Valve Settings strait from the FOX factory to allow you to buy shocks for your style of riding. Couple that with their adjustability and you have a shock that you will more than likely never need to crack into to tune!
I don’t know about everyone, but there is something about the sound of a machine that can really make it something you love to just fire up and rev! The Wildcat by itself sounds pretty good but when we installed our Yoshimura full exhaust system it changed everything about the way the Wildcat sounded and performed. Just on flat runs around the shop we could feel an improvement in response, but its the throating V-Twin soumd that really set off what we liked about the Yoshimura system. There are a lot of nice exhausts available on the market, but Yoshimura’s definitely looks the most quality when you start to inspect the mounting hardware, design and features. The anodized mounting hardware gives the exhaust that custom look while the carbon fiber exhaust tip screams performance! The Yoshimura system is one that we have ran on multiple UTVs and we love its race look and always enjoy the performance gains we get.
With the meat and potatoes of the build dialed in, it was time to make sure we were comfortable and safe in the machine. With the 2 seat cage designed and fabricated with suicide style opening doors, we moved onto focusing on the seats and harnesses. Having ran the BEARD Super-TZ’s in my last Wildcat, I felt the need to once again having these high quality seats in our new Wildcat-X. They fit perfectly in the car, look bad ass and with the ability to have the seats customized to the colors and materials of our choice, the BEARD seats were the way to go. We settled on black and green vinyl, with a combination of black suede and their custom rubber material to set these seats off! Its hard to beat the quality of stitch and sew that BEARD puts into their seats, you can tell they are a high end product just by looking at them. We added a set of CROW 4-point harnesses to hold us in safely.
With the California helmet law in full affect, the need for communications between driver and co-driver have become that much more important. Not to mention, the car’s are loud as they are so we called upon our friends at PCI Race Radios for our coms and they went above and beyond. PCI sent us out their 2 place bluetooth intercom system that allows us to talk helmet to helmet with ease. The bluetooth enabled intercom also allows for wireless connection between our MP3 player or phone so we can actually take calls while out on the trail or listen to the music of our choice without any annoying wires hanging out the front of our intercom. Its a high end set up that is well worth the cost. We topped it off with a PCI 50w iCom radio system that allows us to communicate car to car with the use both passenger and driver mounted push to talk buttons. The system is mounted in a PCI made Wildcat mounting kit that goes right in the center console. This system can be installed in about an hours time! It does call for a relocation of the 12v accessory outlet which SDR conveniently relocated for us. PCI went he extra mike and also sent us their RACE AIR fresh air system. This set up in conjunction with PCI’s HJC Play Car full face helmets that come wired & blown are a killer combination. The helmets are light weight and allow for a cool quiet ride. PCI is a staple in the off-road community and is paying extra attention not just to the racers but also to us recreational play guys in the UTV industry!
The devils in the details and thats where SDR really finished off our car. They installed their custom LED backlit switches to control everything from lights to radios to whips to fresh air and wired the car through the cage in a clean and professional way. The Safe Glow Whips they installed are bright enough to light up the area around the car at night and using the 4ft dual LED set up was really a great finishing touch. SDR also flush mounted a couple red LED strip lights into the rear of the roof’s aluminum to be used as taillights proving once again that they know how to go the extra mile on a build. Finishing the whole car off was a super clean ProLineWraps.com graphics kit designed by Andrew at Pro Line himself. Andrew and his team at Pro Line are the go-to guys for UTVUnderground.com no matter if its a car wrap or banner design. They do it all and always do a fantastic job coming through within our tight time lines.
UTVUnderground.com wants to thank everyone who was a part of this build. We had a blast building it and we know we are going to have even more fun enjoying it. Unfortunately nothing lasts forever, we already are talking to Arctic Cat about our next project so maybe one of you will be the lucky owner of this machine! If you are interested in owning it, shoot me an email at [email protected] and maybe we can work a deal!
Words by: Joey DiGiovanni // UTVUnderground.com
Photos by: Jason Zindroski // UTVUnderground.com