PROJECT CAN-AM X3

— BFD Off-Road cages the beast —

By the staff of Dirt Wheels

You have to hand it to BFD Off-Road. It really knows how to make a great-looking car like a Can-Am X3 look better.

BFD Off-Road lays claim to being the number-one manufacturer of high-performance sand cars and UTV accessories in Southern California. What we know for sure is that it makes some radical-looking sand cars, and that sand car style is carried over to its UTV parts. The signature BFD Off-Road part is the Can-Am X3 bolt-on cage and matching contoured composite roof. The cage offers race-car strength and safety, and it is a very nice piece, but the roomy composite roof with the molded-in scoop is the real finishing touch.

Can-Ams feel great in turns as a rule, and this one is no exception. You can toss it in hard and have it stay planted.

We first saw the cage and roof combo on display at the UTV Invasion at Idaho Dunes in Saint Anthony, Idaho. We watched as people stood in line to buy them. Fast-forward a year and BFD was back at UTV Invasion with a completed Can-An X3 project in stunning patriotic colors. BFD seems to specialize in the X3 platform, and this car is a showcase for BFD Off-Road products, but the self-built parts are surrounded by some of the best parts in the business. The end result is a striking car that performs very well.

The color palette continues inside with the PRP seats and belts. The cleverly mounted extinguisher color ties into the design.

GETTING STARTED

Naturally, the build began with a Best in the Desert race-spec cage powdercoated black. The cage has a standard aluminum roof, but the composite roof is an option. The composite model has a unique shape that fits the cage snugly but has a long air channel incorporated into it. It looks great, but the channel does funnel air to the engine’s intake. For machines that have a windshield, the air channel is great at feeding the engine, as well as getting some fresh air in the cab on warm days. BFD does offer a nicely integrated glass windshield, but for this build and the Idaho summer weather, it was left off.

The lightweight door skins have some features rolled in to make them a little more rigid.

All of the BFD products seem to have been developed with special attention to the lines. That is true of the cage and roof, but it continues to the doors and front bumper. The doors have a steel frame with an aluminum skin. They completely fill the X3 door opening, and the top line integrates perfectly with the body lines. At the front of the machine is a race-spec bumper. In this case the opening of the bumper is filled with night-melting Baja Designs XL 80 LED lights. There are three lights, and the middle one has an amber lens.

Nope. This isn’t a power wheelie. This is a jump landing with perfect timing getting back on the throttle to get the drive going.

Above the bumper is an Assault grill insert, and behind it are Assault tie-rods. Attached to the cage are color-matched Assault mirrors. The BFD doors allow room for a clever installation of a fire extinguisher mounted between the driver seat and the door using Assault extinguisher mounts. The driver never feels the extinguisher, since the PRP race seats have tall sides to keep the driver’s legs secure. The seats continue the sweet red, white and blue patriotic color scheme of the machine. PRP belts are paired with the seats for more safety.

The stronger Assault radius rods are welcome on a car driven as hard in turns as this one is.

Back outside the car are Raceline Mamba beadlock wheels with red lock rings to tie the wheels into the color scheme. The colorful design is thanks to a full Pro Line Wraps wrap. It looks stunning up close and catches your eye from a distance. On top of the car are red Buggy Whips LED whips for night visibility with red flags for daytime.

That front-bumper skid plate did its job and protected the front of the BFD X3 as it drug sand off this abrupt face.

USING HELP WHEN NEEDED

BFD is all about building parts from metal and not wire, so it called on XTC Power Products for plug-and-play wiring harnesses to connect the Baja Designs lights, the whips and Rugged Radios car-to-car and intercom radios. Rugged Radios was the source of the filtered helmet pumper and a matching pair of helmets with air hose ports. The cool and clean air pumped into the helmet is welcome any time. It also helps the shield resist fogging when it is cold outside.

BFD Off-Road chose to keep the powerful Baja Designs lights mounted low where they are protected by the race bumper.

TIME TO PLAY

After building cars from scratch all day, we doubt that a night in the garage playing with the Can-Am is as inviting as a hot shower and a comfy couch after dinner. BFD chose to leave the engine, exhaust and suspension stock. Of course, there is a 72-inch-wide stance, fully adjustable Fox shocks and 172 horsepower on tap, so there is plenty of fun available from the right pedal without making any mods. When we went out for our photo shoot in Idaho Dunes, it was apparent that the BFD crew knew how to drive in the sand.

The all-American-looking X3 was soon spraying sand in big wave-like arcs in search of fresh sand. With the stock exhaust the machine is pleasantly quiet, but obviously has ample boost on tap to dig sand with authority. The machine even spent some time flying through the air. It jumped with ease and looked like it landed softly. This is not simply a dune queen. For desert running, BFD has Fuel wheels and tires, but the remainder of the car remains the same.

Finally, it was our turn. We settled into the race-spec seats, buckled the harnesses and were ready for fun. It always amazes us how well a buffed front tire with no tread at all carves in the sand. Turns are fun with any Can-Am X3, and this one is no exception. It flicks easily side to side, and with a 72-inch stance it stays planted with little tendency to stand up in turns. For the dunes there is ample braking available. BFD didn’t go crazy with tire or paddle size, so the X3 spools up easily and doesn’t feel like the tires are pulling the engine down.

BFD could have bolted on a lot more products, but wisely stuck to the truly necessary and kept weight in check. That is a good plan, since a light car doesn’t require you to keep the fun in check.

This cool-looking and functional scoop molded into the composite roof really sets a BFD cage apart from the pack.

WRAPPING UP

BFD Off-Road is an interesting company. It makes cool stuff that looks and works great. It also offers financing, which is something we haven’t really encountered before. The company clearly knows how to build a great-looking car that works like it should.

We like the red, white and blue wrap, and the way BFD Off-Road tied the other parts of the car to the Proline wrap.

CAN-AM X3 PARTS LIST

Assault Industries: www.assaultind.com, 714-799-6711

Turret tie-rods $309.99

Sidewinder convex side mirrors $299.99

Hellfire grill $119.99

Fire extinguisher  quick release kit $169.99

Baja Designs: www.bajadesigns.com, (800) 422-5292

L80 LED light pair $789.95

XL80, LED driving/combo, amber $409.95

Buggy Whips, Inc.: www.buggywhip.com

Whips $199 ea.

Pro Eagle: www.proeagle.com, (310) 513-8222

2-ton big-wheel off-road jack the “Beast” $409.99

Pro Line Wraps: (818) 348-3120, www.prolinewraps.com

Wrap $585 starting price 

BFD Off-Road: www.bfdoffroad.com, (760) 789-5896

Bolt-on cage Best in the Desert race spec, with aluminum roof, raw; $1995, powdercoated $2425

Composite roof contoured  for airflow $795, 

an upgrade from standard  aluminum with cage $495

Doors frame and aluminum skin $745

Front Bumper winch-ready: raw $495, powder coated $545

Race-style front bumper $345, raw; $395, powdercoated

PRP Seats: www.prpseats.com, 800-317-6253

Podium Elite with  custom red white blue, cooling, heat & lumbar support $864

5.3 harnesses $278

Raceline Wheels: (800) 52-WHEEL, www.racelinewheels.com 

A71 Mamba beadlock $200 each

Rugged Radios: 888-541-7223, www.ruggedradios.com

660 Plus H28 intercom system (2-place) $1,517

Car to car 60W VHF mobile radio $461.65

MAC3.2 air pumper system w/ 4-foot hoses & VSC $702

Impact OS20 helmet $869

Air Draft helmet $869

TireBalls: www.tireballs.com

2102 kit UTV off-road pro ATV utility rear kit $234 each

XTC Power Products: www.xtcpowerproducts.com, 480-558-8588

Can-Am X3 plug & play 6-switch power control system with strobe $339

Custom LED switches $19.95 each

Can-Am X3 plug & play radio/intercom relayed wire harness $149.95

 

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