UTV PROJECT: SLIKROK’S BIG RED

Tall and tough monster truck of a UTV By the staff of Dirt Wheels

With 40-inch tires and a strengthened drivetrain and suspension setup, SlikRok’s Big Red can roll up obstacles that challenge or stop lesser rigs. Portals are required for tires this tall.

Whenever Dirt Wheels’ staff attends major events and gatherings, we are on the lookout for interesting project vehicles that look good and perform well. At rock-oriented events in Moab or Sand Hollow, there have been a huge group of machines that literally stand head and shoulders above the crowd. We had no idea what SlikRok Productions was, but machines with SlikRok on them were taller and wider than nearly any other UTVs with a trademark stance and look.

SlikRok has an interesting business model. It has a healthy list of companies in the off-road industry that it supports. SlikRok claims to promote only parts it has personally used and thinks have value. SlikRok tests products and helps the companies get exposure for them. SlikRok doesn’t sell any products retail, except its own casual wear and flat repair kits. It builds and maintains its own machines while testing products, but doesn’t offer public service, either.

What SlikRok Productions does provide is product promotion and brand exposure. The staff installs parts, puts on miles and spends time testing modified machines. Part of the relationship is producing and editing instructional installation videos for parts they test. They claim, “If we like a part sent to us, we will promote it. If we don’t like it, we will send it back or throw it in the garbage.”

It may have taken us a while to understand the whole business concept, but it took no time at all to jump at the opportunity to experience “Big Red,” the tallest and wildest SlikRok RZR XP 4 1000. It is the monster truck of UTV builds. Big Red’s ground clearance, 20-inch wheels, 40-inch tires and 6-inch portals would make it a people magnet at a big mudding event. At a trail event, it stands out like Shaq teaching preschool.

A normal four-seater would have to worry about dragging the undercarriage on a break-over like this, but not with SuperATV’s massive tires and wheels. RSK’s cage and doors add security.

PORTAL POWER

SlikRok Productions is a proponent of portals. Portals are gear reduction units mounted between the suspension and the wheels. The size of the portals determines the amount of gear reduction possible. Big Red’s 6-inch dual-idler Gear Driven Performance (GDP) portals provide the 45-percent gear reduction that is vital with the towering wheel and tire combo.

Some stock parts are stressed to or beyond their limits by the combined weight of the wheels, tires and portals, and the leverage that the wheels and tires exert on the chassis and steering. The lower gear ratio and the nature of western rock crawling are not necessarily hard on axles if you drive smart, but it is tough on suspension and some steering components.

Among the companies that SlikRok Productions is associated with is mud-rig, suspension and lift-kit pioneer SuperATV. No surprise that SuperATV products were called upon for Big Red. The important parts revolve around a 3-inch-long travel kit that includes SuperATV high-clearance boxed A-arms, heavy-duty rear trailing arms, billet-aluminum radius rods and SuperATV Rhino 2.0 axles. Also included are Assault Industries turret-style, billet-aluminum hex tie-rods. A SuperATV frame stiffener/gusset kit and MTS specially set up shocks with custom springs and valving to complete the package.

A car with a shorter wheelbase could get in trouble on a drop like this. Starting with a four-seat RZR XP 1000 is a clear advantage in many extreme slick-rock conditions.

BOMBPROOF

Understand that the lift and the suspension have already lifted the RZR and widened the 64-inch stance considerably. The portals add another 6 to 8 inches of width. The top of the portals mount where the stock knuckles attach, and the axle goes into the portal like it normally connects to the knuckle. The hubs and wheels mount 6 inches lower at the bottom of the portals. A stub axle exits the portal case to mount and drive the wheels and brakes. Basically, the axle and suspension make a large “Z” at the end of each suspension arm. Think about that for a minute and you will start to see the load on the steering components.

This is where Sandcraft comes in a with a steering-rack stabilizer and its Bombproof front differential and driveline assembly supported by a Gen3 carrier bearing. Modern Polaris front diffs are pretty strong, but this is a 2018, so it is much more reliable with the billet front differential.

Small children and large dogs can run right under Big Red without bumping their heads. This car was not built as a styling exercise. All mods are for performance, comfort or reliability.

BODY BUILDING

While SlikRok does embrace portals, long travel and a wide stance, the company is on record saying that the first mod a UTV owner should make is a stronger roll cage for safety. For safety and style, SlikRok equipped Big Red with a sleek Rebel Style Kustoms cage, doors and a glass windshield. Exterior mods were further perfected with Sector Seven’s expensive but sublimely effective Spectrum lighted mirrors and a Gorilla Whips LED rock light extreme kit. Even with the massive clearance, the underside is fully protected by an SSS Off-Road UHMW plastic full skid plate.

As you might imagine, climbing into the car is literally a stretch. The door sills are above the waist of a person 6 feet tall! Once inside, things are nice with HSP custom seats, but unlike most builds, Big Red uses the stock retractable three-point seat belts. There are only two seats. SlikRok didn’t start with a RZR XP 4 1000 to be a people hauler. It wanted the long wheelbase of the four-seater for crawling to let it stretch across obstacles and keep the front end down on steep climbs.

Both back seats are removed and replaced with a Vent Racing back-seat-delete cargo tray. Further cargo is enabled with Bombshell door bags and a clever Savage UTV CVT belt case and first-aid kit. There are a variety of billet parts on the inside of Big Red, but the company listed only the Nitro Racing Products Quick Shot gated shifter. There are also a Rockford Fosgate Stage 3 stereo system and an Assault Industries steering wheel.

The 40-inch SuperATV Intimidator tires look narrow, but they are 10 inches wide! The 20-inch two-piece wheels are as light as they can be while being strong enough for the job.

THE PRIME DIRECTIVE

The original purpose of Big Red was to perfect a universal portal-equipped machine platform—a portal-equipped platform that would tackle any terrain you throw at it. Over the years SlikRok has broken lots of parts while trying to find the perfect combination. A machine with tough parts that would truly make a universal rig reliable, functional and affordable.

SlikRok recommends that any off-road enthusiast inquiring about building a portal-equipped machine build their machine around the portals. “Building the machine around the portals” means selecting suspension components, steering components, ball joints and tie-rods that can take the loads involved. Don’t buy portals and plan to upgrade along the way.

SlikRok has built many portal-equipped machines with 35-inch tires. It has been a bulletproof combination of parts and equipment that proves that a machine on 4-inch portals and 35-inch tires is one great mixture of stability and functionality.

Big Red wasn’t always this stunning in specifications. It is a proven platform to test parts. If parts can hold up to the abuse of Big Red, go ahead and check it off as one tough part! After a couple of years of this proven package of 35-inch tires and 4-inch portals, SlikRok decided to go big.

Just a year ago 35-inch tires looked massive and extreme, but now they look normal! SlikRok jumped Big Red up to the giant 20-inch wheels, 40-inch tires and 6-inch portals required to reduce the gearing for a UTV with tires this tall. As we said, most folks running this tire and wheel package are looking to tip-toe through mud, not creep over rock slabs. The problem was to maintain rock-crawling functionality and reliability. Now, two years later with much testing and learning, SlikRok feels it has hit that mark!

SuperATV’s heavy-duty rear trailing arms are built to be light and strong. Note that Big Red has no rear sway bar connected. That is common for maximum suspension articulation.

ALL ABOUT THE RIDE

Mounted on the back of Big Red is a Utah license plate! It doesn’t go to the grocery store, but it is driven on the street at times. When we (with difficulty) climbed into Big Red, we couldn’t imagine what it would feel like on the street or on the trail. The tires and suspension are so tall! We expected the blocky tires would feel like a horse clopping down the street, but on asphalt, rock slabs or packed earth, the ride is shockingly smooth and, dare we say, normal.

Despite the enormous tread blocks, these tires are designed for a decent ride on hard surfaces. We even experienced some brief sections of sand whoops. Again, it felt normal. In this era of specialized rock-crawling tires, you might think that Big Red would spin the tires and bark and screech up steep obstacles. No doubt a talented driver is part of Big Red’s ability, but the car does well. We were in the car on deep sugar sand and during some rude rock mastery. With the car being so tall, it was impressive how far the crew felt comfortable leaning Big Red on cambers. With the design of the car, much of the weight is at or below the level of the suspension. Plus, this car has a very wide and planted stance.

This RZR XP 4 1000 platform seems a fine starting place for Big Red. The long wheelbase allowed it to handle drops and climbs that a two-seater would have struggled with. A two-seat RZR would look like a cartoon with 40-inch tires on it, but after seeing Big Red around the event, it starts to look normal.

SlikRok’s Big Red is surprisingly nimble for its size, and the crew is not bashful about letting it lean on cambers. Here you can see the portals between the wheels and suspension.

WRAPPING UP

One of the stated goals for Big Red was making it affordable. This is a highly specialized machine finely focused on extreme rock and trail use. No surprise, it makes child’s play of obstacles that two-seat cars with 35-inch tires struggle with. Given that narrow focus, it is impressive how well it works and how normal the experience is on regular terrain and even on pavement. As you might imagine, “affordable” means different things to different folks. Aside from a stereo and a few billet dress-up parts, Big Red doesn’t have superfluous additions. No doubt this is part of a planned effort to keep weight, and especially weight high on the car, at a minimum.

The total for the wheels, suspension, drivetrain, cage and body mods surpassed the price of the original retail price of the car. Nevertheless, compared to other extreme trail rigs that are this dialed in, the price makes sense. A good part of the final price tag buys parts that are hidden from view, but make Big Red tough enough for the extreme duty it is called to handle.

If you are at an event with a SlikRok Production display but it isn’t surrounded by tall cars, just go look at the toughest routes at the event. You are sure to find SlikRok there.

2018 POLARIS RZR XP 4 1000 BIG RED

ASSAULT INDUSTRIES: (714) 799-6711, www.assaultind.com

Turret-style billet hex tie-rods $329

Steering wheel $179

BOMBSHELL GEAR: (530) 539-4871, www.bombshellgear.com

Door bags $180

GBOOST TECHNOLOGY: (218) 454-4584, www.gboosttechnology.com

World’s best belt $169.95

GORILLA WHIPS: (801) 899-3513, www.gorillawhips.com 

LED rock light extreme kit $1000

HSP SEATS: (623) 233-9711, www.huntersafetyproducts.com

Pro custom UTV seats $499.99 ea.

MTS OFF-ROAD: (602) 272-5009, www.mtsoffroad.com

Shocks with custom springs and
valving $1750

NITRO RACING PARTS: www.nitroracingparts.com

Quick Shot gated shifter $250

REBEL STYLE KUSTOMS (RSK): (435) 830-5526, www.rebelstylekustoms.com

Roll cage $4405

Doors $1175

Glass windshield $450

ROCKFORD FOSGATE: (800) 669-9899, www.rockfordfosgate.com

Stage 3 stereo system $2259

SANDCRAFT RCR MOTORSPORTS: (480) 539-4438, www.sandcraftmotorsports.com

Steering rack stabilizer $675

Bomb proof front differential $765

Gen3 carrier bearing $235.80

Drive line assembly $832

SAVAGE UTV: (619) 320-4040, www.savageutv.com

Belt case and first aid kit $369

SECTOR SEVEN BY PRO MOTO BILLET: (866) 466-4762, www.promotobillet.com/sectorseven

Spectrum lighted mirrors $799

SIMPSON RACE PRODUCTS: (800) 654-7223, www.simpsonraceproducts.com

Pro Sport custom seats $1925

SSS OFF-ROAD: (385)429-9090, www.sssoffroad.com

UHMW full skid plate $1100

SUPERATV: www.superatv.com

3” long-travel kit $4,044.95

6” dual-idler GDP portal gear lift with 45% reduction $4,199.95

Frame stiffener/gusset kit $105

40” intimidator tires $1,680

2-piece Vulcan Series wheels $624

VENT RACING: (801) 614-0114, www.ventracing.com

Back-seat-delete cargo tray $399

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