SPEED UTV EL JEFE RG EDITION
Robby Gordon Edition 225-300-Hp four-seater #0006!
UTV Action has been waiting for what seems like forever for Speed UTVs to hit the market and desert, and Chupacabra Off-road snapped up a four-seat version with serial number #0006.
In time, there will be a pair of two-seat Speed UTV’s and one four seat Speed, all available in three trim levels; Base, LE or RG. The latest prices for folks who didn’t preorder will range from $32,000 (base 2-seat Bandit) up to $49,999 for the RG 4 seater.
Robby Gordon has 30 years of racing experience, and he worked with Polaris earlier to develop four-seat RZRs. He also worked with Arctic Cat/Textron to develop the Wildcat XX before starting Speed UTV.
WHAT MAKES SPEED UTVS SO SPECIAL?
When Robby Gordon worked with Arctic Cat to develop the Wildcat XX, he developed never before seen UTV components, and so now Speed UTVs have the same ideas with the A-arms and trailing arms being identical, right-to-left. Speed Internal ByPass 3.25-inch piggyback shocks have heavy trophy-truck influence and have high- and low-speed compression and rebound adjustment screws. Besides being the largest OEM UTV shocks on the market, Speed shocks have two-stage pistons, IBP, and heavy trophy-truck design and tuning. Robby also designed the suspension arm’s shock mounts to give the shocks the proper speed, whereas Can-Am X3s are harder to tune because shock speeds are too low at one end and too high on the other, according to Speed. Usable Speed UTV travel is 22 inches at all four corners. A hydraulic power-steering rack places the tie-rods in front of the spindles, and a huge aluminum housing forms the mounting points for the front A-arms and houses the locking front diff. Two-piston hydraulic calipers are on all four corners, and four 32×9.5R15 Speed UTV S-tread tires ride on patented aluminum bead-lock Speed rims. Front and rear sway bars have two link-mount holes for adjustments.
Unlike the Wildcat XX, which uses Yamaha’s YXZ1000R triple mated to a dual-range CVT, the Speed UTV uses a 999cc inline twin that makes 225 (300 with a Speed key) Hp at up to 9,000 rpm via a turbo charger. The twin is mated with a three-speed CVT with Low, High, and Overdrive. Two massive selector levers select P-R-N-L-H-O and 2WD/4WD/Diff-lock, and the center console houses a Kenwood/PCI Radios 4-Link Pro Elite with headset jacks and push-to-talk buttons in the dash. Four carbon-fiber seats are super comfortable, and the 5-point harnesses are very easy to adjust. Seats even have a heating option. There are excellent rubberized cup holders front and rear, and the lined doors have storage cubbies and blanks molded in for speakers. The driver’s information screen is huge and easy to read and has nine pages to choose from including a front camera page for rock crawling.
The race style cage has intrusion bars and an A-pillar support that goes to the floor, and the roof has an air scoop with room for a Star Link antenna. A huge radiator rides behind the cabin with three fans, and it draws air from behind the rear seats, which increases noise in the cabin. The bed is huge (3’x4′) and holds a spare tire; the spare’s hold-down T-bar has sockets for lug nuts, and a large box rides beside the spare for tools, belts and spare parts. Under the right rear fender rides a large Wix Racing oil tank with filter, like the YZX1000R’s. Number plates are molded into the rear bodywork, and the back side of the plates are frog-skinned intakes for the engine and CVT ducts. It also has a tailgate and full-width rear bumper, along with full-length skid plate.
Chupacabra Off-road added their side and rear-view mirrors and Baja Designs Onyx-Six LED light bar onto the front racing bumper. Speed UTVs also have turn signals, emergency flashers, a horn, and toggles for lights and air pump in the dash.
HOW DOES COST COMPARE?
A Base Speed UTV won’t be available until 2024 models, so the two trim levels are Limited Edition and Robby Gordon Edition, which includes window nets, carbon-fiber suede seats, suede steering wheel, radio/intercom kit, bead-lock wheels and positive-flow roof. The Baja Bandit is a two-seat SxS with 95-inch wheelbase and MSRP of $43,000 (LE) or $45,000 (RG). The El Diablo is a two-seat SxS with 110-inch wheelbase and cost of $45,499 (LE) or $47,999 (RG). The El Jefe is a four-seat SxS with 120-inch wheelbase and MSRP of $47,499 (LE) or $49,999 for (RG Edition). Can-Am’s 2023 Maverick Max X3 X RS Turbo RR starts at $33,899 and goes to $35,399 for the Smart-Shox version. The 2023 Polaris Turbo R-4 starts at $31,999 for the Sport, goes to $36,399 for the Premium, and jumps to $39,599 for the Ultimate. The four-seat, 74-inch wide, 225-Hp Troy Lee Designs Edition Pro R-4 is $49,999.
TAKING THE EL JEFE SAND HOLLOW TOUR
UTV Action got a chance to experience and observe the Speed El Jefe RG Edition in action at the SxS Adventure Rally on the Rocks, and its performance in desert, dunes, whoops, and red-rock formations is incredible. The four-seat El Jefe (“The Boss” in Spanish) accelerates hard enough to pin us to those carbon-fiber seats, and power is plentiful for drifting turns. On the other hand, CVT and engine ECU tuning make it an excellent rock crawler, taming Double Sammy and The Chute with ease, despite the long 120-inch wheelbase. The engine mapping and CVT response provide a great feel over gnarly rock obstacles, and yet turn-to-turn acceleration is thrilling.
Cornering and tracking are very precise, and El Jefe takes big sand-whoops sections at race speeds with the chassis staying very level. The Speed shocks soak up every hit, no matter how big, without bottoming or dragging the tail end. We also spent time in Pro Armor’s tricked-out RZR Pro R-4s, and they didn’t stay anywhere as level or planted as Speed’s El Jefe. Robby also compared El Jefe to a RZR Pro R, which has 10+ inches of tire scrub up front (full droop to bottomed), and 9 inches in back. El Jefe has no tire scrub; it’s very much like riding in a trophy truck. The three-speed transmission has great Low and High ranges, and Overdrive gives more speed with lower engine revs, but the selector is pretty notchy.
While the rear seating is cramped for full-sized adults, the seats are very comfortable and secure, and the 5-point harnesses are also comfortable and provide great security. Speed shocks and the patented suspension provide great ride quality, so much so passengers spent most of each ride not holding on to panic bars. Aside from the added intake noise from the radiator grill and intakes, the cabin is very refined, and the doors and roof add a great deal to ride quality. And the rubber-lined cup holders hold drinks securely, even in deep whoops.
Thanks to Nick and the Chupacabra Off-road guys for the Speed UTV thrill rides.
The only issue, we noted with the initial ride, was the hydraulic power steering system was spewing an access amount of fluid under the hood after one ride. This is the second Speed UTV we have seen this happen too. However, we have been told, all production cars are now outfitted with a small overflow bottle that should fix the issue.
With Polaris breaking the $50,000 extreme-sport UTV barrier with the Troy Lee Designs Edition RZR Pro R-4, Speed UTV’s four-seat El Jefe RG Edition is a formidable alternative in price and performance. The 225-300-Hp Turbo twin runs as well as if not better than the Pro R-4’s 2000cc four-cylinder engine, and the three-speed CVT adds versatility. Speed shocks and suspension provide a luxurious ride at any speed, the higher, the better. Cabin comfort is awesome, and trophy-truck build quality makes for a stout and durable mount. Polaris and Can-Am have some serious competition in the El Jefe RG Edition. We can’t wait to see what Can-Am’s answer will be for the Polaris Pro R and R-4, and to get all three machines together for the ultimate extreme-sport UTV comparison. Furthermore, once we get some extended seat time behind the wheel of the Speed, we will be considering it for our upcoming New UTV Of The Year feature article.
SPECS: SPEED UTV EL JEFE RG EDITION
Engine type…Liquid/oil-cooled, 8-valve, DOHC, 4-stroke I-Twin
Bore x stroke…N/A (x2)
Lubrication system…Dry sump
Starting procedure…Turn ignition key in Park with brake
Transmission…Dual-range CVT w/rev.
Drive system…2WD/4WD w/diff-lock
Fuel capacity…15 gals
Claimed dry weight…2482 lb
Bed capacity…350 lbs
Towing capacity…1,500 lb
Frame…Round tube steel
Front…Dual A-arms w/prel- & comp.-adj. Speed 3.25 Sensitive shocks/22”
Rear…IRS Trailing arms w/prel- & comp-adj. Speed 3.25 Sensitive shocks/22”
Front…Twin-piston hydraulic discs
Rear…Twin-piston hydraulic discs
Front…32×9.5-15 Speed UTV S-Tread
Rear…32×9.5-15 Speed UTV S-Tread
DC Outlet…Dash & rear console
Front…High/low LED headlights
Rear…Dual LED brake/tail-lights
Instrumentation…Multi-function digital w/analog tach, CVT temp and fuel; digi speedo; drive mode, gear, Eco, clock, odo, hour; icons for seat-belt, oil, engine check, water temp, neutral, reverse, park, EPS & CVT belt; tire pressures and temps
Colors…Orange Carbon/White, Orange Carbon/Black
Minimum recommended operator age…16
Suggested retail prices…$49,999
Contact…www.speedutv.com, (877) 773-3301