Bad Boy reveals its first gas-powered side-by-side
The image that comes to mind when thinking of Bad Boy Off Road is a camo-wrapped, electric — and silent — side-by-side. Though those models will remain in the Bad Boy lineup, the brand’s newest model, the Stampede 900 4x4, is louder than its predecessors.
Powered by an 846cc, liquid-cooled, 80 hp engine that produces 59 foot-pounds of torque, the Stampede is evidence that Bad Boy is prepared to make a bigger impact on the powersports industry.
“We’re ready to make noise, figuratively and literally, so our vehicles make noise,” Warren Johnson, director of Market & Strategy — Consumer, told Powersports Business during a media reveal in Moab, Utah, in early March.
The Stampede is Bad Boy’s first gasoline-powered side-by-side. It follows the recent release of Bad Boy’s first ATV, the Onslaught 550, also a gasoline-powered model. But these new models aren’t the only vehicles that have been in the works for the Augusta, Georgia-based brand. Johnson revealed that a four-door Stampede 900 XTR will be unveiled in the fall.
Upon initial visual inspection, the first two unique features on the Stampede that stick out are the standard full-size doors and the extra-cab storage unit that sits between the cab and the bed.
The Stampede is the only side-by-side in the industry that offers full-size doors as standard. The full-coverage, impact- and corrosion-resistant doors offer 10 square feet of opening when accessing the cab.
“That’s something that enables us to give that consumer a better entrance and exit experience — it gives you a better feeling when you’re in the seat itself, too,” Johnson explained.
The extended cab is also an industry first, allowing riders to keep items like backpacks, coolers, guns and tools within arm’s reach.
“We like to say, ‘If it doesn’t fit, you probably don’t need it,’” Johnson said. “We’re the only brand right now that has an exclusive extra-cab unit with fully functional, single side doors on each. What I like to say is you put all your ‘stuff’ in your extra cab, and you put your ‘junk’ in the bed. So the stuff that’s really important to you, whatever that may be, it fits in that extra cab unit, and everything else you’re working on, all that junk, goes back there in the bed. There’s 24 cubic feet of total storage; that’s industry-leading by far, pretty significant.”
Though those creature comforts are important and will differentiate the Stampede on a showroom floor, Bad Boy is also proud of the work that went into its engine. The 846cc power plant is not the largest engine in its class, but its 80 horsepower is the most reportedly produced in the 900 model segment.
“We didn’t build an engine that had the greatest number of [cubic centimeters] because that’s not what the customers were asking for. The customers were asking for the right power and the right power character, so we’ve got the vehicle with the most horsepower by far,” Johnson said.
Bad Boy parent Textron, Inc., acquired Weber Motor in 2014, and the Stampede’s engine is purpose-built at the former Weber facility (now Textron Motors) in Germany.
“It’s got a very linear power band. With 59 foot-pounds of torque, it’s got a lot of oomph behind it,” Johnson said.
“You’ll be cruising along, 20, 30 miles per hour, and you need to get on the gas, you’re not going to have any throttle lag. You’re going to have that good feel, that good throttle character,” he added.
Other features Bad Boy boasts are the Stampede’s forged crankshaft and connecting rods, dry sump oil system, CVT transmission and a selectable locking rear differential on EPS and EPS+ models. The side-by-side has
11.25 inches of ground clearance and front and rear sway bars. High-quality springs, performance shocks and four-wheel double A-arm suspension offer 9.5 inches of travel in the front and 10.5 inches in the rear.
“You want to punish the terrain, not yourself, so we’ve developed four-wheel independent A-arm suspension. You’ve got on-demand four wheel drive, so you can select it when you need it, and the power goes right to the wheels,” Johnson reported.
The Stampede can tow up to 2,000 pounds, and it comes with a 2-inch receiver hitch. The bed has a 600-pound capacity.
Consumers might also be drawn to the industry-leading 5.25-by-3.25-inch LCD display that allows riders to see their fuel level, engine temperature, RPM, gear position and diagnostic codes in any light. The cab includes a 12-volt outlet as well.
Three models are available: the base non-EPS model in Forest Green and Inferno Red with an MSRP of $13,799; the EPS model, which adds the selectable locking rear differential, hi/lo headlights and comes in Black, Inferno Red, Forest Green and Realtree Xtra for $14,799; and the EPS+, which adds Maxxis Bighorn 2.0 tires, alloy wheels, a premium seat and comes in Platinum, Inferno Red and Black for $15,599.
The Stampede 900 4x4 is being built at an all-new manufacturing facility at Bad Boy’s Augusta headquarters. The new line includes state-of-the-art processes and equipment, rigorous end-of-line testing, laser wheel alignment and automated systems for consistency.
“It’s a side-by-side we stand behind, so it’s backed by the company that we are, which is Textron,” Johnson said. “We’ve got a standard two-year warranty. What does that mean? We’ve done a lot of R&D work to this vehicle. We’ve put thousands of miles on these things, non-stop hours, beat the snot out of them, conditions from zero to 120 degrees.”
Bad Boy engineers tested the Stampede over 800 hours and more than 6,000 miles of non-stop use. They put the unit head to head against every other competitive unit on the market, Johnson added.
Bad Boy executives thought about the dealer while building the Stampede. The extra-cab and full-size doors differentiate the unit on the showroom floor, and the power produced by the engine will also draw buyers.
The $13,799 starting MSRP is in the “sweet spot” for 900 models, Johnson said, and the price provides room for dealers to make an attractive margin.
“That’s one thing we were very conscientious of. We set this price with the right margin for the dealers for sure,” he explained.
The Stampede is also coming to market with more than 70 accessories and a specially designed Fast-N-Latch System to securely haul those accessories. A hard top, hood rack, light bar, soft storage bags, WARN winch, CV guards and rearview mirror are among those that will be offered from the onset.
“This is huge from a personalization aspect for a consumer, but also for our dealers; it’s a great profit opportunity for dealers with accessories,” Johnson said.
Two special accessory packages — the Hunter’s Package and the Workman’s Package — will also be offered. Included in the Hunter’s Package are a hard top roof, split windshield, plate brush guard, plate rear bumper, L-track seat back with gun mount and bow mount, WARN ProVantage 4500 winch with wire rope, hood rack, light bar mount, 42-inch LED curved light bar and two 6-inch flush-mounted LED light bars. The Workman’s Package comes with a hard top roof, full windshield, tubular brush guard, tubular rear bumper, Fast-N-Latch toolbox, bolt-in front receiver, WARN ProVantage 4500 winch with synthetic rope, light bar mount and 42-inch curved light bar.
At a late April meeting of current and prospective dealers, the Stampede was well received.
“The Stampede was a hit. The dealers loved the styling, the uniqueness of the extended cab, the incredible power character of the 80 hp EFI engine and the fact that we delivered a unique vehicle to the existing utility space,” Johnson reported.
Bad Boy had already begun growing its dealer network over the past year, and those efforts will continue in 2016.
“That is priority one for us — build a portfolio of product and build a very strong, very robust dealer network,” said John Collins, vice president — Consumer, at Textron Specialized Vehicles.
Bad Boy currently has about 300 dealers, including Bass Pro Shops locations, but it’s looking to add even more powersports dealerships to its network this year. The Stampede, along with earlier released models, is expected to help attract dealers to the brand.
“We know customers, no matter how you use these vehicles — if it’s for hunting, if it’s for agricultural purposes — they go to powersports dealers to buy these vehicles. So that’s where we’re setting up our dealerships,” Johnson said.
With the release of the Stampede, Bad Boy Off Road also unveiled new branding. “Off Road” has replaced the previously used “Buggies.” And a new winged logo has been introduced.
“We’re launching a brand new logo, a brand new identity; everything is different,” Johnson explained.
The new branding represents Bad Boy’s new direction, coming six years after Textron acquired the electric side-by-side company. The Stampede and Onslaught are just the first of new vehicles to come from Bad Boy. A four-door Stampede 900 XTR is expected to be released in October, and Johnson revealed that more side-by-side models are in development.
“There’s a lot more cool things coming,” he said.
But Bad Boy is starting to push the new branding and the Stampede immediately. Bad Boy-sponsored NASCAR racers Tony Stewart and Kevin Harvick were on hand at the April dealer meeting, riding the Stampede. Stewart’s Twitter post from the event gained more than 90 retweets and more than 830 likes, and Harvick’s earned more than 20 retweets and more than 300 likes. In total, Bad Boy had more than 2 million social shares the first day of the dealer meeting, Johnson reported.
The Stampede is being marketed to ag consumers, including farmers and ranchers, along with recreational side-by-side riders and hunters. Bad Boy has scheduled a demo ride event at Durhamtown in Georgia over Memorial Day Weekend, and the company plans to host demos at Brimstone, the Hatfield-McCoy Trails and at other ATV and side-by-side riding locations and events this summer.
Production of the Stampede began in April, with units scheduled to arrive in dealerships in mid-May.