New Model Review - The 2016 Stampede 900 4x4
Engineers call it “fresh eyes.” What the term means is a new perspective on any project or problem without any preconceived notion of what the answer should be. Often times a creative new solution can be crafted and the results can be spectacular. With an engineering team hand-picked from the world of helicopters, small aircraft, professional turf equipment, and even tilt wing military aircraft, Bad-Boy Off-Road’s entry into the power sports world certainly meets that definition of “fresh eyes.” The only question would be, would the team and their creation soar to new heights, or would they crash and burn?
NEW TEAM – NEW MACHINE
It’s a huge leap from the country club world, where golf kart based Bad Boy Buggy was born, to the rough and tumble, rocks and ruts of serious off-road action, but the new Bad Boy Off-Road team is a deep well of talent, engineering, and manufacturing excellence. They’ve got experience in everything from electronics, to exotic alloys and composites, and they wield that experience as skillfully as Master Kenobi does a light saber. Still, spotting the competition’s decades of experience creates an immense challenge, but this team has been asked to fly before.
Bad Boy Off-Road’s new Stampede 900 4x4 is the culmination of their efforts and it’s a serious machine equipped with everything it needs to excel. A quick rundown of its key features gives a very promising look.
80HP EFI, liquid cooled engine designed for reliability and high-performance
Four-wheel double A-Arm suspension with sway bars for stability
4 wheel disc brakes with braided steel lines
Class-leading 24-cu-ft of Storage with Extended Cab storage area
High-Strength steel chassis
Two coat corrosion protection with E-Coat base and Powder coat top layer
Available with Electronic Power Steering and Selectable Locking Rear Differential
Comfortable, secure cab with doors for added safety
Low profile hood for better forward visibility
An old saying about helicopters is that they are a collection of parts all moving in different directions, but together they manage to fly. Our question about the Stampede 900 4x4 would be, “How do the sum of all its parts work together on the trail?” As it turns out, very well!
STAMPEDE 900 4x4 UP CLOSE
Not exactly a pickup, and definitely not a tractor, models in the recreational utility category are often asked to do the tasks of both, and to do so while providing comfort to the rider and passengers. The engineers at Bad Boy Off-Road did a great job of addressing key requirements that can make or break a model such as power, comfort, versatility, and reliability.
Visually the Stampede 900 4x4 presents a tough, aggressive look. We like how body panel lines flow from front to rear, and we were especially happy to see designers also considered driver sight lines for a better view of any trail obstacles ahead. They’re well ahead of every other manufacturer in this area. Rather than annoying side nets, the Stampede also comes with tough, secure, molded doors. On the trail they stayed closed and didn’t rattle or present extra noise. It just feels much more finished and secure with a door between you and any trail obstacles. At the front, engineers gave the Stampede a sturdy steel bumper and it wraps around the front corners for side panel protection as well.
Inside the Stampede cab there is ample room for two, and the engineering team did a nice job of hitting all the details. The seats are comfortable and sculpted to fit your behind, and the foam is thick enough you don’t feel the support structure below. A textured floor keeps your feet in place, and pedal location is very good. We were also very happy to see the attention to detail in pedal design. The Bad Boy pedals include a real pivot sleeve and bushing. This simple detail eliminates the sloppy, side to side motion so common to some other models, and provides better feel and control on the trail. Pedal angle is also very good and it feels natural. Aircraft guys won’t stand for ill-handling controls. Nice job!
The dash of the Stampede 900 4x4 is nicely designed with a hand hold for the passenger, a sealed glove box, open storage under and in the dash, and dual 12V accessory outlets. Tilt wheel is standard, and just ahead of the wheel is a very large digital display. It’s roughly the same size as an iPad Mini and we love how you can scroll through different functions and even adjust screen brightness with a thumb button. Nice touch! It even has a diagnostic feature! More importantly for the trail, the numbers are huge and easy to read. So large in fact, the guy behind you can probably read them as well. To the left of the digital display are switches for lights and 2wd/4wd, while on the right is the shift lever and hi beam / low beam, and accessory switches. Rather than a parking brake lever, the Stampede 900 4x4 has the Park function built into the transmission.
If you’re coming last to the party, you had better bring something unique. The most obvious on the Stampede is an enormous storage compartment just behind the seats. Remember your old cab-and-a-half pickup with the big storage area behind the seats? It’s the off-road version of that, and at the ends are doors that swing open for complete access. It’s a fantastic place for your mutt to ride, or to store your shotgun, fishing gear, or anything else you don’t want rattling around in the dump box behind. For hauling everything from feed bags to bricks, the rear dump box can handle up to 600lbs. It’s the details under the skin we always want to see though.
The Stampede 900 4x4 chassis is built from high-strength steel and Bad Boy really went the extra mile in corrosion protection for long term durability. Rather than a single layer of powdercoat, the Stampede 900 first gets an E-coat base which is applied by a dip method, insuring no area is missed. When a powdercoat top finish is then applied, your corrosion protection longevity goes through the roof. We’ve been to every other manufacturer’s plant and none use this dual process. Once again, it’s just what we would expect from aircraft designers. At both ends are dual A-arms with preload adjustable shocks, and disc brakes with steel braided lines bring everything to a quick stop.
ENGINE & TRANSMISSION
Rather than source their engines, Bad Boy Off-Road and their parent company Textron went one better; they bought a highly respected engine manufacturer!
Weber is a well-known German engine manufacturer and for years they were a major supplier to Polaris and other power sports manufacturers for everything from watercraft to snowmobiles, and even light aircraft. The Weber engines have a reputation as being reliable, powerful, and for using the latest technology. It was a natural fit for Bad Boy Off-Road and by bringing them into the Textron family, they had immediate access to an excellent power source. The new Stampede comes with an 846cc, liquid cooled, fuel injected engine specifically designed for the power requirements of a rec/utility Side x Side and it does not disappoint.
At 80hp, the liquid cooled, twin cylinder engine starts quickly, runs smooth, and gets the Stampede up to speed on the trail with no hesitation. Engines are often described as having a very linear, almost electric feeling powerband. Basically, that means it builds power quickly yet effortlessly. The Stampede 900 engine can be described as silky smooth with plenty of power! It pulls nicely to the top end and is happy to stay there for as long as you can hold your foot down. Top speed is north of 60mph. The great thing is, even at top speed, it is still smooth, stable, and doesn’t exhibit any quirky handling traits that would worry one’s passenger or next of kin. We like it! Mated to the engine is a CVT transmission with High, Low, Neutral, Reverse and Park, and it shifted easily between gears. It gives positive engagement without feeling notchy. We also felt the CVT did a good job of keeping the engine in the heart of the powerband, and back-shifting was smooth as well.
We intentionally went looking for situations that would challenge the Stampede’s handling and suspension. Long, deep whoop sections will often get a machine hopping and swapping and we knew just the place to go. With the throttle down and a tight grip on the wheel, we charged into the knee deep whoops. This is usually the domain of sport machines, but thankfully the Stampede held its line and the suspension did an admirable job of soaking up the hits! Although we could get it bouncing, we never did bottom it and it never did anything crazy. Square edged rocks also were taken very well with little feedback to the steering wheel. Tight, twisty turns were a good test of stability and even at higher speeds, the Stampede 900 4x4 felt amazingly stable and controlled. The turning radius and ratio was also very good, and we rode the Stampede all day with no problems.
A FEW THINGS TO IMPROVE
Like all machines there are a few things we think could be improved upon, but with the Stampede 900 4x4, the list is short. The first thing we noticed is the CVT belt. On every test unit we could smell the belt, and our first thought was, “Get ready for a belt change soon!” The good thing is we never had to change one. Despite the initial smell, we never lost performance from the belt and transmission, which leads us to believe a minor change to CVT engagement RPMS, pressure, or possibly even belt shape and material would alleviate the problem. Since Bad Boy partnered with a well-known CVT company, they’ll easily solve this issue.
The second area where an improvement could be made is with some exposed brackets at the rear of the cab area. Their no-frills, military background shows in this area, and a cover would present a more finished appearance. It’s not a big deal and it’s completely functional, but appearance counts in the consumer market.
Finally, a third issue we immediately brought to the engineers’ attention was the need for a longer seat belt latch cable. The latch mechanism was tucked down close to the seat base, making it a little harder to find and engage. This is another super easy fix.
Bad Boy Off-Road’s new Stampede 900 4x4 is the real deal! It’s far from a bare-bones intro machine, and it’s an amazing start from a new company jumping into the market. The “fresh eyes” approach definitely produced great results for Bad Boy and they’ve also promised it won’t be their last. The Stampede 900 4x4 is already better than many new machines, even from companies with decades in the sport. Look out for the Stampede!
BAD BOY OFF-ROAD Stampede™ 900 4x4 specifications
Body & Frame: Structurally Welded High Strength Steel. E-Coat Base & Powder Coat Top Black, Painted Injection Molded TPO
Overall Length 126.0 in (320 cm)
Overall Width 58.0 in (147 cm)
Overall Height 75.0 in (190.5 cm) (w/o Roof) 76.5 in (194 cm) (w/ Roof)
Overall Weight 1650 lbs. (748 kg) (Dry) 1690 lbs. (766.5 kg) (Curb)
Wheel Base 85.2 in (216 cm)
Ground Clearance 11.25 in (28.5 cm)
Storage Capacity 24 cu ft
Accessory outlets Dual 12V Outlet
Motor Type 846cc Liquid-Cooled 4-Stroke, Twin Cylinder, Dual Overhead Cam, Gas Engine
Horsepower (KW) 80 HP
Charger Internal Alternator 520W Nominal @13.5V (38.5A)
Fuel Capacity 9.5 Gal. (36 L)
Transmission CVT Dash-Mounted Cable Shifter (H,L,N,R,P)
Total Capacity 1200 lbs (544 kg)
Bed Load Capacity 600 lbs (272 kg)
Towing Capacity 2000 lbs (907 kg)
Speed 60 mph
Steering Self-compensating rack and pinion
Suspension Dual A-Arm with 9.3 in travel, Performance Shocks (Front)
Dual A-Arm with 10.4 in travel, Performance Shocks (Rear)
Brakes 231mm 4 Wheel Hydraulic Disc w/Dual Pistons
Parking Brake Park in Transmission
Tires 26 x 9 - 14, Kenda Off-Road Performance Tires (Front),
26 x 11 - 14, Kenda Off-Road Performance Tires (Rear)
Displays Backlite LCD
Safety 3-Point Seat Belts (2 Front), Full Coverage Doors Standard, Steel Tube ROPS, Front Mounted Steel Brush Guard, Passenger Grab Handle, Headlights, Brake Light
Stampede 900 4x4 - $13,799 msrp
Stampede 900 4x4 EPS - $14,799 msrp Includes the following features:
Selectable Locking Rear Differential
26-inch Kenda Off-Road Performance Tires
Colors: Black, Inferno Red, Forest Green and optional Realtree® Xtra™
Stampede 900 4x4 EPS+ - $15,599 msrp Includes the following features:
Selectable Locking Rear Differential
Electronic Power Steering
27-inch Maxxis Bighorn 2.0 Tires with Alloy Wheels
- Colors: Platinum, Inferno Red and Black