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Full-Tilt Custom Chassis UTV Using Honda Pioneer 1000 Drivetrain

Customized Honda Pioneer 1000

By Reid Nordin and Cody Hooper

“Let me start by answering the question: why?

Nothing against any of the product out on the market, I just wanted my own project. With ‘me being me’, I can’t leave anything alone.  I saw a hole in what was available in the SXS market, and I wanted to build something different, something that some OE should be building. Besides- it was a great therapy project!

I talked over my idea with my long-time friend, Russ Wernimont, who is arguably the original innovator behind the modern day Trophy Trucks.  Russ and I have built a few toys in the past, including a Rotary powered mid-engine long travel sand car back before long travel sand rails existed.  He was between projects, had some design ideas from a Military project he was working on, and was highly interested in building something SXS related.

Honda Pioneer 1000 LE

Honda Pioneer 1000 LE

We started with a new Honda Pioneer 1000 to get that magic 1000cc engine and a platform with no belt.  Besides, can you argue against Honda quality?  I don’t mind working on a vehicle to build it, but once it is built, I never want to work on it again. I just want to drive it and enjoy it.  I did not want to build something based off of a watercraft or snow mobile engine, or it would not be a true SXS.  Besides, I knew there might be options for Military applications if we built something that was UTV based. The drive train package worked great, and we only needed to alter one thing on the wire harness- the brake light switch.  We used the Engine, electronics, front and rear diffs, radiator, brakes and CV’s.  We needed to build longer axles, front and rear knuckles, suspension arms, exhaust, intake plenum, front drive line, and new steering from tie rods to steering shaft. We retained the stock power steering system.

Customized Honda Pioneer 1000

One-Off Customized Honda Pioneer 1000

The engine isn’t the most powerful, but it is super fun to drive with the different modes of shifting.  I guess it is a cross between the YXZ1000R and the belt-drive units out there, kind of the best of both worlds. We built and tested the chassis in a very short time frame, and once we were happy with the chassis and suspension performance, we were ready to move to the next step.  I took the car to Adam at King Adam the Great to build a custom aluminum unique body.

Full-Tilt Custom UTV Using Honda Pioneer 1000 Drivetrain

Reid’s son Peyton designed the graphics for the car

In short, I am super happy with how this came out and I am thrilled with the quality, durability performance and comfort.  Not that I want to, but I would race this in KOH or drive it to Cabo and back tomorrow without blinking and eye.” -Reid Nordin of Walker Evans Racing

Custom chassis Honda Pioneer

The wildest Honda Motorcycles & ATVs Pioneer we've even seen! More details on this awesome custom creation at: https://utvguide.net/custom-chassis-honda-pioneer-1000

Người đăng: UTV Guide vào 26 Tháng 4 2017

We recently got a chance to catch up with Reid out in the desert hills of Southern California for a little test session. Reid Nordin has racing in his blood- with 30 years at Kawasaki, he watched and helped groom some of the fastest off-road racers this world has ever seen. In 2011, Reid was named Race Team Manager, heading up Kawasaki’s Team Green Amateur Racing Program. Recently, Reid made the switch to Walker Evans Racing, helping design, test, and promote some of the most advanced suspension components in the industry. As a sidebar, Reid is also a really cool dude, and a lover of all things off-road.

Honda Pioneer 1000 Paddle Shifters

Honda Pioneer 1000 Paddle Shifters

Up in the hills by Calico Ghost Town, this custom machine is right at home. The six speed dual clutch transmission gives complete driver control without having to worry about clutch modulation, making it a breeze in tight, rocky canyon sections. Paddle shifters affixed to the steering column make gear changes a snap, with the 999cc inline twin singing between shifts. The engine package is incredibly smooth, quiet, and reliable. The transmission also features a low range, just like a 4×4 truck’s transfer case, making crawling much easier than in a YXZ1000R.

Maintaining the stock driveline means that Reid’s Project X also has four differential modes- turf mode (unlocked rear differential), 2WD, 4WD, and 4WD with front differential lock. It’s this kind of versatility that makes it a go-anywhere machine.

J-Arm Front Suspension

J-Arm Front Suspension with Front Mounted Steering

A sport UTV would be nothing without good suspension, and Reid’s project is set up with a drool-worthy front J-arm/rear 4-link trailing arm design that easily sops up big desert chop. A set of fine-tuned Walker Evans Velocity Series 2.5” shocks deliver a plusher ride than any stock UTV we have seen, making rocks, ruts, and chatter simply disappear in front of the car. Just taking a quick look at the car, you can see the inspiration that Reid and Russ felt from the big-car off-road segment when building this one-off UTV.

4-Link Rear Trailing Arm Suspension

4-Link Rear Trailing Arm Suspension

With the engine placed behind the rear bulkhead, there is plenty of access to wrench on any piece of the drivetrain. This is easily the most accessible engine we have ever seen in a UTV- in fact, we bet you could pull the entire motor and trans without removing anything but the rear bed cover. The engine features custom mounts with a stabilizing link that keeps the engine from shifting under hard throttle conditions. The stock header feeds a large baffled muffler, exiting just behind the passenger’s side rear shock. This car is incredibly smooth and quiet, offering a refined ride not often found in the UTV segment.

Honda Pioneer 1000

Honda Pioneer 1000 engine and transmission with custom exhaust

A custom UMP filtration system keeps the incoming air clean, mounted above a custom fuel cell. Gold reflective heat shielding graces the engine bay, keeping the exhaust’s radiant heat from affecting anything around it.

Trailing Arm Suspension

High Clearnace Trailing Arm Suspension

The suspension kit features front and rear adjustable swaybars. Up front, the long shocks are mounted to the lower arm for a less dramatic shock angle, keeping them fade-free all day on the trail. Looking at this car up close, it seems to be more than capable of standing up to the abuse of racing- it’s built like a race car without any compromises to comfort.

Custom Aluminum Dash

Custom Dash houses Radio + Intercom , GPS and Ipad

The interior is graced by a handmade custom aluminum dash. This work of art houses the stock Pioneer 1000 gauge cluster behind the steering wheel, with a Lowrance HDS 5m GPS in the center stack and a custom Mob Armor iPad mount in front of the passenger. The Rugged Radios car to car radio and intercom kit are flush mounted below the GPS, just above the OEM Pioneer shifter. Essentially, this car takes all the working bits of the Pioneer 1000 and graciously fits them into a race-bred chassis. This isn’t a customized Pioneer frame- this thing is all new from the ground up, and is simply beautiful to behold.

Custom UTV Chassis

Rock Crawling in Reid’s Custom UTV

While Reid will be the first to tell you that it isn’t the fastest UTV on the market, you wouldn’t be able to tell if you were following him up a nasty trail. The Project X glides smoothly over very nasty terrain, remaining composed and not bouncing around over large rock outcroppings and G-outs.

Custom Chassis UTV

Reid’s Custom Chassis UTV is a far cry from the original Honda Pioneer

This vehicle’s measurements are awfully close to a Can-Am Maverick X3 RS, with a 2 inch shorter wheelbase and slightly less wheel travel, but the same overall width. Reid said that they stuck with the travel measurements as they are to retain proper steering geometry at full droop- any more travel would have compromised the amount of steering lock that he and Russ could engineer into the front suspension system. With a wet weight of 1,580 lbs, it’s about the same weight as an X3 as well.

Custom Honda Pioneer

High Speed Desert Run

We have to commend Reid and Russ for building such a unique, one-off UTV. The car certainly looks high-end, with the full aluminum body and curvy glass windshield paying homage to some of the nicest high-end prerunners currently being built. When you build a custom vehicle for your specific needs, this is how it should turn out. It also doesn’t hurt that the car turns heads everywhere it goes. We can’t wait to spend more time around this beauty, and we are sure Reid feels the same way!

Build Details:

  • Chassis Design and Build – Russ Wernimont (RWD)
  • Shocks – Walker Evans Racing Velocity series
  • Wheels – Walker Evans Racing 14X6 and 15X6
  • Tires – 15” BFG, 14” Motohamers
  • Graphics – Platinum Design
  • Powder Coat – San Diego Powder Coating
  • Communication – Rugged Radios
  • Fresh Air – Rugged
  • Seats – Impact HS1 Carbon Mastercraft Safety
  • Harness- Mastercraft Safety
  • Lighting – Rigid
  • Switch Controls – sPOD
  • Aluminum Body – King Adam The Great
  • Wiring – AWH (American Wire Harness)
  • Navigation – Lead Nav / Lowrance
  • Ipad Mounting – Mob Armor
  • Fire Supression – SafeCraft
  • Brake Disc – RWD oversized
  • Axles – CMI
  • Fuel Tank – RWD
  • Exhaust – RWD with Basani Muffler
  • Intake – UMP


  • Wheelbase – 100”
  • Width – 72”
  • Wheel Travel Rear– 19”
  • Wheel Travle front – 17”
  • Weight – 1580lbs.
  • Fuel capacity – 10 Gallons

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