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5 Types of Off-Road Builds

August 6, 2020

1. Soft-Roader

Lifted Jeep Grand Cherokee

A soft-roader is a unibody vehicle with upgraded wheels and tires and sometimes a lift. This type of class is built by the off-road enthusiast who also enjoys the adventure of getting off-road and exploring. They don’t mind a few off-road challenges and obstacles here and there, but in most cases, will avoid the more difficult terrain as they are similar to the stock class where they still use their soft-roader for a daily driver. An example would be like our friend, Fuller’s 328d BMW sedan, who had recently just installed a two-inch lift in his BMW and slapped on a set of Method Race Wheels wrapped with a Toyo Open Country AT3 so that he can hit the Northern dirt trails of Wisconsin. The soft-roader classes are adventurists and off-road enthusiasts with-out the need to run a more modified rig.

 

2. Overlander

Lifted Tacoma Overlander

This Overlanding class consists of vehicles that mainly have some sort of mild suspension lift from Icon Vehicle Dynamics, TeraFlex, Falcon, ReadyLift, JKS or many more that are listed on our site and will either have a leveling kit, two-inch, or three-inch suspension lift and is designed to carry heavier loads, but rarely is this overland build lifted more than a few inches to keep the vehicle more stable both on the trail and road. They’re designed to have a stable, lower center of gravity as overlanders will tend to use their rigs as daily drivers, or for traveling the countryside, or even world for that matter and need their vehicle to be stable and responsive at highway speeds as well. Plus, in most circumstances, Overlanders won’t purposely drive their rigs into places that have extreme obstacles and underbody ground clearance doesn’t need to be as much as a rock-crawler for example. Most overland builds will also get upfitted with aftermarket recovery bumpers, winches, underbody armor, and skid plates to help minimize damage should they find themselves having to traverse over those technical areas. In many cases, these builds will have an upgraded aftermarket wheel so that it is stronger and designed to hold up to more abuse, like a Method seven-o-one that also features bead-grip technology to keep the bead seated on the wheel while aired down. 

 

3. Hobbyist

Lifted Jeep Wrangler JK

Alright, so moving on to the fourth build on the list, we have what I like to refer to as the “Hobbyist Build” These rigs are built to be highly functional off-road but still able to run down the highway at seventy, eighty miles an hour if wanted to. This is a group of weekend warriors that use their rigs from anything like going to the beach all the way to hitting the off-road park and doing some rock-crawling. The suspension is built to flex and articulate out on the trails yet maintain suitable highway handling performance and also to fit anywhere from a thirty-five inch and taller, up to about a forty-inch tire or so. These rigs are your modified Jeep Wrangler JK’s, JL’s, the Unlimited’s, CJ’s, YJ’s, etc and also your Toyota’s both new and retro, old International Scouts, Bronco’s, and a variety of other similar rigs. This Hobbyist class will have aftermarket recovery bumpers, winches, rock sliders, skid plates, and many other functional upgrades for armor and also heavy-duty drivetrain components, like RCV axle shafts, transfer case upgrades, lower gearing in the differentials, larger u-joints and the list goes on and on. These rigs are built to be versatile enough to drive around town on a Friday night, go off-roading on Saturday, and head to the mall on Sunday!  

 

4. Fully Modified

Built Toyota 4Runner

These guys typically build and fabricate their own rigs and trailer them to the trail. They are purists of the off-road sport and have rigs that are built to the hilt and extremely capable in all types of off-road terrain. They are built with full roll cages, one-ton axles that are geared down and locked both front and rear, larger chromoly axle shafts, three or four-speed transfer cases, typically v-eight engines that are fuel infected and probably modified, and the list goes on! We all know and have seen these guys off-roading and know them as a bit crazy, but hella fun to watch as their rigs can really take a beating! 

 

5. Super Modified

Modified Toyota Tacoma

These guys need no introduction as we are all familiar with their builds as they are fully fabricated from DOM tube, race tire compounds like the stickies, fully forged beadlock wheels, like Raceline Monsters or Method’s one-hundred series, crazy horsepower with a built drivetrain to match and the list goes on and on and on! These are the Ultra-four racers, the competition rock-bouncer buggies, the thousand horsepower plus mud-boggers, desert dune sand rails, trophy desert truck racers, monster jam monster trucks and various other crazy off-road, built to go fast, with lunatic drivers who are on a whole nother level than the rest of us