No matter what happens, the cost of gas will continue to rise. For those of you who don't need a fullsize truck or Jeep for your off-road ventures, this new Ridge Runner might be the hot ticket. And even though it's only a 2WD, the light weight and trick suspension allows you to bash where other rides can't cut it. Made to fit in the back of a regular pickup, the 800-pound rig is built with a DOM custom frame and powered by an 800cc Polaris four-stroke engine. In fact, the majority of parts are from a Polaris ATV, with all the trick stuff like Fox Racing Shox suspension and such installed and modified by Ridge Runner.
We took a spin in the RTX800 with the owner, an aviation engineer who still builds kit airplanes and such. The low center of gravity and 45/55 weight distribution made it a great ride, even though the front end had to bump up the rough stuff since it's a 2WD rig. Even at that, screaming down a wash or through the mud was awesome, as the 19 inches of ground clearance and 13 inches of suspension travel easily sucked up the bumps. However, for real muddin' we'd recommend the full side-panel options as well as fenders, unless you enjoy looking like a chocolate sundae, sans cherry.
While we wouldn't want to take this buggy on the Rubicon or other big rock trails (unless they come up with a 4x4 option), the Ridge Runner is capable of nearly anything else from sand to trails and mud. There is enough room for a modicum of gear, and we bet a deer could be slapped across the roof without any issues at all, except for the hoofs dangling in your face. Being small, strong, and fast, as well as not too darn loud, makes this a very practical way to traverse the backcountry for around 20 large, plus you'll be saving some coin by the excellent fuel economy of the Ridge Runner, at least compared to the big-block-powered pickup you probably used to get it to the trail head.