We recently caught up with Tim Grachen and his tricked-out RZR XP 1000 who’s an industry vet in building custom trucks and is also a project manager at Pilot Automotive with the Bully Truck Accessories brand and various other truck accessories their company offers.


I’ve been in the off-road scene since I was in diapers. My second homes were either in the desert or the river growing up. But my first foot in the door to the automotive industry was when I was 16 and got my first truck – a 1972 Chevrolet C20. My passion only grew from there and my first off-road vehicle was a 1991 Chevrolet S10, with a CST long-travel kit.

I remember my first build quite vividly as if it were yesterday. My favorite thing about it, or any build, is spending all of my free time working hard on it and then slowly seeing that idea come to life. I’ve been working on my own vehicles since I got my first truck.

Long Travel Industries +4 Long Travel Kit paired with Elka Stage 5 2.5 front and 3.0 rear shocks soak up the choppy stuff.

It was back in 2007 when I started off in the UTV scene back with a brand new Yamaha Rhino 660. Then as the years past, side-by-sides only got faster and faster and I felt it was time to step up my game and sell the Rhino to purchase this Polaris RZR. It was stock for about a week until I started ripping it apart to put new mods on it. 


I try to do at least some of the work myself, and what I can’t do, I rely on shops that I trust to take care of what I need done. When it came time to choose which parts I wanted for the RZR, I did some heavy research and spoke to many people in the industry prior to pulling the trigger on anything. Once I chose the parts I wanted, I reached out to the companies directly and picked their brains until I was 100% comfortable I was making the right decision.

I’d say my favorite mods and upgrades are my long-travel suspension made by Long Travel Industries, all my Rigid Lighting which is essential for night rides and my S&B Filters Particle Separator, which keeps my air filter clean (so my motor stays clean, too). Upfitting is definitely a never-ending process that I’m very familiar with and at this point I would say my RZR is about 95% finished. The last few things I’d like to add would be a radio and intercom, so I can speak to my passenger and other drivers when I go out driving in a group. Communication is key and having tunes while out on an adventure makes it even more enjoyable!

UTV Speed Inc fastback cage with attached rear bumper and front bumper with lollipop red skid plate keeps the RZR protected and looking sharp.


Since I’m mostly a desert guy, my two favorite places to ride would be the Barstow area and Johnson Valley near Hammer Town in my home state of California. But some of the most fun trails I’ve been on were located in Johnson Valley, which includes desert terrain, dry lake beds, sand dunes, climbing up mountains and a bit of rock climbing…it has pretty much every type of terrain to challenge you! Riding out gives me such a sense of freedom and definitely takes me away from all the stresses and worries in life so that I actually have time to enjoy myself, friends, and family while I’m out. 

Follow Tim and his adventures on @oct_tim