Segway made a whole line of off-road powersports vehicles! Yes, the very same Segway that made rich people look like dorks on gyro-controlled, two-wheeled personal transporters in the 2000’s are hoping to make you and your buddies look not-so-dorky in the 2020’s.
Segway announced the Snarler, the Villain, and the Fugleman at the EICMA show in Milan, Italy. And they’re pretty darn interesting.
We’ll get to the specs in a minute but Segway is doing something that no other UTV/ATV manufacturer has ever done before—they’re making hybrid engines, and that’s genius. Let me explain.
There are all-electric Polaris Rangers out there that have limited usability and capability. I have never seen one of these modest machines in person.
Then there are companies like Nikola hoping to achieve pie-in-the-sky performance with their all-electric $80,000(!) Nikola NZT. They’re promising 590 HP and 775 ft-lb of torque, but they’re not promising what year they’re coming out yet.
Instead of going full electric and full premium, Segway is taking the same path that we’ve seen road cars take over the last 15 years—they’re going hybrid. That gives you the benefits of electric (instant torque and extra power) and the benefits of gas (you can refuel in two minutes at any of the 120,000 gas stations in the us) all in a vehicle that looks and feels familiar. Plus, a hybrid engine should mean more miles per tank.
Without having tried one out ourselves (Italy’s a little too far afield for us), and assuming they’ve figured out a clever way to keep the batteries and magnetic motor safe and dry, a hybrid engine seems like a win-win.
Now let’s get on to them specs!
The Villain is their sport UTV model and as such the 1000SF model—that is, the fuel only version—falls right in line with other 1000cc sport UTVs. It’s the 1000SH model with the hybrid engine where things get really interesting.
So far, those are the only two Villain models they’ve announced. And they look… weird. I’m into the look of them personally. They share a similar profile to the RZR, Talon, and KRX, but the bodywork is smooth and seamless, and it gives the Villain sort of a pristine futuristic look. It’s not hard to imagine the panels being made of some titanium armor alloy rather than the plastic they’re likely to be made of. I think they’re one of the most interesting looking UTV’s from any manufacturer.
Now, if you ask anybody else here in the SuperATV office, they’ll say it’s not their cup of tea. Different strokes for different folks I guess.
The suspension uses dual A-arms in the front and a multi-link trailing arm in the rear just like you’d expect from any self-respecting sport UTV these days.
Yeah, she’s a big girl at 1,694 pounds. Just wait until we add the hybrid engine.
That’s a lot of horsepower for a naturally aspirated vehicle and a heck of a lot of torque. Even with that nearly 2,000-pound dry weight, this thing promises to be punchy. Unless they really screw something up, it’s gonna feel good when you hit the gas.
The Fugleman has the same 1000cc engine and options with the addition of a 570cc hybrid option. It’s their utility focused model with designs that ape from the Polaris Ranger and Can-Am Defender. It’s still got it’s own style, though, with wide curving panels instead of the sharp angles of its peers.
It uses dual A-arm suspension in the front and rear, and it looks like doors come complete with a lower panel and a handle on the outside.
The main takeaway here is that the gas-powered Fugleman compares favorably to a base model Ranger 1000. The Fugleman is wider with a smidge more ground clearance, a smidge better suspension travel, and more power than you’d expect. Plus that 2,000-pound towing capacity ain’t too shabby.
Same engine as the Villain means you get the same numbers. That’s plenty of torque for a UTV that you use for hauling and pulling, but it’s safe to say it’ll get a bigger boost in torque over the Villain due to a larger gear reduction in the transmission. We’ll have to see chassis dyno results on each to see exactly what the difference is.
Overall it seems like a nice machine. If the price is right, it might make plenty of workers and riders happy. The extra range from the hybrid engine won’t go unnoticed by professionals either.
This thing ain’t bad. That’s about double the power output of the Ranger 570 Full-Size. If they make the price competitive, then this thing will be popular.
By now you’ve figured out the Segway naming scheme—The Villain 1000SF is “SSV fuel,” Fugleman 1000UF is “UTV fuel,” and finally we’ve got the Snarler 1000AF which is, of course, “ATV fuel.”
And that’s the only version of the 1000cc ATV announced. They also announced the 570AH, the 570FH S, and the 570FH L. Let’s keep this one simple and just look at the 1000AF.
That’s more power than a Sportsman 1000, but just like the rest of Segway’s lineup, it’s heavier than its Polaris counterpart. The Sportsman’s got the Snarler beat on suspension with high ground clearance and more suspension travel.
Segway’s lineup has everything you’d expect—speed sensitive power steering, an auto-locking front diff (that they’re not talking about yet), and adjustable everything in the cab.
One thing that does stand out, is that they claim that the frame is made with chromoly steel which is quite a bit stronger than the carbon steel that others use. Frame strength can be a real issue whether you’re installing huge tractor tires on a machine or wrecking hard on a hill climb—you don’t want any part of it to buckle.
A chromoly cage and frame will help immensely with those issues, but, man, is that going to jack up the price on these things.
They also have something called a “smart commanding system” and a “smart-moving app” that allows you to do something. They don’t say much about it though. I think the app is basically like Polaris’s ride command, but in the form of an app on your phone instead of an add-on for your dash. It seems cool, but all we know is that it can monitor speed, mileage, and performance. It’ll likely have some gps capability as well—it is an app for a phone after all—but it might also have interesting engine and diagnostic readouts. And just maybe it’ll have remote start and remote locking/security features as well. We’ll find out eventually.
They’re not saying, but they obviously won’t be cheap. Given that the world’s most expensive UTV—the Polaris RZR PRO XP 4 Ultimate—just released recently at $32,299, I’m going to guess that they’ll cost less than that but still be expensive.
Let’s say the hybrid Fugleman and Villain will be no less than $28,000 and the traditionally powered variants will be closer to $23,000 or $24,000. If they get out of those ranges, they’ll be a tough sell for sure.
We also don’t know when these are coming yet, but let’s keep this wild speculation-train a-rollin’ and say it’ll probably be spring 2021 when these are released.
But there’s something else we need to talk about before we end this monster post.
I suppose now’s a good time to mention that the information around Segway’s new powersports line has been a little spotty at the time of this writing. Their own official spec sheets have some glaring errors and omissions—mainly related to weight and capacity.
For example, with a 300-pound weight difference between the Villain 1000SH and the Villain 1000SF, you wouldn’t expect them to have identical payload capacities. But they do—308 pounds. 308 pounds also matches the Fugleman’s advertised bed box capacity to the pound. And they claim the Fugleman 1000UF weighs the exact same as the Villain 1000SF. I think there might be some wires crossed here.
All that is to say is: I’m taking these specs with a grain of salt and you should too. With no release window and no MSRP listed, it’s safe to assume that these machines aren’t quite done on top of those specs just looking wonky.
The confusion around some of these features and the fact that Segway is making ATVs and UTVs out of the blue brings me to my final point: Segway probably doesn’t resemble the company you remember.
Ready for some fun facts about Segway?
So yeah, Segway’s weird. But does any of that matter? Their weirdness and their extreme growth in the electric vehicle market has given us some truly innovative off-road machines that I for one can’t wait to check out. The Villain, the Fugleman, and the Snarler are the kind of turn of the decade spice I was hoping to see in this industry. Will they be successful? Who knows! Probably somewhere!
But that’s not the point. The point is they look and work differently from the vehicles we already have. They’re a fresh face in a familiar industry. So put on your socks and sandals, it just might be time to hop on a Segway.