Blending Snow And Dirt Into One, Nate Zollinger Strives to Build ZBroz Stronger Than Ever
Story By Savannah Rose | Photos By Brandon Bunch
For those of you who spend those white winters in the snowmobile community, you will recognize the ZBroz brand as one of the top performance suspension manufacturers that the sport has to offer. But, ZBroz, short for Zollinger Brothers, also found their way into the dirt through the ATV/UTV market and found a whole new passion.
Founded by brothers Lance, Ryan, Anthony and Nathan, the “ZBroz” all share a passion for powersports, finding success both in business and competition.
“We live, breathe, and eat UTVs and snowmobiles,” said Nathan. “100% We are total motorheads.”
UTV Sports caught up with Nathan Zollinger at the 2021 King of the Hammers event this February to find out a little more about ZBroz and what the brothers have planned for the future of their company after their recent induction into the Wheel Pros family of brands.
2020 brought the world a long list of firsts, including Nate’s first time competitively racing UTVs, and they did it on a very large stage, the toughest one-day off-road race in the world. King of the Hammers. Their race goal was simple; bolt on their off-the-shelf parts on a stock Polaris RZR Turbo S, and complete the race. They did exactly that with a 25th place finish.
“We’re the type of team that just wants to prove our products, and finish the race,” Nathan said.
ZBroz decided to race again this year, taking lessons learned from last year’s event, to evolve their strategy and improve their results. A concept they use in manufacturing as well. First agenda item was to fine tune their suspension setup, as last year they found it a little “too soft.” The brothers also decided to continue last year’s tactic of running tall 35” tires, and once again had zero issues; no flats, no punctures, and no tire changes needed thanks to their EFX Tires Motovator R/T setup.
When it comes to clutching, Nathan said, “We come from the snowmobile world, so CVTs are common, and nothing new for us. We worked with Starting Line Products, who are big in snow, and more and more are showing up in the UTV space. We called Jerry and Adam from SLP and they sent us cam arms and a primary spring. The secondary is actually stock, as we’re going for reliability over speed. The motor is stock, too.”
The ZBroz company history is steeped in racing. Nate played conventional high school sports as a kid, but leaped at the chance to compete in snowmobile hill climbs at just 16 years old. Over the next decade, the brothers landed numerous championships, and an avalanche of wins. Nathan wanted to devote his career to the powersports industry, so they began manufacturing and selling their own products. ZBroz started as a side job in just a 240 sq ft room in 1998, selling ATV and snowmobile parts, and found rapid success in every way. Eventually expanding into what it is today.
Knowing that he and his brothers were racers first, and not fabricators, the brothers have brought in talent around them to solidify that department of the company and educate themselves along the way. That business effort has brought them enough attention to draw interest from the largest wheel manufacturer in the business, Wheel Pros, and in February 2020, became a new segment fulfillment for the powerhouse. This new backing put them back on the race track to take the brand to the next level.
ZBroz wants to maintain their level of quality and stand out from their competition. For starters, they manufacture everything in-house, right in Utah. They fabricate and machine all their own parts, including their in-house shock absorbers, Exit Shocks. They have two locations in Utah, one in Logan, where all of the marketing, sales, and R&D happens and another 160,000 sq ft facility under way in Ogden, where they recently moved all manufacturing to.
“We were a homegrown company with no real distribution,” said Nathan. “Although we had some dealers and a great customer base, we pride ourselves on selling to repeat customers. Being with Wheel Pros now, we let them handle the distribution aspect, as well as the financial backing so we can be warehoused around the country, so every customer, including Canadians, can have the products in just a couple days.”
“We’re putting our foot on the gas, and have big things in store for the future.”
“We pride ourselves in our development process. Once we get the car or machine, we measure it then create a concept in solid works, utilizing real world testing through sponsored drivers. We even drive it ourselves to ensure the products can take a beating, and still function properly. We want to make sure our parts fit like a factory part, but obviously work better,” said Nathan.
ZBroz passion in making parts lies in making high quality, high precision parts so you get a reliable part right out of the box. “Everyone has their own secret sauce to shock manufacturing, their own pistons and valving, but ours is a little bit different. We use a different piston design. Just one way we’re always working on bigger and better stuff.”
The brothers look forward to expanding their product offering to a wider variety of vehicle fitments, continuing to improve performance, all while making these parts available to the customer at a competitive price.