Published on November 25th, 2014 | by Joe
Polaris RZR S 800 Project–– with VIDEO:
A bolt-on build that’s better in nearly every way.
Released back in 2008, the original 50-inch RZR 800 was the first sport side-by-side mass-produced. The 60-inch RZR S, released in 2009, offered buyers a machine that came with the extra width and suspension travel racers, duners, and wide trail riders were paying thousands of dollars for. Although their production came to an end in 2014, the performance and value of these machines single-handedly launched an off-road revolution.
While they might be almost gone in dealers, with their numbers still dominating the trails, the RZR 800s are definitely not forgotten. If you aren’t ready to go drop the cash on a brand new RZR 900 but would like to spice up the performance of your 800, there are tons of products out there that can enhance its performance. Chances are you already have some of them installed on your rig.
What we’ve done with our 2012 test unit was add a round of accessories to enhance its comfort, style, and performance in hopes of providing some ideas on how to trick out your RZR or RZR S 800, or fill in some of those missing pieces that will make your machine that much better.
Building a Better RZR
Razr Sharp Customs, located in Sparta, Kentucky, builds custom roll cages, chassis parts, and full frame-up custom machines. Razr Sharp owner, Justin Frazier, and Craig Gains, owner of G &R Motorsports, along with several friends all pitched in and had this project assembled in a few hours.
Prior to starting this build, we installed an HMF Swamp Series exhaust system and Fuel Optimizer, EFI controller. HMF’s Swamp series is the quieter of the two exhaust systems for the RZR S 800, said to keep sound within one to two decibels of stock. The silencer features a five-inch shell, increasing internal volume, boosting horsepower. The HMF Fuel Optimizer comes with a map pre-installed that’s designed to work with the HMF exhaust. The Optimizer features convenient, on-board, 16-way fuel adjustment settings for low, middle, and upper RPM ranges. On-board adjustment means trail-side tuning is possible, with no laptop computer needed. We found the Optimizer’s map to work flawlessly with no additional tuning required.
Caged Razr Sharp
After removing all of the stock items to be replaced, on went a Razr Sharp Custom’s Race Cage. This cage is designed as a beefed-up stock replacement, encapsulating the cockpit similar to the stock cage. The Razr Sharp cage is constructed of DOM steel and features an extra cross brace on the front and two additional upper tubes that run from front to rear for increased strength. The cage features a chopped look with a lower overall height than the stock cage, although it can be ordered with taller, or lower, upper rail heights for the same price. Different powder coat color options are also available to match the look of your machine. The Race Cage only weighs around 20 pounds more than stock, so its effect on the suspension and engine’s performance is minimal. If you aren’t lucky enough to live in Razr Sharp’s backyard like we do, they ship nation-wide.
Blingstar Doors and Bumpers
Adding doors adds a feeling of safety and security. Blingstar’s Suicide Doors are designed to be light and strong, constructed of 6061 aluminum. The door’s framing comes pre-assembled, leaving you to install Blingstar’s, Slam Latch, door latch system, and door panel inserts. The door panels feature laser-cut sight windows, with optional block-off plates available. The door’s tubing comes covered in black, textured powder coat. The doors’ panels are available in brushed or polished aluminum finishes, or in the textured black powder coat we opted for. Installation was pretty simple.
Constructed of 1 3/8 inch 6061 aluminum, Blingstar’s front and rear bumpers add protection to each end of the machine while keeping weight down. Both bumpers feature a black, textured, powder coat finish. The front bumper features a removable aluminum center plate, available polished, brushed, or textured black powder coat.
Both bumpers bolt up without issue to a stock RZR. Like most RZR 800 front bumpers, Blingstar’s front bumper’s upper mounts bolt up to the front of the radiator. For this reason, we were glad that the bumpers’ upper mounts are notably less gnarly than the upper mounts on Blingstar’s RZR 1000 bumper, which does not attach to the front of the radiator. We’d hope that in the event of a front-end impact, that the Blingstar bumper would give before the radiator, so we are happy with the lighter weight design of the front bumper’s upper mounts.
Exit the Stock Shocks
If you have a base-model RZR or RZR S with non-rebuildable shocks, chances are you will at some point be in the market for aftermarket shocks. Available through Z-Broz Racing, Exit UTV shocks are produced by the same people who brought you Ars FX Chassis components for UTVs and ATVs. Exit UTV shocks with extensive testing. They feature a two-inch bore, large piggyback nitrogen reservoirs for superior cooling, and black anodizing for long-lasting good looks.
Exit builds each set of shocks to order, based on your vehicle, chassis setup, additional weight from accessories, and intended use. They back their shocks with a 60-day ride guarantee, to make sure their performance meets your expectations. Our shocks were set up with aggressive trail riding and some short course track time in mind.
All of Exit’s shocks feature threaded preload adjustment with a single locking preload ring that’s easier to adjust and looks much nicer than the usual notched dual ring setup. Exit’s X2 UTV shocks feature preload, plus compression and rebound damping adjustment, and retail for only $400 more than their preload-adjustable X0 shocks. With the loaded weight and use of our RZR varying so much, we couldn’t pass up the benefit of added adjustability. The knob on the reservoir controls compression damping, while a textured metal sleeve at the base of the spring turns, providing rebound damping adjustment. Both adjustments provide smooth action and strong, positive clicks making dialing in the shocks easy out on the trail with no tools.
Ricochet Undercarriage Protection
After hearing of an editor from a print magazine putting a rock through the engine on a RZR 800 and watching our machine frame out on a few rocky sections, we felt more undercarriage protection was in order. Ricochet’s 9 Piece Complete Aluminum Skid Plate Set offers full coverage protection, including full frame coverage, front and rear A-Arm/CV boot guards, and footwell protectors with built-in rocksliders.
Ricochet constructs its skid plates of 3/16 inch 5052 H-32 aluminum, and offers the skid plates in a bare aluminum finish, or with various anodizing color options. For serious rock crawlers, they also offer ¼ inch UHMW skid plate overlays for its aluminum skid plates. They combine the strength and rigidity of the aluminum skid plate, providing a slick surface that more easily slides over gnarly rocks.
Ricochet’s skid plates come complete with all of the necessary mounting hardware. The exposed star head bolts feature rounded heads that won’t easily snag or sheer off on rocks like a standard bolt. Using steel bolts and aluminum fasteners, we strongly recommend using a small amount of grease on the bolts to prevent the steel and aluminum threads from corroding and freezing up. This will make maintenance a lot easier down the road.
Installation and fitment between the Ricochet skid plates and the RZR was easy and straight forward, although it took a little coaxing to get the front skid to work with Blingstar’s bumper. It’s no one’s fault; just an issue you sometimes face with mixing two aftermarket products together.
Safety and Comfort
Four or five-point harnesses are perhaps the number one upgrade we would install in a serious sport UTV. Blingstar’s memory foam, four-point harnesses feature plush memory foam, install as easily as any other aftermarket four-point harness, and have one of the easier-to-use latch systems on the market.
To cut down on cold wind, dust, and flying debris, a Powermadd SportShield, half windshield was installed. The SportShield was designed to push air and dust up and over the riders, while providing a unique style compared to standard, straight half windshields. The Powermadd SportShield attaches to your cage using the included roll bar straps and self-adhering windshield pucks. The roll bar straps feature a rubber undercoating, enhancing grip while protecting your cage’s finish. The windshield pucks give the center of the shield more stability. Installation on the stock cage is a snap, and we were able to attach it to our RZR Sharp cage without any special modification.
Just for looks
With its red bodywork, the look of the sides of the machine were smoothed out with a set of red and black Blingstar graphics. They are constructed of abrasion-resistant, 18 Mil, UV-protected material. Their thick construction, strong adhesive, and pre-cut holes for mounting hardware made them a snap to line up and stick on.
CST Clincher Tires
With the stock, ITP tires wearing, our machine was due for some fresh tread. CST’s clincher tires feature a radial design for a compliant ride over bumps. They are said to feature a larger contact patch than bias-ply tires for improved traction. Interlocking “C” chapped center knobs are designed to provide a smooth ride and put more rubber on the ground providing good traction on hard-packed trails, while the broader-spaced shoulder knobs provide additional traction and clean out in the mud. As a non-directional tire, you can continuously switch the tires from one side to the other, promoting even tread wear and a longer lasting tire.
Hitting the Trail
Taking our completed machine out for a ride, the first thing we appreciated was the Blingstar ,Suicide doors. They are unobtrusive when stepping into the RZR. Latch operation was smooth and closed securely consistently. The doors rattled a bit over the rough stuff, but nothing serious or annoying; it was muffled a bit by the sound of the engine. Blingstar’s accessory rubber Pro Latch mounts to the inside and pulls the door firmly against the frame, which is said to eliminate any unwanted rattle and virtually eliminates the possibility of a door opening. The Pro Latch is also said to work on any brand of door. For recreational use, we felt secure encapsulated by the Blingstar doors. The convex shape created by the frame and door panels bends outward a bit from the cockpit, helping maintain knee and elbow room. We also really appreciated the extra secure feeling and comfort provided by the Blingstar harnesses.
The chopped height of the Razr Sharp Custom’s Race Cage is unique, but its standard height is only high enough for occupants 6 feet tall and under. If you are over 6 feet tall, you will want them to build you a little taller cage. Keeping the cage’s height as low as possible helps keep the car’s center of gravity down for better handling. It also allows you to glide under low limbs and fallen trees hanging over the top of the trail. The cage is a cool upgrade, or a cost-effective option for replacing a damaged stock cage. If you want a cage that’s completely different and custom, Razr Sharp can help you with that as well.
Looks are a matter of taste and most people who got a look at Powermadd’s SportShield inked its unique, motorcycle fairing-style design, which adds a lot more to the look of the RZR than a standard straight half windshield. Traveling over 20 mph, it helps deflect wind and dust up and over the occupants. It also helps shield you from flying debris and splashing water. The only complaint came from shorter drivers who felt the curved shape of the SportShield distorted their view of the terrain while crawling along and trying to look directly over the front of the hood.
In repeated hill drags between our stock and HMF Swamp Series exhaust and Fuel Optimizer-equipped RZR S, the HMF-equipped machine proved to be faster on the hill. HMF’s exhaust and optimizer increase power and torque somewhat, but the engine’s dated pushrod design just won’t rev quickly. The difference doesn’t make the RZR 800 more thrilling to drive out of turns; however, the HMF upgrades allowed us to pull hills more quickly and will aid in dealing with the extra weight of our built-up machine.
Exit’s suspension worked better the harder we drove it. When getting some air, it resisted bottoming much better than the stock shocks, which came in handy when overshooting landings. Exit’s shocks reduced weight transfer under acceleration, braking, and cornering, resulting in a car that could be cornered faster and with more confidence. For short course racing on a fast smooth track with jumps and deep rollers, this suspension setup is spot on. The shocks’ springs and internal valving would need a little different setup for casual-paced East Coast trail riding. Look for a full review of these shocks with an impression of both setups in the near future.
CST’s Clincher tires aided the Exit shocks in improving the cornering of this RZR. The front end steered predictably, and the rear end did a good job of holding a line driving into turns hard under power, breaking traction predictably when you really push them. Their performance on hard pack is superb. Traction through rocks was good, and they offer enough grip in the wet stuff to get you through the occasional mud hole, or up a steep, slick, creek bank with a little run.
Upon viewing our RZR, the one product most UTV owners said they felt they should add to their machine was the Ricochet skid plates. We banged our way through some creek beds and through a gnarly rocky wash, grinning, rather than cringing, with each impact to the underside of our RZR. The skid plates look tough and do a good job of helping protect your expensive machine. Unless you ride exclisively in the dunes, we feel they’re a worthwhile investment.
With the overwhelming popularity of Polaris’ 800s through the years, today’s owners benefit from a ton of offerings from the aftermarket. Our machine enjoyed enhancements in engine and suspension performance, traction, protection, comfort, and style. All of the parts we used worked well together, making our RZR an overall better machine. However, with the exception of the exhaust, which requires the use of an aftermarket fuel controller, any of these products could be added individually to a machine to complete a build you’re already working on. If you want something a little cooler than your aging 800, but don’t have the need or cash laying around for a new 900, we’ve seen that there’s a lot you can do to enhance your machine.
|Machine||2012 Polaris RZR 800|
|Roll Cage||RZR Sharp Customs,||$850|
|Shocks||Exit, X2 Shocks with Preload, Compression, and Rebound adjustable||$2,300|
|Exhauyst System||HMF, Swamp Series||$769.95|
|EFI Controller||HMF, Fuel Optimizer||$329.95|
|Tires Front||CST, Clincher, 27×9-12||$ee Dealer|
|Tires Rear||CST, Clincher, 27×11-12||$ee Dealer|
|Doors||Blingstar, Suicide Doors||$663.95|
|Door Graphics||Blingstar, Door Graphics||$99.95|
|Front Bumper||Blingstar, Gladiator||$290.95|
|Rear Bumper||Blingstar, Gladiator||$154.95|
|Skid Plates||Ricochet, 9 Piece Aluminum Skid Plate Set||$779.00|
|Seat Belts||Blingstar, 4 Point||$NA|
|Razr Sharp Customs||http://www.razrsharpcustoms.com/|