Published on April 14th, 2017 | by Joe
Polaris RZR XP TURBO Project Test: Look out Maverick X3: WITH VIDEO
Improving on the most powerful UTV on the market
Since its introduction, Polaris’ ever expanding line of RZRs have been thrilling enthusiasts with their out of the box performance, while providing an excellent platform for creating the purpose-built, off-road vehicle of their dreams. The stock 2017 RZR XP Turbo producing an ample 168hp, more than any of its competitors. This allows many enthusiasts to place engine mods on the back burner until rebuild time comes around, leaving them free to focus on upgrading other aspects of the car.
CT Racing’s Allen Knowles has a lot of seat time in SXS, making him a valuable source for both insight and feedback. With this in mind, Allen was tasked with digging through the abyss of aftermarket offerings to put together a list of upgrades for the RZR XP Turbo that will help its owners have more fun with the fastest UTV money can buy. It’s worth noting that most of these upgrades will carry over to the RZR XP 1000.
This car was set up for destination trips over rough terrain at as high of a rate of speed as we could generate. We wanted a car we could drive hard, stay comfortable, be safe, get there and back, and may as well throw in looking cool while doing it. Building an adventure car means you’re going places in back country where you most likely won’t have help to bail you out, so be self-contained. It also means you’ll be spending long days in the seat, so dial in some comfort. The RZR XP 1000 is so quick on the trail that if you push it to the limit, you better set up for beyond the limit.
Most important in setting up an adventure car is safety, followed closely by comfort and re-liability. We’ll go through our build and give you some insight on how and why we set this car up for some adventure trips in chronological order of how we would organize how to prioritize spending your money. .
Harnesses and Roof
The first thing we like to install on most every UTV that we spend time in is good race type safety harnesses. While factory seat belts have gotten better, quick to enter and exit the car, there’s nothing like the security of being cinched up tight with a race harness. We used the Pro Armor 4 point 3″ harnesses.
Next, is a roof over our head; having the sun beaming down on you all day sucks. We went with a Pro Armor Asylum roof as it is made to fit their cage. They also offer a couple more roof options if you are staying with the stock cage.
S&B filters has rolled out the particle separator. It’s a very simple device that has been used on military helicopters in harsh desert environments. Basically, it’s an air inlet that has a high-speed fan blowing air right out the bottom. The air comes into the inlet and the heavy dirt particles get blown right out the bottom of the separator. The inlet to the stock air filter is pulled from the side of the unit, so it is receiving substantially cleaner air headed toward the stock filter. Reducing the amount of dirt headed toward the filter reduces the workload of the filter, extending filter life and extending motor life. A clean motor is a happy motor!
Fasst Company has taken the Polaris RZR passenger grab handle a step further by working to reduce co-pilot fatigue. Similar to their patented Flexx Handlebar system for ATVs and Dirt Bikes, Fasst Company’s Co-Pilot is designed to reduce jarring impacts from being transferred to the passenger’s hands.
The Co-Pilot, which is constructed in the US, is a combination of steel and 7075 aluminum. They feature a hinged design using elastomers used to absorb shock. Each side features preload and rebound elastomers. The rebound elastomers prevent a topping sensation and allow the Co-Pilot to absorb shock in both directions. We found it to work well right out of the box although the Co-Pilot’s action can be made firmer or softer by using different elastomers and by using the preload adjustment screw.
Fasst Co. claims that the bars, “…offer the right amount of speed for the highest degree of comfort.” We tend to agree finding their bend pretty comfortable and easy to hold on to. If you want a little more or less sweep, you can alter it slightly by adding or removing preload from the elastomers, although this will slightly affect elastomer preload and firmness.
Like the Flexx Handlebars, the Co-Pilot does a good job of absorbing jolts that get past the suspension. They feel like they float in your hands a bit making them comfortable and effective whether you’re holding on with one hand or two.
Anything you can to do make your passenger more comfortable will make the ride more pleasant for both occupants. If you want your friends or loved ones to spend more time in your RZR, consider adding a Fasst Co. Co-Pilot to your car.
Tires and Wheels
You’ll see the OMF Beadlocks on the Car. We really like running a Beadlock on the RZR. We had an un-reparable tire slice and ran over 50 miles hard on it, able to keep up with the group. OMF’s are made in the USA out of American-made aluminum. We’ve tried some imported wheels with hit and miss results. While some are good, we’ve found soft ones that look great and bend easily. You can get a cheaper wheel, but not a tougher wheel.
We used the GBC Kanati Mongrels in 30X10R-14. Running the same size all the way around is the way to go. One spare covers everything. The Mongrels hook up amazingly well on hard surfaces and, surprisingly, they are even better in sand than the stock tires.
We used a Buckshot Racing spare tire mount. There are lots available, and it’s all a tradeoff. Some hang them off the back of the car, which certainly affects handling, and not in a good way, but you get more luggage room. Some stand them up allowing more room to pack stuff, but they block rear vision. The Buckshot is up high enough to still give you good access and room to haul stuff in the bed, and just low enough to give you a sight line looking back in the mirror. It uses a Dirt Bagz Trophy truck ratchet strap made to hold tires in place. It’s quick to loosen to access stuff in the bed, and the tire stays put. Dirt Bagz also offers a nice selection of tool bags and wraps that will keep your junk where you want it. Check out their website.
Unlike many others, Teixeira Tech builds their chassis parts out of Tig-welded chromoly providing a superior balance of weight and strength. The XGC lower front A-arms feature a reverse gullwing style design and are gusseted for added strength. They’re a beefed up version of how Teixeira builds their Winning Cross Country and Desert ATV’s A-arms. The upper arms utilize a plate boxed front section for added strength and rigidity combined with a tubular rear half. The rear radius rods are another issue. Many companies build their high clearance Radius rods out of bent thick wall steel tubing. Allen has discovered that even gusseted, thick wall tubes have the propensity to straighten out (not good). Teixeira Tech builds their Xtreme Ground Clearance Radius arms out of triple plated boxed chromoly. There’s a front and back plate with another layer stitch welded in the center along with top and bottom plates. Lots of testing has proven this to be a superior design. The added ground clearance is essential in getting through rocky, tough trails. The upper radius rods were also changed out for a set of Teixeira Tech’s larger diameter, stronger upper rods. Teixeira also manufactures a trailing arm gusset kit. It boxes in the trailing arm significantly adding strength; it has tabs that come up and add a gusset to both the shock mount and the anti-sway bar mount.
The RZR is so fun to drive at night, especially if you have good lights. Good lighting makes you plan night excursions; it’s just a different adventure. We’ve tried several options on LED lights, including import eBay specials. We’ve learned there is a lot of difference in quality and brightness. Being water and dust resistant makes a huge difference in durability. Our import eBay specials were a pile of rubble in 3 months. We clamped on a set of lights from the masters of off road lighting, LazerStar. We went with a 42″ light bar along with a 10-inch light bar mounted on the grill. The 42″ light provides massive amount of light allowing you to cover ground at a fast clip. The 10″ is aimed downward so you can see off ledges and know what’s downhill ahead of you.
We added a set of 4 rock lights. These mount under the car in each wheel well facing downward. They light up under the car for rock crawling, so you can see your wheel placement at night to get you through those knarly rock sections. They illuminate in red, so they have little effect on night vision. Other colors are available so your car would be cosmetically correct. We also mounted a rear facing amber LED from Lazerstar. We really like to run an amber facing back for safety. It cuts the dust better than any other color light, making it easier to be seen and, hopefully, avoided by someone coming up behind you.
Rugged Radios offers a lot of kits contoured specifically to each UTV. This car was set up with a car-to-car radio so you can communicate with your cronies as you’re ripping down the trail. It also works great if you race; you’ll be able to communicate with your pit crew, letting them know if you’re pitting and what services are required. With UTV’s throwing up so much dust, it’s nice to be able to hang back out of the dust and yet know where the car ahead of you turned. It also offers safety giving you the ability to communicate with a base camp if you have a radio there. It’s pretty common to be able to communicate as much as ten miles away. We also have an intercom in the car. This allows you to communicate with the co-driver. The intercom is voice-activated so you can just speak and carry a conversation as you go; as with the car-to-car radio, a button is pushed to broadcast on the chosen channel. The intercom also allows you to listen to your music with the universal 3.5mm or rear Quick Lock music port. This port will plug in to your phone or IPOD. The music will automatically mute when your driver/co-driver conversation begins and softly comes back when the conversation ends. With the optional music-record cable, it can also be plugged into your Go-Pro to record conversation as you’re filming.
We opted for the Baja cage from Pro Armor, which is constructed of tough 1.75″ DOM Steel Tubing, the type of tubing used to construct most off-road racecars. The Baja cage has a lower profile and greater rigidity than the stock cage. More rigidity is better for the durability of the rest of the chassis. The cage bolted up with no issues. This is not the case for all cages out there. We’ve had a lot of cages we were prying and pounding to get fitted up, but not the pro Armor. The rear section unbolts easily, a big time saver when you’re working on the motor, and a big money saver if the dealer is working on it. We’ve even dropped cars off for warranty work and they want to charge you for anything in their way that is not stock, like access to the motor blocked from the cage. We’ve even had to remove aftermarket seats and harnesses, so that’s why it’s important that the rear section can be popped off without a huge effort of having to remove the entire cage, as is necessary with some brands.
The stock Polaris doors are nice, but not having bottoms is a bit of an issue when blasting through some wet environments. There are door bottom halves available, but we went with Pro Armor’s Traditional Paddle Latch full doors. The Pro Armor doors provide a more race-ready appearance. They add protection and improve comfort by expanding room inside the cockpit next to the driver and passenger.
We saved the best for last, mostly because it’s a lot of money and most would do this upgrade last on the list. The stock Turbo car comes with Fox suspension, and while very good, there is a lot of room for improvement. Even Fox offers an upgraded shock set up. We went with the Walker Evans 2.5 Velocity Series. The stock shock is a Polaris spec shock, so there are a lot of concessions made: cost, generic handling for different types of terrain, and so forth. The Walker Evans Velocity series is serious race technology packaged for a RZR. You order them with your car’s specifications, type of use, etc. We did that, and out of the box, these were the most impressive shocks I have tested to date. Very plush in the small stuff (one of the issues with the stock shocks), impressive in the whoops, flat footing monster whoops and the car just tracked straight and ate up every whoop, never found its limit in three days of testing over all types of terrain. We did find the adjuster has a wide range of adjustment. We ran them nearly all the way out (four clicks in) on compression for the days where we were running choppy washboard roads to get that super smooth feel, and dialed in a few more clicks when we were going out hammering whoops and beating up knarly washes. The difference in comfort of the shocks is night and day; if you have the budget, you can’t go wrong.
The Polaris RZR has always sort-of been the perfect platform for building the ultimate custom off-road vehicle. This has never been truer than with the RZR XP Turbo. CT Racing added their favorite parts and built a phenomenal long distance trail rider. All of the products used performed as well or better than advertised including the RZR Turbo. It’s proven to be a top contender whether you’re rocking it stock, or building a custom, go-fast trail runner like ours.
The RZR XP 1000 is arguably the best off-road side-by-side on the market for many, especially off-road enthusiast for the open trails and sand dunes of the West Coast. Speed, comfort, handling, suspension, ground clearance, durability, carrying capacity, trail capability, all dictate this over other competitive units. We’ve taken the best unit and contoured it for our use, and that’s what is so cool about the side-by-side market now; you can grab up a stock car and go, or you can dial it in as we have done and make it phenomenal.
RZR XP Turbo Project Build List
|SxS Model||Polaris RZR XP Turbo||$24,999|
|Air-Filter||S&B Filters Partical Separator||$399.95|
|Chassis / Suspension|
|Roll Cage||Pro Armor Baja Cage||$1,599.95|
|A-arms||Teixeira Tech XGC full set, with HD Frap Ball Joint Upgrade||$1,435|
|Radius Rods||Teixeira Tech XGC full set||$578|
|Trailing Arm Gusset Kit||Teixeira Tech||$178.00|
|Sway Bar Links||Teixeira Tech||$148|
|Front Shocks||Walker Evans Racing 2.5″ Velocity Series||$1,799.99|
|Rear Shocks||Walker Evans Racing 2.5″ Velocity Series||$1,799.99|
|Wheels||OMF 14″ NXG2, Custom Powder Coated w / Center Cap Mod,||$449.95 each|
|Wheel Center Caps||OMF||$34.95|
|Tires||GBC Kanati Mongrel 30×10-14||$210.77 each|
|Roof||Pro Armor Asylum||$350.95|
|Doors||Pro Armor Paddle Latch||$549.95|
|Seats||Pro Armor G2||$449.95 each|
|Seat Belts||Pro Armor 4 Point, 3″ Harness||119.95 each|
|Radio||Rugged Dadios Dune Rider 2-Person System||$1,189.71|
|42″||Lazer Star LX LED Endeavour Double Row||$1,289.99|
|10″||Lazer Star Atlantis Single Row||$219.99|
|6″ Amber Rear Facing||Lazer Star 6″ Atlantis single Row||$119.99|
|Colored Rock Lights||Lazer Star IiStar (red)||$39.99 each|
|Spare Tire Mount||Buckshot Racing||$229|
|Spare Tire Strap||Dirt Bagz||$79.95|
|Walker Evans Racing||http://walkerevansracing.com/|