Published on December 16th, 2015 | by Joe0
RZR XP 1000 Play Racer Project: WITH VIDEO
CT and Buckshot Racing turn our Polaris RZR XP 1000 into a weekend warrior with serious race potential
Since its introduction in 2014, the Polaris RZR XP 1000 has been the high-performance UTV to which all others have been compared. With decades of off-road racing experience, CT Racing Engine’s owner, Allen Knowles, headed up our long-term test of the 2014 Polaris RZR XP 1000, providing valuable feedback and setup information on the car. With thousands of miles under his belt driving and testing side-by-sides in addition to decades of ATV racing, we asked Allen to put his testing and building experience to work improving and customizing our stock RZR XP 1000.
Allen wanted a car that was versatile, race it, pre-run in it, or just trail ride. Allen set this car up similar to the way he sets up his personal ATVs’ MX style. Even his duners are really just MX quads on steroids, full MX suspension with higher HP motors. The program was to make this RZR comfortable, safe, and handle really well. If you do all of this, then you can decide if you want more HP., CT Racing has a phenomenal motor program for all the RZRs from the 800 to the 1,000.
The players that participated in this build are long time ATV guys.: Andrew Buck, builder of the cage, doors, aluminum and so forth was a So-Cal Perennial fast guy, and Mickey Thompson, Contender, Winner of The Japanese Supercross Championship way back in 1990. Andrew worked at CT Racing for years as a machinist, and FMF before that. Andrew started Buckshot Performance in the Late 90’s building some of the best Sand Cars on the market. Ed Teixeira from Teixeira Tech has been a fast guy in the desert through the early 2000’s winning a BITD Championship on a KTM 525 he built long before KTM was thinking about making an ATV. Tim Orchard, owner of OMF, produced the wheels on this rig; Tim was an editor of 3 Wheeling Magazine long before there were quads and UTVs. Tim spent a lot of seat time racing Rhinos when they hit the market. Wayne Mooridian, owner of PEP, has been doing championship-winning ATV shocks since ATVs had shocks. Wayne and his PEP suspension have probably won more championships worldwide than any other shock builder.
Buckshot Products purpose-built this cage as an off-road adventure cage. They do offer full race cages as well (no doors), but this is the perfect cage for this project; strong, well-made, well laid out, lots of radius were used giving it striking lines, and matching the radius of the 40” light bar. Most cages won’t hold a 40” bar, as they are normally only about 36” wide at top. Andrew kicked the bars out giving the driver’s compartment a couple of extra inches of shoulder room, and leaving a little extra room for larger aftermarket seats, and, of course, the light bar. The cage wraps all the way down the rear of the car tying in with the radius rod plates in the back. That adds a lot of strength should it end up in a high-speed rollover. Buck built the front bumper as well; it has two LED’s on it. Allen runs those pointed out and down. This helps with lighting when the throttle is romped off the line, and when rolling up to a downhill, vision at night is good. This front bumper will also hold a 20” radius LED if you have the need to spend a few extra dollars. Buckshot products built a couple of nice, fiberglass trinkets for the car, a set of scoops to bring in extra cool air keeping the belt cooler, and a nice looking fiberglass hood. Buckshot built the spare tire carrier. Where to mount the spare is always a compromise. Mount it off the back of the car, and it’s a lot of weight compromising the suspension. Mount it into the bed and you lose the bed. Stand it up in the front of the bed, and you lose the rear view mirror. Buckshot went with flat over the bed, which has turned out to be the best setup. It gives us 13 “ under the tire, plenty of room for our tool/spares pack and, of course, an ice chest and fishing tackle all fit in nicely underneath, and it helps hold everything in. We just throw a motorcycle cargo bungee net over the stuff under the tire to keep it from pounding, and you don’t need to be concerned with stuff potentially falling out. Buckshot used a Tire Hold-down Strap made by Dirt Bags to lock it tight. It’s fast and easy to lash down and extremely secure. This strap is used on a lot of class 1 cars and Trophy Trucks. Dirt Bags’ stuff is made in the USA and will hold up, unlike cheap Harbor Freight Tie Downs. They will make custom straps as well. Owner of Dirt Bags, Derek Nye’s, team raced Score Off Road Races with Allen Knowles way back in the late 80’s. Peruse their web site; they build some very good, tough bags for a reasonable price. Many Trophy Truck teams use their bags and tool wraps.
Buckshot built some really cool doors, normal opening instead of reverse. The up side to doing it this way is it removes the bar the stock door hinges off of, giving significantly more elbow room. It also means if the door were to pop open, nothing bad is going to happen. It’s also much easier to get in and out of the car in, or on a trailer. There is no downside, except they may cost a couple more dollars than some other brands.
Teixeira Tech has built some extremely strong chromoly high-clearance Arms. The front arms are gusseted, gullwing-style arms, very similar to product that Teixeira build for ATVs; the rear radius rods are another issue. Many companies build the Radius rods out of bent, thick wall chromoly tubing, then adding gusseting. Ed tested these back on the 900XP and learned even gusseted, thick wall tubes want to straighten out (not good), so Teixeira built their Radius arms out of triple chromoly plate. 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 rod was also changed out for a larger diameter, stronger, upper rod.
Pro Armor products were used to complete this project. Pro Armor has a full listing of products for side by sides. They have a very complete web site to help accessorize your car. This XP used Sniper suspension seats. When you spend a lot of seat time in the XP, the stock seats get uncomfortable fast; these seats have you looking forward to getting back in the car on the second and third day of an excursion, instead of looking for an excuse to not go. If you go out in cold weather, the seats are also available with a seat heater. Pro Armor makes some of the nicest, most comfortable, safety harnesses on the market, with nice shoulder padding and small pockets built into the front that will hold things like a small flashlight, cell phone, and knife–– a few essentials that are handy. These are 3-inches wide, and come as a 5-point harness; for recreational use we don’t run the crotch section, using them as a 4-point. Pro Armor Steering wheel was clamped in; the wheel comes with a horn button and is easy to hook up.
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, for you’ll be able to communicate with your pit crew, letting them know if you’re pitting and what services are required. With UTVs 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. 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.
“Floats like a butterfly; stings like a bee” (Muhammad Ali) ––that’s the description of the PEP suspension upgrade. The stock shocks are significantly too soft for West Coast fast trail thrashing. The articulation of the stock shock is great for slow rock crawling, but not what we needed. The stockers are too soft in the front, harsh in the rear, and offer up way too much body roll for our intended use. We went with the Guru of ATV suspension, Wayne, from PEP, for they have a fantastic upgrade for the Walker Evans shocks. The Walker Evans shocks are very capable shocks; no reason to change them out since they can be upgraded and dialed in to give you the handling characteristics needed for what you want to do with the car. We wanted a smooth, plush ride, which is achievable with the kind of wheel travel the RZR offers, and we want it to stay flat in the corners so it can just be hucked in to the corners, driven like a trophy truck. We got both and have been very impressed. Driving other RZR XP’s, the PEP shocks are what our test driver uses for a baseline on how the other stuff works now. All of the springs were changed out, and crossover spacers were also installed. The crossovers are suspiciously missing on the stock, front shocks leaving the soft, ride height spring doing more than it should, and leaving it to go way too far into the travel before the main spring goes to work. Wayne, the King of Zero Pre-Load suspension, has his set-up dialed,for ride height and crossing into the main spring at the correct time, with the correct spring rate.
Tires and Wheels
You’ll see the OMF Beadlocks on the car. We really like running a Beadlock on the RZR; we had an irreparable 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, and 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 30X10 X14. Running the same size all the way around is the way to go; one spare covers everything. The Mongrel is a very impressive tire, superior in traction to the stock tire, lighter, and tougher. We do find that it needs to run relatively high air pressure; we run a minimum of 18 lbs and usually around 22 in the back; the surprising thing to us being a narrower-than-stock tire still out drove the stock tires even in sand. You’ll find a lot of off-road race teams use the Mongrel. It may be the best UTV tire on the market.
Odds and Ends
We’re running a K&N air filter. The 1000 has a much improved filter box and tract. We slipped a CT Racing Fuse panel under the hood. Polaris gives you a feed to pull power on the 1000, but we find pulling heavy 8-gauge stereo wire (included with the CT Kit) is the best way to go and really helps when running a two-way radio to produce full range. Then, from the fuse panel, you can run your lights, GPS, stereo, horn, seat heater and anything else you want to throw in there.
The hundreds of aftermarket parts that have come available over the past couple of years have made the RZR XP 1000 an incredibly versatile vehicle. All of the parts added to this RZR have greatly enhanced its functionality, comfort, durability, and handling prowess. There’s enough performance on tap to dabble in racing, and with only a little motor work and couple of other modifications, it would be a very competitive racer. For this car’s intended use of long weekends of aggressive, recreational driving, we’d say this project turned out perfectly.
|Cage||Buckshot Racing Radius Roll Cage||$Call||www.buckshotracing.com|
|Bumper||Buckshot Racing Front Bumper||$Call|
|Tire Rack||Buckshot Racing||$Call|
|Tire Tiie Down Strap||Dirtbagz Tire Tie Down Strap||$85.00||www.dirtbagz.com|
|A-Arms||Teixeira Tech, X-tremeGround Clearance Lower A-Arms||$374.00|
|Radius Rods||Teixeira Tech X-treme Ground Clearance Lower Radius Rods with Replacement Uppers||$600.00|
|Shocks||PEP revalved and resprung stock shocks||$3,100.00||www.peputv.com|
|Clutch||Stock with Alba Complete Belt Saving Kit||$299.00|
|Wheels||OMF NXG-1 14″ Beadlock Wheels||$379.96 ea||www.omfperformance.com|
|Tires||GBC Kanati Mongrels 30×10-14||$See Dealer||http://www.gbcmotorsports.com/|
|Seats||Pro Armor Sniper Seats||$399.95 ea||www.proarmor.com|
|Harnesses||Pro Armor Sniper Seats||$119.95|
|Steering Wheel||Pro Armor Force||$69.95|
|Steering Hub||Pro Armor Steering Wheel Hub Adapter||$49.95|
|Communications System||Rugged Radios Car-2-Car Kit, RRP660 2 Place Intercom system with Helmet Kits, and RZR Mount Kit||$1234.71 total||http://www.ruggedradios.com/index.php|