Optimizing Your Polaris RZR's Suspension Setup: Jumping And Trails
Oct 6th 2019
The first time you do a big jump in your Polaris RZR, it is truly terrifying… that is, until you land on flat ground and don’t even feel a thing. Depending on what model, year, and edition of the Polaris RZR you own, be it the single-seater RS1 or the turbo-charged RZR XP Turbo, there's a strong possibility that your machine came with great stock suspension components. But when you’re barreling towards a takeoff with a wide open throttle until you're airborne, it’s nice to know that your RZR is equipped with the best UTV suspension setup around to handle the landing. But in addition to jumping, the your Polaris RZR suspension system can also be optimized for other types of terrain, such as rocky hills, windy wooded trails, and fast straightaways. So if you're after replacement suspension parts, information about aftermarket suspension, or simply wanting to learn more about shocks, springs, and stanchions, look no further, because below is a down and dirty run-through on Polaris RZR suspension systems!
A Quick Rundown Of Polaris RZR Suspension Fitment
The standard Turbo RZR and the RZR XP 1000 have the same suspension and front differentials, while the Turbo S RZR and the Polaris RS1 have beefier front differentials. Companies like HCR Racing make kits that riders can use to mount the RZR Turbo S differential in other RZR models. So if this is something you're interested in doing, it is definitely possible. Standard RZR Turbo arms fit on the XP 1000, whether they have sway bar mounts on them or not. Meanwhile, Polaris RS1 arms don’t fit any other RZR edition because the pivot tubes are shorter. Furthermore, the “legs” of RS1 arms aren't the correct width apart to fit other RZR machines. If you want wider suspension, LSR Racing, HCR, and a handful of other aftermarket RZR suspension manufacturers make wider arms for the RS1. With the shorter wheelbase, however, be careful to not go too wide, as a UTV that is both short and wide is likely going to be squirrelly and difficult to control.
Basically, the RZR Turbo S suspension will interchange, but the RS1 and RZR S front ends will not interchange with other chassis styles. The rears will fit on every RZR 1000 and Turbo chassis, but the fronts will not, as the front differentials that they use have different mounting points.
Polaris RZR Jumping Suspension
It doesn’t matter if you like to hit natural rock jumps in Moab, or man-made dirt jumps at any number of side-by-side tracks and courses across the globe, if you’re gonna go big, you want exceptional RZR shocks underneath you to cushion the blow.
The ZBroz Exit 2.5’s are super nice, providing ample absorption for the flattest of landings while still maintaining good rebound to propel your machine off the lip of any jump. The only caveat with Exit shocks is that they don’t fit the HCR Kit. You might assume that ZBroz shocks just bolt right on, but the bottom spring retainer hits the upper a-arm of specific aftermarket control arm kits.
Another option for aftermarket Polaris RZR suspension is the Walker Evans shock setup. Even old Walker Evans suspension kits can be sent in to be refurbished. You can have them re-valved and tuned, and you can swap out the old springs with newer crossover springs or something similar. This will make a big difference in terms of ride quality, and you’ll definitely be able to tell on both the takeoffs and landings when jumping.
Regardless of the shocks you run on your Polaris RZR, RZR 4-door, or RZR Turbo, it is always wise to stay on the gas until you know you are off the ground. Your trajectory in the air obviously depends on how the jump is shaped, but it is also affected by your machine’s velocity at takeoff. Make sure to slowly let off the throttle after leaving the face of the jump, and ensure that the face is at least 1.5 times the length of your side-by-side. Further, the rebound has to be slower in the rear to mitigate the kicking effects of the jump. To avoid both nose-diving and flying tail down when you jump, you have to realize that it takes more than just scoping out the jump beforehand and performing fancy footwork before and after you're airborne. If you love to send it, you’ll love sending it even more with a proper Polaris RZR suspension system!
RZR Trail Suspension
When you break enough parts or end up getting hurt, you might not jump your UTV as much -- if at all. But that doesn’t mean you’ll stop ripping your RZR entirely. Like with jumping, a good set of front and rear shocks can make or break a trail ride. UTV Companies like Shock Therapy and others make suspension setups with sway bars that connect the two wheels together in a line. Although this does result in a loss of articulation, if you compare the sway bars on Shock Therapy shocks vs. stock sway bars -- especially on the RZR XPT -- you’ll find that you may not even need them. The shocks themselves should make a big enough difference and have the adjustability to not require a better aftermarket sway bar.
In many cases, the Polaris RZR will get more body roll with a true dual rate suspension setup installed, and that's where the Shock Therapy sway bars come into the picture. But it all just depends on how you set your rig's suspension system up. You can re-valve and re-spring your suspension for racing, adjust the ride height lower for less body roll, or re-valve your RZR suspension for dunes and sand riding.
Whether you’re looking at RZR suspension upgrades for off-road short course riding, or trying to find RZR suspension kits optimized for sand dunes and jumping, a new suspension setup will no doubt bring countless benefits to you and your machine when riding -- no matter what terrain you face!