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February 28, 2009
Low Snow Alternative, Polaris RZR
We're not suggesting you give up sledding. Not in the least. In fact, if you own a dirt bike, a car, a house or anything but a snowmobile, we suggest giving that up for sledding.
What we're suggesting here is something to occupy the months between April and November known as the brown season.
We have spent a lot of time on ATVs and dirt bikes around the SledHeads offices. But nothing has left the first impression that the RZR did. On the first ride we took this on, we expected it to handle somewhat like an ATV with a steering wheel. Boy were we wrong. The RZR is closer to a desert rally car than a traditional ATV.
The low center of gravity and 50-inch stance make this thing carve down dirt trails like it's a roller coaster ride. We easily tapped it out at 50-plus mph on some tight twin-track dirt trails without flinching. It's such an addictive machine that two people we took out for rides in it sold their ATVs and bought RZRs.
The Ranger RZR is the sporty side-by-side in Polaris' lineup. It features a four-stroke fuel injected 760cc twin. The RZR rides on nine inches of front suspension travel and 9.5 inches of rear travel. For more extreme conditions, Polaris' RZR-S has a wider stance and long travel suspension.
Can the 800 twin pack around two riders and the weight of the machine? Yes, and it can spin the tires while doing it. It is a great package that keeps both riders on the edge of their seats.
The cockpit features bucket seats for both driver and passenger. The driver has a brake pedal and accelerator pedal beneath a tilting steering wheel. There are controls for all-wheel drive, headlights and reverse override next to a full-function gauge. The passenger has a telescoping grab bar that keeps both hands safely inside the RZR’s roll cage. Safety nets on both sides of the roll cage also protect the driver and passenger.
There is a small cargo area in the rear of the RZR. It’s large enough to strap a cooler or some backcountry gear to. Polaris offers a wide line of accessories for the RZR, including an enclosed storage compartment for the rear cargo box, windscreens and canopy covers for the roll cage, etc.
What can the RZR do that an ATV can’t? Several things. First, it can let you ride for hours without leaving your legs bowed or your arms sore from turning handlebars. Any passenger in the RZR gets a front-row seat, the safety of a seatbelt and the comfort of knowing that they’re not holding onto someone else who’s holding on for dear life.
The RZR may be a little wider, but we never had an issue with that on any of the ATV trails in our area. Even the technical spots, like a little rock crawling, log crossing or climbing were no match for the RZR. Many of those spots were easier.
And, like any motorized machine, the RZR has a growing market of modifications and aftermarket parts. Turbos, long-travel suspensions, fuel control chips and other go-fast parts. The RZR opens the doors to an endless range of fun.
For the winter rush, nothing replaces a track and two skis. But for everything else, the RZR can satisfy any need for fun.
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