My Rigid Story – UTV GUIDE’S BEASTLY RZR

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UTV GUIDE’S BEASTLY RZR

“What you get when you leave a budget out of the equation”

Contributed by:
Writer Cody Hooper
Photos Jon Crowley

There are some vehicles you modify, and some you just leave stock. A Toyota Camry needs a turbo kit and 20’ wheels about as much as we need more land closures in Glamis, California. But when it comes to UTVs, we can’t leave a single one in stock trim.

A year ago, we picked up our 2013 Polaris RZR XP Jagged X Edition at Polaris’ first Camp RZR event. The machine was quickly regarded as the ultimate duner- it had the long wheelbase to smooth out the whoops and transitions, but was light enough to power up and out of the big bowls without burning its belt up. After toying around with the Jagged X-XP for a bit, we decided to tear it down and build our ultimate sand car. We enlisted the help of some A-list builders and the end result was something more incredible than even we had dreamed of.

If you’re not familiar with the Jagged X-XP, it was a special edition, limited-run unit built by Polaris in commemoration of the Jagged X Racing Team’s many wins in the off-road racing circuits. Jagged X had been using the four-seat vehicles as the base for their two-seat race cars for quite some time, as the extended wheelbase helped smooth out the rough desert terrain they were constantly fighting through. By taking a RZR XP4 900 and removing the rear seats, adding four full doors, PRP front seats, a custom cage, and a sweet matte black/light blue wrap and matching paint, the Jagged X-XP was born unto thousands of fans in the Glamis dunes eleven months ago. We expected the XP 1000 at that launch- and we still believe the Jagged X unit was a placeholder to hold the hungry public at bay until the XP1K was ready for release!

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Our good friends at SDR Motorsports sponsored the build, devoting one of their bays to “The Beast” until its completion. The Jagged X-XP entered SDR’s shop in stock form, and was quickly disassembled and fitted with a ton of their custom, hand-made art pieces. An SDR custom roll cage brought the rear lines of the car to a sweeping teardrop shape, and as we would be using the rear seat/storage room for extra performance goodies, we didn’t need the headroom. A custom aluminum front bumper added some protection but kept weight down. SDR also created a very trick sheet metal rear end for the car, giving it a big sand car look while keeping the big engine hidden from view. A very clean hand-laid carbon fiber dash from SDR allowed us to mount all of our accessories flush with the dash. All in all, SDR performed most of the installation work and build details, showing just how incredibly diverse their talents are.

The engine was pulled from the RZR’s frame and sent to K&T Performance, the turbocharging experts out of Roy, Utah. K&T’s passion for extreme UTV performance has led them to produce one of the highest-quality turbo kits available in the industry. K&T was responsible for the whole engine build, from the Muzzys Performance 995cc big bore kit to the head porting and complete assembly. Race Proven Motors provided a water to air intercooler kit that used the stock radiator. The stock radiator no longer cools the engine; rather, it acts as a heat exchanger to cool the incoming air charge from the large Garrett Turbocharger. A larger CBR Performance radiator has been placed under the sheet metal panel behind the front seats. A large scoop draws incoming air through the larger radiator, and a large fan takes care of the auxiliary cooling. The big bore motor has been thoroughly massaged and tuned using an Attitude Industries fuel controller. Holding the engine steady with its increased output is a set of Holz HD billet engine mounts, which don’t flex as much as the OEM units. All of this engine work is good for 175 horsepower on pump gas!

Since Jagged X was the inspiration for our base vehicle, we went with their boxed steel long travel kit for the build. The +4-inch long travel kit uses a stock-length shock, so you can retain the stock FOX or Walker Evans units that come on the vehicle, or upgrade to a more adjustable aftermarket shock. To work correctly, the stock shocks will need a revalve, otherwise, they will be far too soft for any fast-paced driving. We ran our stock Walkers for a while before upgrading to FOX 2.5” custom-valved units with bottom out control. The kit ups the wheel travel to around 17 inches, offering even more whoop-devouring goodness.

To handle the sand-slinging duty, we turned to Fullerton Sand Sports to create a wheel and tire package from HiPer and STU. HiPer provided a set of their incredible carbon fiber, billet-center wheels, which are lightweight, unbelievably strong, and quite a bit more flexible than any aluminum or steel wheel. The HiPer carbon fiber wheels aren’t a normal hand-laid weave like our dash, but rather a sawdust-like carbon fiber material suspended in a super-strong, ultra-durable resin. This makes the wheel 2-3 times as strong as an equal-weight aluminum piece. The 16-paddle Sand Tires Unlimited Blaster tires are the duner’s choice for ultimate roost-slinging traction. STU has built top-of-the-line sand tires for longer than the UTV game has been around, and they are right at home on the new crop of large, high-horsepower UTVs. Ribbed front tires give plenty of turning bite while keeping the weight down.

To get all 175 horsepower from the K&T/Muzzys/RPM engine to those STU paddles, we enlisted the help of clutch experts STM. STM Powersports is a Michigan-based company excelling in high-quality billet CVT clutches, and they offer many modification kits for all of the popular sport UTVs. The kit we installed on our “Beast” car was their Z1 style billet clutch, which includes a Rage III primary billet drive clutch and a billet Tuner secondary clutch. These clutches allowed us to run a larger belt, built for huge horsepower. The clutches are the highest quality aftermarket pieces you can buy, and will increase the performance greatly of even a stock machine. With the STM pieces installed, the top speed of our RZR has also been increased. We rounded out the package with a Dayco Z1 belt.

To add some flair to the package, SSV Works provided a full stereo system and a set of side mirrors. SSV produces high-quality fiberglass speaker enclosures and pair them with amplifier and speaker systems to bring a premium audio system to your UTV. The fiberglass components keep weight down and can stand up to the abuse of jarring impacts. We also installed a Rugged Radios race radio and intercom system for in-car and car-to-car communication. Rugged is the leader in off-road radio systems, and they offer everything from hand-held radios to high-power long-distance units.

To handle the lighting, we turned to Rigid Industries LED Lighting. Rigid Industires offered up one of their beautiful single-row 30” LED light bars up top, which SDR wrapped in a sheet metal hood for a sleek look. We also utilized the UTV with an amber LED light bar on the bumper. Rigid also provided some sleek accent lights for under the fenders and around the interior of the vehicle, which really light up the car at night. The custom look a few carefully placed LED lights can provide is stunning, so long as you don’t go overboard!

To hold us in the car, we replaced the already supple PRP seats in the stock Jagged X car with a set of custom-trimmed PRPs. PRP suspension seats are a name brand leader in the sport, and they offer a lightweight seating option with plenty of support and seat bottom travel for extra comfort in the saddle. To hold us in, we went with Simpson 5-point harnesses. Simpson is another long-standing name in the industry, providing seatbelts, helmets, safety nets, and more to every high-horsepower motorsport on the planet.

Rounding out the rest of the package: a Factory UTV UHMW skid plate covers the full length of the undercarriage, providing a strong skid plate that won’t hang up on rocks or trees like aluminum will. A UTV Inc. frame gusset kit adds some strength to the frame in much needed places. An Axia Alloys fire extinguisher mount keeps a bottle of fire killer within a quick reach in case something gets too hot. And finally, a set of UTV Inc.’s trick lighted rocker switches help keep our gadgets organized.

With all the goodies finally dialed in, we headed out for multiple dirt and sand test sessions across a few Western states. In Sand Mountain, Nevada, we put the new turbo motor through its break-in period with increasing throttle loads up the huge sand dunes. After minimal tuning, the fuel tuning was spot-on – it starts up, idles, and rolls out at low throttle like a stock RZR. The exhaust note isn’t too loud, but it is aggressive. After minimal tuning by K&T on the STM clutches, the RZR takes off out of the hole like a pissed-off pitbull. The boost climbs quickly and sends even the 16 paddle STU Blasters up in a flurry of wheelspin, pulling through the clutching smoothly with no hiccups or soft spots. It pulls to well over 80 mph, and seems like it will go on even longer. There is so much power on tap that the long RZR will wheelie if you stay in the throttle long enough over crests and rollers.

In the sand, the Jagged X long travel kit is perfectly sized. The extra width provided from the long travel arms and the offset HiPer wheels adds some serious stability to the RZR’s chassis. The extra power will get you coming into corners and dune transitions quickly, so having big travel and a wide stance helps soak up some of the big G-outs and whoops.

After driving the car for a while, we returned it to show condition with a full detail and a new ProLine wrap. 4130 Clothing sponsored the car with a trick welding helmet/skull design, adding some flair to our black and blue theme. The project came full-circle when it returned to Camp RZR on Halloween, and was entered in the Show and Shine Competition, where it received runner up to the “Most Extreme” award. All in all, this build has taught us just how far a stock-framed car can go as a sand machine- and it will roost its way up the tallest dune you can find in style.

Parts & Pieces:

  • 2013 Polaris RZR XP Jagged X Edition
  • ProLine Wraps graphics wrap
  • K&T Performance / Race Proven Motors water to air turbo kit
  • STM Powersports Z1 billet clutch
  • SDR Motorsports roll cage, aluminum, bumper and installation
  • HiPer Carbon Fiber beadlock wheels
  • CBR Performance Radiator
  • Factory UTV UHMW Skid Plate
  • Simpson harnesses
  • SDR Motorsports carbon fiber dash
  • UTV Inc. lighted rocker switches
  • Attitude Industries fuel controller
  • Axia Alloys fire extinguisher mount
  • Jagged X long travel suspension
  • 4130 Clothing graphics design
  • STU Sand Tires by Fullerton Sand Sports
  • SSV Works side view mirrors
  • FOX Podium-X Shocks with Bottom Out Control
  • Dayco CVT belt
  • Holz HD billet engine mounts
  • PRP seats
  • Rigid Industries LED & accent lights
  • SSV Works audio system
  • Rugged Radios intercom and radio
  • Turbo Source turbo
  • UTV Inc. gusset kit
  • Muzzys Performance whip lights

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