By Seth Fargher
In the UTV market, bigger isn’t always better particularly considering anything new and exciting generally comes with an inflated price tag. Case in point, the Polaris RZR XP TURBO S with RIDE COMMAND and DYNAMIX active suspension. This is without a doubt the most advanced suspension system ever seen on a side by side but the reality is, it’s a bit overkill for some consumers. RIDE COMMAND offers a ton of cool features and “smart” shocks that sense the terrain beneath the vehicle and adjust on the fly is like something out of The Matrix but for many enthusiasts, the usefulness doesn’t outweigh the cost.
Like most OEMs today, Polaris works hard to meet varying consumer demands and for that reason, has teamed up with Walker Evans Racing to offer a more economically priced version of the RZR XP TURBO S. Before you go jumping to conclusions and assuming that “economy” suggests cheap or underperforming, think again. The big difference between the RZR XP TURBO S and the TURBO S Velocity Edition is the absence of the RIDE COMMAND system and the inclusion of a Walker Evans Velocity Series shock package in place of the DYNAMIX active suspension system (see POLARIS RZR XP TURBO S VELOCITY for more details).
While the Velocity Series shocks aren’t a new thing from Walk Evans Racing, the boingers found on the new RZR XP TURBO S Velocity Edition are specifically designed for this vehicle. You can’t purchase the same shocks and make them fit on your standard 64 inch wide Polaris RZR XP TURBO or another RZR vehicle.
Out back, the Velocity Series shock package consists of 3.0 inch shocks with mid mount reservoirs. Placing the reservoir about 3/4 of the way through the stroke verses at the end of the stroke provides an extra measure of control over the flow of oil through the shock. As the shock begins to compress, oil flows freely through a bypass in the hollow shock shaft, resulting in a smoother ride over small chatter bumps. A compression adjuster in the crossover opens and closes, controlling the amount of oil that is able to flow into the reservoir, thus softening or hardening the shocks. Once the piston passes the crossover, the needle begins to cut off the free flow of oil through the shaft which is also known as “bleed.”
When the needle has completely closed off all bleed, you’ve reached what’s called the “bump zone.” Here the flow of oil is restricted solely to the ports in the piston, providing the most resistance to bottoming out. Between the bypass portion at the beginning of the stroke, controlling the flow of oil into the reservoir via the crossover adjuster and finally the “bump” zone where the needle has closed off all bleed, you get multiple zones of damping control to maximize the performance and comfort of your ride.
Up front, the package includes 2.5 inch shocks offering the same multiple zones of adjustment with one exception; the reservoir is mounted near the top of the body. Polaris wanted to utilized a dual spring setup all the way around the vehicle however, with mid mount reservoirs, there would have only been enough room for a single spring.
For those looking to squeeze even more performance out of their RZRs suspension, Walker Evans offers a performance upgrade package that provides a true dual rate spring setup complete with Eibach performance springs and aluminum lockout washers.
Using two springs in tandem with a Crossover Ring allows the user to modify the spring rate in addition to the point in the stroke where each spring is optimized. This provides an extra level of adjustment over standard single spring setups like those commonly found on factory race setups.
Walker Evans’ performance upgrade also includes a fine tuned valving package designed for aggressive desert driving. This provides soft, smooth damping over small bumps in addition to significant bottom out resistance for those hard hits and square edges. It’s also easily tunable to work well in the dunes which often requires a stiffer package to lessen the impact of transitioning up and down bowls.
How well does the whole package work? Just ask two time King of the Hammers UTV champion Mitch Guthrie Jr who earned his second straight KOH title utilizing the factory shock package on his Polaris RZR. Just days after releasing the new Velocity Series Polaris RZR, Guthrie dominated the field in what is considered to be the most grueling off-road race in North America (see 2019 KING OF THE HAMMERS RACE RECAP). Let that silence any naysayers who might suggest the the shock package on this new machine is anything less than extremely high performance.
Like all Walker Evans Racing shocks, the Velocity Series shocks found on the new Polaris RZR XP Turbo S Velocity Edition are 100% made in America. The shock body’s begin as what’s called an impact extruded body. Basically a block of aluminum that is rammed by a press and then machined into the shock body. Other components like the crossovers, reservoirs and eyelets are all machined from raw aluminum before being sent out for anodizing.
At $25,399 for the Velocity Edition Polaris RZR, ditching the RIDE COMMAND and DYNAMIX suspension will net you about $2800 in savings. That’s not a whole lot when you consider how advanced the DYNAMIX active suspension system is however for those purists who view more technology as more potential for headache, the Velocity Series vehicle simplifies a lot. As is always the case, having multiple options to choose from means the consumer wins in the end and both vehicles are an excellent choice for anyone looking for big horsepower and excellent suspension.