UTV of the Month – May 2013
By Jon Crowley, UTVGuide.net
Although the first Gator utility vehicle was introduced in 1992, John Deere stayed more focused on the utility market. This all changed last summer when John Deere entered the Recreational Utility Vehicle category with the all-new, all-powerful Gator RSX850i.
The Gator RSX850i is equipped with an 839 cc, V-twin, liquid cooled, four-cycle, gas engine that produces 62 horsepower and a top speed of 53 mph. After personally spending time behind the wheel, Id say that this John Deere does not qualify as a slow moving farm implement!
John Deere hooked up with Magnum Offroad before the release of the RSX850i last summer. Their goal was to bring the new Gator into the desert and short course race scene to show off its capabilities. Magnum Offroad was established in 2006 and has over 15 years of experience in the off-road and fabrication industry. Magnum Offroad has been focused primarily on the UTV industry and had designed long travel suspension kits for many different vehicles so it was no surprise to learn of their relationship with John Deere at the RSX850i press introduction.
Magnum Offroad received a pre-production unit for research and development and went right to work on designing a long travel suspension for the RSX. In stock form, the RSX utilizes a unique four-wheel independent suspension design. A dual, wide arch A-arm design delivers maximum front-wheel control, precise steering and 10.3 inches of ground clearance. The exclusive Multi-Link semi trailing arm independent rear suspension features 9 inches of wheel travel and moves wheels rearward in compression, lowering the impact of terrain and improving ride. The design came about with some influence from NASCAR, and turned out to be more of a challenge than a standard a-arm typically seen in the Yamaha Rhino or Kawasaki Teryx.
Magnum Offroad decided on a +6-inch suspension design for the new Gator, and used CAD software to design the boxed arms. The end result looks more like artwork than just a long travel suspension. The 4130 steel material is laser cut and CNC bent. The arms are fixture assembled for precision fit and consistency and include internal gusseting for strength.We met up with Dan Rosenzweig and his RSX850i WORCS race car in Glamis for the Second Annual UTV Industry Ride. While bringing race cars to the dunes is not unheard of, I am pretty sure this is the first time anyone has had a race Gator in the dunes.
On first view, the Magnum Offroad race car is clean and simple. Dan and his team did a great job carrying the lines of the factory RSX over to the race car and the graphics take the John Deere theme to the next level.Dan put the RSX 850i through its paces and was not afraid to hit a few jumps and sling some sand. The Magnum long travel and FOX shocks soaked up the big jumps and g-outs, while still allowing the suspension to move well in the whoops.
It is awesome to see another manufacturer jump into the sports segment and back it up with a full race program for WORCS and Best in the Desert. Big thanks to Dan for bringing the Gator out to Glamis for us to see first hand.
- Magnum Offroad 4130 Bolt-On Race Cage w/ Bed Delete
- Custom Aluminum Door Panels, Roof, Bed Panels and Rear Light Wing
- Magnum Offroad +6 RSX Suspension System (15″ Wheel Travel Front & Rear)
- FOX 2.0 Podium Series Race Shock / 3-Way Adjustable
- Summers Brothers 300m Axles
- PRP Suspension Seat, 5-Point Harness & Window Net
- Custom Big Gun Dual Exhaust System
- Team Industries Clutch System
- Method Race Wheels
- 26″ GMZ Slammer Tires
- Engine Tune & Fuel Management by Alba Racing
Photos by: Jon Crowley and Neal Rideout