2009 Polaris Ranger RZR S - What Fun!

    The Visit Continues

    Phil HowellPhotographer, Writer

    Our long-term Polaris Ranger RZR S side-by-side continues to impress. As we reported in our last installment, the only thing we've added to the RZR S is gasoline. It doesn't use oil. The clutch/belt squeak returned and happens always when we're coasting. It even does it in low range. We think it's a design issue and nothing that impedes progress. This is the only "problem" we have to report.

    Are we the only people using the RZR S as a full-time trail rig? Here, every RZR S owner we know, and there are many, use their side-by-sides at the dunes or for high-speed desert travel. We've found that you don't need a utility 4x4 to have fun on the trail. You need a RZR S. The 12 inches of wheel travel afforded by the long A-arms and Fox Podium reservoir shocks make the RZR S the perfect trail side-by-side. Its spool rear and locker up front have all four wheels turning, no matter if some are in the air. The 800 (760cc) transversely-mounted EFI four-stroke twin makes the RZR S feel balanced and stable and never misses a beat, no matter what the altitude or attitude.

    We were going to complain about the Maxxis Big Horn tires. They don't have much lateral grip and tend to float at higher speeds. After using them in the rocks, we have to reevaluate our opinion. They grip like glue when on rock, whether it be boulders or slickrock. The Big Horn's great rock performance balances their marginal loose dirt and sand performance. Because the RZR S goes 63 mph easily, high-speed tire performance is something that has to be taken into account, though, and the Maxxis Big Horns don't work well at high speed.

    Driver and passenger comfort is excellent and the seats don't feel bad, even after a long day in the dirt. Ergonomics are good and the tilt wheel and adjustable passenger grab bar make fitting the RZR S to different drivers and passengers easy. Polaris offers a cargo system for the RZR S, but we just strap our cooler and stuff in the back, and have had no problems.

    The Polaris Ranger RZR S is just a blast to use as a trail rig. The photos you see here were taken exploring to the east of Zion National Park. The trail takes a few hours to travel one-way in our Jeeps. The RZR S did the trail, out and back, in 1.5 hours.