Trail Ready: Project YXZ SS

    Things A UTV Can Really Use When Out In The Wild

    Matt EmeryPhotographer, Writer

    It’s not everyday that you can go driving off-road with a legend. We heard that Larry Roeseler was doing a UTV ride, and we wanted to go. Basically, we invited ourselves along, and Larry was gracious enough to let us. Once we were in, we then realized that we needed something to drive. And more importantly, we needed something that would be able to get us there and back.

    We have a long-term loaner Yamaha YXZ SS, so we figured we’d drive it. One thing though: it was stone stock. Not that a stock YXZ isn’t capable, but we figured it could use at least some things to enhance the ride and experience. We figured we’d break things down to performance/reliability, safety and improved comfort.

    For the performance aspect, we had already swapped out the stock springs for a set of Eibach Pro-UTV Stage 3 springs and anti-sway bars. The Stage 3 springs are for UTV’s that have seen additional items hung on it such as spare tires and other heavy objects. We also had Curtis Zamora at Rite Performance tune up the Fox shocks too. The resulting ride is much better than stock and helps keep the rearend down over the rough stuff.

    Another performance item added was a Gibson Performance Dual Exhaust system to get the engine to breath easier. To that end, an S&B Particle Separator was installed to clean the air before it even got to the filter, thus giving the high-revving engine more clean air to work with.

    The stock Maxxis Bighorn tires are OK for most surfaces, but we are going desert riding so a set of BFGoodrich KR2 tires were the natural choice. They were mounted on race-proven 15-inch TR Beadlock wheels (and by the crew at SoCal Supertrucks. Thanks again, guys!), so the combination was all we could ask for when it came to rugged reliability. We opted for five of them, just to be sure, so that meant a spare tire carrier was needed. We got one from PRP, who make a YXZ Package that includes the mount and tailgate.

    For safety we needed harnesses to replace the stock 3-pointers. PRP again had what was needed with their “4.3” harnesses. They are 3-inches wide with 4 points of security. They are made for UTV’s and bolt in easily. Another must have safety item was fire extinguishers. Safecraft makes both automatic and handheld systems, so we went for both, because you can never have too many when things get hot.

    Lighting may not seem like a safety item, but it really is. Lazer Stars rear facing Prerunner LED light bar has ambers, brake lights and even white lights so anyone coming up quickly from behind will know we’re there before they ram into us. A pair of Vision X’s new 4.7-inch Gen 2 Multi-LED Light Cannon’s, which put out 5250 raw lumens were used to ensure that if we get caught out in the dark that we’ll be able to find our way back to camp.

    A radio system like Rugged Radios offers may seem like an extravagance, but it is a safety item as well as just a convenience. When you have helmets on and are trying to talk to one another, it really makes things a lot nicer than yelling at one another, let alone being able to contact others when something goes sideways.

    We needed someone to put all this stuff on while we took pictures, so we headed over to Rite Performance where ex-pro downhill bike racer and race truck-builder Curtis Zamora did the work. He is also the guy who tuned our suspension as he has years of experience with that sort of thing too.

    UTV’s are very capable as they come from the factories, but anything can be improved on. We have a lot of experience out in the desert, and thought about what we’d needed in the past but didn’t have. That’s not to say we didn’t miss some things here, but feel that this should get us through the ride.

    Now if Larry would just call us back …