2014 Polaris RZR XP1000 Project – Part 1 2
The Polaris RZR XP1000 is undeniably the hottest side-by-side to hit the market this year. It’s ridiculous suspension travel, powerful engine and roomy cockpit make it a force to be reckoned with on the trail and in the desert. It is also expected to make a splash this year in the UTV racing scene, and we wanted in on the action. Soon after our First Ride article was complete we decided that our XP1000 would need to be raced to really put this new machine to the test. So we got on the horn and started searching for parts.
We still wanted to be able to use the machine on fun rides when it wasn’t being raced. A WORCS legal racer made more sense than a full on Best in the Desert as it would be lighter and the required safety modification would be less intensive. The short list to be WORCS legal is an aftermarket cage, metal roof, 5-point harnesses, secure doors, window nets and a fire extinguisher. That’s it. Easy enough right?
First up is the cage. While the stock XP1000 cage is suitable for recreational use, the standards for racing are higher. Even if we were not to race our machine we would have swapped out the cage just to change up the look and stance of our project. The options for bolt-on cages are numerous, but we had only one builder in mind – IMG Motorsports in Lake Elsinore, California.
IMG is a smaller yet well-respected outfit in the Riverside County mecca of side-by-side custom shops. They are a hard-core lot that not only fabricate custom projects from mild to wild but also race in WORCS and the Dirt Series. Owners James Hill and John Pacheco finished one-two in the Dirt Series Championship in 2013. Hill also grabbed third overall in WORCS the same year while Pacheco scored eighth. They have a passion for the sport and after meeting them they stoked the fires for our racing UTV endeavors.
The IMG crew slotted the MotoUSA XP1000 into the line of rides waiting for the IMG touch, and less than 15 days later we had a black powder-coated 1.75” DOM mig welded cage that bolts to factory mounting locations. The A- and B- pillars attach at the same place as the stock cage, but at the rear the tubing extends and wraps around to the rear of the XP’s frame for extra stiffness and safety. Key areas are triangulated and the tabs were added for the aluminum roof and door panels. While they were at it, Hill and Pacheek also fabbed up a front bumper powder-coated in gloss white. The cost for a custom built cage from IMG varies depending on what you require, but expect to shell out anywhere from $1200 to $2000.
The profile of the XP is now lower and meaner, and the tall door panels further add to the race-bred look. Getting in and out of the machine requires a NASCAR-like scramble through the small window openings, but once inside you feel absolutely encased and secure. IMG was quick to point out that they can easily build doors that open and close for recreational shredders as well.
We decided to leave the suspension and engine stock to see how they would hold up to the rigors of hard-core desert bashing and racing. Down the road we will be changing out the shocks as well as performing some minor tweaks on the powerplant, but for now we concentrated on just making it legal to compete, not to win.
So with the cage, door and roof requirements handled we turned to Pro Armor to dial us in in the cockpit. We installed a pair of 3-inch 5-point H-Style Harnesses ($121.99) to keep us stuck in custom stitched Sniper Seats that will lighten your wallet by $859.90. In fact our seats came out of Pro Armor’s owner, Alex Danze’s personal show RZR. Installing the seats and belts was simple and quick. We also changed out the plastic Polaris steering wheel with an Assault Steering Wheel ($69.95) for more rigidity and comfort. The suede covering also increases grip. Pro Armor also handled the fire extinguisher requirement with a $44.95 Fire Extinguisher Mount kit.
With all the requirements met to go racing, we turned our attention to the details that would allow us to enjoy the project XP1000 when we aren’t on the track. First up was the most common change to any UTV – wheels and tires. While the stock Maxxis Bighorn Tires are excellent all-round meats, there are better options when looking for improved handling in the desert and track. GBC Motorsports supplied us with a set of 28X10X14” Kanati Mongrel tires. These $183.77 DOT approved tires are specifically built for UTV use, but are based off of the company’s light truck tire. The same size is used on all four corners, rather than the stock set-up of wider tires in the rear.
We also tossed the stock cast wheels for a set of Method Race Wheels The Standard 402 wheels ($109.50 each). For racing it is recommended to run beadlock type wheels and we will be using Method’s UTV Beadlock wheels when we hit the racetrack. For now however, The Standard would be used during our forays to Glamis and the desert. We recently reviewed these wheels in a separate article and were impressed with the high quality finish and fit.
Night rides are a blast in UTVs, but even the stock HID headlights of the RZR XP1000 have their limits. Lazer Star Lights helped us turn even the darkest night into day, with five forward-facing LED lights. On the roof we mounted a 32” Discovery 10 Watt Single Row LED Combi Beam Light Bar. This $1420.99 bar has both spot and flood sections for a wide spread of bright white light that reached much further than the stock headlights with its staggering 16,000 lumen output. The bumper got two 4” 10-Watt, 2 LED Discovery lights ($229.99 each) for another 4,000 lumens. Finally we added 4,800 more lumens with two $149.99 Endeavor Series 4” LED Spotlights. We also installed a $285.99 Atlantis Series Multifunction Amber/Red/Blue LED rear light for exceptional visibility from the rear. We used Lazer Star’s mounting hardware and harnesses for a very simple and straightforward install. Within just a few hours we had 24,800 lumens to light our way.
Now that we could see what was in front of us day or night, we needed to see who we are leaving in the dust. Assault Industries provided our project with a super-trick set of 2nd Gen Combat mirrors. These $235 units are milled from a sold block of 6061 T6 Aluminum and are available in a multitude of colors to match your ride.
Another common side-by-side mod is replacing the heavy steel muffler with a lightweight slip-on exhaust system. We went with a Two Brothers Racing Dual M-7 Stainless Steel Slip-on Exhaust ($699.98). The U.S. Forestry Service approved spark arrestor is removable for racing, perfectly suiting the dual mission of our project XP. Bolt-up time is less than 15 minutes from the time you crack open the box, and the sound is throaty without being raspy or harsh.
After it was all assembled we wrapped the MotoUSA XP1000 Project Racer with all of the logos of the companies that contributed to the build with the help of The Vinyl Shop. Now we look the part of racers although we have yet to prove ourselves in the heat of battle.
The final tally of the build hit a whooping $7,300, but we think it looks like a million bucks. The project RZR XP100 is now more aggressive while being safer for both recreational and racing use. It is prepared to handle anything we throw at it, and we plan to really put it to the test in the next season of both the WORCS and Dirt Series. In the next installment of the MotoUSA Project XP1000 saga we enter the famed Elsinore Grand Prix to see where we stack up in the Pro Production class and how all of the modifications perform. Will we end up heroes or zeroes? Stay tuned.