RZR 4 + Snow (Maps) ÷ Repairs = Adventure!
Thursday, November 17, 2011
Top: Not good. Above: Much better.
With the comparison review of the new 2012 Kawasaki Teryx4
and Polaris RZR 4
coming up in the next couple months, I decided it was best to shake the cobwebs out of our long-term RZR four-seater with a weekend ride. Turns out it was a good (bad) idea.
I loaded up the RZR XP
along with its stretched sibling and hauled them up to the Prospect OHV area here in Southern Oregon. The four-seater was feeling a little gutless right out of the gate, but I ignored it since I hadn’t driven it in awhile and I was switching back and forth with the ultra-fast XP. We headed into the snow and the wheels were spinning easily, but eventually the heat buildup got to our transmission.
The weak link in UTVs from our experience is the CVT belts. These rubber wonders have an incredible amount of stress put on them. Our RZR 4 shredded one at the dunes which bound up around the crankshaft, leading to a complete engine removal and hefty repair bill. Since then the SxS has been a trusty steed. The repair shop replaced it with a stock belt, rather than a heavy-duty version. That belt disintegrated as we neared the top of Red Blanket Mountain. We had a spare stashed under the front hood and I was surprised at how easy it was to do a trail-side replacement. It only took us 45 minutes from start to finish, and that includes unloading and reloading our tools/cargo.
We spent most of the day getting lost and trying to compare an off-road atlas to an off-scale trail map with the goal of doing two different loops. After getting completely turned around on an intricate web of forest roads, confounded by snowfall and sidelined with mechanicals, we never managed to complete even a single loop, much less the original route. But, rehashing the day’s events over a cold pitcher of beer revealed that ultimately our goal was achieved. What kind of adventure would it be without some kind of challenge? Now, I’m off to order another spare belt…
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