PRODUCT TEST: Hess Motorsports 2:1 Steering Quickener

WHAT IT IS:
The Hess Motorsports steering quickener is a race-developed, 2:1, gear-reduction box that mounts in between the steering wheel and the power-steering system on any EPSequipped RZR. The stock XP 900/XP 1000 steering setup is geared exactly the same, whether the machine is equipped with power steering or not. The factory steering ratio requires you to turn the steering wheel about one and a half full revolutions to steer lock to lock. This lower ratio is necessary to keep the steering light and comfortable on non-EPS-equipped machines but requires a lot more steering activity than necessary on the power-steering models.

Shawn Hess of Hess Motorsports has been racing the XP 900 and XP 1000 machines since their inception. Running tighter X-Country and motocross-type courses led him to believe that less steering activity would lead to quicker lap times, and he figured that the EPS-powered machines would not show a downside to doubling the steering ratio. As most racers are running EPS machines, and that Polaris isn’t even offering the XP 1000 without it, Hess Motorsports developed a boltin 2:1 quickener that would cut the steering ratio in half.

FEATURES:

The Hess Motorsports steering quickener requires only 3/4 of a turn on the steering wheel to steer lock to lock on the EPS-equipped RZR XP models. It is offered as a complete bolt-in unit that replaces everything from your EPS motor to your current steering wheel, or can be ordered with a quick release for your steering wheel or even a complete set up with the quickener, quick release and even a trick steering wheel.

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MATERIALS:
First off, the ultra-trick Hess Motorsports housing is machined from a solid block of 6061 aircraft-grade aluminum, and then powdercoated gloss black. Custom colors are available for an additional charge. The custom-built Hess Motorsports aluminum housing holds a high-quality automotive-style quickener that has been proven in all types of automotiveracing applications. The quickener itself features hardened steel gears and a lightweight cast housing. The steering wheel is made of high-strength aluminum, and then wrapped in highquality suede leather. It also features a trick D shape for increased leg/knee room and uses a six-bolt mounting design for strength. The quick-release attachment is made from solid billet aluminum, and the spline adapter is hardened steel.

INSTALLATION:
Installing the Hess Motorsports steering quickener is pretty straightforward. As of press time, Hess Motorsports reuses the stock steering shaft of its ends. If you remove your part and ship it to them, they currently have a one-day turnaround in which they will ship you back a complete boltin quickener. In the coming months, Hess Motorsports will be starting a core program where you can ship in your stock part after install for return of your core. Skipping the core altogether will run you about $145 for a replacement steering shaft from Polaris.

Actually installing the kit can be accomplished in less than an hour by anyone with a couple of basic tools and even the slightest mechanical skill set. With a second set of hands, we installed ours in the XP 1000 without removing the dash, but in hindsight it would be much easier to just take the few extra minutes to remove the dash. Installation of the 100 requires drilling out two rivets, but the 800 and 900 just have two bolts to remove.

PERFORMANCE:
The Hess Motorsports steering quickener gives your RZR XP 1000 or XP 900 full lock-to-lock steering in 3/4ths of a steering-wheel revolution. This means that tight turns, even 180-degree T-turns, can be accomplished without ever having to cross over at the steering wheel. This translates directly to less energy exerted, and higher precision because you never have to remove your hands from the steering wheel. With the quickener, you can drive pretty much any course or terrain with your hands at the proper 10-and-2 wheel position. The next thing that is immediately noticeable is the new steering wheel and its positioning. The Hess quickener kit places the steering wheel 1–2 inches closer to you depending on your choice of steering-wheel options. The steering wheel itself is a huge improvement over the stocker. The stock plastic steering wheel has a ton of flex on the 900. It is improved on the 1000 but still pretty flimsy. Driving aggressively with the sturdier aluminum one is confidenceinspiring and just feels precise. The quick-release mount for our steering wheel also aided in getting in and out of the machine, especially as we have welded-on race doors to be legal for the Lucas Off-Road Racing Series.

THE VERDICT:

We mounted the Hess steering quickener right before the last WORCS race and ran the 30-minute unclassified for a shakedown. Driving with the quickener takes a little getting used to, as a little turn is now a lot, and your counter steering is obviously doubled as well. The 30 minutes seemed to be just about when our new steering ratio becomes second nature. At first it feels a little darty, but within a few laps you get used to it. Once you get used to it, you will really appreciate the minimal effort required to steer through the tight, twisty course.

During our race the next day, the new setup felt completely comfortable, and almost like cheating compared to the conventional setup. With a solid hour moto under our belt, we could definitely feel an advantage and believe that it would be advantageous in nearly any racing situation or even just with aggressive driving through technical terrain.

contact: www.hess-motorsports.com
or call (940) 759-4597
rating: ★★★★★
price: $475 quickener kit; $525 kit
w/quick release; $599 kit w/ quick
release and steering wheel

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