HOW-TO: UPGRADE RZR XP 1000 RIDE QUALITY
— In the July 2015 issue of UTV Action, we upgraded the ride quality on my RZR XP 900 with Shock Therapy’s (ST) valving and internal-mod Ride Improvement System (RIS) and dual-rate springs with silent cross-overs. While we shot photos and waited to test the improvements, Shock Therapy’s Justin Smith suggested we try out his RZR XP 1000 with ST sway bars, RIS and DRS on Shock Therapy’s incredibly rough test loop. Big mistake! The ride was so plush, I immediately decided I had to have the XP1K and sell off my XP 900. I ended up with a 2015 RZR XP 1000 EPS and took it to Shock Therapy for the full treatment (“Top 10 XP1K Upgrades,” July 2015).
SHOCK THERAPY RIDE IMPROVEMENTS
For trail riding I wanted the softest springs possible for the best ride over desert chop and rocks. Shock Therapy set us up with dual-rate springs and silent cross-overs ($749.95) so that we rode on the softer springs in most low-speed conditions. Once we got the rates dialed the way I wanted, the RZR had a lot of body roll in turns. So, we went back to Shock Therapy for the front sway-bar kit ($649.95) and stiffer rear torsion bar ($549.95). The rear bar has three link-rod mounting choices, with the softest being 50 percent stiffer than stock. We went with that setting. We also went with RIS ($749.95), with ST opening up the compression side of the shock pistons, modifying the adjusters and installing their valve stacks. Being an old dirt bike guy, I was pleased with the improvement in ride quality over the choppy Mojave Desert, but I knew it could be better.
Justin said that my car was as good as it was going to get with the torsion bars and modified OEM Walker Evans needle shocks. I was happy with the ride quality, but, in the back of my mind, I kept thinking about the other shock choices ST had—King Racing and the new Walker Evans Racing (WER) Velocity V2.5 shocks. Being big-buck upgrades, aftermarket shocks tend to be geared towards the top 10 percent of fast guys. Still, I couldn’t quit thinking about what I was missing and wondered if I would be able to tell the difference in ride quality.
WALKER EVANS VELOCITY VS2.FIVE SHOCKS
I called Reid Nordin over at Walker Evans Racing (WER) and asked if we could put the WER Velocity VS2.Five shocks to the test against our modified WER needle shocks. We met at Hungry Valley SVRA, and, while Reid set up, we laid out a rough course with as many different conditions as we could find. When we returned, Reid had laid out the ammunition. Reid showed us how the needle shocks worked and brought out the Velocity VS2.Fives. They looked impressive with their 7/8-inch shafts, mid-body reservoirs and beefy spherical steel bearings on each end. They also come with dual-rate springs, adjustable cross-overs and dual-speed compression adjusters on the piggyback reservoirs.
The top springs were shorter than the ones on my needle shocks, but my worries dissolved on the first test lap. The Velocity shocks picked up the choppy bumps really well, and we dialed in the ride even more after a few small adjustments. I was really picking up the pace as well. There was a long whoop section on the back side of our test track, and I was able to do the section at 50 mph with the modified OEM shocks. With the WER Velocity shocks, I was much more comfortable at 54–55 mph—when I was brave enough to look at the speedometer. I asked Reid if it was worth the money to put 10–20 miles on the competition in Baja.
With the ride dialed, we picked up the pace even more. The RZR would occasionally step out in corners when one tire would connect with a rock and unload the other side. Reid installed a set of WER Walker Links on the rear ST torsion bar, and tracking improved, along with ride quality. Walker Links (tested November 2016) are $375 a pair, and VS2.Fives are $889.99 each. That’s $3,559.96, but you get a lot of performance and great ride quality while retaining the 64-inch width, as opposed to spending $8–$10K on long-travel kits.
LEVELING MY TRAILS
With the ride-quality improvement on my Voodoo Blue XP1K, I couldn’t wait to try the VS2.Fives on my favorite trails at Dove Springs and Cal City. Hitting RM120’s water-diversion berms, I knew I had the optimum setup. Previously, the RZR would kick the rear end over the water bars, but not anymore, so I picked up the trail speed. Not only had the ride improved, but the car would tackle terrain faster than before.
The next day we rode out to EP1, a very rocky trail through Last Chance Canyon. At our destination everyone else was complaining about being beaten up by the rocks. Not wanting to be a jerk, I just nodded my head in agreement. I turned to my wife and asked, “What are we going to do when we have to give these shocks back?”
Shock Therapy Suspension Tuning, LLC
P.O. Box 116
Wittman, AZ 85361
Walker Evans Racing
2304 Fleetwood Drive
Riverside, CA 92509
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