— Testing an effective suspension improvement kit —
Shock Therapy was founded by a group of Trophy Truck, desert buggy and sand rail enthusiasts who switched gears to UTVs when desert-racing teams started using UTVs for pre-running and then racing. They’ve been improving ride quality on long-travel Rhinos, RZRs, Mavericks and Wildcats for years, and they’ve turned their attention to the new Textron Wildcat XX, which they used for pre-running the Baja 500 recently.
With two people, gear, tools and a spare tire in the bed, ST dragged the XX rear end on most hits, burying the skid plate repeatedly with the Fox QS3s on soft and medium settings. Going to stiff helped the bottoming, but then the ride quality was harsh. They ended up driving out of the main ruts to keep from tearing the skid plate off. ST felt that 70–80 percent of its customers would find the OEM settings way too soft for desert chop and dunes.
Back at the shop, ST found that the Fox Podium QS3s can be upgraded to RC2 dual-rate compression assemblies or the Live Valve electronic adjusters, but they wanted to come up with Ride-Improvement System (RIS) valving and Dual-Rate Spring (DRS) kit rates for the OEM QS3 shocks first.
Wildcats come with true dual-rate springs with cross-overs, so ST started with new spring rates for the XX, both primary and secondary, with stiffer main springs to reduce bottoming. The rates they came up with were designed to improve ride quality with or without RIS valving. The only difference is the recommended cross-over ring adjustment. Also, ST went with the OEM cross-overs to save customers some money, although ST’s silent cross-overs ($99 each) are an upgrade option.
With DRS spring rates finalized, ST tested and developed RIS mods to increase flow and improve ride quality further. They developed more progressive valve stacks and internal mods to increase flow through the pistons, which helped insulate the XX from trail junk and softened the initial response, but firmed up resistance to bottoming on bigger hits and G-outs.
Shock Therapy uses Eibach springs whenever it can, but builds its own springs when it has to for the best rates for each application. RIS kits modify existing pistons and adjustment assemblies.
WHO’S IT FOR:
ST’s mods are for Wildcat XX owners who want to improve ride quality and bottoming resistance for high-speed desert or dunes at an affordable price. The Wildcat XX DRS kit is also easier to install than the RZR XP 4 kit we featured last month; XX RIS upgrades require shipping your shocks to ST. Shock Therapy is also developing torsion bars that will begin at OEM rates for rock-crawling articulation and will offer three or four stiffer link-mount options for desert and short-course racing.
Arizona is infamous for inhospitable terrain and spiny plant life, and Shock Therapy’s Wildcat XX DRS and RIS upgrades do a great job of smoothing out the ride over rocks and chop, yet they give the XX a newfound ability to resist bottoming and dragging the rear end. Squat under acceleration is reduced, and the ride is leveled for getting on top of deep desert whoops. The ease of adjusting the QS3 shocks is retained for those who don’t want to mess with adjustments or upgrade to 24-position clickers or RC2-level DSC clickers.
Wildcats have been known for plushness since the first 1000Rs, and they have invariably been softer in the rear and prone to dragging the rear end. The Wildcat XX continues the tradition, but Shock Therapy can level the ride and eliminate tail dragging while improving ride quality. Using XX cross-over rings lowers the ST XX DRS kit’s cost to $599.95, and the $749.95 RIS valving is well worth it for overall ride quality and bottoming resistance.
CONTACT: Shock Therapy; 23011 N. 16th Lane, Phoenix, AZ 85027;
(623) 217-4959; www.shocktherapyst.com
PRICE: $599.95, DRS; $749.95, RIS
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