UTV Product Reviews

Polaris RZR S Review

Polaris RZR S Review

Long Travel Polaris RZR S
2009 Polaris RZR S

I had a chance to get my first seat time on a Polaris RZR S during the Sand Addiction Magazine Dune Tour at Gordons Well. The dune condition was incredible since it is early in the season, and we had some super strong Santa Ana winds earlier in the week.

Big Picture – RZR vs. RZR S:

2009 Polaris RZR 2009 Polaris RZR S
  • 760cc Twin Cylinder Engine
  • 50″ Wide
  • 55 MPHTop Speed
  • 9″ Travel
  • 10″ Ground Clearance
  • 760cc  Twin Cylinder HO Engine
  • 60.5″ Wide
  • 63 MPHTop Speed
  • 12″ Travel
  • 12.5″ Ground Clearance

What’s New for the 2009 RZR S:

Long travel suspension with Fox performance shocks

 2009 Polaris RZR S - Long Travel Suspension
The Polaris RZR S comes from the factory with a +5″ long travel kit that makes it 60.5 inches wide (stock RZR is 50 inches wide).

Long Travel Fox Podium Shocks Polaris RZR S - Long Travel Fox Shocks with +5" A-Arms
Fox Shocks with piggy-back reservoir

Heel pocket for more controlled operation of the gas pedal

RZR S Heel Pocket

Improved air filter setup

Additional clip to hold the end of the housing in place

2009 Polaris RZR Air Intake - Throttle Body Lip 2009 Polaris RZR Air Intake - Boot with Bellows
Bellows added to improve boot flexibility

2009 Polaris RZR Air Intake - New Air Filter 2009 Polaris RZR Air Intake - Filter and Ring
Larger filter element

26-inch Maxxis Big-Horn tires with 12 inch, eight-spoke aluminum rims

Polaris RZR S
26x9x12 Maxxis Big-Horn up front and 26x12x12 Maxxis Big-Horn

The Bighorn is not only a great tire choice, but the larger 26″ tire also helps move the RZR up off the ground for better ground clearance.

New exhaust reduces exhaust noise and increases performance

The exhaust sound on the RZR S is about the same as the RZR, but you can really tell that the new headers flow much better than the headers on a standard RZR.

RZR S Performance Exhaust Header
Performance headers flow much better than the normal RZR

RZR S Exhaust Tip
Exhaust tip now has a 45 degree turn down.

Exhaust Heat Shield
The RZR S has some new heat shield near the exhaust to keep the plastic from melting.

Frame Gussets and Shock Mounts

RZR S - Rear Frame Gusset RZR S - Rear Frame Gusset
New rear frame gusset

RZR S - Stronger upper shock mount
Upper shock mount has been strengthened

Whip flag mount

RZR S - Whip Flag Mount

Rectifier has been moved up by radiator for improved cooling

RZR S - Rectifier has been moved to improve cooling

New tie down points in bed area

Polaris RZR S - Tie down hooks in bed area

Side protection

Side protection plastic
Plastic is now used instead of a net in the area near your shoulder

Fender Flares

RZR S Fender Flares Fender Flares

Other new stuff:

  • Covered, under-seat storage

  • Improved transmission shifting

  • A more durable shoulder bolster

  • Upgraded 800 H.O. EFI Polaris twin engine that churns out 55 HP and a 63 MPH top speed

  • Unlike the standard RZR, the RZR S does not have a front sway bar



The wider stance of the RZR S adds quite a bit of stability for carving bowls or power sliding in the dunes.  And the combination of the long travel Fox shocks and wider a-arms make running over the whoops much more comfortable and safe as compared to a standard RZR.

The Fox Podium shocks do decent in average riding, but if you ride more aggressive, you will probably want to look into aftermarket shocks.


In completely stock for, and without even dropping air pressure in the 26″ Maxxis Bighorns, I was able to climb the hill at Patton Valley and Test Hill.  Both of these hills are the steepest that you will find in the south part of the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area.

For pure hilling climbing in the dunes, the RZR S definitely has more power out of the box than the normal RZR and also more than the Yamaha Rhino or Kawasaki Teryx.

Polaris RZR S at the top of Patton Valley
Our RZR S at the top of Patton Valley near Gordons Well, Imperial Sand Dunes

Polaris RZR S at the top of Test Hill - Gordons Well
Our RZR S at the top of Test Hill near Gordons Well, Imperial Sand Dunes

I also did a few high speed runs down the drags at Gordons Well and was able to hit 51 mph on the GPS.  Very respectable top speed in the dunes.

Heel Pocket

Although the heel pocket did help throttle control at low speeds, I did not like it for full throttle situations. 

RZR S - Foot position in heel pocket at low speed RZR S - Foot position in heel pocket at high speed
Foot position in heel pocket at low speed vs. high speed


I am not a fan at all of the RZR side nets.  They are cumbersome to use, they are too close to my left hand on the wheel and the upper snap is hard to latch.  The good news is they are easy enough to remove.

If you do remove them, you should look into a wrist restraint for your outside arm, and maybe a small door.

Polaris RZR - Side Nets

What would I change?

If I was going to buy a RZR S, I would make a just a few upgrades:

  1. Swap out the stock three point seat belts for four or five point harnesses.

  2. Get rid of the side nets and maybe add a half door.

If I really wanted to do some hard dune riding, I would also get a set of paddle tires and smoothies and maybe look into an upgraded roll cage.

I have got to say without a doubt that the Polaris RZR S hits it out of the park.  Polaris made adjustments to fix some issues with the base 2008 RZR, then added a +5″ long travel kit that performs quite well right out of the box. If you are looking for a stock UTV that can really perform well in the dunes without much modification, then I would highly recommend looking at the Polaris RZR S.

Other Photos:

2009 Polaris RZR S Polaris RZR S - In the dunes near Gordons Well 2009 Polaris Ranger RZR S  2009 Polaris RZR S with Factory Long Travel, Fox Shocks and Maxxis Bighorn Tires

2009 Polaris RZR Sport vs. 2008 Polaris RZR 2009 Polaris RZR Sport vs. 2008 Polaris RZR 2009 Polaris RZR Sport vs. 2008 Polaris RZR 2009 Polaris RZR Sport vs. 2008 Polaris RZR

Polaris Ranger RZR S Specifications:

  • Liquid-cooled, even-firing Polaris Big Bore 800 Twin EFI engine (760cc HO)

  • H.O. Twin Engine with High Output pistons & cams

  • Selectable 2WD/AWD with on-demand AWD

  • Gear range: Dual range (high / low) forward, neutral, reverse, park

  • IRS with 12″ of front & rear wheel travel

  • Front Suspension – Double A-arm (no anti-sway bar)

  • Rear Suspension – Rolled Independent W/anti-sway bar

  • +5″ Long Travel Arms

  • Chrome-Moly upper front A-arms

  • Suspension: Rolled Independent w/Anti-Sway Bar – rear; Double A-Arm w/Anti-Sway Bar – front

  • 12″ Fox performance shocks with Podium reservoirs (compression and preload adjustable)

  • 12.5″ of ground clearance

  • Weighs in at 1000 lbs.

  • Towing capability:1500 lbs. with 1 1/4″ receiver

  • Cargo bed rated for 300 lbs with lock & ride storage

  • Variable Transmission

  • 7.25 gallon fuel tank (under passenger seat)

  • Length: 102″

  • Width: 60.5″ (The RZR S supposedly will still fit in the back of a pickup)

  • Height: 70.5″

  • Wheelbase: 77″

  • Turning radius – 149.5″ (compared to 101.5″ for the standard RZR)

  • 500 watt stator

  • Front tire: 26 x 9 – 12 Maxxis Bighorn
  • Rear tire:   26 x 12 – 12 Maxxis Bighorn
  • Eight-spoke aluminum rims
  • Max speed – 63 mph (vs. 55 mph for the standard RZR)

  • Adjustable steering wheel

  • Adjustable driver’s seat

  • Adjustable passenger grab bar

  • Full skid plates

  • Wheel Bolt Pattern – 4X156

  • Fender flairs and extended rear cab frame supports for sportier look
  • MBL Clutch Belt
  • Turbo Silver paint

  • Starts at $13,999

Manufacturer Info:

Website: Polaris Industries

Polaris Ranger RZR Sport– Direct link to RZR on the Polaris website

Polaris Industries, Inc.
2100 Highway 55
Medina, MN 55340
(763) 417-8650

With annual 2007 sales of $1.8 billion, Polaris designs, engineers, manufactures and markets all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), including the Polaris RANGER™, snowmobiles and Victory motorcycles for recreational and utility use. 


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