Polaris RZR Introduces the Thrill of the RZR Pro R to Four of the World’s Toughest Athletes in New Adrenalized Content Series
Polaris Off-Road, the leader in off-road vehicle innovation, today unleashed a thrilling content series, featuring four of the world’s toughest athletes, including four-time All-Pro wide-receiver Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson, five-time boxing champion Roy Jones Jr., two-time UFC strawweight champion “Thug” Rose Namajunas and veteran UFC fighter Chad “Money” Mendes. At the wheel, piloting a series of extreme joy rides in the Polaris RZR Pro R, is five-time Polaris UTV off-road racing champion RJ Anderson.
Showcasing in grand fashion just how thrilling off-roading can be, Sunday Strolls tests the courage of these four fearless athletes, each with little-to-no side-by-side experience, as they ride shotgun with Anderson while he pushes the limits of a near-stock RZR Pro R around the Los Angeles County Raceway Motocross (LACR) track in Southern California. With nearly a mile of track to work with, Anderson is in full “send” mode, backing his RZR Pro R into hairpin turns, flying through whoops, and grabbing tons of air* off the track’s multiple table-top jumps. With talent fully wired for audio, the Pro R outfitted with multiple GoPro cameras, and a total of nine cameras around the track, including hand-held cameras, drones, and a camera-equipped RZR XP 1000 – not a single “oh crap” moment was missed.
“Sunday Strolls is what we live for – to introduce new people to side-by-sides and demonstrate exactly why so many riders around the country eat, sleep and breathe off-roading,” said Reid Wilson, Vice President, Polaris RZR. “This was an extremely fun series to bring to life, as we connected world-class athletes from various genres who all share a passion for living life at full speed. Our four guests walked away with an entirely new perspective on the thrilling experience that a RZR, and side-by-sides in general, have to offer.”
Yamaha Motor Corp., USA, has launched its 2023 model year side-by-side (SxS) vehicle lineup. The models have been designed, tested and built to maximize capability, comfort and confidence for off-road enthusiasts, from heavy-duty ranch work to adventurous expeditions across extreme terrain.
Every Yamaha SxS is assembled in the U.S. at Yamaha’s manufacturing facility in Newnan, Georgia, for worldwide distribution. The 2023 models include:
Recreational SxS Lineup: Wolverine RMAX2 1000, RMAX4 1000, X2, and X4
Pure Sport SxS Lineup: YXZ1000R SS and YXZ1000R
Utility SxS Lineup: Viking and Viking VI
“Customers know Yamaha will provide high-quality, top performing products to help accomplish their goals and realize their adventure, regardless if they’re working on the farm, exploring technical trails, or competing in national racing circuits,” said Steve Nessl, Yamaha’s motorsports marketing manager. “The measures we’ve taken to ensure they have the best owner experience – whether its seamless accessory integration, an industry-exclusive 10-Year Belt Warranty or our advanced, U.S.-based manufacturing facility – showcases our commitment to building proven, reliable products for our Yamaha family around the world.”
Read more: Yamaha reveals 2023 side-by-side lineup
He’s not only a Utility Task Vehicle rider himself, but also president of the Crooked Trails ATV Club in Crooked Lake.
“As a club we’re seeing a lot more riders up here. We’re seeing a lot of families which is really neat to see,” he said. “The growth has been large, especially in the last year or two. You’re seeing huge growth.”
For Jonet and others, there’s an appeal to heading into the woods and getting a little dusty along the way.
“It’s just the enjoyment of being out in nature,” he said. “A lot of times you’ll see deer. On occasions, you might see a bear. You’re just out in the wilderness going for a ride.”
About half an hour away in Lakewood, UTV and ATV riders make up a sizable portion of the business at Waubee Lake Lodge, said owner Russ Kralovetz.
“It’s huge. I would say UTVs alone probably accounts for somewhere between 20 and 25% of my business,” he said. “They’re here all all week. They’re here on the weekends. Rain, it doesn’t matter, it’s great. It’s a shot in the arm for sure.”
The Wisconsin ATV/UTV Association said the number of vehicles in the state has grown from 192,000 in 2003 to about 495,000 in March. Another 23,000 machines come from out of state.
The association estimates the statewide economic impact of the sport at about $1.1 billion. That’s up from $295 million 19 years ago.
I’ve known a handful of hunters in the East and Midwest who’ve tried to upgrade used golf carts for hunting. Not because they are better at hauling treestands or navigating rough terrain than a UTV, but because they’re almost silent. And serious whitetail hunters know that ripping around on a loud ATV or UTV all season will eventually cause mature bucks to go nocturnal, or slip off the property.
Enter the electric Polaris Ranger XP Kinetic UTV. It’s more powerful than its gas-operated counterpart, it can haul three hunters in all kinds of terrain, and it’s as quiet as a golf cart. I got a chance to drive the Kinetic Ultimate while hunting turkeys on a sprawling cattle ranch in Florida this spring, and it did not disappoint.
There are two versions of the Ranger XP Kinetic. The biggest performance difference between the Premium (the base model) and the Ultimate (the pimped-out version) is the larger lithium battery in the Ultimate, which gives it allows it cover almost double the distance under optimal conditions. The Ultimate also comes with more accessories and digital features, like a 7-inch touchscreen display. You can compare the two models here.
The nascent electric UTV industry is set to get another interesting offering later this week when Volcon (Nasdaq: VLCN) unveils its long-awaited Stag UTV.
According to the company, “Volcon, the first all-electric, off-road powersports company, will officially launch and open the door to consumer reservations via its website for its flagship, fully electric UTV, called the Stag, on Friday, July 1, 2022, at 1 PM EST (10 AM PST).”
The Stag has been nearly two years in the making after being announced at the company’s founding in late 2020.
Since the company’s debut nearly two years ago, most of its efforts have gone into the development and production of the Volcon Grunt.
The fat tire off-road electric motorcycle began making deliveries in late 2021, less than a year after the company’s founding.
With the Grunt’s development having moved at a blistering pace, the lofty goal of producing a four-wheeled electric UTV suddenly seemed within grasp for the young company, and the announcement of the Stag’s upcoming unveiling all but confirms it.
While Volcon has said the Stag was expected to be ready at some point in 2022, the company is working on an even larger vehicle known as the Volcon Beast that likely won’t roll out until the end of 2023 at the earliest.
The burlier 160 kW motor that was originally proposed would offer twice the peak power of the early Stag figures thanks to a pair of motors.
The power figures for both the Stag and Beast are around half the numbers originally touted by Volcon shortly after its founding in 2020, but likely represent more realistic figures that the company is more confident it can meet.
After a successful development and rollout of the Volcon Grunt electric motorcycle and a significant expansion of the company’s dealership network, the young powersports manufacturer is well positioned to deliver on its promises for the all-electric Stag UTV.
On a clear windy night, 22 miles south of Ridgecrest, California, amidst the Spangler Hills, 55 utility terrain vehicles (UTVs) lined up to run a 25-mile-long race in the Mojave Desert. These specially designed vehicles are also known as “SXS”, or side by sides, because the driver and co-driver sit side by side to manage their crafts through the challenging terrain. There were several local teams, including Kevin Self, Dylan Tharp, Austin Griffin, Jeremy Marsh, Shawn Stephey and Keith Thompson. Others came from Bishop, Anaheim, Salinas and as far away as Nevada, Oregon, Idaho, and Washington State.
The race was coordinated by the DP4 Racing organization, joined by the new west coast crew of On Mission Motorsports, led by Ridgecrest’s own Kevin Self and Mike Schatz. DP4’s co-owner Ryan Sanders was excited about the event and partnering with the On Mission folks. “We are an organization that fosters a fun, safe, family-friendly atmosphere,” Sanders said. “On Mission shares that philosophy and we will function as a team. We keep entry fees low so that everyone can afford to participate, and we always set up as “One Central”, with spectators and pit crews safely positioned so that everyone feels part of the event.”
It was one year ago that Kevin Self met Jeff and Melanie Goldsmith of Culleoka, Tennessee. Jeff co-founded On Mission Motorsports to connect veterans with off-road racing. The group’s mission is to “put American heroes (veterans, active-duty military, and first responders) in the co-driver seat of off-road SXS race cars for an experience that makes them feel included and important. This racing experience, coupled with a weekend with us, is provided at no cost to co-drivers. This provides outlets for stress by promoting connectedness with the communities of heroes and off-road racers, a key strategy in the prevention of suicide and substance abuse.”
Self invited U.S. Marine Corps 20-year veteran Andy Mrozik to be a co-driver, and Andy’s wife Athena, a former paramedic first responder, to be Dylan Tharp’s co-driver. “I think this is a great idea,” Andy said, with a nod to his wife, “especially supporting first responders. I don’t think they get the recognition they deserve. This is awesome.”
Mike Schatz is co-leader with Self of the west coast On Mission team. Schatz serves as the pit boss/crew chief. “My father was a police officer for 20 years and a military veteran. My brother is a police officer. We all like racing, so this is why I serve on the pit crew. As a mechanic, I want to make sure everything is working well for the participants.” Schatz went on to applaud the leadership of DP-4. “Ryan Sanders makes sure that everything is fair and accommodating for everyone. These are good people in a good atmosphere. My favorite thing is being here with everyone.”
After back in November, it announced the availability of the Pioneer 500 and 520, Honda now completes the picture by saying the 1000 and 700 will return as well, with improvements where improvements were due.
“When it comes to rec/utility side-by-sides, Honda has the needs of every powersports customer covered,” said in a statement Brandon Wilson, American Honda Manager of Sports & Experiential.
“The Pioneer 1000 is the most technology-laden flagship rec/utility platform on the market, and it’s even better now, thanks to important upgrades. Best of all, the new Trail and Forest versions deliver even more enjoyment for customers seeking specific experiences. Add in the returning Pioneer 700, plus the previously announced Pioneer 520 and 500, and you have an unbeatable lineup. For 2022, life is even better side-by-side.”
The Pioneer 1000 will be available in Trail, Forest, Deluxe and EPS versions, the first meant for “dynamic outdoor excursions with family and friends,” and the second ideal for hunting and fishing trips. All come in either three- or five-people configuration, making for a very extensive lineup to choose from.
Pricing for the upcoming range starts at $16,699 for the 1000 EPS and can go as high as $21,499 for the Trail and Forest variants meant for five people. All refreshed Pioneer 1000 models should be available in dealership as soon as next month.
The 700, on the other hand, is much cheaper than any of the 1000 members, selling for $11,099 for the standard version.
In the opening line of his breakout song, “Mama Said Knock You Out,” LL Cool J says, “Don’t call it a comeback. We’ve been here for years.” As we start to return to normal in this (at least partially) vaccinated country and new cases of Covid-19 are falling faster than a Mike Tyson TKO, the question facing powersports dealers and OEMs is: are we going back to pre-pandemic sales levels, or are we going to continue where we left off in 2020?
According to Scott Yarbrough, Senior Analyst for Black Book’s Powersports segment, powersports values were “on fire” in the first quarter, as strong consumer demand, combined with inventory shortages of both new and used vehicles, created “one of the most exceptional markets we have seen in decades.” He says the rise in prices that started last year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic “shows no signs of stopping anytime soon.”
Aside from some supply chain bottlenecks that have affected most industries in the first part of the year, ATV/UTV manufacturers are sitting in a pretty good position right now. Most OEMs report that they’ve had positive growth in the first quarter of 2021, led by Polaris and BRP.
Polaris saw strong growth in North American retail sales for the first quarter of 2021. Sales of $1.95 billion were up 39% from year-ago sales of $1.41 billion. Off-road vehicle sales were up 50% year over year.
Much like the street bike segment, ATVs and UTVs did not see any drop in values during the winter months, leaving their prices elevated well beyond normal levels as we enter the spring selling season. In this case, values rose faster than “normal” spring. Notably, the ATVs have kept pace with UTVs, as they had been relative underperformers in recent years.
Read more: ATV-UTV MARKET UPDATE
Continuing a run of dominance that has now spanned multiple years and sanctioning bodies, Phil Blurton scored his second straight win to open the 2022 Best in the Desert season in Saturday’s UTV Legends Championship race from Laughlin. Coming off a victory in the season-opening Parker 250 last month, the No Limit RD Can-Am driver completed 10 laps of the 17-mile course in 3:18:30.533, more than six and a half minutes faster than closest Turbo Pro challenger Joe Terrana in second. Chase de Sousa Diaz completed the class podium at 51 seconds behind Terrana.
They were joined in the final race of the day by the NA Pro teams, where defending series champion Josh Row paced the field for his second consecutive podium finish and first win of the year. He was joined on the class podium by Max Eddy, who improved on an eighth place finish in Parker as the only other lead-lap finisher in the division. It was a youth movement behind them for the final podium spot, as 13-year-old Cash Shaleen edged out 15-year-old Ethan Groom by just 34 seconds for the honors.
Preceding the battle for the Turbo and NA Pro divisions, the second race saw the Trophy Unlimited, Super Stock, and Sportsman classes do battle, and the advantage to a less-used course was that the overall winner of that race actually posted the fastest time of the weekend. Chris Blais’ winning time of 3:18:11.441 in Trophy Unlimited topped all UTV race times in Laughlin by 19 seconds, beating Brayden Baker by nearly three minutes and Jamie Campbell by more than nine. Mitchell Alsup scored his second straight Super Stock victory over Chase Carr and Connor Maxwell, while Eric Maxwell’s margin of victory over Jason George was nearly 20 minutes in the Sportsman class.
Under the race’s Grand Prix finish rules, just six of the 34 Turbo Pro entries completed all 10 laps of the action in the third race. In the second race, the Trophy Unlimited racers paced the field, but only five of 22 managed to run all 10 laps, while four of 13 did in Super Stock. The top NA Pro and Sportsman teams won their respective races with nine laps completed apiece.
The performance side-by-side market has quickly become one of the most fiercely competitive segments in the automotive marketplace. These unique vehicles combine supercar power-to-weight ratios with the off-road performance of a premier-class desert racer. For the 2022 model year Polaris has taken the high-performance UTV class to another level with the introduction of the all-new 2022 Polaris RZR Pro R and Turbo R models. Polaris recently invited us to join them in the desert outside of Las Vegas for a chance to jump behind the wheel of both the 2022 RZR Pro R and RZR Turbo R. Both were two-seat vehicles, and both were top-tier Ultimate trims. Follow along as we dig into what makes these two amazing vehicles tick, as well as what makes them both strikingly similar and distinctly different. Let’s go!
Engine Power And Performance
One of the biggest differentiators between the 2022 Polaris RZR Pro R and Turbo R models is the engines that power them. For 2022 the RZR Turbo lineup has been reduced to just one model, the Turbo R, which now receives its motivation from the same 181 hp turbocharged two-cylinder engine that was previously only found in RZR XP models. The all-new 2022 RZR Pro R received the industry’s first four-cylinder engine, a 225 hp naturally aspirated 2.0-liter sourced from the company’s Slingshot on-road vehicle.
With a 44 hp disparity between the two drivetrains, to say that the difference is noticeable would be an understatement. The power delivered by the new 2.0-liter engine in the RZR Pro R is simply unbelievable. With more horsepower-per-ton than a 702 hp Ram 1500 TRX, the RZR Pro R is a rocket ship off-road. Helping to control all this power are a set of three drive modes: Sport, Rock, and Race. Sport mode works as a sort of “normal” driving position. We found the RZR Pro R to have very controllable throttle response in this mode, giving us a composed driving experience when powering out of a corner or navigating tight and winding terrain. Rock mode dials throttle sensitivity back quite a bit, allowing for precise engine control when crawling over challenging obstacles. Finally (and most fun) there’s the full-kill Baja mode. With the dash-mounted switch flipped to Race, the RZR Pro R feels like an unstoppable ball of acceleration. Throttle tip-in is incredibly sensitive and the full power of the 2.0-liter engine comes on fast and hard. We especially enjoyed this driving mode on long, straight stretches of desert trail and when pushing hard through large whoops. It also worked best during those situations where we needed to get the front end light in a hurry when navigating sudden obstacles. To say the RZR Pro R is an adrenaline rush would be putting it mildly.