In late August the Henry’s Creek Fire in eastern Idaho burned over 53,000 acres which encompassed prime hunting and recreation areas. It just happened to be one of our easy “go-to” riding areas for product testing.
Well, after three weeks of staying out of the area while fire crews battled the blaze and then cleaned up the damage, it was time to test product (and take a look at the destruction).
Although some of the Dirt Toys staff have had a chance to ride the new Polaris RZR XP 1000 EPS, some of us were still waiting to give it a workout. Naturally, during the fire and initial cleanup, we respectfully stayed off the trails. But after a cold spell with rain came through the area, it was time to get back to work. We dragged along a couple of buddies driving the RZR 1000 and RZR 900 to give us a little perspective in the ride.
We unloaded at Tex Creek, where the brunt of the fire hit, wiping out prime winter habitat for deer and elk. The first part of the ride, through the heart of Tex Creek, we were more interested in looking at the sites of the recent disaster.
It is intriguing to study the burn patterns of a fire. Some places are turned totally to ash while others have islands of green—untouched nature.
The open cab of our RZR allowed us to experience the sites and smells of the fire. (It was interesting while I was reviewing my photos that I swear I could still smell the ash of burned sage brush. That shows you how strong the sense of smell plays in your memory.)
Once we exited Tex Creek and worked our way further up Skyline Ridge, the ash turned to the fall colors of beige, green and red. And our attention turned to the RZR XP.
The power and handling of the RZR XP is incredible. We were cruising down some of the dirt and rocky trails at over 60 mph as the suspension ate up any dips and bumps as though they didn’t exist.
One thing we really noticed is how well Polaris tires perform on dirt. You can just feel the grip as you power through the corners. Like any RZR, you can drive in all-wheel and experience total control in maintaining your line, or you can drive in 2-wheel and enjoy a loose rear end breaking free and sliding through the corners. Keep in mind, however, when you hit some dust, gravel or mud, it can get pretty loose fairly quickly.
When it comes to the ride, the RZR XP has the suspension that not only provides a smooth ride, but features virtually no chassis roll as you power your way through the twisties. And you don’t feel the hard jarring when you slam into bumps and holes.
The feel in the cockpit is safe and secure. The RZR XP responds to the throttle instantly. There is no vibration coming back through the steering wheel. It’s clutched perfectly for its power.
Even in the tight trails you have a sense of being on a smaller unit because as you take the sharp turns in the switchbacks it crawls over rocks, claws through creeks and powers up steep slopes. The driver position keeps you centered and balanced. And all the controls are well within reach.
Speaking of controls … the RZR XP features the Ride Command gauge. This offers all the information available on a digital display, plus some added features that you expect to find on a luxury automobile, not a side-by-side.
A 7-inch touch screen will put your instrument gauges front and center if you’re into checking engine rpm, heat, speed, fuel, etc. It also features trail maps, front and rear cameras and AM/FM radio with in-door speakers.
At first we thought some of the features in the Ride Command were over-kill. Like, who listens to the radio out in the mountain? (We do.) And doesn’t the engine noise drown it out? (The faster you go, the louder the speakers play … without you needing to adjust the volume.)
As for the cameras, we found that it’s nice to tune into some of those hard-to-see areas directly in front of you and behind you. (Okay, maybe it was a little over-kill here. But isn’t technology wonderful?)
Basically, the Ride Command is merely a glance into the future as to the endless possibilities with utilizing technology and information.
The RZR XP impressed us and passed every test we could throw at it. The ride proved to be a great fact-finding trip for both nature and machine. Can’t wait for our next excuse to get out of the office again and test product.