The Long Haul: Polaris’ Tough As Nails RZR XP 1000

2014 XP1K

The next destination would be the infamous Glamis Sand Dunes to see just how well it would perform in an area where I knew that would be flooded with these new SxS vehicles. A simple drop of the tire pressure and the XP1K is unstoppable. The Pro Star engine has a great amount of torque, which actually pushes you deeper into the seat when you put the skinny pedal to the floor. The only changes I made out of the box for riding in this terrain was increasing the compression in both the front and rear Walker Evans shocks by 3 clicks. The stock settings were a little too soft and allowed for a lot of body roll, and with these changes the XP1K was much more stable in the corners while still remaining plush in the chop and deep whoops.

2014 XP1K
Got Air??? When you’re trying to get the perfect shot it takes non-stop action to get what you need and everything held up without any issues.

One main concern with these machines when you push them hard in the sand is the potential for belt failure. Riding in the sand dunes really pushes the limits of the expensive rubber drive system but I never had any issues. The only time it was of any worry was when I was in a group of other drivers taking photo ops and the constant hard acceleration and limited air flow did make it get hot to the point where I could smell the belt, but I never felt that it was going to fail. To error on the side of caution, I would just park the SxS and let it cool off for about 20 minutes and then I was right back at it with no loss of performance. So far with about 200 miles of drive time, the Polaris RZR XP 1000 has performed flawlessly but in the big scheme of things I was just barely scratching the surface.

2014 XP1K
The Polaris RZR XP 1000 is not only built for speed but it’s also made for comfort and was the perfect rig for a day of exploration and sightseeing.

I was pleasantly happy with the performance in the high speed terrain of the California desert but wanted to prove that the RZR XP 1000 was capable of going fast in wide open terrain. I decided to head up to the tiny town of Coleville located in the Eastern Sierra mountain range in California that is home to the Eastern Sierra ATV Jamboree. Being a guide during past events and knowing the organizers, I’ve been able to experience some of the best trails that this area has to offer. My wife and I camped at the Meadowcliff RV park and resort for a few days of exploring the high wilderness.

Our good friend Tim Fesko owns the RV park and accompanied us on trails that took us through some tight technical rock crawling sections to long loose rocky climbs at elevations exceeding 7,000 feet. I can say that being up in these areas in the fall is breathtaking, and It’s even better when you’re cruising in this machine. To ensure that we were comfortable on the somewhat groomed roads and trails, I backed the compression back out an extra turn from the original setting to soften up the ride. This was perfect for cruising these trails.

2014 XP1K
All of that suspension wasn’t just designed to blow through whoops at break neck speeds. Low speed rock crawling is great with the amount of travel that the RZR XP 1000 has.


After this trip I gave the machine some well needed maintenance in the way of a fresh air filter, oil and filter change and belt inspection. The air filter was easy to access as was everything for the oil change and wasn’t horribly bad considering the elements they’ve been exposed to.

The next opportunity to give this machine a true task came in the way of a trip that my friends in the Eastern Sierra Ridge Riders ATV club had planned. It was dubbed the Trek Across Nevada and would start in a far eastern point of California, cross Nevada and have them turning around in Utah for the trip home. It was an estimated 10-day adventure and would primarily consist of designated off-road trails and fire roads that would allow us to travel at average speeds between 45-55 MPH. This would also give us an opportunity to compare it in a long haul situation with the Polaris XP 900, RZR 800s and Can-Am Maverick 1000. We would even take turns behind the wheel of each to get a true comparison between each and see which drivers favored which machines.

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