Inside the Walker Evans Limited Edition Polaris RZR XP 900
A Conversation with Walker Evans Racing
April 19, 2013
By Brit Mansell
The sport of SXS racing is making its way from the West Coast to the East Coast more and more each year. In the past couple of years, we have seen eastern racing series double, triple, and even quadruple their entry numbers. It’s no surprise that Polaris, the defacto-standard for sport UTV’s, is taking advantage of this booming market. In 2011, Polaris released the RZR XP 900 and that vehicle immediately transformed the industry’s perception of a performance UTV. Since it’s release, if you are not racing a XP, you are most likely chasing one.
As SXS’s evolve, so do the components that allow them to go fast. Ask almost any serious SXS racer about their vehicle, and most of them will tell you the first aftermarket performance parts they bolt on to their race car are shocks and power steering. Polaris engineers, teaming up with the experienced suspension experts at Walker Evans Racing, have acknowledged this need. For 2013 they have put these two components together and built the most race-ready UTV to ever hit the market. The 2013 Polaris RZR XP 900 Walker Evans Limited Edition features the proven Polaris factory power steering setup and unprecedented 2.5″ Walker Evans Racing coilover shocks. Those are the largest diameter shocks ever released on a sport SXS.
How involved was Walker Evans Racing (WER) during the development of the 2013 Polaris RZR XP 900 Walker Evans Limited Edition?
WER has worked with Polaris for many years. We have been testing with Polaris and the XP since before its introduction in 2011. For the 2013 WER Limited Edition model, we were able to take what we have learned from our extensive racing experience and apply it to a production vehicle. Specifically, we tested this shock package for about six weeks, gradually refining the spring rates and the valve stack. In the end, both our guys at WER and the Polaris engineers were able to come to agreement on the perfect valve and spring settings for this vehicle. It is by no means a race-specific setup. Recreation trail riders will be able to benefit from the larger capacity shocks.
Speaking of performance benefits, why are the 2.5″ shocks better performing than their 2.0″ siblings?
The main benefit to the 2.5″ shock is the larger cooling volume. The major factor in shocks losing their performance over time (ie. “fading”) is heat buildup. Specifically, with the high performance level of the RZR XP 900, this vehicle is capable of taxing even the most well built 2″ shocks. The larger 2.5″ shocks are the logical fix to the fading issue. The extra volume better distributes the heat and prevents damaging heat buildup.
For what types of terrain was this vehicle tuned?
WER specifically tested the new 2.5″ shock package in desert terrain, short course (ex. WORCS racing), and the purpose-built Polaris proving grounds which is more all-purpose terrain featuring more terrain accustomed to normal trail riding. The final shock settings are a good blend for all conditions, as you would expect from a Polaris vehicle.
The shock on the 2013 Polaris RZR XP 900 Walker Evans Limited Edition is a pure production, assembly line built shock, right?
The shock installed on these vehicles is 100% a Walker Evans shock. The only difference in the Polaris OEM WER shock is the single spring and a standard shock valving. At WER, the shocks we ship out are exactly the same except we use Eibach dual rate springs and we customize the valving to the driver’s specific needs. In the end, the consumer is getting a true Walker Evans shock on their stock vehicle, even down to the shaft and reservoir tube.
So, if someone buys a 2013 Polaris RZR XP 900 Walker Evans Limited Edition, can they send you their shocks to be valved and sprung specific to their needs?
Absolutely, but for 99% of the people buying the WER XP, the stock valve stack and spring rate will be right on the money. For the 1% that needs a different shock setup, we will be able tune the shocks perfectly for their needs using off the shelf WER parts.
Personally, I can’t wait to get my hands on this machine. Stay tuned to this site as we take a stock 2013 Polaris RZR XP 900 Walker Evans Limited Edition and turn it into a full on race car. We will put this machine to the test in the WORCS series, desert racing, UTV Rally Raid, and ECORS. I expect this machine to be the best performing UTV the market has ever seen.
The WER Limited Edition RZR XP 900 is now available in a two seat model and the popular RZR 4 XP 900 (four seater).