BUYER’S GUIDE: UTV SHOCKS AND SPRINGS

Your UTV could have the most horsepower on the dirt (or sand or rocks) and/or could be the sweetest-looking machine out there. But, if your ride sucks, then who really cares? You might think your rig is fast but if you’re all over the place because your suspension leaves a lot to be desired, then that’s what you’re (and your passengers) going to remember from your trip. More specifically, if the shock package doesn’t match your riding style or terrain preference, or you’re not tuning them properly, you’re not getting the most out of your vehicle.

Most modern UTV shocks, and especially sport UTV shocks, are quite sophisticated. The standard springs may not be as impressive as the shocks. Even if the shocks are fine stock, as soon as you add weight to the car, those springs may need to be replaced. Adding a spare tire and a carrier to the rear of the machine, along with the tools to change it, will almost certainly put you out of the range of adjustment available with the stock shocks and springs.

Many riders who want to improve their ride or better match it to the kind of terrain they ride obviously consider the shocks first. But, if you want a smoother ride and the ability to carry weight more evenly and smartly, then a new spring kit might be in order.

Don’t get us wrong. Today’s OEM shocks, for the most part, are awesome and get the job done for many riders. But, if you want to take your side-by-side to the next level, with better control and added external adjustments, then you might want to look at swapping out your shocks. You can order them with a specific setup for your machine and type of riding that a stock machine cannot match.

While shocks and spring kits aren’t always the least expensive aftermarket products you can add to your vehicle, we think they deliver one of the best values for your buck. And, most of the time, it’s a difference you’ll notice immediately. Your back will thank you.

So, here’s a look at some of the best shocks and spring kits on the market, all specifically designed and built for side-by-sides/UTVs. We’ll present shocks first, then spring kits.

Some popular brands (notably Fox) could not get materials to us in time for this issue. Shock Therapy (www.shocktherapyst.com) sells Fox shocks and offers shock modifications and quality spring kits. See a full story on installing a Shock Therapy spring kit and rating its performance on page 46 of this issue.

Bandit UTV Suspension Series 46 Generation 3 Pro Steel Shock

Application(s): Polaris General 1000, General 4 1000 

MSRP: $1,449.99

Contact: www.banditutvsuspension.com

The Steel Series 46 Generation 3 Pro shocks are Columbus, Michigan-based Bandit UTV’s top-of-the-line shocks with added features compared to OE shocks. They help transform your vehicle into a performance-capable side-by-side.

Features on these shocks include compression, preload and rebound adjustability, 52mm (2-inch) steel body and three-quarter-inch shaft. There are dual-rate springs front and rear with large external piggyback reservoirs, also front and rear.

Bandit UTV has valved each shock for the best all-around UTV performance with improved compression and rebound compared to OE shocks. The high-volume, extra-large hard-coated aluminum external reservoir offers greater oil volume which helps prevent shock fade. The shocks add wheel travel to the UTV as well.

Four takeaways:

—Re-buildable and serviceable

—Nitrogen-charged shocks

—Reservoir color choice of charcoal or red

—Spanner tool for preload/spring adjustment included with purchase

Bandit UTV Suspension Stage 2 Pro Steel Shock

Application(s): Kawasaki Teryx 

MSRP: $1,299.99

Contact: www.banditutvsuspension.com

The Stage 2 Pro Steel is Bandit UTV’s newest shock for Kawasaki’s Teryx and is one of the company’s best-selling shocks. Offering high-quality, economical shocks were two of Bandit’s goals. This shock offers great adjustability, as well as strength and improved ride quality.

Compared to other Stage 2 styles,which have aluminum bodies, these steel-body shocks are stronger, as well as more precise with consistent damping force. Steel bodies expand less as they heat up during use, and at the same rate as the steel shock pistons. This allows for tighter tolerances.

Front and rear Stage 2 Pro Steel Teryx shocks have extra shaft travel compared to the OE shocks and add two inches of wheel travel front and rear. Other features include preload and rebound adjustability, Viton shaft seals, 52mm (2-inch) steel body and 18mm shafts (the largest in the industry).

Four takeaways:

—Rebuildable and serviceable and direct replacement to OE

—Offer smoother weight transfer upon acceleration and braking

—Maximum traction in any riding condition

—Dual-rate triple-phase springs come already installed on shocks

Bandit UTV Suspension Stage 3 Spring Kit

Application(s): Honda Talon 1000X 4 (non-Live-Valve)

MSRP: $499.99

Contact: www.banditutvsuspension.com

The Stage 3 spring kit from Bandit is an upgraded heavier-rate spring kit. Bandit claims it’s built to a higher quality with an improved rate compared to the OE springs and allows for a more stable feel while cornering.

Custom coiled springs offer better quality and spring rate which is great for added weight when carrying cargo and accessories.

Four takeaways:

—All eight springs included

—Works great with the OE Fox valving

—Lifetime coil warranty

—Available in black

Bandit UTV Suspension Spring Kit

Application(s): 2019–’20 Tracker Off-Road XTR1000 

MSRP: $549.99

Contact: www.banditutvsuspension.com

This Michigan company offers a Stage 2 (medium rate) kit, as well as a Stage 3 (heavy rate) kit. Both are built to a higher quality with an improved rate compared to stock. These springs are custom-coiled to the exact OE inner diameter and length, and are designed for vehicles carrying additional cargo and accessories.

Stage 2 (medium) is designed for medium speed drivers with approximately 100 pounds of additional weight in accessories, cargo and mud. This kit offers a slightly firmer overall feel with better stability and increased ground clearance.

Stage 3 (heavy) is for more aggressive drivers or racers and is designed for extreme mud accumulation and vehicles with a heavy spare tire, heavy custom roll cage, front and/or rear winch, full cargo in bed area or approximately 200 pounds of additional add-on weight.

Four takeaways:

—All eight springs included

—Works great with the OE Fox valving

—Lifetime coil warranty

—Available in black

Eibach PRO-UTV Spring System

Application(s): Polaris RZR Pro XP Ultimate 

MSRP: Starting at $850

Contact: (800) 507-2338, www.eibach.com

Polaris released the 2020 RZR Pro XP Ultimate with computer-controlled Fox 2.5 Podium internal bypass shocks. Eibach engineers found that soft-rate springs caused an unbalanced ride with minimal ground clearance and low confidence during high-speed driving. The result is a complete plug-and-play spring system that is a true dual-rate spring system with a smooth ride over rough terrain and the higher spring rate to prevent bottoming in G-outs. The Eibach system improves response and helps the vehicle stay hooked up to power out of the turns and attain full confidence during high speeds.

Each spring system includes eight Eibach race springs, four sliders, four one-piece crossover rings (front), and two two-piece crossover rings (rear). Spring rates (inch-pounds) are 300/300 front, 250/300 rear for Stage 2. Stage three springs are 300/350 front and 250/350 rear for Stage 3. Stage 2 is ideal for the weekend warrior, is designed for two- or four-seat vehicles, and features adjustable lockout collars to allow for fine-tuning of the transition point for a smooth ride over rough terrain and the higher additional rate to prevent bottoming in the G-outs.

Stage 3 is also engineered for two- or four-seat vehicles, is designed with higher loads and additional passengers in mind. This system offers a slightly more aggressive spring rate. Adjustable lockout collars allow fine-tuning a plush ride over rough terrain and the higher additional rate to prevent bottoming—perfect for vehicles loaded with spares, tools and passengers.

Four takeaways:

—All PRO-UTV Systems include springs, required hardware and setup instructions for easy bolt-on installation

—Made in the USA

—Lifetime warranty

—PRO-UTV Spring Systems are also available for a wide selection of Polaris RZR models

Eibach PRO-UTV Spring System

Application(s): Kawasaki Teryx KRX 1000 

MSRP: Starting at $950

Contact: (800) 507-2338, www.eibach.com

The KRX comes from the factory with Fox’s Podium LSC shocks with fully adjustable preload and 24-postion-adjustable compression damping. Eibach engineers found the factory springs caused a stiff, unbalanced ride with minimal articulation creating rough handling during high speed chop and through whoops.

Eibach assembled a complete plug-and-play, true dual-rate spring system to smooth the ride over rough terrain and the higher additional final rate to prevent bottoming in G-outs. Included are four front race springs, four rear race springs, four spring sliders, two spring retainers and two spring adapters.

There are two stages available. Stage 2 is perfect for the weekend warrior. Adjustable lockout collars allow fine-tuning of the dual-spring transition point for a smooth ride and to prevent bottoming in G-outs. Stage 3 is engineered for higher loads and additional passengers with a slightly more aggressive spring rate for vehicles loaded with spares, tools and passengers.

Four takeaways:

—All Pro-UTV systems are tested, developed and manufactured at Eibach’s Corona, California, headquarters

—Other accessories available for Pro-UTV spring systems include a spanner wrench, X-ring and spring slider

—All Pro-UTV systems include springs, required hardware and setup instructions for easy bolt-on installation

—Lifetime warranty

Elka Suspension 3.0-Inch Stage 5 Shock

Application(s): Polaris RZR 1000 XP, RZR 1000 XP 4, Can-Am Maverick X3 X RS, Maverick X3 X DS 

MSRP: $2,999

Contact: (800) 557-0552, www.elkasuspension.com

The 3.0-inch Stage 5 shock is one of the largest offered by Canada-based Elka Suspension. This shock platform is specifically designed for high-performance side-by-sides/UTVs. While the 3.0-inch is aimed at the vehicles listed above, configurations are available as rear shocks for stock geometry and select aftermarket geometries from partners such as Grounded4, Lonestar Racing and Holtz Racing.

Built around Elka’s high-flow technology, the new 3.0-inch Stage 5 shocks feature a redesigned dual-speed compression adjuster combined with rebound and spring preload adjustments. They also feature adjustable crossover rings that allow precise setting of the transition from the tender spring to the main spring, allowing fine-tuning of the plush initial portion of the wheel travel versus a firmer spring platform deeper in the travel to prevent bottoming out.

Four takeaways:

—Low-friction Teflon-coated body (PTFE)

—Sturdy induction-hardened 7/8-inch steel shaft

—Durable hard-anodized billet-machined aluminum components

—Internal seals and wear bands are huge  and heavy-duty to ensure fade-free consistent performance.

Elka Suspension Sand Edition Shock

Application(s): Polaris RZR 1000 XP 4, RZR XP 4 Turbo, Can-Am Maverick X3 X RS

MSRP: $1,099.99–$1,899.99

Contact: (800) 557-0552, www.elkasuspension.com

Introduced in the spring of 2020, the new Sand Edition Shock is specifically designed for select high-performance UTVs with available configurations being 2.5-inch piggyback front shocks combined with 3.0-inch rear shocks with remote reservoirs.

The Sand Edition shock was derived from Elka’s high-end Stage 5 platform and is specifically tuned for recreational riding in the dunes or desert. Elka used a simple design with limited external adjustment to offer these shocks with a good price. You can inject new life into an older machine without breaking the bank.

This shock features adjustable crossover rings.

Four takeaways:

—Durable hard-anodized billet-machined aluminum components

—Internal seals and  wear bands are huge and heavy-duty to  ensure fade-free consistent performance.

—Sturdy induction-hardened 7/8-inch steel shaft

—Low-friction Teflon- coated body (PTFE)

EPI Heavy-Duty Suspension Springs

Application(s): Honda Pioneer, Kawasaki Mule Pro, Can-Am Defender, Polaris Ranger, Yamaha Viking

MSRP: $59.99–$74.99 (each)

Contact: (218) 829-6036, www.epiperformance.com

EPI Performance offers an extensive line of heavy-duty suspension springs for many of today’s popular utility side-by-side models from most manufacturers. EPI Performance springs are engineered to be 25-percent stiffer than stock to help overcome loss of suspension and ride height when the units get loaded up with people, gear and accessories.

These springs are made from high-quality U.S. chrome silicon steel and powdercoated in a durable black finish. EPI Performance springs are an economical way to give your suspension a boost.

Four takeaways:

—Springs are available in black or red, depending on model

—Springs are available for front and/or rear suspensions, depending on model

—Designed primarily for rec-utility UTVs

—EPI has been in business for more than 30 years

Walker Evans Velocity Series Shocks

Application(s): All Polaris RZR XP 1000 models; RZR Pro XP 

MSRP: Starting at $899 per shock

Contact: (951) 784-7223, www.walkerevansracing.com

Walker Evans shocks are built to order so the Riverside, Californa-based company can get the shocks specific to your ride. High-end and performance-oriented are a couple of ways to describe Walker Evans’ Velocity Series coil-over shocks. These shocks offer more controlled resistance than a standard piggyback or remote reservoir coil-over.

Walker Evans makes that claim due to its Velocity Series coil-over shocks having an improved version of the Walker Evans Racing needle valve technology that allows speed- and position-sensitive compression and rebound control. Velocity Series shocks are designed to fit OEM mounts and utilize a 7/8-inch shaft and 2.5-inch aluminum shock body, use Viton shaft O-rings and are hard-anodized for better protection and long life.  

Four takeaways:

—100 percent made in the USA

—Re-valvable and rebuildable

—Dual-rate compression adjustable reservoir

—Dual-rate springs add performance and adjustability

Walker Evans Piggyback/Remote Reservoir Shocks

Application(s): Honda Pioneer 500, 700, 1000 

MSRP: Starting at $599 per pair

Contact: (951) 784-7223, www.walkerevansracing.com

Honda’s line of side-by-sides cover a wide range of uses—from utility to recreation (like hunting and fishing) to sport (think: all play, no work). With any of those uses, Walker Evans Racing compression-adjustable coil-over shocks can improve the overall ride quality and handling. The needle valve allows Walker Evans to run a softer, more compliant shock without running the risk of bottoming out. They come standard with an adjustable compression feature that allows you to fine-tune your Honda Pioneer no matter what terrain you are faced with.

That, along with Walker Evans’ factory-tuned valving, helps the Pioneer soak up the terrain and improve overall stability.

These shocks feature a 5/8-inch micro alloy steel nitride-coated shock shaft, a 2.0-inch shock body and half-inch steel bearing shock ends.

Four takeaways:

—100 percent made in the  USA

—Re-valvable and rebuildable

—Compression adjustable reservoir

—Billet aluminum design

ZBroz Racing 2.2 X1 Exit Shocks

Application(s): Polaris RZR, Polaris Ranger, Polaris General, Can-Am Defender 

MSRP: $2,296–$2,796

Contact: (435) 753-7774, www.zbrozracing.com

Not only can you improve the ride quality and performance of your side-by-side/UTV with X1 Exit shocks, but you can also gain up to 2 inches of true suspension lift. ZBroz Exit shocks 2.2 X2 Series are a true 2.2-inch bore and feature dual-rate springs, have fully adjustable spring preload, and a 26-click compression adjuster. These shocks are specifically tuned for more comfort and better performance. Exit shocks are fully serviceable for an endless life of trail pounding, rock crawling and dune rally fun.

Four takeaways:

—All aluminum parts are hard anodized for a long-lasting and durable finish

—Internal parts are also hard-coat anodized with specific port design features for a variety of riding conditions

—Shocks are custom-built, valved and tuned for each application

—ZBroz is based in Logan, Utah

ZBroz Racing 2.2 XO-IFP Series Exit Shocks

Application(s): Polaris RZR, Polaris Ranger, Can-Am Defender 

MSRP: $1,436

Contact: (435) 753-7774, www.zbrozracing.com

Similar to the X1 Exit shocks, the 2.2 XO-IFP Series also helps your side-by-side get improved ride quality and performance while gaining up to two inches of true suspension lift.

The 2.2 XO-IFO Series Exit shocks feature a true 2.2-inch bore design and offer fully adjustable spring preload. These shocks are specially tuned for more comfort, control, bottoming resistance and better performance. The 2.2 XO-IFO Series shocks are fully serviceable and allow for an endless life of trail pounding, or rock crawling.

Four takeaways:

—Feature aluminum parts

—Hard anodized for a long-lasting and durable finish

—Exit shocks have ZBrozs’ signature port design

—ZBroz recommends you service the Exit shocks every 1,500 miles
       or every 24 months

ZBroz Racing Dual Rate Spring Kit

Application(s): Polaris RZR, Polaris Ranger, Polaris General, Can-Am X3, Can-Am Defender, Kawasaki Teryx KRX, Yamaha YXZ, Honda Talon

MSRP: $750–$995

Contact: (435) 753-7774, www.zbrozracing.com

ZBroz dual-rate spring kits are race-inspired for better performance and control regardless if you’re riding mountain trails, rock crawling or rallying in the desert or dunes. This is the most cost-effective spring kit available for do-it-yourself installation in your garage or driveway with basic hand tools and a floor jack.

Features include 1 to 2 inches of increased ride height, a smoother and more comfortable ride in any terrain (for additional driver confidence), and reduced body roll.

Four takeaways:

—Increased bottoming resistance without sacrificing low-speed compliance

—Reduced rear bucking

—High-tensile lightweight springs

—Rear billet crossover rings for fine-tuning crossover point

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