— PRODUCT EVALUATION By the staff of Dirt Wheels —
Our YXZ1000R SS SE race build is going swimmingly, and we keep bolting on better components as we go. Most race series require a roll cage that is built stronger to make the occupants safer, so we knew we had to ditch the factory cage to pass tech inspection. The factory cage works well for trail riding, but they’re not built to handle big crashes or roll-overs.
We didn’t want to weld a cage onto our Yamaha, so we needed to find a well-built bolt-on cage. There aren’t a lot of companies making them for the YXZ, and then we came across Houser Racing.
Since 1997 they’ve been building high-quality ATV and now UTV parts for racing or trail-riding applications—products like suspension components, bumpers, nerf bars, steering stems, cages for UTVs and many others. All their products are designed and built in-house in Ohio. We knew from the years of help they’ve provided us that this HR cage was what we were looking for.
HOUSER RACING YXZ1000R ROLL CAGE: $2399
Our FedEx driver delivered the goods, and it was nice to see that HR took the time to wrap and protect it so well. The HR cage came with an aluminum variable-radius roof that included a recessed pocket for a 40-inch Rigid light bar to fit into. This was a nice touch, because if we did roll the car, the expensive light bar wouldn’t be damaged. Houser’s cage is made from 4130 aircraft steel tubing, which adds strength and is a lighter-weight design. They’ve also incorporated a loop-style design, which adds maximum strength from any angle in a collision. The stock cage has a 1.5-inch diameter, while the HR cage is larger with a 1.75-inch diameter.
We’re fans of the V-bar intrusion bar at the front of the cage, just in case a tire or a random animal decides to fly into the cab and take us out. There is also a cover on the lower front part of the frame that contours down to the front plastics. This helps with rocks or mud being thrown from entering the cab, and it looks great! Welcome additions are the harness-mount locations on the rear bar behind the seats. This is a much safer and stronger setup than just running the harnesses around the bar itself.
The best part is, this cage abides by race-series specifications. There are some race series that require that you weld the cage to the frame, so be sure to check the rule book of the race series you’re wanting to compete in.
A SAFER CAGE MAKES FOR SAFER DRIVING
The HR cage installed effortlessly. It fits much better than the OEM cage. However, with better-quality material, welding and extra metal, the HR cage did weigh a bit more than stock, but being safer and having better equipment outweighs the extra weight. Any aftermarket cage will weigh more than OEM cages.
We found that it was easier to start from the front bolt mounts and work our way to the middle and finally the rear bolt mounts. It took about 45 minutes to remove the stock cage and install the Houser cage. We then added RV weather stripping to the aluminum roof where it meets with the cage—that way, there wouldn’t be any vibration noise. The roof fits very well, and it’s well secured using a combination of U-mounts and quality hardware.
The HR cage sits much lower than the stock cage, and its height is consistently the same from front to back. This gives the YXZ a lower center of gravity, which then helps it with handling, not to mention it’s easier to get into most enclosed trailers or toy haulers.
By making the car safer, we felt better about our own well-being, which in turn made us hold the throttle down to the floor more frequently! Since this is being built as a race machine, holding it wide open is what it’ll be accustomed to. We’re 100 percent confident in the strength of the Houser Racing cage to keep us safe and sound. Houser offers cages for RZRs as well. Each cage is built to order, and you can add custom-powder-coated colors, or you can run it in raw metal. For more information, visit www.houser-racing.com or call (877) 6-GO-FAST (46-3278).