Project Weekend Warrior RZR: Wheels and Tires

Phase 1 for Polaris RZR

Aug. 29, 2008 By Dean Waters

Project Weekend Warrior RZR: Wheels and Tires

In this phase we make a dramatic change in both the looks and handling department with a wheel and tire upgrade to our Project RZR. First we need to tell you a little bit about what we chose and why.


For wheels we went with some new Motosport Alloys in 12x7's. We considered going to 14" wheels but we decided to stay with 12 inchers for a couple reasons. One is that your tire options are currently much greater with this size, and second was that we like having more sidewall. We feel the extra sidewall gives you a little better ride and better protects the wheels when your actually using your RZR off-road. The extra flex should also give a little better traction off-road. In general I believe the 12" option is better for off-roading, though the 14" package may look a little better. That said, I think these look pretty darn good. You be the judge.

Motosport Alloys has several styles that you can choose and we decided to to go with the Motosport Alloys M6 Nuke. Other options are the M7 Trooper, M5 Tork, and M4 climax. This is all about personal preference but we really liked the look of the M6 Nuke so that is what we chose. You can check out all the styles on the Motosport Alloy web site.


Now speaking about offset - this gets a little more complicated. Motosport Alloy wheels come in a +10 mm offset or a -47mm offset. This method of offset measurement is what is used in the automotive world versus what we usually use in the ATV world. A +10 mm offset means that the center of the wheel is 10 mm towards the outside. This would be like having a 4 + 3 offset wheel in ATV speak. Now the -47 mm offset means the center of the wheel is 47 mm towards the inside. This would convert to approximately a 2 + 5 offset wheel in ATV speak. The stock offset on the RZR is 6+2 on the rear and 4+2 on the front.

So what does that mean? It means a -47mm offset wheel is going to stick out further than a +10 mm offset wheel.

We chose the -47mm offset for our Project RZR which means that the wheels will stick out about 3" further on each side than the stock wheels. This gives our RZR a wider stance and makes it more stable. As we mentioned in our intro we will keep the stock wheels and tires stowed-away in case we need to narrow the RZR for a particular location or trail. Our RZR actually measures 59 1/2" in the rear with the new M6 Nuke and Maxxis 26" Bighorns. The front measures 56 3/4". We measured to the outside of the sidewall tread with 8 psi in the Bighorns.


We chose the Maxxis Bighorn Radial M917 for the front and the Maxxis Bighorn Radial M918 for the rear. We really like this tire as an all around offroad tire. We like the radial construction which gives it a smoother ride and better ground conformance, which means better off-road traction. We like the shoulder lugs for better sidewall and wheel protection, and, oh yeah, they look awesome also.

In the front we went with the AT26X9R12 which has an overall diameter if 26.4 inches and section width of 9 inches. This tire comes in at 25.2 lbs. In the rear we went with the AT26X12R12 which has an overall diameter of 26.4 inches and section width of 12 inches. This tire comes in at 29.9 lbs. These tires add about 5-6 lbs at each corner of the RZR but we are getting a 6 ply tire all the way around compared to the 2 ply front and 4 ply rear. We are also gaining about 3/4" of ground clearance over stock.

Out with the old and in with the new!


There are a couple important clearance issues with the RZR when choosing wheel offset and tire size that also have to be considered.

In the rear there is a clearance issue on the right side motor mount when running larger tires. The solution is either wheel spacers or more wheel offset. Since we chose the -47 mm offset wheel this means we have plenty of clearance in the rear. But there is a catch with this choice. In the front the more offset you have the less firewall clearance when turned to either the right or left.

The pictures above show our resulting right and left side firewall clearance (or lack thereof) with 26" Maxxis Bighorns on -47mm offset M6 Nukes. This is with the wheels cranked fully right or left.

As you can see we have virtually no clearance at the firewall when turned fully right or left. There is plenty of clearance when pointed straight ahead. For cruising around the farm and dirt roads we rarely had the tire hit the firewall. For off-road this will be more of an issue. We are currently looking at our options and will cover this in a future issue. We are looking at 2 to 3 inch lift kits or possibly just the use of a heat gun and mallet.


We could not believe the change in appearance this made to our Polaris RZR. We now get looks and questions everywhere we take the RZR. The Maxxis Bighorns and Motosport Alloy M6 Nukes are an awesome combination on the RZR.

The Motosport Alloy M6 Nuke will set you back about $90 bucks each. The Maxxis Bighorn Radials run around $130 bucks for the fronts and $160 for the rears.

In the next Phase of this RZR project we will show you how to install a dual exhaust system on your RZR as we install a new DMC Dual Exhaust System and EMI Module.



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