Polaris RZR 800 Top Speed: In-Depth Guide & Analysis

Polaris RZR 800 Top Speed

Looking for an off-road thrill ride that leaves the competition eating dust? Meet the Polaris RZR 800 – a side-by-side (SxS) UTV that has earned a well-deserved reputation for blistering speed and adrenaline-pumping acceleration.

This guide examines how fast the Polaris RZR 800 can go. It looks at real-world speed tests from RZR 800 owners. The guide compares the RZR 800’s speed to other similar vehicles. It covers modifications that can make the RZR 800 go even faster. Whether you love extreme speed or just want to know about the RZR 800’s performance, this post has that information.

Overview of the Polaris RZR 800

Before we get to the need-for-speed details, let’s briefly go over the RZR 800 and what makes it special.

The RZR line from Polaris is an off-road icon, combining powerful engines, long-travel suspension, and a focused design for tackling the toughest trails and desert dunes. The RZR 800 is powered by a 760cc twin-cylinder EFI engine, delivering a claimed 55 horsepower to all four wheels.

Some key highlights of this precise off-road machine include:

  • Mid-engine layout for optimized weight distribution
  • Independent rear suspension with 9.5 inches of travel
  • 10 inches of ground clearance
  • Adjustable driver’s seat and tilt steering
  • 7.25 gallon fuel tank capacity

As of 2023, a new Polaris RZR 800 has an MSRP starting around $15,000 for base models. Used models from 2008-2014 can often be found for $5,000 – $10,000 depending on condition and mileage.

The Need for Speed: RZR 800’s Top Speed Breakdown

Now to the question burning in every thrill-seeker’s mind – just how fast can this side-by-side beast go?

According to Polaris, the RZR 800 has a top speed of 63 mph for the 2009 model. However, real-world numbers from various reviews and owners suggest the actual top speed differs slightly across model years:

  • 2008 Model: 55 mph
  • 2009 Model: 60-63 mph
  • 2011 Model: 66 mph (on pavement)
  • 2013 Model: 56 mph
  • 2014 Model: 63 mph

As you can see, the top speed hovers in the 55-66 mph range for a stock RZR 800. But many variables can impact an individual vehicle’s maximum velocity, such as:

  • Engine modifications or aftermarket tuning kits
  • Type of terrain (flat pavement vs. loose dirt/sand)
  • Vehicle load and passenger weight
  • Tire specifications and pressure
  • Environmental factors like altitude, wind, etc.

To give you an at-a-glance view, here are some key specs related to the RZR 800’s performance:

Specification2008-2014 RZR 800 Models
Engine760cc Twin-Cylinder
Horsepower55 HP
DrivetrainOn-Demand AWD
Suspension9-9.5″ Travel
Curb Weight945 – 993 lbs
0-35 mph4 seconds
Top Speed55 – 66 mph*

*Top speed varies by model year and conditions

So while Polaris rates it at 63 mph flat-out, most real-world testing indicates the RZR 800 is bluechip-capable of 55-66 mph depending on the specific vehicle. Not blisteringly fast compared to modern performance UTVs, but still plenty quick for most off-road scenarios.

Owners Speak: RZR 800 Top Speed Reviews

But what do actual RZR 800 owners have to say about its speed? Let’s look at some first-hand review excerpts:

Positive Reviews on Blistering Acceleration

“The RZR 800 isn’t the fastest UTV out there, but boy is it quick off the line! The acceleration from 0-30 mph will pin you back in the seat.” – HighwayTerror693, RZR Forum

“For a stock machine, the RZR 800 delivers surprising straight-line speed. I’ve hit 62 mph on a graded dirt road, just unreal!” – SanddDrifter2020, RZROwners.com

“The power delivery is very linear from the 800cc twin. You don’t realize how fast you’re going until you glance down at the speedo.” – BajaRider85, YouTube Review

As these snippets illustrate, most owners rave about the RZR 800’s forceful acceleration and deceptive quickness in the real world.

Not-so-Fast Negative Reviews

However, not all owners are completely satisfied with the top-end speed abilities:

“Let’s be real – anything above 55-60 mph in the 800 feels sketchy and uncontrollable over rough terrain. You’ll be hanging on for dear life!” – DuneBlaster32, RZRNation.com

“For a machine marketed as a high-speed desert runner, I was pretty disappointed by the 800’s lack of outright top speed compared to newer models.” – HighDesertRider, RZROwnersClub.net

While acceleration gets plenty of praise, some owners wish the RZR 800 could muster higher absolute top speeds, especially for higher-speed desert running. This seems to be where the limits of its aging design are most evident.

Smoking the Competition: RZR 800 vs Rival Top Speeds

Speaking of speed limits, how does the RZR 800 stack up against its key rivals from Arctic Cat, Can-Am, Yamaha and others? Here’s a quick comparison of published top speeds:

  • Arctic Cat Wildcat Trail: 60 mph
  • Can-Am Maverick Trail: 60 mph
  • Kawasaki Teryx4: 47 mph
  • Yamaha YXZ1000R: 80+ mph

The older Yamaha Rhino 660 was a bit slower at 50 mph, while Arctic Cat’s Prowler 700i was closer to the RZR 800’s mid-60s mph mark.

Among sport UTVs and SxSs from the late 2000s/early 2010s, the RZR 800 was one of the faster production options straight from the factory. However, newer high-output models like the Can-Am Maverick X3 and Yamaha YXZ leave it squarely in the dust with their 80+ mph top speeds.

Mods to Increase RZR 800 Top Speed

Of course, no discussion of speed is complete without exploring modification and tuning opportunities. There are a number of aftermarket parts that can help extract more top-end velocity from the RZR 800’s powertrain:

  • Performance Air Intake – Increases airflow for more power
  • Exhaust Systems – Less restrictive exhaust tubing and mufflers
  • Engine Tuning/Reflash – Optimizes fuel and timing maps
  • Big Bore Kits – Increases displacement for more horsepower
  • Clutch Kits – Prevents belt slippage at higher RPMs
  • Taller Gear Ratios – Increases top speed at expense of acceleration

In addition to engine modifications, some owners have had success fitting larger/lighter wheels and lower-profile tires to reduce rotational mass and parasitic driveline losses.

While results vary, vehicles with multiple bolt-on parts like intake/exhaust/tuners can potentially gain 5-10 mph in top speed capability versus a completely stock setup.

Pros and Cons of High-Speed RZR Ownership

As fun as the promise of ultra-high speeds sounds, there are both advantages and drawbacks to owning a rocket-propelled RZR 800 meant for high-velocity thrills.

Key Advantages

  • Extreme acceleration thrill for adrenaline junkies
  • Ability to outrun other UTVs on open terrain
  • Greater engine reliability than highly-stressed turbo setups
  • Lower costs compared to modern 100+ mph performance UTVs

Key Disadvantages

  • Aging design limits top speed potential compared to newer models
  • Higher speeds can feel unstable and sketchy on rough terrain
  • More difficult to navigate tight trails at higher velocities
  • Higher risk of accidents/rollovers if pushing limits unwisely
  • Increased wear and tear on drivetrain components

While the RZR 800 delivers a thrilling ride, its older architecture and lack of extreme top-end speed do present some drawbacks to consider.

Top Alternatives if Speed is Your Priority

If you’re sold on the need for speed but the RZR 800’s limits give you pause, there are some alternative side-by-sides worth considering:

  • Polaris RZR Pro XP – Newer high-output 925cc engine, claimed 88 mph top speed
  • Can-Am Maverick X3 – 195 hp turbo power, verified 90+ mph capabilities
  • Yamaha YXZ1000R – Triple-cylinder 998cc powerplant, ranked as one of the fastest production UTVs

These modern performance titans sacrifice some of the lightweight agility of the RZR 800, but make up for it with astonishing straight-line speed that leaves it in the dust.

Is the Polaris RZR 800 Right for You?

With all these factors laid out, who is the ideal buyer for a used or new Polaris RZR 800?

The RZR 800 is an excellent choice for:

  • Riders who want quick acceleration and mid-60s mph top speed
  • Those on a tighter budget compared to $20,000+ performance UTVs
  • Anyone prioritizing all-around off-road capability over raw speed
  • Desert racers, dune bashers, and general high-speed trail riding

However, the 800 may not be the best fit if:

  • You demand the absolute fastest top speeds (80+ mph)
  • You mostly ride tight, technical trails where higher speeds are risky
  • You want cutting-edge modern tech and performance features
  • You have an extremely large budget for a high-end performance model

As with any powersports vehicle, being an intelligent and safety-conscious rider is crucial – especially when pushing any machine to its limits.

Troubleshooting Common RZR 800 Speed Issues

While the RZR 800 is generally a robust machine, even speed demons can encounter a few common issues over time:

  • Clutch Slippage – Glazed clutches from excess heat can slip and limit top speed. Clutch kits or resurfacing fixes this.
  • Poor Fuel Mileage – Clogged air filters or bad fuel can hurt MPG and performance. Regular maintenance is key.
  • Weak Power Delivery – Coil packs or ECU issues may require tuning/replacement to restore lost power.
  • Excessive Belt Wear – Using lower quality belts or incorrect tension/alignment causes premature wear.

Many of these troubles pop up more frequently with improperly modified engines pushed beyond stock limits. Sticking to a reputable tuner’s recommendations is wise.

Polaris RZR 800 Top Speed: FAQs

Still have some burning questions about the RZR 800’s speed potential? Here are some common community FAQs:

Will bigger tires increase my top speed?

Larger diameter tires can theoretically increase the gearing/top speed slightly, but also increase drivetrain drag. Results may vary.

What model year RZR 800 is the fastest?

Most reviews suggest the 2011 model with its 66 mph top speed rating edges out other years very slightly.

Is premium gas required to get maximum speed?

Premium fuel can provide a minor acceleration boost, but is not absolutely required for the RZR 800.

Are there any speed limiter removal options?

Yes, certain tuners offer top-speed limiter removal services to extract a few extra mph.

How do the RZR 800 S and RZR 800 XP models compare for speed?

The S and XP share the same 800cc engine. Suspension/width differences affect high-speed stability more than outright velocity.

Can I trailer or tow my RZR 800 at highway speeds?

No, the RZR’s recommended towing speed is under 60 mph to avoid potential issues. Transport accordingly.

Final Thoughts

There’s no denying the visceral adrenaline rush of the Polaris RZR 800’s robust acceleration and impressive-for-its-age 55-66 mph top speed abilities. While it may not be the ultimate velocity champion of today’s UTV scene, this spirited side-by-side carved its niche as an affordable high-speed thrill-seeker.

For the budget-minded off-road enthusiast who wants a balanced package of speed and trail capability in a compact size, the RZR 800 is still an extremely compelling choice over a decade after its debut. With some light modifications to enhance breathing and drivetrain durability, owners can push their 800s surprisingly close to the performance envelope of more modern (and costly) high-speed side-by-sides.

Of course, absolute speed demons hellbent on ego-demolishing acceleration and triple-digit top speeds will likely want to look toward the latest turbocharged rocket sleds. But for the rest of us, the RZR 800 remains a wonderfully smile-inducing speedster that packs a serious punch whether conquering dunes or devouring desert trails. Sometimes, age is just a number – and the RZR 800 is eternal proof.

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