Polaris vehicles have one big, well-known problem: the reverse chain. This problem mainly affects the RZR line and the RZR 1000 in particular but no matter what you drive, you're bound to hear countless stories of people breaking their reverse chains.
Why do they break so easily? It's pretty obvious when you take a look at the chain itself—it's basically a glorified bicycle chain that's tasked with moving all 1000+ lbs (plus passengers) all by itself. In many situations, it's just not up to the task.
We put together this list of guidelines so you can make your reverse chain last longer and extend the fun. You can still drive however you want when you're going forward, it's just when you're going backwards that you need to turn down the crazy and be a little more thoughtful.
Don't Reverse in Thick/Deep Mud
This is a situation we see a lot. We find the biggest longest mud hole in the county, and Big Bo thinks he can get through it on his lifted machine with stock tires as long as he keeps the pedal floored—and he almost does! But he can't quite get up the far end of the hole and stops. We all know he should just winch it, but Big Bo doesn't accept failure; he just needs another run-up. He throws it in reverse, taps on gas, and BANG! There goes his reverse chain.
Typically, that mud puts too much drag on your machine, and combined with the weight of your vehicle, it's too much force for the stock reverse chain to handle. When in doubt winch it out! If you don't have a winch get one! You'll want a 4500 lb. winch or a 5000 lb. winch for these big Polaris vehicles that are most prone to popping their reverse chains.
Don’t Tow Vehicles Out Using Reverse
Now let's say Big Bo had decided to winch out of that mud hole instead. But there's just one problem: There are no trees in sight. You generously drive to the edge of the hole and offer your front brush guard as an anchor point. You attach his hook, throw it in reverse, hit the gas, and CRACK! That's the sound of your reverse chain exploding and punching a hole in your transmission.
Again, your dinky reverse chain is just big enough to handle the weight of your machine, not the weight of two machines plus Big Bo.
So don't tow in reverse. Instead, offer up the rear bumper for an anchor point if you must, but remember, an environmental anchor point is usually better. Not to mention, we know of at least one person being eaten because they tried to tow in reverse.
Don't Reverse Up a Hill
Reversing up a hill is a bad idea and you're practically guaranteed to blow that chain. If you've got your nose down, your butt high, and there's no way out but up, it's time to call for some help. It's also a good time to order that extra winch for the rear end of your machine.
That winch will pull you up that hill in a jiffy. Don't rush it! If you're tempted to help by giving it a little reverse gas, you're just going to blow your chain, and you hate to see that.
Seriously, a winch is a cheaper, better insurance policy than you can get anywhere. Just make sure you get a good one like a Black Ops winch
Don't Slam on the Gas in Reverse
You know what's fun? Flying through the trail with the pedal in the don't-stop-for-nothin' position. As long as you're moving forward it's an experience that can't be beat, but don't be surprised when that same strategy leads to a broken chain when you throw it in reverse. That chain doesn't like going from zero to full throttle like that.
Instead, go easy on the throttle when you're reversing. It's (probably) not a race, and you'll be going nowhere fast if it breaks.
Wheels Wedged? Don't Try Reverse!
Wheels and tires can lock up in a number of interesting ways. Sometimes they get wedged between rocks, sometimes the lugs are aggressive enough to grip without spinning, or sometimes your tires are just too heavy to turn. You think you can throw it in reverse to get them unwedged right? Wrong.
You'll feel that tell-tale belt slip, the bottom will fall out of your throttle, then BAM! You get the idea. Say goodbye to your reverse, your weekend, and your transmission. Might as well kiss all your cash goodbye while you're at it.
What do You do When it Breaks?
Chances are, you won't be able to follow all those rules every time, and if I know you, you're going to push the limits of your machine every ride. That's ok, don't worry about it. Just know that eventually you're going to break your chain unless you drive like a grandma.
What now? Let me take you through the steps. First, since you weren't driving like a grandma before your chain broke, you really need to drive like a grandma now. That's because that loose chain is just begging to get caught between your transmission gears and lead to a catastrophic failure.
Get your machine to the trailer as quickly and as gently as possible. Once you get it back home to the shop and you've assessed the damage it's time to make a choice: replace your chain with that tiny stock chain, or go big with one of SuperATV's double wide, heavy duty reverse chains.
Go with stock and you can keep driving like a grandma (and just hope to high heaven that your transmission doesn't explode the next time it breaks.) Go with SuperATV's heavy duty reverse chain and you can drive however you want wherever you want, and forget you ever read this article. Take a look for yourself and you'll know what you need to do.