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 1500+ 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.
We see people break reverse chains in mud all the time. 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.
Check out ol’ Hambone here doing just that.
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.
Now let’s say your buddy had decided to winch out of that mud hole instead reversing. 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 on flat ground, not the weight of two machines plus your bud.
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.
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 then you might as well have traded your winch for a match to light your wallet on fire.
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.
This guy barely tapped the gas and that’s all it took.
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 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 the terrain without spinning when you floor it, 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 chain, your weekend, and your transmission. Might as well kiss all your cash goodbye while you’re at it, too.
Chances are, you won’t be able to follow all those rules every time, and if we 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.
Our heavy-duty reverse chain is nearly double the strength and actually built to handle your 2000 lb. RZR. The advantage is clear, just make sure you upgrade now before your busted OEM chain blows a hole in your transmission.