The suspension system on the Polaris Ranger can’t compare to something like an RZR, but for most riders, the stock Ranger suspension is good enough. Depending on the edition and year of your Ranger, you can adjust your suspension to match your style of riding and the terrain you’re driving over. Alternatively, you can also install aftermarket springs, shocks, and entire suspension systems in your ranger to improve its performance. Either way, we’ll give you our two cents as to the best Polaris Ranger suspension systems and setups.
Adjusting The Suspension On Your Polaris Ranger
You can greatly affect the ride of your Ranger by adjusting the suspension. Be it a 900, a 1000 XP, or a Northstar edition, you should be able to make adjustments to your Ranger’s suspension -- that is, unless it’s a rather old Ranger. You can not only adjust the hardness of your suspension, but the rebound, preload, and other settings as well depending on your shocks. Typically, the stiffer the spring, the harder the ride. But you can adjust the spring’s preload settings to change your ride height as well.
You can move the shocks to the outward hole and give your rig some height and stiffness. If you’re looking for ground clearance but like soft suspension, our suggestion would be to get something like a 3” bracket lift. It’s cheap and leaves your suspension on the lowest setting while still giving you added height.
Augmenting Your Polaris Ranger Suspension
If adjusting your shock settings isn’t cutting it but you don’t want a full-blown aftermarket suspension setup for your Polaris Ranger, you may want to consider upgrading just the springs. S3 springs, for example, will give you more suspension travel as well as a slight lift. If you’re running a lift larger than 3-4 inches, there could be axle issues along the line if you stick with factory axles, but many riders change out their axles anyways to get the right angles and geometry in their Ranger. You can check your factory specs on the axle angle. You may be pushing the limits with a lift and HD springs, but aftermarket Ranger axles like the Rhino 2.0s have a larger angle ability than stocks.
If you want a little more suspension travel when you ride trails and other sketchy areas, but still use your Ranger for farm and ranch work as well, the S3 HD springs are perfect. Those types of suspension springs are for heavy loads, things like the snow plows and such. But you can also get them for hauling deer, corn, and things of that nature without worrying about overloading your springs.
There are different front shocks depending on the year of your Polaris Ranger as well. Some have aluminum bodies, while others have steel bodies. You can always try long travel a-arms and things of that nature, but the only way to increase travel is if you have hl shocks and you switch to non hl shocks -- on a factory machine that is. A better solution is the SuperATV big lift without the lift bracket and RZR 1000 front shocks all the way around. You will still need to add some preload to the rear to get it back to level, but the ride and handling are night and day versus stock or stock with a 3” lift.
In terms of spring length, not all Polaris suspension springs are easily compatible with every year and edition of the Polaris Ranger. We’ve talked to many riders who though that the turbos are dual rate and XP’s are progressive rate springs. But the dual rate/progressive rate being turbo/1000 dependent actually depends on what year you have. Furthermore, they aren’t dual rate, they just have tender springs. There is no doubt that the 2018+ Polaris Rangers are leaps and bounds more advanced than the older models where suspension is concerned. However, the stock shocks will not handle well under all circumstances.
Take the 2019 Polaris Ranger Crew as an example. If you’ve ever taken one for a spin, you’ll know that the more people you have in it, the better it rides, and the harder you push it, the more you appreciate the dual sway bars. If you aren't using the capacity of the machine, the shocks will likely be a little on the stiff side. Even on the softest setting and rebound, the shocks still seems a little slow. That said, even the crew has a light nimble feel in the woods, while the older Polaris Rangers felt more like driving a school bus. Although a Ranger will never perform like an RZR, you’ll still be able to hot foot your machine through some tight trails with enough practice.
Suspension Upgrades For The Polaris Ranger
There are quite a few aftermarket suspension kits for the Polaris Ranger, such as the ones by Elka and Walker Evans. Another good company for aftermarket Polaris Ranger suspension kits is 814. They’re half the price of the other suspension kits, and arguably perform as good, if not better. They have both the Trail series for the trail riders, and Dominators for high speed applications.
With such suspension setups, you might need a limiter strap as the shocks have more travel than the suspension. The straps keep your axle from binding from too much angle. You can also get rid of the front sway bar to get more travel and a smoother ride. But with regards to the rear sway bar, most suspension manufacturers include a rear sway bar in the back that is set exactly where it needs to be. Any higher and it might be prudent to remove it in order to get the most droop out of your shocks, but these guys know what they’re doing and are ten steps ahead.
We’ve known Polaris Ranger owners that upgraded to the Bandit UTV Suspension Shocks and really liked them. They are completely rebuildable, and the founder is a former pro rider, so you know he is very knowledgeable. L&W fab out of Ga is developing a long travel kit, but they have yet to release it to the public. As it stands, though, your options for aftermarket shocks, springs, and other suspension components is quite broad.