Powering the SXS
is a V-Twin 837cc engine with 4 valves per cylinder and sporting a closed loop fuel injection system. The engine is built for John Deere by Piaggio, under John Deere’s guidance and control. It features a dry-sump oiling system which helps keep it running cooler and without aeration and foaming of the oil. It produces 62hp and 59.5 ft-lbs of torque. The alternator on it puts out 450W. There is an over-spin limiter built into the ECU, that keeps the wheels from being spun too fast after jump launches. Power is not cut like some other brands do, but rather, keeps the wheels from spinning out of control. John Deere wouldn’t allow me to jump the machine, so I couldn’t test that portion of it, but never had it affect me when spinning the tires on loose dirt. The rear differential is a locking diff, controlled from the dash. You can switch back and forth to 4WD, but John Deere told us to keep it under 8mph while doing so. Anytime you lock the rear diff, the machine should be stopped.
Driving the RSX thru heavy rutted areas showed the quality of the OEM
Fox shocks. But for those that wish to push the machine harder, optional Fox Podium 2.0 Reservoir Shocks are a factory option. The suspension on the front is a dual a-arm coilover shock setup with 9 inches of travel. The rear setup is a multi-link, dual a-arm setup, mounted on an angle to create a semi-trailing arm arrangement with 9 inches travel. As mentioned, non-reservoir Fox Shocks come standard on the base machine. Ground clearance is 10.5 inches. A-arms are cast arms.
Base seats are a mid-back arrangement as seen in the XUV825i Gators, but a suspension type, high back contoured bucket seat is available, which also includes fore and aft adjustability (which the base seat doesn’t have). Leg room is ample for guys up to 6’5”. But I did notice the room was just a bit more tight than an Arctic Cat Prowler, but much better than a Teryx. Headroom in the RSX is more than adequate for taller riders.
The dumping cargo box has 8.91 cu.ft. storage and optional high side rails available for those that need to haul bigger loads. Payload is rated at 800lbs. Towing is rated at 1200lbs. The RSX weighs in at 1300lbs. Turning radius is 12.3ft. Doors with automotive style latches are standard on the RSX. They are a plastic over steel structure, rear opening door. Easy in and out. The parking brake was a push once to apply, push again to release setup. At first glance, I was afraid it was too close to the brake pedal, but never felt it to be in the way while out on the course. There is a storage under the front hood. Not a huge area, but still large enough to carry several jackets, a first aid kit and more. There is a non-locking glove box that uses a positive latch.
Base level tires are 25-8-12 front and 25-10-12 rear Ancla M-T s on steel wheels. Maxxis Big Horn 2.0 in 26 inch sizes, on alloy wheels, are optional.
Driving the RSX showed some characteristics that surprised me coming from a tractor manufacture. The RSX had good acceleration with the “Tight Belt” setup. Where most machines slack off in the corners as the belt picks up slack, the RSX kept the belt tight and allowed for good exiting of the corners under power. It was easy to break the rear tires loose and powerslide through the corners. Tracking on straight-a-ways was true and stable. Steering felt good and had decent feedback of what the wheels were doing. I never had the feel that it was getting ready to roll on the limited course we ran, but center of gravity was lower than on many other SXSs.
The brakes are 4 wheel disc brakes. They felt good, but might benefit if John Deere goes to a 14 inch wheel with bigger discs and calipers to prevent fading from repeated use and abuse.
Overall, John Deere did good for a farm boy. The RSX isn’t going to set the world on fire, that is left to the RZR-XPs and Wildcats. But for the average trail rider, the guy that needs to do some property maintenance during the week and wants to go play on the weekends, the RSX850i will serve well. It fits nicely into the niche that the Kawasaki Teryx, Yamaha Rhino, Can Am Commander and Arctic Cat Prowler now hold. Trail versions and sport versions will be available this coming late spring and summer to a dealer near you. Pricing will be in the mid $12G to mid $15G range, sitting in perfectly with the market. And for having Fox Podium 2.0 Shocks , Maxxis Bighorn 2.0 and more in the higher end prices, the value is there.
Companies like DragonFire Racing have already toyed with concepts for the RSX, so there should be some LT kits coming out. John Deere might even market a LT kit in the sport version if enough demand is there. I got all this from Side by Sides - Pirate4x4.Com Bulletin Board
So give credit where it is due.