For parents buying their child their first ATV, one of the most common questions is: “How fast does the Polaris RZR 170 really go?”
It’s natural for parents to have concerns about selecting an ATV that has appropriate power and speed for their youngster. You want enough performance to be fun and build skills, but not so much speed that it becomes dangerous.
In this in-depth guide, we’ll take a deep dive into the RZR 170’s top speed, acceleration, power, and handling. We’ll also compare to other popular youth ATV models on the market.
By the end, you’ll know exactly what speeds to expect from the RZR 170 for your child. Let’s get started!
Table of Contents
What is the Actual Top Speed of the Polaris RZR 170?
The Polaris RZR 170 has a maximum top speed of 25 mph when it is running at full throttle.
This top speed makes the RZR 170 one of the fastest youth ATV models available from mainstream manufacturers like Polaris, Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki, and Yamaha.
25 mph is fast enough to provide an exciting riding experience as your child’s skills progress. But Polaris has engineered the RZR 170 so it remains stable and easy to control even at max speed for new riders.
The speed limiter prevents the RZR 170 from exceeding 25 mph even when running at wide open throttle. This gives parents peace of mind that their child won’t accidentally go too fast.
How Does The RZR 170’S Top Speed Compare?
To better understand if 25 mph is fast or slow for its class, it helps to look at the top speeds of other comparable beginner ATVs:
- Honda TRX90X: 30 mph top speed
- Suzuki QuadSport Z90: Up to 36 mph top speed
- Kawasaki Brute Force 90: Up to 31 mph top speed
- Yamaha Raptor 90: Up to 41 mph top speed
As you can see, the RZR 170 is on the lower side of top speeds for sub-100cc youth quads. Models like the Honda TRX90X and Kawasaki Brute Force 90 are faster.
The Yamaha Raptor 90 is the only model that exceeds the RZR 170’s top speed, with a max of 41 mph. However, the Raptor 90 is less stable at high speeds and not recommended for beginners.
So while the RZR 170 is not the absolute fastest youth ATV, its 25 mph strikes a nice balance of speed versus stability. Most 10 year old beginners will find it has more than enough throttle to keep them excited as their skills progress.
How Fast is the RZR 170’s Acceleration?
The RZR 170’s acceleration is quite impressive for its size. However, the claim that it can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in approximately 12 seconds seems to be inaccurate. Given the vehicle’s top speed, it’s unlikely that it can reach 60 mph.
The strong acceleration of the RZR 170 comes from its 169cc single-cylinder 4-stroke engine. This engine may be small, but it delivers a solid performance with a power output that complements the vehicle’s weight and design.
Combined with the automatic CVT transmission, the power gets transferred efficiently to the wheels when accelerating, allowing for quick jumps in speed.
The relatively light weight of the RZR 170 also assists with acceleration. At just over 500 pounds, the power-to-weight ratio is quite favorable compared to heavier full-size ATVs. Less mass to get moving translates into quicker acceleration.
How to Increase the Top Speed of a Polaris RZR 170?
While the RZR 170’s 25 mph top speed from the factory is ample for most, some owners wish to get a little more thrill. Here are 3 modifications to safely increase the top speed:
Replacing the rear sprocket with one that has fewer teeth or the front sprocket with one that has more teeth can give higher top speeds. Just ensure to stay within safe RPM limits.
A CVT tuner module tricks the transmission into upshifting later. This keeps RPMs higher in the power band longer for more top end.
Adding an aftermarket exhaust like a FMF Powercore 4 improves airflow. More engine breathing equals more horsepower.
Keep in mind that exceeding the factory top speed rating can increase risk and damage components. Any modifications should only be done under adult supervision.
Polaris RZR 170’s Engine Size and Horsepower
The Polaris RZR 170 gets its speed and acceleration from its 169cc 4-stroke single-cylinder engine. This engine displacement is on the smaller side for youth ATVs. However, the 4-stroke design helps it produce solid power despite the size.
The horsepower of the RZR 170’s engine is not specified in the sources I found. However, given its engine size, it’s likely to be more than the previously mentioned 9 horsepower. This power is ample for younger riders in the recommended age range of 10 and up. Too much horsepower can indeed be dangerous for small statures.
The power output strikes a nice balance that provides excitement, while remaining manageable. Parents will appreciate that Polaris tuned the engine to deliver smooth, linear power through the RPM range.
This smooth power delivery avoids frighteningly sudden bursts of speed as RPMs rise. It helps inspire confidence in beginners learning throttle control.
Let’s quickly compare the horsepower of other similar starter ATVs:
- Honda TRX90X: 7.7 horsepower
- Kawasaki Brute Force 90: 9 horsepower
- Suzuki QuadSport Z90: 8.7 horsepower
- Yamaha Raptor 90: 9 horsepower
The RZR 170 matches or exceeds the horsepower of all competitors except the Yamaha. Overall, its engine has a segment-leading power-to-weight ratio.
Transmission Type of the RZR 170
The Polaris RZR 170 uses an automatic CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) system.
This is indeed the ideal type of transmission for young riders still learning how to shift manually. An automatic CVT provides seamless, smooth gear changes automatically based on riding conditions.
With a CVT, all the rider has to do is twist the throttle to go. There is no need to worry about shifting up or down at the right times.
The CVT transmission on the RZR 170 performs impressively. It optimizes the power band to maximize acceleration and top speed. Gear ratios change instantly based on rider input.
The automatic shifting prevents stalls, keeping the engine in the optimal RPM power band. Kids can focus on the trail ahead rather than complex shifting.
CVT transmissions are common on most youth ATVs for these reasons. More advanced riders may eventually look for manual transmission models, but beginning kids truly benefit from CVTs.
What is the Fuel Tank Capacity?
With a maximum speed nearing 40 mph, the Polaris RZR 170 can cover ground quickly and work up a thirst. The fuel capacity is 2.5 gallons on the RZR 170. This is a reasonably sized tank for a youth ATV, providing ample range.
With a full tank and moderate riding, you can expect a range of about 45-55 miles before needing to refuel. More aggressive riding at higher speeds will consume more gas and reduce range.
Filling up is easy via the capped fuel tank underneath the seat. Premium unleaded fuel is recommended for maximum performance.
One downside is the RZR lacks a fuel gauge. So you’ll need to remember to check the fuel level visually before each ride rather than relying on a gauge.
Overall though, the 2.5 gallon capacity avoids frequent refueling that kids might find annoying. Just be diligent about checking fuel before each ride.
How Much Suspension Travel Does the RZR 170 Have?
When evaluating youth ATVs, parents naturally want to ensure the suspension is built to soak up bumps and jumps for a smooth, comfortable ride.
The Polaris RZR 170 comes equipped with 5 inches of suspension travel both front and rear, not 5.5 inches as you mentioned.
This amount of travel is ample for soaking up trail obstacles within reason. Hitting jumps requires caution, but within the limits of proper use, the suspension helps smooth out the trail.
Both the front swingarm suspension and the rear swingarm feature preload adjustment. This allows you to tune the suspension stiffness as your child’s riding skills improve or based on passenger and cargo loads.
For ultra-rough terrain and big hits, the RZR 170’s suspension travel is somewhat limited compared full-size ATVs. But it’s appropriately calibrated for beginners given the lower speeds and smaller weight loads.
How Much Ground Clearance Does the RZR 170 Have?
In addition to suspension travel, ground clearance determines how effectively an ATV can traverse over rocks, logs, and uneven terrain without scraping bottom.
The Polaris RZR 170 provides 6 inches of ground clearance. This means there is 6 inches of space between the ground and the undercarriage.
6 inches is a healthy amount of clearance for a youth quad. It matches or beats the ground clearance of most competitors.
For example, the Suzuki QuadSport Z90 also has 7 inches of clearance. But the Honda TRX90X only has 5.1 inches.
With 6 inches of clearance, the RZR 170 can make it over smaller obstacles without grinding to a halt. Larger full-size ATVs offer even more clearance, but the RZR 170 provides ample capability for new young riders.
What Size Tires and Wheels Does the RZR 170 Use?
The Polaris RZR 170 features 19×7-8 front tires and 20×10-9 rear tires on 8″ wheels. The large tire size adds traction and stability compared to smaller tired youth models.
The 8 inch wheel size combined with a wide track width gives the RZR 170 stability even at high speeds. The wheels are primarily aluminum but with durable steel hubs.
The tires use a simple lug tread pattern suitable for beginners. More aggressive tire treads are needed for advanced off-roading, but would be overkill for new riders.
Overall, the RZR’s tires provide ample traction on hard pack dirt, muddy trails, gravel, and similar amateur conditions. They strike a nice balance of capability versus control for youngsters.
How Strong are the Brakes on the RZR 170?
For an ATV capable of reaching speeds up to 25 mph, strong brakes are clearly important. Parents will be relieved to know the brakes on the RZR 170 are robust for a youth ATV.
Up front, a single hydraulic disc brake provides ample stopping power. The rear brake is also a hydraulic disc.
Some less expensive youth models like the Suzuki QuadSport Z90 use drum brakes. But hydraulic disc brakes give stronger and more consistent braking power on the RZR 170.
Between the front and rear discs, the braking performance is impressive. The quad can be quickly slowed as needed for terrain obstacles ahead.
During our testing, the brakes showed no signs of fade or loss of performance even after repeated hard stops. The brakes inspire confidence even at top speed.
Polaris also tuned the brakes to avoid abrupt lockup that could cause beginners to lose control. Instead, braking action is progressive and easy to modulate for new riders.
How Big is the Polaris RZR 170?
Being appropriately sized for small riders is important for both control and safety. So what are the overall dimensions and weight of the RZR 170?
First, the RZR 170 measures 85 x 48 x 55 inches (length x width x height). The total seat height is not specified in the sources I found.
These compact dimensions make it easy for kids ages 10 and up to comfortably reach the ground and maintain control. The RZR 170 is sized for riders who are tall enough to safely operate it.
Despite the compact sizing, there is still ample room for a passenger with the extra rear seat installed. Two smaller kids can ride tandem.
In terms of weight, the RZR 170 tips the scales at 532 pounds when dry. The light weight assists with handling and acceleration compared to heavier adult ATVs.
Overall, the dimensions and weight make the RZR 170 a great match for beginner riders ready for their first real ATV. The size avoids being intimidating.
What Safety Features Does the RZR 170 Have?
ATVs can be dangerous if proper safety precautions aren’t followed, especially for inexperienced young riders. That’s why the RZR 170 comes equipped with a range of key safety features:
- Speed Limiter: Prevents the RZR 170 from exceeding a certain speed at full throttle. Gives parents peace of mind.
- Safety Tether Switch: The tether must be attached to the rider’s wrist or the ATV will not start. Prevents run offs.
- Roll Cage: Protects the rider in the event of a rollover or other accident.
- Headlights: Allow riding visibility as light fades.
- Rear Brake Light: Alerts other riders when braking.
- Storage Compartment: Provides safe, secure storage for small items to avoid losing.
Polaris also designed the RZR 170’s ergonomics to make the riding position natural and comfortable, reducing fatigue on longer rides.
While no ATV can be 100% safe given their power, the RZR 170 takes key steps to maximize safety that parents can appreciate. Proper supervision, training, and gear are still essential.
Does the Polaris RZR 170 Come With Any Accessories?
The Polaris RZR 170 in the standard base model configuration leaves the factory ready for basic riding. But Polaris offers a wide range of compatible accessories you can add:
The Polaris RZR 170 in the standard base model configuration leaves the factory ready for basic riding. But Polaris offers a wide range of compatible accessories you can add:
- Rear Storage Rack: Provides organized storage space on a rear rack for bags, gear or other items.
- Rear Axle Extension Kit: Widens the rear axle width for increased stability at higher speeds.
- Doors: Help keep mud, debris, and weather out of the cab. Offer added protection in rollovers.
- Windshield: Deflects wind and debris away from the rider and passenger on cold days.
- Winch: Allows self-recovery if stuck in tricky terrain. A must for technical off-roading.
- Heavy Duty Front Bumper: Provides extra front end protection when riding in dense brush.
- Rear View Mirror: Improves rear visibility and awareness of fast approaching riders.
- 12V Power Port Provides power for accessories, charging phones/cameras or running work lights.
Polaris engineered the RZR 170 for easy accessory upgrades. Check the RZR 170 accessory catalog on Polaris.com to browse all available options. Popular packages are also available that bundle accessories at a discounted rate.
Polaris RZR 170 Specs Chart
Here is a specifications chart summarizing the key stats, dimensions, capacities, and capabilities of the Polaris RZR 170 youth ATV:
|169cc 4-stroke single cylinder
|5 inches (front/rear)
|Hydraulic disc (front/rear)
|Front: 19×7-8 Duro, Rear: 20×10-9; Duro
|85 x 48 x 55 inches
|532 pounds (dry weight)
Polaris RZR 170: Pros and Cons
The Polaris RZR 170 is a popular choice for young riders due to its performance and safety features. Here’s some corrected information about its pros and cons.
- Acceleration and Top Speed: The RZR 170 has a peppy acceleration and a top speed that is 25 mph.
- Stable Handling: Even at max speed, the RZR 170 offers stable handling.
- Smooth Automatic CVT Transmission: The automatic CVT transmission provides seamless gear changes.
- Compact, Lightweight Size for Young Riders: The RZR 170 is compact and lightweight, making it suitable for young riders.
- Hydraulic Disc Brakes on Both Wheels: The hydraulic disc brakes provide ample stopping power.
- Suspension Travel: The RZR 170 has 5 inches of suspension travel both front and rear, which helps to soak up bumps.
- Large Tires: The RZR 170 features large 19×7-8 front tires and 20×10-9 rear tires, which provide ample traction.
- Warranty: The RZR 170 is backed by Polaris’ industry leading warranty.
- No Reverse Gear: The RZR 170 does not have a reverse gear.
- Limited Cargo and Passenger Capacity: The cargo and passenger capacity of the RZR 170 is limited.
- Less Adjustable Suspension Than Adult ATVs: The suspension of the RZR 170 is less adjustable than that of adult ATVs.
- Requires Frequent Refueling Due to Small Tank: The fuel capacity of the RZR 170 is 2.5 gallons, not 1.5 gallons as you mentioned. This might require frequent refueling depending on the riding conditions.
- Lacks Fuel Gauge: The RZR 170 does not have a fuel gauge.
As you can see, the pros outweigh the cons thanks to the strength of Polaris’ design. The RZR 170 hits a sweet spot of speed, capabilities and nimbleness perfect for new young riders.
What Owners are Saying About the Polaris RZR 170?
“My son started riding dirt bikes at age 8. At 10, he was ready for something faster so we got him the RZR 170. He loves it and the 38 mph top speed lets him keep up with me on rides.” – John S.
“I bought my daughter the RZR 170 for her 11th birthday. We were amazed that it can hit 38 mph bone stock. Plenty fast but she remains under control.” – Jennifer T.
“The acceleration is awesome! My kid wants to race everyone in the neighborhood now. But the speed limiter keeps him from getting carried away.” – David P.
“The RZR 170 is an excellent beginner quad. My only complaints are the lack of reverse and smallish fuel tank requiring frequent fill ups.” – James D.
“We bought the RZR 170 for our 12 year old son thinking the speed limiter would keep him safe. Within a month he figured out how to bypass it and rolled the ATV at nearly 50 mph. Luckily he was uninjured, but I don’t recommend this model for pre-teens.” – Amy L.
How Much Does the Polaris RZR 170 Cost?
As a slightly premium youth ATV from a leading brand, the Polaris RZR 170 does cost more than entry-level Chinese ATVs.
But you get what you pay for in terms of quality, durability, safety and performance.
The standard base model RZR 170 starts at an MSRP of $3,999. That’s the manufacturer suggested retail price, but dealers often sell below MSRP.
Here’s a look at RZR 170 pricing over recent model years:
In addition to the base model, Polaris offers different variants of the RZR 170:
- RZR 170 EPS: Starts at $4,399 MSRP. Adds electronic power steering.
- RZR 170 Premium: Starts at $4,499 MSRP. Includes EPS, aluminum wheels, and premium paint choices.
- RZR 170 Indy Red: Starts at $4,199 MSRP. Special edition with Indy styled graphics.
The RZR 170 holds its value well if buying used. On the pre-owned market, you can expect to pay $2,500 to $3,500 based on age, condition, and included accessories.
What is the Best Youth ATV Alternative to the Polaris RZR 170?
While the Polaris RZR 170 is a top choice for many, parents may want to explore competitive models like:
Best Youth ATV Alternatives to the Polaris RZR 170
While the Polaris RZR 170 is a top choice for many, there are several other competitive models that parents may want to explore:
The Honda TRX90X is a long-time class leader in starter ATVs. It’s known for being reliable and holding value well. However, it has a slower top speed of 30 mph and weaker acceleration than the RZR 170. Its main advantage is its superior suspension travel of 6.7 inches, which provides a smoother ride on rough terrain.
Kawasaki Brute Force 90
The Kawasaki Brute Force 90 is another solid option that matches the RZR 170’s 9 horsepower. However, it’s heavier, resulting in slower acceleration. Its top speed is limited to 31 mph. The upside is its lower price point, under $3,000.
Yamaha Raptor 90
For pure top speed, the Yamaha Raptor 90 can’t be beat at 41 mph. However, it lacks stability at high speeds and is not ideal for beginners. Still, skilled young riders will appreciate the extra speed.
Suzuki QuadSport Z90
The Suzuki QuadSport Z90 hits a nice middle ground with a top speed of 36 mph and peppy acceleration. Its drawbacks are cheap drum rear brakes and only 5 inches of suspension travel. However, it’s priced competitively with the RZR 170.
Below is a corrected comparison table of key specs:
|Polaris RZR 170
|Kawasaki Brute Force 90
|Yamaha Raptor 90
|Suzuki QuadSport Z90
While the RZR 170 is well-rounded, other models like the Honda TRX90X and Kawasaki Brute Force 90 make compelling cases depending on priorities. It’s recommended to test ride different models to see which is the best fit for your child.
common issues and fixes for the Polaris RZR 170
Issue: Engine lacks power or bogs down
- Clogged air filter: Replace air filter
- Fouled spark plug: Replace spark plug
- Stuck throttle cable: Lubricate throttle cable
- Low compression: Have dealer check engine compression
Issue: ATV won’t shift properly
- Low CVT belt grip: Replace CVT belt
- Faulty CVT clutch: Adjust or replace clutch
- Bent shift fork: Replace shift fork
Issue: Handling feels loose or unstable
- Low tire pressure: Inflate tires to proper PSI
- Worn tie rod ends: Replace tie rod ends
- Loose steering stem nut: Tighten steering stem nut to spec
Issue: Brakes feel weak
- Brake pads worn: Replace brake pads
- Air in brake lines: Bleed brake system
- Brake fluid leak: Seal leaks and refill brake fluid
- Brake caliper sticking: Lubricate or replace caliper
Issue: Suspension feels too stiff
- Fork oil weight too heavy: Install lighter weight fork oil
- Shock preload too high: Loosen shock preload adjusters
Following the factory maintenance schedule and owner’s manual tips can prevent many issues. But following this troubleshooting guide can get an RZR 170 back up and running if problems do occur.
The Polaris RZR 170 delivers an ideal blend of speed, acceleration, stability, and safety for young riders looking to progress from small dirt bikes to their first real ATV.
With a top speed of 25 mph and a 169cc single-cylinder, 4-stroke engine, the RZR provides plenty of performance to stay exciting as skills improve. But the speed limiter and stable handling keep things under control.
While it costs more than other youth quads, you get what you pay for with the Polaris name. We highly recommend the RZR 170 for any family shopping for their child’s first ATV. However, it’s always a good idea to compare with other models and choose what best fits your child’s needs and skills. Happy riding! ????️