Polaris vs Yamaha: Which Side-By-Side is Better?

The question of who builds a better side-by-side is of course subjective. But when it comes to Polaris vs Yamaha UTV clutch quality, could it be that Yamaha has the edge over Polaris?

Partzilla’s UTV expert John Talley hosts live Q&A sessions on our YouTube channel every Friday at 3pm Eastern. In this session, John was asked if he agrees with Yamaha side-by-sides being better than Polaris side-by-sides based on belts constantly blowing out on Polaris machines.

Polaris vs Yamaha side-by-side which is better?

Polaris UTV vs Yamaha UTV Q&A

Hi John. I’m trying to talk a mate out of buying a Polaris side-by-side in favor of a Yamaha. I’ve seen it time and time again, Polaris stuck on the beach with blown belts. Would you agree?

John Talley: Yeah, I kind of do. As far as the Polaris line has come from their starting days, I mean, they make good machines. But I don’t think you can beat gears for this [points at Yamaha YXZ1000R] transmission, versus running a CVT belt. It’s not if, but when the belt’s going to fail. Now, that’s not to say there aren’t things that can’t go wrong with the [Yamaha side-by-side] unit behind me. These things are notorious, especially after you pump up the power like we are on this one, that you run the risk of damaging the clutch. Hence why I put a GYTR clutch in this one. I think we added, what, four plates to it and got rid of that stupid Rekluse system because I actually know how to drive a stick shift, so come on. Anyway, back to your question, in favor of the Yamaha, well, even some of the Yamahas are belt-driven as well. But they seem to have done a little bit better of a job with their CVT system than Polaris. With Polaris, especially when you start modifying and messing around with the gear ratios, means if you put larger rims and tires on it, it’s going to change the gear ratio. And that’s when they tend to fail. The other thing that causes them to fail is that everybody thinks you’re supposed to run them in high all the time. No, if you’re in the tight woods and you’re sub 30 miles an hour, put it in low. If you’re leaving it at high, that puts so much stress on the belt because it is at the extremes as far as being on the driven clutch versus the drive clutch. And of course, that much torque instead of being equidistant on the sheaves, it’s going to burn up one end faster than the other. But hey, I’m a Yamaha guy myself when it comes to these things, or a Honda. However, there are a lot of people who live and die by the Polaris, so to each their own. Just ride it and maintain it appropriately. 

Buy OEM Yamaha UTV parts

Buy OEM Polaris UTV parts

Watch the video below to see how to do a clutch installation on a Polaris RZR900 side-by-side.

Watch the video below to see how to do a clutch upgrade on a Yamaha YXZ1000R side-by-side.

Watch the video below to see how to rebuild a CVT clutch system.

Want to see more live repair questions answered? See more motorcycle and ATV repair questions answered here.



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