Up until it was phased out for the Polaris RZR 200 in 2021, the Polaris RZR 170 was one of the most popular sport utility vehicles designed for youth.
While this model is intended for drivers ages 10 and up, it is roomy enough and powerful enough to motor around some teenagers and smaller adults.
That said, it is equipped with an adjustable safety feature that limits the speed of the vehicle with younger drivers in mind.
So what is the Polaris RZR 170 top speed?
And as one of the more expensive youth models available, is the RZR 170 really worth the money?
This guide will help answer those questions and examine the following:
- RZR 170 top speed before adjusting throttle limiter
- Top speed after adjusting throttle limiter
- A little-known way to further increase the top speed with a simple additional modification to the throttle limiter
- Other ways to further increase the RZR 170 top speed
- Overview of the key specs, features, and performance of this model
- The main pros and cons to consider before buying one
RZR 170 Top Speed
Powered by a 169cc single-cylinder engine and a chain drive that provides power to the rear wheels only, the RZR 170 top speed is 25 mph.
This model is geared low which gives it good acceleration and quickness, but does limit the top speed.
It reaches the same speed as one of Polaris’ other youth UTVs, the Polaris Ranger 150, but gets there quicker.
However, it may take some adjusting to have the RZR 170 topping out at 25 mph, as the existence of a throttle limiter restricts the top speed out of the box.
If your vehicle is not able to reach 25 mph, this throttle limiter is likely the reason.
Adjusting The Throttle Limiter
The RZR 170 is intended for drivers ages 10 and up, so Polaris has included a speed control system in the form of an adjustable throttle limiting screw as a safety feature for younger riders.
While in place for good reason, this feature can be a little disappointing for riders when they find that the vehicle can barely top 15 mph out of the box.
Fortunately, the throttle limiter can be easily adjusted via the throttle limiting screw located behind the gas pedal.
To give the vehicle more speed, owners can loosen the jam nut that holds the screw in place, and then turn the screw inward to increase speed. Conversely, turning the screw outward will reduce speed.
When you’ve turned the screw outward to your desired speed setting, tighten the jam nut to secure the screw in place in that position.
While this will enable the RZR 170 to reach its advertised top speed of 25 mph, there’s a little-known way to increase the speed even more.
Adjust the Throttle Limit Tab
For those whose children say 25 mph isn’t fast enough, adjusting the throttle limit tab to give the gas pedal a little more play will have your RZR 170 running at top speeds of around 35 mph and have you in the running for parent of the year.
This can be done by simply bending the tab that the throttle limiter bolt is attached to slightly forward so the gas pedal can max out.
You can remove the throttle screw altogether, but you’re better off bending the tab that the throttle limiter bolt is attached to so the pedal still has something to bottom out on.
If not, the throttle cable may overstretch over time and eventually offer less throttle than you had to begin with.
Additional Ways To Increase RZR 170 Top Speed
If you’ve made both throttle limiter adjustments and 25 mph still isn’t fast enough for your kiddos, there are some ways to potentially increase the top speed to around 40 mph.
While it still won’t keep up with the likes of the RZR 1000, it will go fast enough to keep most younger riders interested.
Change The Gearing
By changing the gearing, owners can either increase the acceleration or the top speed. But there’s a tradeoff, because when you increase one, you slightly decrease the other.
To increase top-end speed, you can replace the front sprocket with a slightly bigger sprocket.
The Polaris RZR 170 comes equipped with a stock 12-tooth front sprocket and 32-tooth rear sprocket. To increase the top speed, consider moving to a 13-tooth or 14-tooth front sprocket.
Just keep in mind that this will affect the low-end torque slightly.
Have the Electronic Control Unit Tuned
Owners can also have the ECU in the RZR 170 tuned to increase the overall performance of the machine.
A tune will calculate the optimal air to fuel ratios for your vehicle and apply those to every level of RPMs and throttle position.
This should result in improved throttle response, torque, and power.
Specs, Key Features, & Performance
Engine & Drivetrain
The RZR 170 is powered by a 169cc single cylinder, air-cooled engine located in the rear of the vehicle. It offers decent power for younger riders.
While there is enough power and speed to make this model fun for driving on the pavement and easier terrains, the lack of 4WD and real low-end torque do limit its off-road potential.
That said, this model can handle mud, hills, and shallow water crossings pretty well. You’ll just need to get some momentum going before taking on a steep hill.
The engine is mated to a fully automatic transmission, with power supplied to the rear wheels via a chain drive. This model only offers two-wheel drive.
|4 Stroke, SOHC
|2.5 US Gallons
|2WD, Chain Drive
|Automatic CVT w/ Reverse
The RZR 170 features an independent suspension, with a single A-Arm suspension in front and swing arm dual shocks in the rear.
Many older models have the single A-Arm suspension in front and back, which is a downgrade from the newer swing arm set-up.
This set-up does a good job of soaking up bumps and uneven terrain, making for a comfortable ride for your kiddos.
This model offers a good amount of wheel travel for its size, with 5 inches in front and back. This helps it to take impacts while maintaining contact with the ground.
The independent suspension system does help to keep all four tires on the ground and provides stability, but it is still possible to flip this model if turning sharply at a higher speed in uneven terrain.
If that does happen, the RZR 170’s roll cage is very capable of protecting riders.
|Swing Arm Dual Shocks
|Front – 5 inches, Rear – 5 inches
Tires & Brakes
The RZR 170’s stock Duro tires are high quality, with a 19-inch diameter tire in front and a 20-inch tire in the rear.
These tires are designed to withstand the abuse of rocks, ruts, and other obstacles they may impact on the trail.
And they provide excellent grip in just about any condition, including snow.
Each wheel gets its own hydraulic disc brake, giving the RZR plenty of stopping power in any condition or terrain as well.
There is also a parking brake that can be used when stopped.
The combination of the quality Duro tires and hydraulic disc braking system helps to make this model that much more safer when riding.
|19 x 7-8 (Duro)
|20 x 10-9 (Duro)
|Front Brake Type
|Rear Brake Type
As you’d expect, this little RZR features a compact build fit for the younger riders it’s meant for.
This small size makes it very easy to handle when riding, which is important for younger and likely inexperienced riders.
And its relatively light weight gives this model excellent acceleration, with it being much quicker than it is fast from a top-end speed perspective.
Being a minimal size and weight make this model quite agile on tight and twisty trails.
Pros & Cons
- Though it is a bit underpowered, it can still handle most hills, mud, shallow water, and rough terrains with the need for a little momentum behind it when climbing steep inclines.
- Build quality is capable of withstanding the abuses of inexperienced drivers being behind the wheel.
- The newer rear swing arm suspension system offers a much smoother ride than the old set-up.
- Come equipped with a number of speed limiter safety features that parents can adjust.
- This model boasts excellent agility and quickness due to its compact size.
- Older pre-2015 carbureted models are known to have hard starting and rough idling issues.
- The rear swing arm is prone to failure and may need to be replaced eventually.
- Soft terrain like sand can cause some issues for this model.
- Harness style seat belts would be a better fit than the stock belts, which don’t provide as much security.
- If you want to do any serious off-roading in this model, you’ll likely need to upgrade the stock tires, wheels, and sprockets for more power and better traction.
- As a starter vehicle, riders are prone to outgrowing it fairly quickly.
- One of the priciest youth models in the industry, along with the RZR 200.
The Polaris RZR 170 top speed is 25 mph, but owners may need to make some adjustments to the throttle limiter in order to get it there.
And for those whose kiddos need to go faster, there are some modifications that can be made to help achieve that.
Overall, the RZR 170 makes for a high quality and safe youth model for those looking to introduce young riders to off-road life.
To compare the RZR 170 to other youth models, check out these guides before you take off: