As outlined in the last issue of QUAD, the new, sharp-looking Quadzilla RS8 is now available.
We managed to grab a clear break in the wet and windy February weather to put the big new ‘Zilla through its paces and find out more on what it has to offer
and sporting style of the new RS8 points it fairly and squarely at the 4x4 leisure/touring/sports market sector dominated by, and some might say, invented by, Can-Am. The lack of any racks and those aggressive twin-headlight, high mudguard looks puts it firmly in Renegade territory. But that territory starts at around lb8000 for a Renegade 500 and breaks the lb12500 mark for the top of the range 800R X XC, so at a note under lb6000 for the new Quadzilla RS8, it is clearly worth considering if you are in the market for a sport/leisure 4x4 and were dreaming of a Can-Am, but smarting at the price.
The RS8 is manufactured in Taiwan by Dinli to Quadzilla’s specifications. Dinli design and manufacturing standards are now easily on a par with the majority of Japanese and American produced ATV products. Quadzilla’s topselling 450R is another Dinli produced model and it is widely renowned as being close to bulletproof. The RS8 is actually a development of Quadzilla’s RS7 which won the QUAD Magazine 2010 Utility 4x4 of the year award. The well-proven DOHC fourstroke, liquid-cooled motor now has a 4mm larger cylinder bore, taking the engine capacity up 55cc to 750.2cc with an increase in (unrestricted) power and torque. The motor also features twin balance shafts to keep the vibes from the big motor at bay.
The main chassis has been strengthened and twin cast aluminium A-arms have been fitted on each wheel. These are claimed to be both lighter and far stronger than the steel tube components on the RS7 and at $90 for the top and $100 for the bottom, if you do manage to break them, then it won’t break the bank to replace them.
Obviously the bodywork has been completely re-worked, with more than just a hint of Renegade style showing through. And why not? It’s a big, bold, sharp, aggressive, racy style and it looks as good in the flesh as it does on paper.
The RS8 comes in two colours; white and black. The white has a traditional smooth gloss finish on thick, quality plastic which all fits together nicely. The black is an interesting matt ‘crinkle’ finish, which from our test seems to be uniquely practical in that it simply doesn’t appear to scuff or scratch. Or at least it does a very good job of disguising any scuffs or scratches. A sound idea which, if it works over a long period will definitely be copied by other manufacturers. So it was on with the handlebar mounted choke lever, hit the starter button and the motor burst eagerly into life on a cold, damp February morning. No hesitation, no coughing or spluttering, just a steady tick-over from cold. There is a rumble down low; not quite a vibration, but you are aware that there is a big piston at work down there and the twin balance shafts are busy keeping it all comfortably refined and the full stainless steel exhaust system keeps it quiet out the back as well as looking good.
The left side gear selector has the normal High, Low, Neutral, Park and Reverse positions and a big push and turn 2WD/4WD/Diff Lock button is part of the thumb throttle unit on the right handlebar - all straight-forward for regular 4x4 quad riders. Next up was off with the choke, into High, hit the throttle and off we went.
There is a certain satisfaction in hitting the throttle of a big bore CV auto quad. They just pull at maximum torque from tickover to flat out. A seamless thrust forward, uninterrupted by the frantic juggling of throttle and gear levers. This was true of the RS8. On tarmac, the RS8 can hit all the speed limits faster than most cars and it feels well planted without any tugging on the bars. The Maxxis Bighorn tyres aren’t best suited for the road of course, but the ride is still smooth and cornering feels safe, even on damp roads. Needless to say, if you were going to use the RS8 on the road more than off it, then other road oriented rubber would give improved ride and feedback.
Off the tarmac and the RS8 comes into its own. It may well look cool on a street corner or car park and will certainly draw plenty of attention, but its heart is in the rough and it comes alive as you hit the dirt. On the spec sheet it is nearly 50kg heavier than the Renegade 500/800 and closer to the more utility equipped Outlander models. A closer look at the spec shows the RS8 fitted with a 3000lb front winch and a tow bar, which don’t come on the Renegade, and racers would find plenty of other parts to trim or lose before entering it in an offroad event.
Suspension is plush and more than adequate for clubman level competition, as are the Bighorn tyres. More serious racers - and we know there are already a fair number thinking about the RS8 – will be looking to more sophisticated suspension units and a choice of tyres. And there will certainly be some horses to be gained with exhaust and
air-cleaner modifications, without needing to start spending big bucks on motor mods.
No matter what other manufacturers may claim, Quadzilla leads the quad and ATV market in terms of marketing a full range of machines with a competitive model in every category. The Quadzilla product quality, range, service and dealer network continue to improve and the pricing remains ultra competitive. The RS8 continues this trend. It is clearly aimed at the Renegade market and although it may not match the Can-Am in terms of ultimate performance, it is still a hell of a lot of quad for six grand and it will certainly appeal to a wide range of road and off-road buyers.
QUAD will be chatting to new RS8 owners over the coming months to see how they are using, abusing and modifying the new ‘Zilla.
Engine: Single cylinder DOHC 4 valve
Bore x stroke: 106mm x 85mm
Compression ratio: 10.1:1
Transmission: High/low and reverse
Final drive: Selectable two and four wheel drive
with front diff lock
Drive: Four wheel independent shaft, A-arm and
Suspension: Dual aluminium A-arms on all
Ground clearance: 295mm
Seat height: 916mm
Dry weight: 328kg
Front tyre: 25x8-12
Rear tyre: 25x10-12
Tank capacity: 20 litres
Standard extras: Winch, alloy wheels, Big Horn
tyres, LCD dash
Colours: White and matt black