First off, what everyone says is true: James will answer the phone or call you back pretty soon if he is unavailable. He answered all my ignorant questions and seemed very happy to share his info. Shipping was quick. I sent my sheaves out on a Thursday and received them back on the following Thursday. When I took my new toys out for a test ride, I immediately noticed that high gear had much less hesitation from a stop and that the machine’s starting “gear” is about as low as it was with the stock sheave in low range. Acceleration from a stop or a roll is much quicker with 30mph coming up very fast. Also, the machine goes faster at every rpm than previously, so I found that I can cruise at 20mph with very light throttle, which makes the cab much quieter and should help with durability and fuel mileage. I would say I can now use high range for everything but towing and hill climbs. Low range is LOW, all most as low starting out as my 350 Rancher is in first gear. A quick mash of the throttle and I was at 20mph, where I let off instinctively since my old sheave had my engine screaming at that speed. I’m looking forward to going riding this weekend and testing the downhill braking and climbing changes, after which I will update my review. So far, this has been the mod that has made the most difference in the performance of my Rhino.
The Rhino never felt like it was going to bog on a steep hill and the power came on smooth and quickly whenever I mashed the throttle. A few times, I actually had to slow down for rock ledges then get back on the throttle because I was going too fast and might bounce. The Rhino never let me down, going from 12mph to 4mph and back again effortlessly. Low range hill climbing reminded me of using 1st and 2nd gear on my 350 Rancher when climbing really steep (45*+) hills. It seems like the sheave stays at the lowest gearing from 0-10mph then it shifts up to less gearing and more speed after that. I found that I could finesse my way up rocky hills by keeping my speed btw 5-8mph, which was really nice for negotiating rutted, rocky, or root covered hills where you are varying your speed to avoid bounce wheelies. The lower starting gear was nice for descending hills too. On most hills, the engine braking held my speed to 3-4mph on mild hills (<30*) and was easy to maintain that speed with light brake pedal pressure on steeper hills. One thing to be aware of is that if you let your Rhino go past 6mph while descending, the Rhino will shift out of low and begin to accelerate at a faster pace than below 6mph. It’s not a big deal, since you can keep in the 3-5mph range easily by braking lightly. I don’t know if my other sheave was like that or not, since I was always on the brakes in the 3-5mph range before, unless the hill was very minor—15* or less. I got to do some driving on wide, smooth surfaces and was impressed how low the rpms are. Cruising at 25mph is achieved with just a bit more than 1/8 throttle and 35 is around 1/4 throttle.