Polaris Industries has unveiled its new limited edition ATV and Side-by-Side offerings.
In the past, Polaris’ limited editions have been cosmetic upgrades such as paint (including the company’s first batch of 2010 LE models), but this offering also includes units with performance and technology upgrades. Included is the first Ranger Crew and Ranger RZR with electronic power steering, and a 50-inch Ranger RZR with a premium Walker Evans shock package.
Historically, Polaris is fairly aggressive with releasing new and updated vehicles. In fact, earlier in January the Minnesota-based manufacturer introduced the industry’s first four-seat Sport side-by-side – the Ranger RZR 4.
2010 Special Edition Models
Additional features on the limited edition model include:
* Crimson Red automotive-style paint
Arctic Cat made big news at its latest press launch for its 2010 lineup of ATVs held in the Manti-La Sal National Forest outside of Moab, Utah. We saw six new power steering models, three 550 S models and three 700 S varieties. Although one could argue power steering is no longer innovative, we disagree. Besides, it’s an entirely new concept for Arctic Cat and different enough to warrant the “excitement.”
For Arctic Cat, adding power steering is about remaining competitive, but it’s also about improving its products and providing the ATV rider with a more comfortable machine. After our initial seat time, we firmly believe, in terms of overall abilities and comfort, Arctic Cat has designed its most impressive ATVs yet.
We rode several of the “Pre-pro” machines at this event, but will focus on the 700 S models, which are essentially 700 H1 EFI 4×4 with the addition of power steering and a few other minor changes.
Power steering is the latest “must have” in the ATV industry. This type of stuff seems to all go in phases. First it was IRS that swept the industry. Then it was bigger and bigger engines. Then came fuel injection. Now, it’s power steering. You may think that power steering on an ATV is just a sales gimmick, or at least a complex add-on that could cost a fortune to fix down the road. Well, like fuel injection, once you try an ATV with power steering you’ll be sold on its benefits.
For 2009, the Suzuki KingQuad 500 comes with electric power steering as a standard option. Although the system may be new to ATVs, it is based on the electric power steering that’s been on Suzuki cars and SUVs for years. Basically the unit senses torque loads at both ends of the steering – input from the handlebar and the resistance from the tires. As expected, the unit senses the amount of effort needed to twist the handlebars, thus allowing more power from the unit at slower speeds and less at higher speeds. But at the other end it works as a steering stabilizer by eliminating the instant input from the tires when they smack a rock at speed. So basically, whether riding slow or ramming stumps at speed, the steering operates much the same as if you could all of a sudden bench press the ATV.
Gazing into the future of our sport there are a few things I know will change, but one thing is for certain and that is that Kawasaki will fight for every inch of real estate in this industry with great products. One such product is the line of Brute Force sport utility 4×4 ATVs.
Having had the privilege of riding many of the utility models of Kawasaki’s 2010 line, the Brute Force is one of my personal favorites. The 2010 Kawasaki Brute Force 750 4x4i with independent rear suspension is solid performer and with power of the V-Twin the ride is explosive. Let’s not forget it is also a fuel-injected, fire breathing ground pounder.
The classic style of the Brute is basically the same for 2010, though the graphics have changed just a bit. Regardless, this is still a great machine and it deserves another look.
Starting with the ergonomics of the Brute Force 750 we found the same comfortable seating we had grown accustomed to and control placement is still within reach for most every rider’s needs. Riding or just sitting in the camp I found that the Brute’s urethane foam seat was extremely comfortable. Riding this machine for hours isn’t out of the question with comfort like this, while full coverage floorboards ride keep you protected from trail obstacles. Utilizing aluminum pegs, which are replaceable, on the larger displacement Brute Force helps save weight.
It has conquered the unruly terrain of Baja, Mexico, mastered numerous rutted-and-muddy farm fields in the Midwest and become a favorite hunting companion (sorry Fido) of camo-clad sportsmen across the country. With the largest engine of any single-rider ATV in the industry, proven abilities in ugly terrain and a working-class backbone, the 2010 Arctic Cat Thundercat H2 is as unique as it is brawny. For this year, Arctic Cat’s flagship utility quad received an updated front differential lock engagement switch.
We tested the Minnesota-based company’s largest ATV in the Utah mountains, where we encountered hard-packed, rutted off-camber trails, huge rocky grades, snow and high-speed roads that really let this big-bore behemoth unwind and have fun.
Let’s closely inspect Arctic Cat’s most ferocious four-wheeler.
Over the past few years Polaris has really gotten serious about performance. The Minnesota-based manufacturer has reaffirmed itself as a leader in the utility 4×4 market with the release of the Sportsman XP 550 and 850 models and arguably produces more high-performance models than any other ATV manufacturer with its Outlaw 450 MXR, 525 S and 525 IRS.
Just one year after introducing the 450 MXR and 525 S Polaris made a number of updates to its high performance sport quad lineup, including styling changes, weight reducing measures and ergonomic improvements.
For 2010 the Polaris Outlaw 450MXR remains unchanged including the retail price giving the Outlaw real bargain potential.
Two-seat ATVs are definitely a different breed, with some good attributes and some maybe not so good – depending on your needs. While they are clumsier to throw around sportingly on tight, twisting trails, and they take up more room on the trailer and in the garage, they are vastly more stable and more comfortable than single seat ATVs – even with just a single rider onboard. Two-seaters are popular because they are the truly the Grand touring machines of the ATV world.
With a wheelbase of 57 inches and an empty weight of 795 pounds there is no disputing that the Polaris Sportsman 800 EFI Touring is a big ATV. But what’s really amazing is just how much more room that extra seven inches of wheelbase gives to both the rider and passenger. Unlike the two-seat X2 models that started Polaris’ two-seat movement, the Touring provides a passenger area designed with no compromises to rider comfort. The passenger’s seat is slightly raised so they can more easily see over and around the operator. The seatback height is increased as well to give more support. Also designed for added comfort on those long rides are the vibration-isolated handgrips and footrests. In fact every aspect of the Touring model is designed to make both of the riders as comfortable as possible, giving them enough room so that neither will interfere with the other. It’s obvious that the extra room is something that will make the passenger much more comfortable, but something equally important is that it will help the operator to maintain better control of the ATV.
Since its release in 2006, the Suzuki QuadRacer LT-R450 has been a dominant force in both ATV motocross and GNCC racing. Dustin Wimmer helped prove this by winning back-to-back championships in the AMA Pro ATV Motocross series while aboard the Suzuki. Factory Suzuki rider Chris Borich wrapped up another championship by winning 10 of the 13 rounds of the GNCC series on the LTR. With its wide stance, powerful 450cc four-stoke fuel-injected engine, and plush long-travel suspension, the LT-R450 can be ridden hard or raced right from the dealer’s showroom floor.
We recently had a chance to test out the 2009 Suzuki LT-R450 (MSRP $8,099) over a four-month period. We rode on a variety of terrains, including multiple motocross tracks, numerous trails, and even through the mud holes and up the steep hills at the infamous Ironman GNCC in Crawfordsville, Ind.
The LTR is very easy to start, with the integration of a fuel-injection system. With a push of a button the LTR comes to life without hesitation. The centered exhaust has a deep, powerful sound to it, much like an aftermarket pipe. As you hit the throttle the power is smooth and abundant throughout the RPM range. Power is not as abrupt as some of the other 450cc race machines in its class; but it’s still enough that if you blip the throttle the front end will lift off the ground. Suzuki’s race quad has enough power to rocket you over large jumps or down the trail as quick as you please.
The sport segment has long been a testament to the manufacturers’ ability to keep up with changing trends in the ATV market and the 2010 KFX450R is Kawasaki’s shot at the bull’s eye.
Simply stated, Kawasaki has built a race ready and motocross friendly ATV that can be prepped with little more than fuel and a clean air filter before being dropped onto the starting grid. From the technology in the frame to the power ripping through the exhaust the Kawasaki KFX450R has made its statement on the sport ATV market. Just in case you’ve forgotten, let us refresh your memory.
Starting with the frame we notice several key items that seem to bring Kawsaki into the game of MX/XC ATV racing. It seems that Kawasaki has taken notice of aftermarket 250r frames. More rake and better steering and handling geometry is what most guess is the benefit of having the lower A-arms come together in the middle of the lower frame.
Can-Am proudly boasts that its 669-pound gorilla-of-an-ATV, the Outlander 800R EFI, is the most powerful ATV in the industry. Rated at 71 horsepower at the crank, the big Can-Am edges the Polaris Sportsman 800 by roughly 1 hp, according to figures reported to the California Air Resources Board. Even if you didn’t know the big-bore 4×4 from the north led the class on paper, you’d find out pretty quickly once you sat on the machine and squeezed the thumb throttle. In fact, Can-Am’s marketing material essentially tells you to do just that. It doesn’t want you to take its word, Can-Am wants you to ride the Outlander and decide for yourself!
I test rode the original Outlander 800 when it was introduced in 2006 and then again when it received its “R” moniker and additional horsepower in 2008. My most recent ride took me to the mountains in Utah and higher elevations. It was there where the Can-Am reconfirmed it’s a fun ride full of attitude — some might say piss and vinegar — yet is controllable, too. Although it’s a full-blown utility quad, its 799.9cc V-twin powerplant is filled with playful abilities and appeals to anyone’s youthful side. Sure, it has a few competitors out there that will give it a run for its money, but it’s still one of the most thrilling machines on the market and arguably wears that crown.
Let’s take a closer look at Can-Am’s flagship 4×4 quad.
Polaris recently invited us to its state-of-the-art R&D facility in Wisconsin, Minn. to test ride the 2010 ATV line up. While we were there we had a chance to check out and test some of the latest and greatest high displacement quads Polaris has to offer. In addition to these impressive new machines, Polaris also made some key changes to its line of budget-friendly ATVs, including the Trail Blazer 330.
At first glance, the thing that most jumps out on the new Trail Blazer is the plastic. Polaris gave the Trail Blazer, as well as the Trail Boss 330 and Scrambler 500 4×4, new plastic so the style matches more closely to the Outlaw lineup. Additionally, the Trail Blazer received an Outlaw-style headlight that produces 25% more lighting than the previous year’s model. As far as looks go, the 2010 Trail Blazer seems much more modern and up to date than its predecessor.
While most ATV manufacturers have been playing it fairly safe recently as the economy attempts to right itself, we haven’t seen too many brand spankin’ new four-wheelers of late. As avid ATV testers and industry followers, we’ve been itching to try out something fresh. Fortunately for us, Kymco has a solution to our problem – the Maxxer 375 IRS 4×4.
We got our first look at the Maxxer at Kymco’s 2010 product intro in scenic Asheville, NC. Kymco hadn’t told us anything about its new quad before we first laid eyes on it, so it was a surprise to us to see a hybrid sport/utility ATV. The folks at Kymco are very excited about the Maxxer, the company’s first foray into this segment.
After taking a quick look at the Maxxer, it’s tough to compare it to anything else in the Kymco lineup. Despite being built on the same platform as the MXU 375 IRS 4×4, the Maxxer strikes a far sportier pose. Visually, the Maxxer more closely resembles a Yamaha Wolverine than any other Kymco ATV. It carries no front or rear racks, the plastics are aggressive looking, and the colors (red, blue, black, or white) are deep and bright. When it comes to looks, the sport outweighs the utility in the Maxxer.
Growing up riding ATVs, the woods have always been my playground. It wasn’t until I was 18 years old that I made the switch to motocross. Naturally, I was excited to get back to my roots and hit the trails again. What better way to do this than to test out a 2009 Suzuki QuadRacer LT-R450 by racing it on one of the toughest, most attended GNCC tracks in the series – the infamous Ironman in Crawfordsville, Ind.
The LTR was originally designed to be a motocross hound from the beginning. With its wide 49-inch stance, 18-inch tires, and long travel suspension it is a force to be reckoned with straight from the factory. Despite its motocross roots, the LTR is a proven competitor in the GNCC series. In fact, Suzuki factory rider Chris Borich wrapped up the championship on his LTR this season, winning 10 of the 13 rounds to take the title by a comfortable margin.
Introduced in 2008, the Arctic Cat 366 is intended to give new riders the experience of the wide-open trail world. The 2009 Arctic Cat 366 is the company’s budget utility 4×4 offering, priced just under $6,000 ($5,649 to be exact), the 366 offers a “no frills” option for consumers looking for an affordable ride. This utility-styled ATV is built to be fun and functional for the consumer looking to get into the sport.
From an ergonomic standpoint, the 366 is pretty average, and comparable in size to the other machines in its class. The instrument cluster offers all of the useful information that you would expect (digital displays of clock/hour meter, mode button, set/reset button, odometer/trip meter, gear position, speedometer, drive select, high beam, battery condition, temperature and oil pressure), and nothing in the way of unnecessary “extras.”
The large stretched handlebar is a bit awkward to get used to while riding (or looking at the machine for that matter), but it is very functional and works well for its intended purpose and placement. Pretty much all of the controls are easily reachable and well thought out, but the lack of a handlebar-mounted rear brake is a bit of a letdown.
Being that Polaris is an American-based company it can see first hand what the economy is like here in the United States. When putting together its 2010 ATV lineup, Polaris decided to dust off some old models and give them a freshening up so cash-strapped consumers would have some choices they could more easily afford.
Polaris has four of these entry-level (read: affordable) ATVs available in 2010. Some of these units hadn’t seen a significant upgrade in a decade, but for the current model year three of them received some noticeable improvements. One of these models is the 2010 Trail Boss 330 and we recently had a chance to check it out for ourselves.
At first glance we noticed the Trail Boss 330 – as well as the Trail Blazer 330 and Scramber 500 4×4 – benefited from a facelift. The Trail Boss is now a little easier on the eyes and looks just a bit more modern. It received all new plastics and bodywork and was given more powerful and stylish headlights. Polaris says the new headlights put out 25% more lighting than last year’s model.
In recent years Kymco has been developing a strong reputation for low- and mid-displacement ATVs and UTVs. The Taiwan-based manufacturer continues its progression in 2010 with the release of two new ATVs and three limited edition models.
We had a chance to take Kymco’s new vehicles for a spin on a Land Rover Experience course at the historic Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC. We’ll have full reviews of these vehicles in the coming weeks.
Maxxer 375 IRS 4×4 ($5,999)
The Maxxer is the vehicle that has the folks at Kymco the most excited and it marks the company’s entry into the sport/utility segment.
Take a quick look at the Maxxer and you’d be hard pressed to compare it to anything else in the Kymco lineup (though it does strike a similar pose as the Yamaha Wolverine 450). A look at the specs data, however, shows that the Maxxer is built off the same platform as the MXU 375 IRS 4×4 released last year.
With the introduction of the YFZ450R last fall, Yamaha hit the nail on the head for those in the market for a true out of the box motocross machine. Although some GNCC racers and trail riders chose to ride the Big Blue’s new steed in the woods, it was apparent that incorporating the YFZ450R’s fuel injected powerplant and developing a machine for both trail riders and racers alike was the next logical step.
We recently had the chance to check out Yamaha’s offering for the backwoods riders and racers – the YFZ450X. Unlike its predecessor, this quad was designed specifically to be ridden in tight woods. Big Buck Farm in Union, SC would be host of the Yamaha YFZ450X Intro. Big Buck Farm also hosts the Big Buck GNCC that has blessed the cross-country racing schedule for 13 years. This location offers a variety of terrain, including tight woods, grassy open areas, decent sized hills, rutted out trails, numerous water crossings, and the infamous Creek Jump that are all part of a 10+ mile course.
There are a number of differences between the YFZ450X and its motocross proven brother the YFZ450R. Those who were on the fence about racing the YFZ450R in the woods will be happy to hear that the YFZ450X fits a lot better through tight wooded sections.
After unleashing the critically acclaimed YFZ450R exactly one year ago, Yamaha upped the ante for 2010 with a sport quad designed specifically for tight woods and GNCC style riding – the YFZ450X.
Yamaha had a lot of success these past 12 months with the YFZ450R, but it is most at home in the open desert, dunes and motocross race tracks. Though the original YFZ450 was still available for the cross country and woods riders, Yamaha felt those customers were missing out on all the advancements the YFZ450R offered like fuel injection, aluminum frame and much improved suspension and rider ergos.
If you’re comparing the YFZ450X to the 450R, the most striking difference is the vehicle’s footprint. The 450X is much narrower with a width of 46.1 inches. Also, by reducing the width Yamaha was able to shave off five pounds of weight.
In October of 2008, ATV.com writer Jerry Bassett put 800 miles put a pair of brand new Browning Edition Polaris Sportsman XPs. Both machines performed as advertised sporting improved ergonomics, better handling, improved suspension and powerful yet smooth power delivery. The Browning editions featured tons of goodies such as winches, gun holders and even heated grips! However neither the 550 nor the 850 Browning editions featured the biggest option Polaris added for 2009, electric power steering.
Due to the tremendous benefits in control and fatigue reduction provided by power steering, we felt it was imperative that we get our hands on one of the power steering equipped XP’s to put Polaris’s EPS to the test. Polaris helped out our cause by sending out a brand new Sportsman XP 850 equipped with EPS. Although this wasn’t a Browning Edition it did feature the same Mossy Oak Break Up color scheme.
Heading into its 10th year of U.S. sales, Kymco has built itself into a respected ATV brand – separating itself from a sea of would be knock-off importers.
Since 2003 Kymco’s ATV line has expanded from one to 10 models. The Taiwan-based manufacturer has a reputation for building reliable vehicles which is no surprise considering the company has produced a number of parts for Honda ATVs. Other major brands have recognized its manufacturing quality as well – Kymco currently builds Kawasaki’s youth ATVs as well as several models for Arctic Cat.
Kymco’s beginner-friendly Mongoose 300 got its start back in 2004 as the Mongoose 250. In 2006 Kymco raised the 250’s displacement from 249cc to 270cc and added the Mongoose 300 to the lineup.
Based on what it learned from testing with magazines, racing, and working with various aftermarket companies the 300 received a number of changes in 2008 to improve its engine and handling performance. These changes included larger valves and new head porting along with a new intake and larger carburetor. The Mongoose was also widened four inches, lengthened one inch, and complemented by suspension settings.
Much likes its Minnesota-based neighbor Polaris; Arctic Cat is not using the slumping economy as an excuse to stop pushing forward.
After showing off six early release models in June, Arctic Cat has finally revealed the rest of its 2010 lineup. While we didn’t really see a lot of groundbreaking changes in the early release models – it was mostly paint and feature updates – this time around we’ve got three brand new ATVs, as well as two brand new engines. Also, every full sized ATV in the Arctic Cat family now features a new all-encompassed differential 4×4 lock switch on the right-side of the handlebar.
Thanks to the success of the Mud Pro 700 H1 released last year, Arctic Cat upped the ante in 2010 with two new mud-specific ATVs – the entry-level Mud Pro 650 H1 and the powerful Mud Pro 1000 H2.
Polaris Industries, Inc. has unveiled its lineup of limited edition models for 2010.
The Minnesota-based manufacturer released 10 new limited edition offerings, including two Sportsman XPs, four Ranger XPs, three Ranger RZRs and one Ranger Crew. Special edition models are available in US and Canadian dealerships now.
It was only a short time ago that Polaris first revealed its 2010 Ranger and ATV lineup. Highlighted Ranger EV, the first all-electric side-by-side from a major manufacturer, Polaris continued to push forward with new and updated off-road vehicles despite the struggling economy. Other highlights of the 2010 lineup are a new mid-size Ranger 400, more power for the Ranger XP and two brand new 2-up Sportsman XP models.
2010 Special Edition Models
Additional features on the limited edition model include:
Exclusive Browning Edition Sportsman XP with Mossy Oak Break-Up camo bodywork
Earlier this Spring Polaris sent us a 2009 Phoenix 200 for a long-term review and I decided to use this as an opportunity to teach my girlfriend how to ride an ATV.
I actually attempted to teach her how to ride last year when we first received our stock Yamaha Raptor 250. I thought it would be the perfect ATV for her to learn on since it had a small displacement and was light and nimble. I figured it would be no time until she was out riding the trails with me, but things didn’t quite work quite the way I’d planned.
My girlfriend, Olivia Shuff, had never ridden a quad before. She grew up in the city and had never even sat on an ATV until she met me. I was thinking, “Hey, why couldn’t she learn how to ride this thing, she has seen me ride plenty of times. I’m sure she could figure out how to use a clutch with a little help.”
After many attempts to merely make it across the yard without killing the engine she was fed up with having to learn to use a clutch and threw her hands down in annoyance. Apparently I shouldn’t have told her they make automatic ATVs as she then said “I want an automatic quad and I want it to be pink!” I wasn’t sure such a thing even existed.
It may not be the biggest and baddest thing on four wheels, but there is something very appealing about the Kawasaki Prairie 360 4×4. We had the opportunity to put some miles on Kawasaki’s smallest 4×4 and it proved to be an eye-opening experience.
We tested out the Prairie, along with the Brute Force 650 and 750 4x4i, at the Mines & Meadows ATV/RV Resort in Western Pennsylvania. Shockingly, it was the little Prairie that stood out most among the big bore offerings from Team Green.
Kawasaki’s proven 362cc air-cooled, single cylinder, 4-stroke engine powers the Prairie. Though it’s never going to snap your neck back when you the squeeze the throttle, the Prairie accelerates smoothly and has an impressive amount of low-end grunt for this class. More impressive is the class-leading 1,100-pound towing capacity.
After introducing the high powered, fully featured Sportsman XP lineup last year, Polaris Industries, Inc. is focusing on the 2-up market in 2010 with a mix of high-end XP models and a new entry-level two-passenger ATV.
Also, in a move with the struggling economy clearly in mind, Polaris decided to give some of its older and lower displacement single-seaters a much-needed facelift. The Scrambler, Trail Blazer and Trail Boss have all been updated as Polaris aggressively targets entry-level consumers.
“Polaris focused on updating some key models in our ATV line up for 2010,” says Matt Homan, vice president and general manager of Polaris’ off-road division. “By coupling the award-winning Sportsman XP features with the best-selling line of 2-Ups and introducing the Sportsman 500 H.O. Touring, we have created the most-comfortable and most-versatile line of 2-Up ATVs focused on innovation and value. Redesigning the Trail Boss 330, Trailblazer 330 and Scrambler 500 4×4 gives entry-level ATV riders a selection of value ATVs with an updated look and improved ride.”
Two for Touring
For those looking to ride with a passenger in comfort and style, Polaris has added the Sportsman XP features to its 2-up lineup in 2010 with the Sportsman 850 ($10,999)and 550 ($9,299) Touring.
Last year, ATV.com tested Suzuki’s flag ship King Quad 4×4 in the frigid winter of northern Minnesota. In the deep Minnesota snow we appreciated the increase in motor performance and felt its smooth power delivery was only matched by the machine’s smooth handling.
Since hitting the market in 2005 the KingQuad 750 has remained a top contender in the big bore utility ranks. With manufacturers such as Yamaha and Honda adding power steering as an option on their high end models, it was only a matter of time before Suzuki stepped up to the plate with a power steering system of its own to keep the King in the spot light. Suzuki’s power steering system was ready for the 2009 model year and it’s available on both the KingQuad 500 and 750.
For Suzuki, creating a power steering system shouldn’t have been too difficult. As an automotive manufacturer, Suzuki has been developing power steering systems for years and simply borrowed the technology for the ATV market. For use on an ATV, Suzuki was not only looking to improve the rider’s control over the machine, it was also looking to reduce feedback fed to the handlebars by trail obstacles – helping to reduce rider fatigue.
Honda has revealed its 2010 ATV lineup and though you won’t see any new models the FourTrax family of utility ATVs did receive some upgrades.
Chief among the changes for 2010 is the addition of pre-load adjustable front and rear suspension on the FourTrax Rancher 4×4 and FourTrax Rancher 4×4 ES. Also, much of the FourTrax Rancher family received a new seat with added foam. A new rack design is also found on the FourTrax Rancher family, which Honda says makes for easier cargo lashing.
Returning unchanged for 2010 is the flagship FourTrax Rincon and Rincon GPScape, along with the FourTrax Foreman Rubicon, FourTrax Recon and Recon ES.
Introduced in 2009, Honda’s Big Red remains in its original form, but a new Olive color joins Red and Natural Gear Camouflage. The Olive Big Red will be available in dealerships in September and will retail for $11,699. Big Red customers can also choose from more than 30 Honda Genuine Accessories, including windshields, tops and bumpers.
Honda’s TRX lineup of sport ATVs, including the TRX700XX, TRX450ER, TRX450R, TRX400X, TRX300X, TRX250X, and TRX90X are all unchanged for 2010.
Upgraded for 2010
Arctic Cat has unveiled a handful of early release models for 2010. The Minnesota-based manufacturer is mostly showing off some new paint, but the smallest member of the Prowler family has been given a new “XT” package of eye-catching and functional goodies, while the ATV lineup is highlighted by a 700 TRV without the cruiser trim.
Of course, these are only the early release models and if 2009 is any indication we can expect a much bigger splash from Arctic Cat in the coming months. For those with short memories, Arctic Cat went hog wild in 2009 with a veritable cornucopia of new and updated ATV models headlined by the TRV 1000 H2 Cruiser, as well as a brand new 550cc powerplant. In addition, the 2009 Prowler lineup was bolstered by the high-powered 1000 H2 XTZ and the 550 Flat Bed.
Arctic Cat has an all-new Advantage Timber Camo pattern in the 700H1 EFI and 550H1 EFI for 2010. According to Arctic Cat, the latest consumer analysis shows that Camo ranks very high in color preference. In fact, just 54 percent buy Camo for hunting, while the other 46 percent choose it because they like how it looks.
Never a company to shy away from innovations, BRP certainly did not disappoint when it unveiled its 2010 Can-Am ATV model year lineup.
For 2010, Can-Am introduced the industry’s first air-controlled suspension system, a new Dynamic Power Steering, and next-generation Visco-Lok QE automatic front differential. Those options, as well as winch, premium tires and wheels, are available in the XT and new XT-P packages.
“Our brand is more than ever poised to give the consumer what they demand most right now: value and innovation,” says Yves Leduc, vice-president and general manager, North American sales & marketing Can-Am and after-sales operations. “In 2010, BRP brings exclusive technologies to the industry and strengthens its position as the brand that continues to innovate while delivering on its promise as the choice for the ATV enthusiast.”
“In 2010, BRP once again proves to the world that the product is king,” says Chris Dawson, vice-president and general manager, BRP International division. “Can Am provides greater power, better control and even more stunning looks than ever with its 2010 ATVs. It is what we believe ATV enthusiasts are looking for.”
Has there ever come a time when you could use a bit more help with your work on the ranch or around the shop? Do you think that if you had a more versatile ATV or tow vehicle you could be at the dinner table just a bit earlier? Polaris may have just the solution you have been looking for with its new Sportsman Big Boss 6×6 800 EFI.
Polaris engineers have long been known for firsts – independent rear suspension comes to mind – and many of these industry-leading developments are still in the foreground to this day. With the release of the Big Boss 6×6, a new light has been shining in ranch fields and job sites everywhere.
Having the awesome opportunity to review this Big Boss gives us more appreciation for the old saying “having the right tools makes the job easier.” After cutting up a few trees around the property we needed to get the cut logs to the rack for drying. We loaded the large dump capable bed with the first load and even though the front of the Big Boss felt a little light the huge 760cc liquid cooled 4-stroke tugged along without hesitation.
If you’re just looking at a spec sheet, the Kawasaki Brute Force 650 4x4i might seem a little behind the times. After all, power steering is not an available option and the engine is still carbureted. Of course, if you talk to a Brute Force owner or climb aboard one for yourself, that perception will change in a hurry.
Kawasaki’s very capable 633cc 4-stroke V-Twin powers the Brute Force. This is a proven platform and it provides ample power across the entire power band. It doesn’t have quite the same throaty growl as Kawi’s 749cc mill which powers the Brute Force 750 and the Teryx and mid-range power is expectedly down a notch from the larger V-Twin, but this engine is a beast just the same.
Sure, fuel injection would be nice, but it was not something we missed during our test. It started like a champ every time, including once while we were stuck in seat-high water. If you typically ride over huge changes in elevation and you’re not too comfortable with re-jetting, you may want to consider upgrading to the fuel-injected Brute Force 750, but this is plenty of machine for most of us and you’re saving some money.
My infatuation with Yamaha’s 2009 YFZ450R began in earnest late last year, when the media was invited to Valencia, Calif. for a couple of days of test riding, picture taking, and assorted other hard-working editor stuff. I say in earnest, because before that event, I had already had the opportunity to see and touch the YFZ450R at the Vegas dealer show in Sept of 2008, when it was first shown to the public. That first day in Vegas when I sat upon Yamaha’s newest sport machine was the day that I knew that the YFZR (as I affectionately call it) could someday have a place of its own in my garage.
Fast forward to February, 2009 when I get an e-mail from Lucas Cooney of ATV.com asking if I would be interested in attending Yamaha’s annual SE dune event, and write a “dune review” on the YFZ450R. Would I? Hmmmmm…of course I would! After all, there have been quite a few reviews published on the YFZ450R’s prowess on the MX track, and its excellent manners as a trail quad are becoming well known; but how would it perform in the deep sands of a place like Glamis, Calif.? Well, I was definitely game to find out!
First Things First
Before I talk about the performance of the 2009 YFZ450R, it’s always good to get some of the machine details and spec’s laid out, in case any of our readers haven’t had the opportunity to read up on this particular model. The ‘09 YFZ450R is Yamaha’s resounding answer to the challenge thrown down by Suzuki , Can Am and KTM, who have all produced sport quads that are “race ready” right out of the box.
When the Yamaha Raptor was introduced to the riding public back in 2001, quad riding enthusiasts everywhere were enthralled by the Raptor’s aggressive styling and the most torque they had ever experienced in a sport quad – needless to say, the Yamaha Raptor was an instant favorite of the masses. Over the last eight years, the Raptor’s following has only grown bigger and more loyal, and the folks at Yamaha have done a great job of keeping the Raptor looking and handling as great as ever through the years, while tweaking only the things that really needed to be changed every so often.
For 2009, Yamaha has done it again by continuing to produce the Raptor in all of its high performance glory, and has added a few more changes to keep things constantly progressing. The 2009 Raptor now comes in two different models, the standard ‘09 model and color scheme, and the new Special Edition model that is sure to please many a future Rappy owner. The most obvious difference between the two is found in the color option available for the SE – with its black metallic plastics and blood red, translucent, marble design front shroud, the SE Raptor will turn heads no matter where it goes. At home in the dunes, the Raptor 700 is also a great trail and race machine, and the new adjustable shocks that come standard on the 2009 machines will certainly please even the most aggressive riders with their more elaborate tuning abilities.
Polaris Industries has announced its lineup of limited edition ATVs and side-by-sides for spring, 2009. All told, Polaris has new limited editions for three Sportsman ATVs and eight Ranger side-by-sides.
These limited edition models come on the heels of a huge 2009 model lineup from Polaris. Polaris introduced the all new Sportsman XP 850 and 550 for 2009, both of which have available electronic power steering.
The Minnesota-based manufacturer gave its Ranger line a huge makeover as well. The Ranger XP received all new styling and improved steering, while the new Ranger HD is a rugged utility machine with power steering and self-leveling shocks. Also new for 2009 are the high-powered Ranger RZR S and the Ranger RZR 170.
2009 Sportsman 850 XP EPS LE-Tequila Gold
Sport-specific ATVs have evolved a great deal over the past decade. While these race-inspired machines are at their best on motocross tracks and sand dunes, they don’t possess the versatility that many consumers are looking for. Enter the Polaris Outlaw 525 IRS.
Clearly, what sets the Outlaw 525 IRS apart from other sport quads is its independent rear suspension. Polaris is one of the major innovators of independent rear suspension systems for utility ATVs, so it only makes sense this is the company that brought IRS technology to a sport quad.
So, does IRS make this Outlaw as rugged and easy to ride as a utility quad while being as fast and flickable as a 450cc racer? Not quite. While no ATV can be all things to all people, Polaris’ creation is a unique blend of both worlds.
Finding a demographic for an ATV is just the first step to having great success for a manufacturer. Yamaha decided to look at the southeastern United States to find the perfect suitor for its Big Bear 400.
In 2007 the Big Bear 400 was introduced as a solid machine for working class users, but it has advantages for more adventurous riders as well. Digging into the southern states Yamaha revealed some startling numbers about its potential buyers. The United States has several unique areas that make up the vast majority of this Big Bear’s market. The 5-speed air-cooled 4×4 ATV makes up 25 percent of the total sales of 4×4 ATVs with 50% of those sales in states along the southeastern U.S. This is where swamps and low-lying creek flooded farmland will make the Big Bear shine. Yamaha’s Newnan, Ga. facility is in the heart of this prime workhorse ATV’s element. With all of the numbers in mind let’s look at what makes the Big Bear 400 a success.
Back in the early 1990s Polaris recognized a growing number of riders were buying utility machines with no intention of using them for work. With good splash protection and the flexibility of four wheel drive, utility machines offered these riders the ability to get out and ride year round regardless of weather. Unfortunately, riding a utility 4×4 meant dealing with a much heavier machine with considerably less suspension travel than its sport ATV siblings. To remedy this, Polaris set out to build a powerful sport-oriented machine with the flexibility of four wheel drive and less weight.
In 1995 Polaris released the Scrambler 400 4×4. The 2-stroke machine was incredibly powerful for the time, only rivaled in motor performance by the brutally fast Yamaha Banshee sport quad. The Scrambler also featured sport tuned suspension with a generous amount of wheel travel. Without heavy steel racks, the machine was also lighter than comparably displaced utility machines.
Using its successful Grizzly 660 as a starting point, Yamaha improved it by redesigning the frame, enhancing rider comfort and introducing electronic power steering. The end result is the top-performing Grizzly 700 FI Auto 4×4 EPS.
Though the new Yamaha Grizzly has a lot in common with its predecessor, it is essentially a new ATV and it has a lot of minor, yet significant, changes that make it exceptional. When you ride it, it feels like a brand new machine. The edition we tested comes with outdoor graphics, making it ideal for hunters and outdoor enthusiasts.
The engine is based on the popular Yamaha Raptor 700 motor. Sharing the same bore and stroke (102.0 x 84.0) and displacement (686cc) as the Raptor, this liquid cooled, single-overhead, fuel-injected engine ensures that those who ride it are going to have some fun. This engine is tuned in order to have more power from low rpm, which is crucial for technical trail riding. An electric start gets the engine firing, but is not equipped with any alternative method so you have to make sure to keep the battery in excellent condition.
For 2009 the Honda FourTrax Rancher AT comes to the market with changes that distinguish it from earlier versions – yet it maintains much of what makes this an already popular choice in the midsize ATV category.
The first key change is a fully independent suspension front and now rear as well. Also added to the Rancher package are Electric Power Steering (EPS) and some new grippy disc brake shoes.
This Rancher uses the standard 420cc engine in a single-cylinder four-stroke package. The liquid-cooled motor is longitudinally mounted in the frame, providing a simple and efficient drive system as the output shaft is inline with the prop-shafts.
Suzuki answered both the needs of average trail riders and competitive racers in one swift move with the introduction of the Z400 in 2002. With its innovative water-cooled 4-stroke engine, lightweight design, and aggressive styling, the Z could be easily modified into a competitive machine.
Whether racing motocross or trails it was the machine to have. Team Suzuki rider ‘Digger’ Doug Gust proved this to be true by winning the ATVA Pro Class two years in a row, making the Z400 the first 4-stoke ATV to bring home a championship. The Z400 continued to lead the sport class for many years before finding itself outdated. With numerous other factories, including Suzuki, manufacturing bigger displacement machines, it became harder to keep up with the new 450cc ATVs that were born and raised on the track. Despite Suzuki’s addition of the R450 to its family of sport ATVs, the Z400 remained a contender in its own class.
Though 2008 is not yet behind us, Kymco USA has already revealed an ATV for the 2010 model year at the Long Beach Cycle World International Motorcycle Show.
The 2010 MXU 500 IRS is Kymco’s largest and most powerful ATV to date. Powered by a liquid-cooled 4-stroke, DOHC 498cc engine, the MXU 500 IRS has its sights set on the popular 500cc middleweight class.
Along with its new engine, Kymco’s latest creation features shift-on-the-fly 4×4 traction and independent rear suspension. The CVT automatic transmission has forward, neutral, reverse, park, low and high gear with a front differential lock that, according to Kymco, will ‘get you in, out or over any trail conditions.’
When we had our ‘impressions’ ride of the new 2009 Polaris Sportsman XP earlier in the year down in southeastern Minnesota, it was obvious that the ‘XP’ models were significant improvements over the previous best-selling Polaris Sportsman 4-wheelers.
Your riding and adventuring, however, are extremely limited at a media introduction. There are watchful eyes making certain that you don’t seriously abuse their early pilot run of ATVs. It is explained that that these pre-production offerings are not finalized. Close, but not final. Okay, we buy that program, but we figured out a program of our own that will let us give the all-new Sportsman XP models a good workout. From the mid-summer introduction we jump to mid-October and our test plan.
The race element in Can-Am’s lineup is being pushed to the forefront with the introduction of the revamped DS 450 model. I had a chance to ride a pre-production unit at a test track in Texas this summer and where this bike shines is in its ability to be competitive right out of the dealer’s showroom.
This Can-Am attribute is important for two reasons – one that’s obvious, the other less so, yet equally important to the business as a whole. When a race bike can go from the crate to the track in the same day it encourages those riders who want to race for fun to do it. This in turn means that a Sunday’s worth of fun doesn’t require a week’s worth of wrenching (not everyone is hard-core) and that leads into the second point – more and more riders will start getting involved in organized racing just for the thrill of it.
For ’09 the DS450 is available as an MX or XC model. The first version lends itself to a straight motocross style track setup while the XC package is tuned to take the uneven abuse of cross-country racing.
Don’t be fooled by Yamaha’s new YFZ450R. Though it sounds basically the same as the venerable YFZ450 in name, this quad is an entirely different animal altogether. Yamaha didn’t just tweak the YFZ450 here and there and throw on the ‘R’. Instead the slate was wiped completely clean and a new machine was built from the ground up, including a new engine, new frame and new motocross-wide chassis.
When putting this quad together, Yamaha had to figure out who was going to buy it. According to the company’s research, 50% of its customers say racing technology was their main influence for purchasing the YFZ450. However, only 15% actually race the quads on motocross tracks. Ultimately, Yamaha decided it needed to build an affordable vehicle that would appeal to the average customer that wanted the latest racing technology but wasn’t going to race, as well as the hard-core customer that wanted a machine that could be easily modified in order to compete on the track. This was no small task, but Yamaha came up with some interesting solutions.
Polaris has made major changes to its 2009 ATV and Ranger lineup. ATV.com has already looked at the brand new Sportsman XP lineup and the new Ranger HD and redesigned Ranger XP. Now it’s time to explore Polaris’ 2009 sports-oriented quads – the Outlaw line and an offshoot of last year’s much-talked about Ranger RZR.
The Ranger RZR set the side-by-side industry on its ear in 2008. Not only was it the fastest stock vehicle in its class, but it was also trail capable, thanks to its 50-inch width. It was hands down the sportiest side-by-side ever released by a major manufacturer and Polaris had trouble keeping up with the demand.
The aftermarket, as expected, sunk its teeth into the RZR almost immediately, finding ways to make it faster, tougher and more stable. Many consumers spent thousands of dollars to upgrade the RZR, changing it from a trail-oriented machine to a desert racer, dune blaster and everything else imaginable.
Kymco’s new MXU 400 proved to be a capable trail rider, able to handle tight, technical climbs and anything else you’d expect from an entry-level middleweight quad.
The MXU 400 we are reviewing was released in Europe in 2008. The MXU 375, which is very close to the same vehicle, is part of the 2009 lineup in the United States.
Kymco has made great improvements to its ATV class since the beginning of the decade. Starting with the MXR, Kymco ATVs have been growing in displacement and quality. In 2007, Kymco introduced its first midsize 4×4 with the MXU 500, which was a big step for the company.
Though the MXU 400 shares a lot of similarities with its big brother, they feel completely different on the trail.
Have you ever had a little brother that looked up to you? Who liked to follow in your footsteps since the day he was born? Think of the Yamaha Raptor 250 as the little brother who placed his foot, every stride and every step he ever made, right in yours. Now imagine that little brother had that ability to learn from the mistakes that you made. Born with many family traits like tremendous power, precise handling and intimidating looks, the 2009 Yamaha Raptor 250 had a head start from day one.
Yamaha first welcomed the Raptor 250 into this world in 2008 after the death of its closest cousin, the Yamaha Blaster. It may have been the coughing that got the best of him (EPA regulations). With quite a reputation to live up to, the first thing Yamaha looked at when designing the Raptor 250 was the engine. Because of ever increasing regulations on emissions, 2-stroke engines were out of the question, so Yamaha decided to go with an existing engine from its motorcycle family.
Can-Am’s Outlander series offers a wide variation of engine sizes – all of which also support a ‘Max’ model (the two-rider versions).
These are built on a longer frame specially designed to carry the weight of two riders. A stretched axle placement makes it stable under load – particularly while going uphill. The design gives passengers dedicated footrests and comfortable, solid handholds. The slightly elevated seating position also offers clear forward vision over the drivers shoulder. The passenger’s backrest is also designed to move with the motion of the quad, for added comfort.
For example look at the 500 MAX set in the middle of these 2009 offerings (400 to 800R), a market position where this Quad can offer all the features and comforts of the more powerful Max models but at a lower price, thanks to its 500cc engine. But, the 500 is far from anemic; I’d ridden all the models, particularly where the intent is recreational riding with a passenger, and the 500 is more than adequate.
Can-Am has announced the release of its 2009 DS 450 EFI ATV, complete with two new racing-specific packages.
Returning for 2009 is the 2009 Can-Am DS 450 EFI ATV. The base model gets updates and two models, the DS 450 X mx and DS 450 X xc models, also join the line-up.
“Can-Am now boasts the most race-ready 450 sport ATV line in the industry,” Can-Am says in a release. “All models get power from a proven Rotax engine. And the ultra-light weight comes from cutting-edge computer design and the most revolutionary thinking in the sport ATV world.”
“By releasing the DS 450 X mx and xc, we redefine the factory and amateur ATV racer relationship,” says Yves Leduc, vice-president and general manager, Can-Am division. “The DS 450 continues to evolve and the base model was the perfect starting point for the two most race-ready sport packages in the industry.”
Base DS 450 EFI
A virtually all-new Polaris Sportsman hits the trail for 2009. While a quick glance may have you thinking the 2009 Sportsman doesn’t look all that different, you will be right — and very wrong. There is a new XP series that carries over the look and feel of the previous generation Sportsman that has been an all-time best seller for the Minnesota-based powersports manufacturer. Upon closer inspection you will see major differences between the new Xtreme Performance models and Polaris’ ‘value’ models.
Let’s not even get into the powertrain for now. Just check out where you’ll be conducting business aboard this new-for-2009 Sportsman XP series. Your ‘office’ is narrower and your foot room is greater. You can see the base of the engine looks a bit different as well. That’s because the all-new Polaris Sportsman XP powerplants have been turned about and canted to give you that revised seating position.
Bombardier Recreational Products (BRP) is a brand name that is mostly associated with snowmobiles – and if you don’t happen to live in Canada or the northern United States you’d be forgiven if you thought of Bombardier as just a builder of trains and planes. But then the company started building ATVs (about ten years ago now) and, in doing so, discovered that many potential ATV consumers had never heard of Bombardier. So? Well, in a nutshell that explains the creation of the Can-Am brand two years ago and the dropping of all Bombardier references in the company’s effort to establish itself as a competitive ATV builder.
The Can-Am Renegade is the result – a blend of sport and utility machine and also the new face of this Can-Am brand. This race inspired ATV is meant to encompass the ‘something-for-everyone’ image that the new company aspires to – as long as what you aspire to is going fast. The new 2009 ‘R’ edition just reinforces that direction.