July 27, 2005 Polaris ATVs have been racking up the awards recently, with the Predator 500 Troy Lee Designs Edition recently picking up the 2005 Sport Quad of the Year from ATV Sport Magazine. Now it appears the company has scooped the pool, with the Sportsman 800 EFI winning the ATV of the Year Award unveiled in the August issue of ATV Rider Magazine. The latest award is further confirmation of Polaris’ dominance of the big bore market after the 2004 ATP and 2002 Sportsman 700 Twin took out the same award with rival publication ATV Magazine. In awarding the new 800 the biggest annual prize of the industry, ATV Rider summed it up thus: “As the biggest of the big boys, Polaris’ Sportsman 800 Twin EFI came, saw and conquered all in our Big-Bore Open 4x4 comparison,” said ATV Rider’s Todd Canavan. “Relishing the loamy dirt and rocky, rutted and root-filled trails of North Carolina, the Sportsman climbed and crawled over every obstacle thrown at it." While noting that bigger does not always mean better, Canavan said in the case of the Sportsman 800, it did.
“Polaris hit the mark with the Sportsman 800 Twin EFI,” he said. “The fuel-injected powerplant and revised suspension for 2005 allow the Sportsman to carry its heft well – well enough to earn it the title of ATV Rider magazine’s ATV of the Year!”
The Sportsman 800 EFI arrived on the scene this year with Field & Stream’s “Best of the Best” award, prompting the magazine to heap similar praise on the most powerful ATV on the market.
“This is the first ATV to hit the 800cc class and it possesses enough torque to pull your garage down,” stated Field & Stream.
“It will also attack a trail, clear deep snow off a driveway, till a food plot effortlessly and get your deer out of any thick and nasty bottom.”
Also impressed with the power and durability of the Sportsman 800, ATV Rider was generous in its praise of the 800’s huge engine.
“Ostensibly the most-obvious feature of the Sportsman 800, the gargantuan twin-cylinder engine is massively proportioned by today’s standards yet maintains one of the most-civil demeanours,” Canavan said. “Fitted with a responsive fuel-injection system, the Sportsman offers turnkey starting and no-hassle operation.”
“The powerplant that drives through it is much closer to the pinnacle of ATV performance.”
With the industry’s best-selling automatic transmission, engine braking, on-demand all-wheel drive and independent rear suspension with long-travel front, this new ATV provides more horsepower, more torque and more fun than any other recreation/utility model. And to match the new engine comes a Sportsman chassis platform that is totally new from the ground up.
“One of the most commonly appreciated features of the big Sportsman is the spacious layout of the large chassis…it (the chassis) is shared throughout the model range and offers heavy payload towing and carrying capacities,” said ATV Rider.
“This enables the 800 Twin EFI to be equally at home at work or at play.”
The new Sportsman platform has increased suspension travel by 22 percent plus an all-new, wider front track. This may not sound radical, but riding the machine you immediately feel a major leap forward in handling technology.
“The 800 EFI has a well-damped suspension that offers more front travel thanks to a slight redesign.
“Shod with Polaris’ excellent PXT tyres, the chassis, suspension and rubber make a potent combination that fares well in a broad variety of terrain.” Independent rear suspension creates the smoothest ride along with redesigned floorboards for better drainage and splash protection; the grille and racks are made of a virtually unbreakable new composite material; the front and rear storage compartments are dust and water tight; and the 800 features Polaris’ new Lock n’ Ride accessory system with quick attach storage boxes, windshields and gun scabbards to name a few.
Sound good? We’ll let ATV Rider have the final word:
“Finally, the 800 offers fit and finish that one-ups nearly every other model in its class, highlighting the attention to detail that went into Polaris’ flagship model and pushing it to the top in our book, earning the title 2005 ATV of the Year!” Sport ATV of the Year
The Predator has won seven “Sport ATV of the Year” awards from a number of industry publications in its three years on the market.
The 2005 Troy Lee Designs version of the Predator is loaded with premium performance equipment and has new gear ratios that improve roll-on acceleration. The TLD model also has aluminum shocks, front and rear, and the front shocks have remote reservoirs and compression adjustability so riders can really dial in the Predator’s ride and handling. Maxxis Razr radial tires are standard all around. The combination of the new shocks, new tires and close ratio gears results in a distinctly different and more performance-oriented ride on the Predator 500 Troy Lee Designs edition.
“We selected the Polaris Predator TLD edition because Polaris used a strategic reconditioning plan to improve its overall appeal and competition potential for the machine,” said Jerrod Kelley, editor of ATV Sport Magazine. “This model does not alienate the average rider or recreational rider, yet it has the potential to perform in competition formats, especially GNCC-type settings. Transforming this model from a “Limited Edition” model to a standard offering in the lineup was critical.”
ATV Sport created the annual awards in 2003 in an effort to bring recognition and acknowledgement to the sport niche of the ATV industry. With more manufacturers releasing new sport models and the interest in sport quads and racing on the rise, ATV Sport and Ehlert Publishing Group, Inc. determined it was time to reward the manufacturers’ sport efforts. The overall award is determined by the group of ATV editors at Ehlert.
“This year’s Predator Troy Lee is already establishing itself as a tough machine to beat on the trails with Matt Smiley’s four top-ten finishes in the first four races of the GNCC season, including two podium spots,” said Bennett Morgan, vice president and general manager of the ATV division at Polaris. “We’re thrilled that consumers and the industry are as excited about this machine as we are. We believe we’ve made dramatic improvements over the 2004 model and much of that is due to consumer and dealer feedback. Keep it coming.”
To receive the award a machine must be all-new or significantly redesigned. It also must meet at least one of the three prerequisites: Market Appeal, Competition Potential and Innovation. The Sport Quad of the Year award aims to serve as an annual accolade for a deserving niche of the market -- to recognize a growing segment and prove there is an increase in interest, from the manufacturers and consumers, and a future for the sport. Ehlert wanted to recognize these efforts and models, some of which will help shape the future of the sport.
”This redesigned quad also fits in with Polaris’ redesigned racing effort, which includes GNCC contingency and factory-backed GNCC pro Matt Smiley,” said Kelley. “Incorporating dealer and consumer feedback improved the Troy Lee Design Predator’s overall package and truly made it a better for everyone.”
The toughest of the tough
Finally, from the company that markets its ATVs as the world’s toughest, check out the new 2006 model MV7 – it’s a military-strength ATV with additional ground clearance, towing capacity, carrying capacity and run flat tyres (sometimes it’s not a good idea to stop and fix a puncture). When we spoke to the Australian Polaris distributor about the MV7 he bemoaned the fact that the vehicles are only available to the military – in a country renowned for being brutally tough on its off-road work vehicles, the MV7 would be a best seller.