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Saturday, June 19, 2010

2011 Polaris'

We are off to the see the new-for 2011 Polaris line-up. Of course I’m not sure how long we’ll be sworn to secrecy before we can tell you what we saw, so I thought maybe I’d spend a little time telling you what I’d like to see…..

First and foremost in my book would be a revised RZR. I’d like to see the 850 engine put in it Not that it all that much more powerful, but it’s smoother and a cleaner, more compact design. That package would also give us the 4-wheel braking that is MUCH needed. While they are in that department, let’s make sure that we clean up the mounting points so we can add bigger wheels and tires without having to go outward and increase the width beyond the 50” And let’s clean up those a-arms, make them a tubular steel and paint them silver. Then mount some better Fox shocks to them to increase the travel slightly but increase the ride and handling considerably. And go ahead and put some real tires on it. My choice would of course be something like the Carlisle ACT, or Goodyear MT/R. Or even a special set of perfectly (re-sized) Terra Cross.

Moving inside there would be a hand-lever for the emergency-parking brake, and some sealed storage compartments. The bodywork could stay pretty much like it is but let’s take some of the ugly out of that roll cage! Of course if it were up to me I’d go ahead and switch the entire drivetrain over to a system that had 2wd, 4wd, and a locking front differential and therefore also get great engine braking in the process. But I’m sure that’s too much to ask for. As would be a switch from a CVT transmission to a autoclutch system!

Moving on I’d lover to see a mid-size crewcab Ranger. Built on the platform from the 400cc class machine I’d stretch it slightly so there was a back seat. A small one! I’d probably make that model at least a 500cc, and maybe a 650.

In the ATV department things are looking pretty good with the new line of XPs, but I’d fix the power steering so it has less power and more feel. I’d make the design engineers go ride a Suzuki King Quad with EPS. I’d also make another 2-seat model, based on the Touring, but without a raised rear seat. I’d just make the standard seat longer. I talk to a lot of folks that ride two-up on a regular machine because the second rider doesn’t like sitting up so high and feels exposed. And while we’re working on the ATV line, I’d revise that transmission. I’d have it engage sooner and run in a higher ratio. And fix it so it shifts with clunking so much.

That’s pretty much the main changes – in a nutshell. I’d probably also shorten the RZR 4 a bit and clean up that cage as well. I might lift the Ranger Crew a bit too.

But I better stop while I’ve only dug a small hole for myself.

Oh there’s one more thing I’d do. I’d swallow my pride, and make a HUGE commitment to do two VERY important things. I’d keep building all the machines here in the US of A, and I’d commit the entire operation to a design and build quality that matches or exceeds that of the Japanese.

Think I’ll see any of this at the 2011 intro? I doubt it too, but knowing Polaris I know they’ll be some surprises.

I’ll let you know what they are just as soon as I can. 


  1. We'll be waiting hear Doug, I hope they surprise all of us with great new stuff.

  2. I just got back from a nice ride in the RZR 4. I need to add that I'd do away with that silly heel pocket in the floor designed specifically for those folks with size 14 boots! And did I mention that the downhill braking doesn't work very well? That's the politically correct way of saying it BTW - not the way I'd say it if we were talking about it in the shop ;-)

  3. And you know how impressed I am with Polaris' downhill braking.

    When did they come out with downhill braking??

  4. Let me put it in simple terms; Picture sliding down a steep section of a dirt hill. You sit down on your rear and slide. Polaris has the butt part engaged and they are very seriously working on putting the feet part down now as well. The feet part is called ADC (Active Descent Control). On all the other models without ADC it's just the Butt part that engages.

  5. I guess I'm just spoiled.

    I've always liked the idea of riding a "point and shoot" type of ATV.

  6. "but knowing Polaris I know they’ll be some surprises"

    And the big surprise was that they shaved some excess weight off some of their ATVs.

    What wasn't a surprise was what they did to save a few pounds.

    The removed a few rear brake calipers and replaced some metal pieces with plastic ones. They made them "cheaper" and lighter but not necessarily better.

  7. I remember when the product manager announced the weight loss like it was an industry break thru and you could see it in his face that he was hoping no one was going to ask for specifics on what was done to shave off a few pounds.