ATV Television's Blog

The Latest News and Doug's Ramblings & Ravings.
Including Doug's "Here's what I think!" and "What were they thinking!"

Monday, October 11, 2010

Test Updates

ATVTV Test Updates:

Polaris Sportsman XP 850 Touring LE  —

While at the Polaris 2011 New Model Introduction up in Montana, I fell in love with the new Touring models – especially the LE that comes complete with a winch, Carlisle (MudLites?) on aluminum wheels, twin mirrors, handguards, and even grip warmers. What, no seat warmer? Am I asking too much? Am I getting too old?

What I really like is how you can convert the 2011 Touring to a single-seat ATV! Not only does that make it more practical, but makes it what I think could be the best looking ATV out there.

Of course, I’m more than merely disappointed in Polaris’ cost-cutting measures that include the removal of one of the rear discs! The official explanation is that because it has a solid rear differential, one rear brake is all that’s needed. I just don’t know what to say :-(

Actually I do, as when have I ever been at a lack for words? Polaris’ downfall will be their cost-cutting procedures – plastic bearing carriers, moving their manufacturing to Mexico, and even things like 3-wheel disc brakes!


The project RZR is pretty much completed, well, except for some changes we plan to make to the intake system. We need to modify the K&N filter we installed! It’s just too noisy! The more open (or less restricted) intake and the metal box that’s a big part of it, just make the interior sound of the RZR too loud for me. Under acceleration the induction sound reverberates enough to actually be uncomfortable on my ears. It also completely annoys my companion, Bob Dog. So I think my options are to try and quiet the K&N box down, put the stock filter back on, or find another filter system that’s not so loud.

Perhaps since it’s already installed we’ll try first to quiet this one down. Perhaps we can cover the open intake side of the box a bit. Or put some padding on the box itself.

Any suggestions? Whatever we do, we’ll let you know what it is and how it works.

Suzuki King Quad —

The modifications we’re making to the KQ are coming right along. We’ve mounted a pair of cargo boxes front and rear that seem to be what we are looking for for. Our biggest problem is with the mounting of the rear box. The problem is that the box I found that I like the most hinges at the rear! Yeah, while digging through my old boxes, I found a pair of Kawasaki-branded boxes that I really like. The size is right, and the shape is right, with flat tops so more items can be mounted on the top if needed. And although I really like the fact that the rear box hinges from the rear, it requires the fuel pack mounting brackets to be moved farther rearward. Even with that done, the box extends forward enough that the seat is difficult to remove and the fuel cap harder to get to.

We’ll see how that all works and if it’s a problem or if we can deal with it.

I also got the new 3000 pound KFI winch installed. What an easy thing to do. The mount installs so easily that I almost wanted to take it off and put it on again! Then, Suzuki has made the mounting easy on their part by first providing a nice plastic tube to run all the wires through, and second, by making a nice place to bolt on the connector box. The only problem is that to use the pre-drilled holes requires removing the rear plastic bodywork which also requires removing the rear rack. Actually they just need ‘mostly’ removed. Also this helps to make for a very clean install. We also mounted the remote plug right up on the handlebar with the switch – something we’ve never done before but makes for a simple (and clean) installation.

We think every winch should come with a synthetic cable. Once you use a ‘rope’ in place of a  steel wire cable, you’ll be sold on its safety. It’s both easy to handle with your bare hands and even more important, should it ever break, it contains no kinetic energy, so rather than whip around and possible cause serious harm, it will fall harmlessly to the ground! I still have the steel cable on my Prairie I use to plow snow with and the cable is already frayed enough to be dangerous to touch.

Mounting the synthetic cable is certainly easy enough. Remove the steel cable. Drill the hole that holds the steel cable on the spool a bit larger diameter. Thread in the synthetic rope. Bingo! Reel it in and you’re ready to go winching!

Looking at the pictures you’ll see that I also installed a set of Rotopax mounts on top of the front box. I like the added storage options but I’m a little unsure how the box itself will hold up to the added weight.

So we’re pretty much done with our mods with the exception of bolting on a better set of shocks, and putting some miles on it to see how everything works! Interestingly enough, we recently ran into a couple of guys on the Paiute Trail that had to have one of their KQ racks re-welded after it broke from hauling the weight on rough roads! And what they were hauling didn’t seem like too much to me. They even were running Elka suspensions! It kinda makes me wonder…..

Kawasaki Teryx —

The Teryx continues to perform flawlessly. No hiccups in its performance whatsoever. We’ve even used it twice to run up the mountain with a trailer and haul down a good-sized load of wood. No power problems and no braking problems. And never once was there anything that made me question whether I would make it back – or not.

It continues to be used hard and put away wet and yet like a faithful dog is always more than willing to head out again.

Of course we still wish it was a bit quieter (What’s new?), and more than anything else wish it was 50” wide!

Kawasaki Mule —

The same thing applies to the diesel Mule. It continues on with flawless operation. I continue to enjoy its sturdy, metal construction and its no-nonsense design. I do continue to wish for a Sport Edition Mule, with a little more suspension travel and no speed limiter so it would make a little better machine for casual trail riding. Fat chance I’m sure.

Polaris Ranger EV —

I continue to be amazed with the EV. I love the quiet operation. I do wish it had some kind of a back up system that charged the batteries while driving.

Also, for some reason I’m now finding that the throttle response from a standstill (what I always refer to as ‘tip in’) seems far more sensitive than before. Sometimes you start pushing the throttle and nothing happens and then all of a sudden, (WHAM), it starts moving – faster than you planned.

And I’m more used to having an increased gasoline bill than I am a larger electric bill.

Kawasaki Brute Force 750 —

Gee I wish I had something more to say about the Kawasaki’s we have other than their faithful operation. Even after spending its first several hours immersed, hopelessly stuck in a muddy spring stream due almost entirely to rider error, it has never once given me any reason to doubt its ability to get me where I want to go and back home safely and without any worry. That’s not something that can be said about every ATV that comes through our testing…..


  1. I have been looking into the RZR intakes a great deal after hearing your thought on it. There are two intakes that look the best to me, and look as if they would be quiet. One is made by BTI(part number AFC-1005WP). The other is by Unique Metal Products - Polaris RZR air intake. Check them out and see what you think. If you get a chance to try these out let us know how they work.

  2. Thanks Dan. The BTI is distributed exclusively through Dragonfire Racing so we have a request in to them. I will check out the Unique Metal Products units.


  3. After reaing your article on a few of the new ATVs and UTVs I have decided that I want a synthetic rope for my winch.

  4. Hopefully the BTI unit works well, can't wait to hear from you how it turns out!

    On a different note; I know you have discussed this a little, but in your honest opinion, why do you think no other manufacturer has come out with a 50" UTV? Is it because of Polaris' patent on the engine placement, or the fear of being sued like Yamaha, or do they think that there isn't enough buyers in the 50" category. I would love to see a 50" Kawasaki Teryx, Yamaha Rhino, or Suzuki 50" er. If you have discussed this somewhere already let me know where I can find it.


  5. After trying and trying to get a couple of the other manufacturers to build a 50" SxS and being dismissed as it not being a high priority, I was amazed to find out that the 50" RZR is Polaris' number one selling side by side. So I am indeed perplexed. I even offered to build some prototypes to test the market for them. Even thought of building kits myself to turn ATVs like the King Quad into 50" SxSs!

    Although the mid-engine patent may be a small part, I believe the biggest problem is that everyone is running scared right now. There is also a lot of talk as to the CSPC actually coming out with new guidelines for SxSs.

    Of course the economic conditions don't help either. Whatever it is I am as perplexed as you. Maybe more ;-)

  6. You are amazing! Thanks for the quick responses. It really means a lot to me that you have taken the time to respond to my comments.

  7. Doug

    I like your modifications to the KQ. However, I’m not sure why the rear trunk is hinged to the rear (personal preference I suppose); I find using a trunk configured that way could have access challenges. Personally what I think you should do is remove the gas cans from the rear and mount the gas cans one on each side of the rear trunk as there is room on both sides of the trunk and still not hang over the fenders, thus allowing the rear trunk to be positioned further back on the rack. This would allow easier access to remove the seat and fill the gas tank, again my opinion.

    I do like your front trunk setup, and also like you I like the fact you can put more stuff on the front trunk, but the more stuff you put on the front trunk blocks your view ahead, so there is a trade off. Because you have KQ with power steering is a good thing, I don’t think I would add that much weight to the front rack on a machine without power steering.

    You mentioned about the two ATV riders on the Piute trail and the fact on one of their machines had to have the rack welded, I can see this as an issue, not so much as the weight, but how high things are stacked on the rack. This stacking creates a leverage action that stresses the welds on the rack, while the weight may be low or within specs, the whipping action while on trials with a tall load such as a trunk on the rack causes the leverage and could fatigue the rack welds.

    I agree with you about winches; I think all ATV winches should come with synthetic rope. Steel cable has too many issues such as stored energy, cable memory (when unspooled the cable will try to coil), slivers and broken strands, weight and the lack of easy handling. My opinion when buying winch for an ATV; pony up the few extra dollars and get one with synthetic rope.

    Now all you need to do is upgrade the suspension, I can’t wait to see what you come up with.

  8. Thanks for the input Jeff. I am still juggling how to best set up the rear of the machine. I'll take a look at putting the fuel packs on each side...

    My preference for the rear-hinged box is that the opening is not covered in dust every time you want to open it. Small thing perhaps but I hate getting dust on me while reaching in to get my lunch, or (?)

  9. Did the KQ folks ever come up with better geometry for the older KQ's i.e. 2007. I remember sometime back you said that Suzuki was working on that and you would let us know? I never heard, and since your show is not in our area anymore so I rely on your website which is great.

  10. Nope. All the King Quads without EPS have the steeper front caster. Oddly enough it was the EPS models that received the revised geometry. While there were troubles with the steeper geometry, the reason for it was to make the KQ steer easier. IF they are still in business, a company called WCR (World Class Racing) made a set of lower arms for the KQ that changed the caster. Seemed like they were about 300.00. Easy to install and made a big difference in handling with what I thought was just a tad more steering effort. A trade off I thought was worth it.

  11. Oct 30, 2010 1:10 PM

    2001 Honda Rubicon.

    It started again yesterday morning so I took it for another ride.

    Conclusion from yesterdays ride:

    You need tread on your tires if you are going to ride in snow and mud, well at least it helps. :o)