The Polaris ACE marked a different direction in the development of Side x Sides. The ACE wasn’t exactly an ATV, although it did appear to be the offspring of a mating between the RZR 570 and a Sportsman ATV. It wasn’t exactly a Side x Side either; even though it has a steering wheel, roll cage, and a bucket seat. One thing we knew for sure is that we needed to spend more time on, or maybe we should say “in” it.
Few riders begin their life of off-road adventures as an adult. Most were first dipped in the world of riding when they were young and every trail led to exploration and every lap around a backyard track delivered a thrill that could be found nowhere else. For many it began as a family affair, with friends or relatives that made the world a little bigger and more filled with wonder. Once tasted, that feeling would never go away.
Less than a year ago at the introduction of their innovative Pioneer 700 and 700-4 Side x Side, Honda promised they were on the gas and there would be several more models to come. For a company that protects their secrets as if they are grandmothers jewels it was a stunning statement that definitely grabbed our attention. Today Honda delivered on the first part of that promise with the release of a second new Side x Side, the 2015 Pioneer 500, and it’s every bit as unique as the first.
“They’re shooting behind the duck.” That was a quote heard at our first ride on the Polaris RZR XP 1000 EPS about how other OEMS often find themselves trying to catch up to the relentless, breakneck pace Polaris has set with new model development. Sometimes there are just too many ducks to follow.
Lessons Learned from a Year with the Fun-Sized RZR
Before the Polaris RZR, there wasn’t any Side x Side dedicated to high-performance recreation, but with the sporty RZR 800, Polaris had an instant hit and the race was on. Since then other manufacturers have entered the game and each new model has seen huge gains in power, suspension, and performance. Not everyone needs or even wants huge horsepower and desert taming suspension just to cruise the local trails, though, and for those riders, Polaris has a unique option.
Detroit’s Downtown Athletic Club seems like an unlikely location for a new model introduction. It is more of a combination art museum and monument to captains of industry, as member plaques ring out names such as Ford, Dodge, Chrysler, and Briggs. It’s easy to get the feeling that without a major factory with your name on it, you don’t get in. The Detroit Athletic Club is about as far from a trail as you can get, but what we had come to see was unlike anything on the trail anyway.
It takes more than a few laps around the track or a quick ride through the dunes to truly get the feel for a machine. We like to ride it, use it for work, maintain it, and live with it on our turf before we write any review. It also helps to let many different riders try it as well, and although most machines hit the mark for some riders, there is one machine that is almost universally loved. Welcome to the Polaris Sportsman 550.
The Gator species has evolved. What began as the humble, hard-working AMT (All Materials Transport) back in 1987 has now become a very capable off-road performer. John Deere has sold over 500,000 of their Gator utility vehicles, but never has there been one as quick, nimble, powerful, or just plain fun as the new RSX 850i, and now there are three! These Gators are meant for much more than the farm!
It’s the little details that can make or break any project. Ben Darbone of Scott, Louisiana is one rider who won’t let anything slip by. As a safety inspector for a fire safety company, it’s his job to notice all the little things, but Ben doesn’t just turn off those skills when the day’s work is done. Some people just can’t help bringing their work home with them.