Loyalty and old rivalries die hard and one the fiercest and most long standing rivalries in motorsports began when one guy figuratively kicked snow in the other guys face. Those old rivalries have expanded far from the frosty north all the way to the sweltering desert and today Polaris, Can-Am, and Arctic Cat go toe-to-toe with each other on every type of terrain. Whether it’s ATVs, sleds, or Side x Sides, as one company releases a new model you can bet the other guys will up the ante with one of their own.
The new Polaris RZR XP 900 features a new engine and a unique long travel suspension, and we just got done thrashing it in the desert. Look for a full article review and video Thursday at 10am! You'll love it!
Early Side x Sides were built strictly for utility use, with all the handling characteristics of a tractor. That caught the attention of Polaris which quietly went into action. With an engineering staff loaded full of Northern Minnesota hunters, it’s no wonder the Rangers are at home in the woods; they should practically be issued a hunting license. Imagine your best dog, best shotgun, best pickup, and best hunting camp all rolled into one, and you’ve got the Polaris Ranger XP 800.
The Kawasaki Teryx is one tough-as-nails UTV! It’s no wonder racers love it for its chassis. On our last jaunt across hundreds of miles of extreme desert, out of our group of eight Teryx mounted riders, we didn’t have a single failure or mechanical problem! We were extremely impressed! The Teryx isn’t limited to just high speed adventure, however. The term “Crossover Vehicle” applies perfectly to the Teryx for its ability to perform many different tasks extremely well.
We’ve never been to a ride area and had more reaction than when we rolled into the dunes with the CAN-AM Commander 1000XT. Even before we parked, there was a small flock heading our way, all eager to see for themselves the most anticipated Side X Side in years. It was as if the Commander was a divine revelation and the masses were eager to worship on its gleaming, bright yellow altar of performance. There would be no stealthy testing on this day.
One of the goals of intelligent engineering is getting as many uses as possible out of every part. Instead of designing a part to do only one job, why not make it do several? CAN-AM engineers took that idea to the extreme this year, not only applying it to vehicle performance but expanding the concept to the entire recreational experience.
It took an extra year of rumors and speculation, but when CAN-AM pulled back the curtains to reveal their 2011 new model lineup, there was not just one new Commander Side X Side but FIVE --and they looked stunning! Body styling fit in perfectly with the CAN-AM penchant for an aggressive, in-your-face, muscular look that hints at the performance within. From our first ride, it was clear this was a whole new level of UTV performance whether it was the COMMANDER 800, 1000, or the go-for-broke 1000 X-Package.
It’s often the details that make or break the overall design, and the first place we look is under the bodywork. There are some very creative engineering teams in the power sports business, but the new Commander Side X Sides showed exceptional work by the crew from Valcourt.
When one of the design parameters is that the vehicle must be able to carry a round bale almost as big as the vehicle itself, you know it’s going to be one tough, hard working UTV. Arctic Cat’s new Prowler HDX 700 can carry the bale, 3 passengers, and with a dump box seemingly half as big as a football field, practically the whole barn! We spent several days and 400 miles picking our way through the rocks, canyons, and desert to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon and back, and the HDX 700 was as reliable as a trusty dog or sure footed horse. Driving the HDX is much more comfortable, though.
Yamaha set the pace in the Hi-Performance ATV world with the introduction of their original YFZ 450, then upped the ante when they built a second generation racer, the YFZ 450R. The new ‘R came with a high tech aluminum chassis, fuel injection, a powerful engine, and racing quality, long travel suspension. Whether in the hands of a pro racer or an intermediate class rider, it made every rider better. Many riders hit the trails as well, however, and often that means a full width racer simply won’t fit between the trees.