One of our favorite tools for any adventure ride is the Polaris Ride Command System. Ironically, it was developed as part of one of the best tools for getting you disconnected from the rest of the world, Polaris brand ATVs and Side x Sides. While Polaris off-road vehicles are supremely capable of carrying you and your group deep into territory that is all but inaccessible to most, the Ride Command and new Ride Command + system can keep your group connected, guide you to and back from your destination, and in full contact with the rest of the world. What started as a basic but convenient trail GPS system has continued to evolve into a highly valuable trail and trouble saving tool.
After using the Ride Command system both built into the vehicle and through the free phone app, we’re hooked. It’s highly capable and a great tool offering a lot of value to trail explorers. You can use as many or as few of the systems features as you want and the rest remain silently ready in the background. Highlights of both the Polaris Ride Command and new Ride Command + System are:
RIDE COMMAND, RIDE COMMAND+, and RIDE COMMAND APP - Standard Features
- GPS MAPPING – Access over 1.1 million miles of known maps with detailed features, topography, trail type, and even trail difficulty.
- INTEGRATED KNOWN WAYPOINTS – Maps have known points of interest such as campgrounds, food, fuel, dealers, etc.
- ROUTE TRACKING – Plan your route before you go, and track your adventure from the trail. You can even do a 3D flyover of your adventure after the ride!
- GROUP and EVENT PLANNING – Create a group ride and route that all in your group can access to keep track of each other. No more waiting at the next corner until the person behind you catches up. GREAT for dusty conditions where you want to spread out.
- RIDE SHARING – By joining the Polaris Ride Command community with a free account you can share your ride with others and check out other people’s favorite rides as well. You’ll find new places to explore!
RIDE COMMAND + Added features
- VEHICLE LOCATOR - Day or night, running or not, if your vehicle moves you know it with an alert pushed to your phone or email. It’s a silent, standing sentry.
- VEHICLE HEALTH – Monitors critical vehicle functions and systems mostly related to the powertrain. If a maintenance item is needed it lets you know.
- DIAGNOSTICS – Will alert you to any serious problems with a diagnostic alert. Rather than just throwing the code number, this system will also describe the issue in ordinary terms. The info can then be relayed to your dealer tech so they don’t have to decipher what your attempted sound replication reminiscent of the possum exhibit at the Cleveland Zoo indicates mechanically.
- RIDE TRACKING and REPORTING. You can record your ride and see it on a map overview, save it for another outing, and even share it with friends or the world on social media. Congratulations. Your newfound trail system is soon to be overrun by selfie savers.
- CHECK IN MESSAGING – Although getting away from it all is a big part of the off-road experience, there are times you might need to be available to family or friends. This allows you to remain connected for vital messages, report your condition at will, and request help if needed. Basically, an updated version of your moms old “Just wanted to know you’re not dead in a ditch” system.
WHO CAN USE RIDE COMMAND?
Everyone has access to the Ride Command system! Thanks to the free phone app and website, you don’t even need to be on a Polaris machine. The phone app has most of the full RIDE COMMAND features, but it understandably doesn’t know the maintenance schedules and diagnostic features of other brands. However, it’s got everything you need for a detailed trail riding adventure. We happily use it with whatever we’re riding. You could even use it on horseback!
WHAT’S THE COST and HOW MANY MILES OF TRAIL ARE IN THE SYSTEM?
Polaris has several teams constantly working on the RIDE COMMAND system. There is a software group, a map generation team, and individuals that travel the country checking on new trails and meeting with local clubs, dealers, and government agencies to continually piece together and link known trails. Currently the system has over 1.1 million miles of mapped trail, and to their huge credit and the immeasurable thanks of many, many riders, Polaris does all of this at their own expense! They’ve poured an enormous amount of money into building the RIDE COMMAND program as a way to foster trail riding. Even the money businesses pay to advertise on the maps gets returned to local organizations for trail construction and maintenance activities! Polaris certainly deserves a huge thank you for this! Best of all, you can access the system for free!
The free Ride Command app and website has all the basic features that made the system great. Ride Command + offers even more features including considerable diagnostic capabilities, and if your machine came with Ride Command+ from the factory the trial period is 3 years. If not, you can purchase a Ride Command + plug-in device with a 1-year trial period, and after that to keep all the enhanced features the cost is $99 / year. RIDE COMMAND + does not require a 7-inch display in the vehicle to work, which is why it is also compatible with most Sportsman ATVs.
OUR RIDE COMMAND REVIEW
One of our goals on every riding adventure is to disconnect and just appreciate the time on the trail for what it is. With its capability of sharing your ride and messaging features, it would seem the Ride Command system is in direct conflict with that. However, just like with any software, after a little playing with it we’ve found the functions we like best and the ability to find and explore new trails has greatly expanded and enhanced our adventures. The Ride Command system is easy to use, intuitive, packed with useful features, and we love it!
WHY YOU SHOULD TRY IT
Like all forms of technology and software programs, the best way to learn what the RIDE COMMAND and RIDE COMMAND + system can do is to try it. Download the free app to get started and see what the system offers. Even if you’re on a Kawasaki, a Yamaha, a CF Moto, or any other brand the app is a highly useful tool. If you’re riding a Polaris machine with the Ride Command system built in, you’ve got even more features to play with. We’ve found new trails in areas we thought we knew well, and exploring new trails is what it’s all about. We’ll have a version of the Ride Command system on every adventure in the future with whatever we’re riding. It’s as handy a tool as any rattling around in your toolbox. Ride Command is the Leatherman of the mapping world.