Original review herePolaris' Independent Rear Suspension-equipped sport quad left industry insiders waiting in suspense for the chance to give the revolutionary new concept a go. Thad Josey drew that lucky straw, and the rest of us were forced to ride vicariously through his report while we waited for our turns. But before Polaris could set us up with our own, we stumbled upon the White Brothers' test unit at our 24-hour torture test. We were able to sample the Outlaw on the 21-mile course, and the short stint left us even more anxious to get some time on this ATV. So our plan evolved, and we decided to not only try it out in California but also examine it in the tight Eastern woods.
+ With IRS, rough trail is nonthreatening
+ Fox shocks let suspension work wonders
- Mixed bag of nuts
- Pillow-soft seat comes off too easily
= A generally good trail ATV
The Big Buck GNCC in Union, South Carolina, turned out to be a perfect choice to wring out the Outlaw. The course-with its abundance of stumps at just the height to rip the axle right out from an ATV and nearly 12 miles of open, high-speed terrain intermixed with tight, winding wooded trails-was the ideal location to test the newest member of the Polaris stable. The Outlaw's climbing abilities were put to the test shortly after the start with one of the many rocky hillclimbs, and the infamous creek jumps permitted me to assess its suspension and flight characteristics.
Thanks to the rapid starting ability, getting the Outlaw off the line and to the front of the pack required minimal effort. Maintaining the speed needed to hold that position proved to be a different matter, due to the sheer weight of the machine. It was comfortable and very predictable blazing through sweeping turns and hammering the fast, choppy, open trails. As the trees closed in and turns appeared suddenly, throwing the machine around in quick succession eventually took its toll on my body. Off-camber and really sharp turns made the Outlaw a bit tipsy, and it usually wanted to bicycle around the corners. This took a little getting used to, but once I got my technique dialed in and knew what to expect, I just took the turns a little slower and made up time in other areas where the machine had clear advantages.
This brings me to the massive 11.5 inches of ground clearance that allowed me to soar right over gnarly stumps, rocks and roots that the straight-axle competition had to avoid and lost time by darting around them. The IRS kept the sprocket out of danger while still getting the power to the ground and launched the Outlaw up any rutted line that I chose to take. All of this hardware added pounds, but this may be the only place the extra weight may have been an advantage by giving the machine more traction. Keeping the rpm high was unnecessary; the power delivery was smooth, allowing the Outlaw to lug up hills at low rpm. When the shorter, faster lines became rutted and machines were losing traction because of their dragging bellies, the IRS came into play again. Riders were forced to choose alternate yet longer paths to keep up their momentum, while I was able remain on course without fear of bottoming out.