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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all. I'm shopping for the sport-utility ATV I've been dreaming about since I started riding three wheelers as a kid. Massive power, great handling, sporty suspension with enough travel, and the ability to carry all of my stuff when I'm hunting. I've been doing my research, and a number of factors led me to the 2014 Sportsman XP LE (White). Earlier models did well in comparison tests, and this new one with the Scrambler suspension geometry and Fox suspension has to be the best thing out there, or so I thought. Then I started lurking in the forums to find out what owners thought about them, what very minor issues might need to be addressed, and what kind of power I might be able to expect from basic modifications. After lurking for several days, I'm now afraid to buy. Broken A arms. Broken frames. Cracked welds. I've been beating the piss out of a 2002 Rancher 350 since I got it in 2004. It's been stuck in the mud a few times, ridden HARD on rough rocky desert terrain, jumped, overloaded with deer corn and two riders, left under a tarp outside year-round, and it's never, ever been in the shop. The only issue has been Honda's "sealed" drum brakes, a known problem. That's it. But in reading these forums, it seems like the frames on these XP's are made of balsa wood and the welds should be labeled "Elmer's Glue." Heavy duty A-arm kits? Are you serious? I want to spend my money on fancy wheels and tires and performance parts, not replacing stock parts that should be bullet proof. Maybe I'm getting the wrong idea. Somebody help me out here.
 

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Hello all. I'm shopping for the sport-utility ATV I've been dreaming about since I started riding three wheelers as a kid. Massive power, great handling, sporty suspension with enough travel, and the ability to carry all of my stuff when I'm hunting. I've been doing my research, and a number of factors led me to the 2014 Sportsman XP LE (White). Earlier models did well in comparison tests, and this new one with the Scrambler suspension geometry and Fox suspension has to be the best thing out there, or so I thought. Then I started lurking in the forums to find out what owners thought about them, what very minor issues might need to be addressed, and what kind of power I might be able to expect from basic modifications. After lurking for several days, I'm now afraid to buy. Broken A arms. Broken frames. Cracked welds. I've been beating the piss out of a 2002 Rancher 350 since I got it in 2004. It's been stuck in the mud a few times, ridden HARD on rough rocky desert terrain, jumped, overloaded with deer corn and two riders, left under a tarp outside year-round, and it's never, ever been in the shop. The only issue has been Honda's "sealed" drum brakes, a known problem. That's it. But in reading these forums, it seems like the frames on these XP's are made of balsa wood and the welds should be labeled "Elmer's Glue." Heavy duty A-arm kits? Are you serious? I want to spend my money on fancy wheels and tires and performance parts, not replacing stock parts that should be bullet proof. Maybe I'm getting the wrong idea. Somebody help me out here.
If ur used to honda quality like I was them polaris may not be for u Bc they r worlds apart!! BUT they r worlds apart in suspension. Power. Ride. Ground Clearance too. If u want descent power and ride and ground clearance go with Yamaha.

But to be top dog go with polaris or can am(they have issues too).


2013 850ho
 

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If you ride your machine HARD, and don't want to have to fix it, its simple. DO NOT BUY A POLARIS.
If you want ridiculous reliability, get a honda, or a yamaha.
If you can do small repairs yourself, bushings, bearings, then buy it.

Which XP are you looking at, 850 or 550?

I loved my VL, and I love my XP. But I think my next machine I will try something else. (maybe a brute force, or grizzly)
 

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Nice choice I think you be very happy with the L.E..If you are coming off a rancher you are really going to like the 850 xp. It is a machine you can work as log skidder or trail ride all day.I have had no issues with my 11 850 xp le and I tend to work it more than play.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
But to be top dog go with polaris or can am(they have issues too).


2013 850ho
I looked at the Can-Am's too, and saw the problems there as well. I initially chose Polaris for the repeated comments about ergonomics and "plush" suspension with nearly the same performance. Now I'm re-considering a Grizzly, a quad I had eliminated for commentary I read on the handling and (relative) lack of power.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
If you ride your machine HARD, and don't want to have to fix it, its simple. DO NOT BUY A POLARIS.
Depends on your definition of hard. There are different varieties of hard riding. I don't (usually) point mine in the direction of mudholes or plan to run anything more aggressive than a Bighorn tire. I see guys here with lift kits and 32's with aggressive mud tread. That setup and riding style is not for me. By riding hard I mean that I plan to ride it fast and get it sideways and jump it (within reason) on rough, rocky desert terrain at the deer lease. Anything from shallow dirt to gravel to loose rock to driving (and jumping) over natural stair steps to rock crawling over boulders on the trails to the deer stand.

Basically, I need 4x4 and rack capacity for getting to the deer stand. When it's not loaded or rock crawling, I fully intend to ride it like a sport quad.
 

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IMO, every brand is going to be a compromise. If they built a unit with as much hp as the current big bores make that was bomb proof like some of the small units, it would be so expensive that they wouldn't sell and be the equivalent to a stadium truck.

Your toughest models are going to be ones with zero frills and not much hp so there's hardly anything that can break on them.

I mean, an XP weighs 800+ lbs with 77 hp. You're getting into compact car range there. Try running one of those down the trails and see how long it takes to break something.

ETA: If you want a sport quad capability, get a sport quad and mount a hitch receiver and cargo basket... don't get an 800+ lb utility version and expect it not to break taking it "over sweet jumps". LOL
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
IMO, every brand is going to be a compromise. If they built a unit with as much hp as the current big bores make that was bomb proof like some of the small units, it would be so expensive that they wouldn't sell and be the equivalent to a stadium truck. Your toughest models are going to be ones with zero frills and not much hp so there's hardly anything that can break on them.
I like the way you put that. The Rancher has a SRA, manual shift, no EPS, etc. Good point.

ETA: If you want a sport quad capability, get a sport quad and mount a hitch receiver and cargo basket... don't get an 800+ lb utility version and expect it not to break taking it "over sweet jumps". LOL
Love the Napoleon Dynamite reference. I guess my issue is that the XP850 and Scrambler are marketed this way by both Polaris and those who review them. Fox suspension isn't required if they expected me to drive it like a tractor, you know? You'd think that an ATV with some of, if not the highest rack capacities in the industry would have bullet proof running gear.

I'd love to have a sport quad, but I can't get one that I can throw a buck on the back of, or one that will make up some of the trails. I can't afford/don't want both. I looked at a Scrambler or a Renegade, but the weight difference between them and their full utility counterparts is minimal when you consider the extra cargo capacity/versatility. The cargo basket is a thought, but I'd still need 4x4 to pull it around, and then I'm back where I started.
 

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I think it's been said (time and time again) that no matter what manufacturer you buy from it comes down to the riding type and maintenance. I'd buy the extended warranty if you have your concerns; but don't expect Polaris to pony up if you modify it (depending on mods).

Personally in reading your thread I don't think you should by an XP; but I'd definitely stay with Polaris. If you need the carrying power, speed, but also want to have a little fun you might want to look at the budget buy's (800s/500s) or look at the X2 model.

Good luck in your purchase and keep us posted.
 

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I ride similar to you less the jumping. The odd mud, some snow and slush. Lots of gravel trails and stuff. I have only had one issue with my 850xp's and that is a TPS. There seems to be an issue with them as it has been on backorder for a 3 weeks. Its still drivable but not perfect. They drive like a dream, handle great and have huge power. Its nice to know that you can just give it a bit more gas to get out of a hole or head up a huge hill. And when you get home at the end of the day it doesn't feel like you have been carrying firewood on your back.

I have friends that ride all the brands from Can Am to Yamaha. They laugh when I am doing something on one of my older Polaris's but then quiet right up when they see with rudimentary tools I can do work to it on the trail. Try and pull a sparkplug from a Grizzly or a Can Am on the trail. Buy the XP, get the extended warranty and enjoy.

Its not going to be reliable like your Honda but then a Porsche is not like a Civic either. Life is full of trade offs. Big HP and great ride or reliability and the ride and power of a hay wagon. :)
 

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On your necessity of racks for utility.. have you looked at the rack sizes on an XP? They may have the highest rating in the industry but it better be a very small, heavy load. My Kawasaki 300 has more useable rack space than my enormous XP. That's why I put a 2" receiver hitch on the XP and purchased a receiver rack/basket for it.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by highmark View Post
Personally in reading your thread I don't think you should by an XP

Can you expound on this? Compare and contrast?
Yea, I don't know where this logic is coming from either. Except for the fact that the OP seems particularly worried about things going wrong, then maybe a no-frills machine would allow for more peace of mind... less to go wrong...?

Honestly man, I think you're over-thinking it. A couple things: First, keep in mind that you're reading about all of these XP problems on a Polaris technical forum. Any car, truck, or ATV forum is going to be like 80% threads about problems and breakage. Its not because all XPs suck, but this is the place where everyone comes to figure their problems out. No matter how many problems you read about here, I guarantee you'll still get the overwhelming consensus that Polaris guys LOVE their machines. There's a couple issues in the XP lineup that you'll read about often, like oil in the airbox (no longer an issue) and bushings wearing out, etc. But that's really all I can think of, and not everyone is experiencing these things. Any other problem you read about is really a case-by-case basis.

I ride with a group of a dozen or so guys. 10/12 of them ride Polaris, and buy Polaris over and over again. Very few of us have had problems with our machines, many of us have had no problems at all (XPs included). Most of these guys ride pretty hard, some very hard.

And, like has already been mentioned, people choose to ride Polaris for a lot of reasons. Polaris arguably leads in comfort, ride handling, capability, styling, features, and power. I've ridden and had good experiences on Honda ATVs, but they are not in the same bracket as Polaris for a sporty, comfortable, and capable ride. It really is a different animal. You may run into a small issue or two on a Polaris over the years, but it'll be worth it if you love the machine the way that most of us here do.

Its not going to be reliable like your Honda but then a Porsche is not like a Civic either.
I like the way you put that.

The warranty is expensive, but if you're not planning on modding your machine, then its a safe bet that it will pay off if anything ever does break. Since reliability is one of your top concerns, the warranty may be worth it.
 

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I should do that too - every time I'm about to buy something, I need to dive into the forums and read the posts from the 2% that actually had issues. Should save me a lot of money in the long run...

I have a 2012 850XP with zero issues - nada, zip, none... Everything works as it should. I take care of it and it takes care of me...

No, wait, I do have some minor issues... It's damn too fast, too powerful and too smooth. Other than that - nothing out of the ordinary...

Hello all. I'm shopping for the sport-utility ATV I've been dreaming about since I started riding three wheelers as a kid. Massive power, great handling, sporty suspension with enough travel, and the ability to carry all of my stuff when I'm hunting. I've been doing my research, and a number of factors led me to the 2014 Sportsman XP LE (White). Earlier models did well in comparison tests, and this new one with the Scrambler suspension geometry and Fox suspension has to be the best thing out there, or so I thought. Then I started lurking in the forums to find out what owners thought about them, what very minor issues might need to be addressed, and what kind of power I might be able to expect from basic modifications. After lurking for several days, I'm now afraid to buy. Broken A arms. Broken frames. Cracked welds. I've been beating the piss out of a 2002 Rancher 350 since I got it in 2004. It's been stuck in the mud a few times, ridden HARD on rough rocky desert terrain, jumped, overloaded with deer corn and two riders, left under a tarp outside year-round, and it's never, ever been in the shop. The only issue has been Honda's "sealed" drum brakes, a known problem. That's it. But in reading these forums, it seems like the frames on these XP's are made of balsa wood and the welds should be labeled "Elmer's Glue." Heavy duty A-arm kits? Are you serious? I want to spend my money on fancy wheels and tires and performance parts, not replacing stock parts that should be bullet proof. Maybe I'm getting the wrong idea. Somebody help me out here.
 

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My 2013 has zero issues,.. and I'm not exactly kind to it,.. I am planning on buying another Polaris atv next spring along with snow checking another Polaris 800 sled, would have them now but funds didn't approve
 

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My 2010 850 turns 4 years old in feb.. Not a single problem wth it.. I've ridden it plenty hard, and even rolled the darn thing once.. With that said, I also take very, very good care of it.. I am obsessive about greasing and clean fluids and at the very least that is a must if you want to enjoy trouble free riding..
As its more or less been stated above.. This is a pay to play hobby.. Whether its can-am, polaris, or Yamaha. If you don't enjoy performing the maintenance that these monsters need that's absolutely ok.. Just be honest with yourself or you'll regret it..
 

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I want to spend my money on fancy wheels and tires and performance parts, not replacing stock parts that should be bullet proof. Maybe I'm getting the wrong idea. Somebody help me out here.

I think u do have it wrong. U don't need fancy performance parts because the bike most likely will out perform the rider. Rims on the LE are very nice. Tires are suppose to be good but an upgrade is probably in order. The one thing that seems to be a reoccurring theme is the notion that these bikes are bullet proof because the are labelled with an xp badge. I have the utmost confidence in saying there is NO other bike on the market that will do what a polaris 850xp LE will do for the money.
 

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I had a 12 polaris and now have a 12 Brute. My riding group consists of polaris, canams, hondas, and Grizzlys. I have ridden all of them on rough trails and we ride hard and fast...There are compromises to ALL of them...there is no way around it. FWIW, here are my thoughts:

Brute Force - just as the name says...it is a Brute...cruder and rougher around the edges than others. Hardest hit off the line (except for a 1k renegade). They are a rocket off the line. Stock suspension sucks...I have elkas and it helped tremendously. Needs more maintenance than others

Hondas - dont matter which one..rincon, rancher, etc...bulletproof reliable, less power, less suspension, and more made for farm work imo

Canam - outy 650 and 800xt's - higher priced, best motor (imo) there is. Clutching is very soft though..they are soft on the bottom end....suspension is way too soft for the speed they can hit on the trail. Priced higher and several seem to have electrical gremlins. These pigs are heavy. The 1k is a beast...I love the renegade 1000xxc, but I need something with racks for hunting and such...and you get plastered with mud on one

Polaris - best stock ride of the bunch. Lots of power, but it is very smooth...nothing like the Brute...the Brute hits a lot harder off the line, but the Polaris has a lot more power (smooth) and blows past it pretty good. Have been repeated issues of busted a arms, axles, etc. When something that big and and heavy is ridden hard, something usually breaks...same with canam (they had some frame issues last year)

Grizzly - less power than all the above except honda, but is likely the most well rounded, all around big bore out there. It doesnt do anything bad..it is light and nimble and ultra reliable. The riding position is a bit too cramped for me, I dont like the seat and the 2013's and earlier were tippy..the 2014's are about 2 inches wider and are much more stable. The Grizz does everything good...but it doesnt excite me at all...but they are tough, dependable quads that can go over and through about anything.

I like them all...but I also dont like a lot of things about each one...I have 1300 miles on my Brute and love the sportiness and the excitement you can have on it...elkas make it ride like it SHOULD have ridden from the factory (I cant stress enough how bad the stock shocks were). But even with Elkas, it gives up some handling to the Polaris and others...you can only do so much with the limited suspension travel. Also, I am afraid it will start nickel and diming me to death.

If the Grizzly would have come out in a v twin platform, I would be all over it (add elkas and rox riser and flexx bars and be golden), but that aint happening right now. Outy needs aftermarket shocks, unless you go with an XTP...but those are running 14k....way too much imo.

I will likely go with the exact one you are looking at (the xp850 LE). Nice package, good price for what you get. A clutch kit to get some bottom end response and some braces from a member here that is making them to help with the rear a arm issues and I think a person would be good to go for aggressive trail riding, casual trail riding, hunting and hauling stuff...all without the cost of the outy 1k xtp. If you ride hard enough, ALL of them will break something imo (although the grizzly in our group has never, ever had an issue in 1500 hard miles). Go ride them all and see what feels best to you...only way to know for sure which is the right choice for you. Good luck!
 

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I too had my heart set on a Can Am. The first dealer I went to would not even discuss the price. Then offered a tour of the service dept. Small local dealer, had two bikes in the shop both Can Ams. Drove 40 miles to a real dealer in NW Indiana. Sold Can Am, Polaris and who ever makes the Trex. Big sign out front BRP, Can Am, Victory, Polaris and others.

Walked in, looked around for a few minutes and approached the salesman. Asked About the Can Ams. He said they are back in the service Dept. I thought they had a separate area for the Can Ams. He told me they were all taking up space in the service Dept. waiting for parts. Then he told me that they stopped selling the Can Am ATVs 3 months ago.

I bought the Polaris 550 ESP and never looked back. The only issue I have had with mine is not being able to get out and ride in the last 4 days. This issue will be solved tomorrow!
 

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I had Polaris 4 wheelers all my life after the Honda 3 wheelers the 90 the 110 and the 185 and a short time with a rupp go joe, (the real first 4 wheeler) in the mid 70's, but I still have the 500 sportsman 6000 miles and only new tires and oil changes, did finaly change the spark plug and tore the boot on the spark plug cap taking it off but other then that bullet proof that was with 2 teenage boys riding it, now I bought the 850 xp and have 526 miles on it one backfire and a little wa wa noise from the rear end but I am believing I will get 6000 trouble free miles on it and I bet Polaris will deliver on this
they are not number one for nothing
Mike
 
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