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Thread: Polaris 850 xp, 550 touring???

  1. #1
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    Default Polaris 850 xp, 550 touring???

    I'm moving to alaska soon and was wondering about a few things, if you guys could help that would be great. Im considering buying both of these vehicles, and just basicly was wondering if they will compliment each other? I would be using the 850 for utility/fun and the wife would mostly use the 550 two up for fun, and if we wanted to go out together we would take the 550 due to possible range benifits. those of you that own these what kind of range do you get with them? also do you think it would be bennificial to buy them in the lower 48 or in the fairbanks area? Well thats it for now but im sure Ill have some more questions later. thank you guys/gals for your input. great forum!

    Thanks, Jack

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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    Personally I wouldn't buy an 850 4x4 and I wouldn't leave a wheeler at home unless my wife wasn't able to pilot her own. I feel that a 700 is about all even the biggest guys will need and to go larger than that you lose too much range to make it worth while. Honestly a 550 efi is probably the perfect AK quad for 90% of all users, it has a good balance of power and economy. AK is a boggy place and most trails (even mountain trails) eventually go through some nasty stuff. Most of the nasty stuff has almost nothing to winch to so the best bet is to use another quad as an anchor point (hence not leaving one at home). Also if you get back 30-50 miles from the road it sure is comforting to know that you have a spare "horse" to ride doubles back out if one breaks down.

    I don't have a problem w/ Polaris but if I was going to buy anything in their lineup it would be the 6x6. In most other categories there are other brands that I prefer.

    If you get a great deal and have the means to get it up to AK you may be better off to buy before you come up. I think the used market is quite a bit better there. They don't seem to depreciate as fast in AK. Whatever you do get a good set of mud tires mounted up from the get go and a winch. Most people run an inch larger and 1-2 inches wider on tires over stock, some wheelers will fit 2" taller tires but I don't feel that I need much more than 26"x12" tires.

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    Member Dirtofak's Avatar
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    If I were looking to buy. I would get a 450 Grizzly for the wife and a 550 Grizzly for me. Agility is a big issue to me. A wheeler that loses its agility is a tractor. Be careful putting on larger diameter tires. If you have a strong engine and oversized tires, things in the middle tend to be over stressed and break. Stock tire sizes with larger lugs are easier to steer and can make a long day out riding more enjoyable.

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    Member AKMuddy's Avatar
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    I would have to agree with most of what has been said here already. Two machines on the trail is always better than riding double. The Polaris 850 is an impressive machine but has pretty short legs where fuel mileage is concerned. The 550 will do exactly the same job, go the same places, and get better mpg.

    I also would agree that if I were to ever buy a polaris again (and that is not going to happen) that it would be the 6x6.

    Polaris is just too heavy for the type riding most of us do up here. You can get several other ATVs in the 550cc - 700cc range with more power than you will ever need and 130lbs - 150lbs less weight. It makes a difference on the trail.

    I am not trying to get a "brand war" started by any means. We all have our preferences. I like Yamaha because it has never let me down in over 15 years of Alaska riding. I owned one polaris in that time and it will be the last time Polaris gets a single dollar from me. Their machine (2005 500cc Sportsman) just was not up to the task and in one instance the weight of the machine added to the severity of the injuries my wife sustained when she wrecked. She would have been injured with any ATV she was on but having an ATV that weighed 738lbs (compared to my 600lbs Grizzly 700) added to her injuries.

    This thread will probably instigate much debate between the "brand loyal" camps on all sides so try to take what we say with that in mind. There are pluses and minuses to every machine out on the market so you will have to decide what machine works for you before you buy. For me, the Grizzly (550 or 700) cannot be beat.

    Another issue you may want to think about is the dealer issue. I can tell you from experience that the first question a dealer/service manager is going to ask you up here is "Did you buy this from us?" If you didn't, you will see your quad go to the back of the line when service is needed. The summers are too short up here to have your quad sit at the service department waiting on a repair. Keep that in mind. Even if you pay more up here it might be worth it.

    Good luck...and welcome to Alaska!!!!!
    2007 Yamaha Rhino 660
    2007 Yamaha Grizzly 700 SE w/EPS
    http://www.grizzlycentral.com/

  5. #5
    Member Trail Boss's Avatar
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    Thumbs up 550 goes forever!

    Got a 550 last year and it seems to be a great machine! I use it for work and for fun. I think you could get about 80 miles out of a tank. But I seem to always seem to fill it up around 65 miles because I never know where in Willow I might be. If I were in your shoes I just get 2 - 550's for Alaska.
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    Default Keep it simple

    As mentioned earlier, two wheelers are preferred for safety reasons and having something to use as an anchor.

    I also think that a 500 or 550 in any brand of wheeler will get you started and be plenty of wheeler. Also, IMO the two-up or touring wheelers are good for beginner riders or riders who have less body weight, and strength. The two-ups or touring have a longer wheelbase and are more stable when going up hills.

    Get rid of the stock tires. If you stick with 26-27" tires and keep the tire width (front and rear) the same as the stock dimensions then you'll be well within stock tolerances for your other steering, suspension, and drivetrain components.

    To buy there or up here. IMO wheelers are not that much more expensive here than in the lower 48. For two wheelers you might pay $2K more total here than lower 48 depending on brand, and options. Is saving $2K worth having to worry about hauling them 4-6K miles up here. Now if you're military or a company is paying for the move then by all means buy what you can afford and have someone else worry about shipping them.

    By buying local you'll hopefully forge a long lasting mutual relationship with your dealer who can fix you broken wheeler on a Friday so you're out riding on Saturday.

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    Before you buy, make sure you have figured in the cost of moving them to Alaska. By-and-large, new wheelers sell for close to full list price up here.

    While the cost advantages of buying ATVs down there versus up here is debatable, the cost of buying the accessories down can be significant, particularly if you are going third-party aftermarket, as shipping costs up here are usually astronomical.

    Don't overlook getting a side-by-side UTV, such as a Ranger, Rhino, Rzr, etc. They are every bit as capable as ATVs, but more comfortable to ride and have a lot more storage capacity. Most trails up here are also Jeep-accessible, so the added size of even a Ranger is rarely an issue. In addition to my ATV, I bought a Rzr a few years ago, and it will go everywhere the regular ATVs can, and often is less likely to get stuck.

    If you are buying new ATVs down there, I'd put a BIG plug in for one with power steering. The trails up here are often rocky and have a lot of protruding roots, and your arms and wrists can get sore without power steering.

    A winch is almost a must up here. If buying new, opt for the synthetic, rather than steel, rope.

    Look at full-bottom reinforced skidplates. The aftermarket ones are typically made of either aluminum or UHMW plastic. The advantage of UHMW is that it is slipperier, meaning that you are less likely to hang up on a high rock.

    For tires, I would suggest an all-terrain tread, radial, and as many plies as you can get. The mud is where you will get stuck, but the rocks are where you are most likely to get a puncture. Given the rocks, a tire with more sidewall will give your rims better protection (in other words, if you have a choice, I'd suggest 12 inch rims rather than 14 inchers.) ITP Mud Lites are common up here. FWIW, I put Maxxis Bighorn Radials on my Rzr and have been extremely pleased with their traction, ride, and durability.

    If you think you'll be riding a lot early and late season, having a windshield on your ATV keeps you a lot warmer.

    Don't waste you money on aftermarket lights. It hardly gets dark during our riding season, and ATVs are of limited utility in the winter when it does get dark. Most riding up here is somewhat technical and relatively low speed, so you won't need the added range of desert-racing lights.

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    Someone said it get a UTV! I got one and and a 700 polaris 4 wheeler the x2 and now it sits at the house. The wife and I are always on the ranger. The Polaris Ranger is hands down the best thing on the market. Plenty of power lots of storage and I can go pretty much anywhere a 4 wheeler can go, it has a 5 gallon tank so you can ride for a good distance before you are filling up again. It doesn't beat you up ride in comfort all day versus a 4 wheeler. If you are set on a 4 wheeler I would stay away from the 850 I have said it many times a 500 would of been perfect but I got the 500 instead.

  9. #9
    Member Trail Boss's Avatar
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    Exclamation Ranger?!

    Rangers don't fit thought tight spaces.! Rangers when they are stuck they are stuck!!!!! My 550 did 87 miles on 4.5 gals. Rangers go though some gas. Rangers are great with a back seat to take the whole family and bring the cooler Grill and Xtra Gas!
    Hold off on the 850 for Alaska unless you are going to put it on tracks.!
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  10. #10
    Member AKMuddy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trail Boss View Post
    Rangers don't fit thought tight spaces.! Rangers when they are stuck they are stuck!!!!! My 550 did 87 miles on 4.5 gals. Rangers go though some gas. Rangers are great with a back seat to take the whole family and bring the cooler Grill and Xtra Gas!



    Hold off on the 850 for Alaska unless you are going to put it on tracks.!

    I can't speak for the mpg of the Ranger but the Rhino does pretty good. It has the same size tank as the Ranger and gets 120 miles per tank....and hauls the whole family (3 of us) and the grill, cooler, and chairs everywhere an ATV will and some places an ATV will not.

    My Grizzly 700 got 90 - 100 miles per tank before the mods. I chose power over mpg. If I am on a long trip I just take the Rhino.

    I will agree that when an UTV is stuck it is stuck. It usually takes another UTV or 2 ATVs to get it unstuck...assuming you don't have a tree or something else to winch to. We always go riding with other folks so being stuck has never been an issue.
    2007 Yamaha Rhino 660
    2007 Yamaha Grizzly 700 SE w/EPS
    http://www.grizzlycentral.com/

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