POLARIS SPORTSMAN 850 HO TOURING LE

We’ve been generous with our praise of this innovative 2-up ATV chassis the past couple seasons. Truth is, the rear seat accoutrements are very good.

However, one must look closely to see the beef. Under the rear seat is a full-on gas filled shock with a coil spring. The seat base is hinged at the front edge and the shock provides a couple inches of actual damped movement.

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This set-up means the rear seat literally floats when the ATV is powering through choppy terrain and the seat foam becomes a less important part of the comfort package. Or does it?

There’s another engineering feature on the XP Sportsman 2-up chassis bringing a comfort advantage to the passenger. It’s the fore-aft positioning of its 850cc parallel twin. This longitudinal location makes the XP the skinniest 2-passenger ATV in the biz from the seat base down to the footrests.

We mention this as it has a tangible effect on ride comfort, particularly when the drill is an all-day affair. Having your knees closer together gives the passenger better leverage to stay back from the rider and better ability to control the unpredictable lurching effect rough terrain can induce.

Amenities here are almost incomparable. There are 2-speed rear hand heaters, adjustable handholds, the aforementioned active passenger seat and a huge passenger backrest. Rear footrests are elevated and very grippy.

This Sportsman delivers a plush and stable ride. The passenger’s weight is carried over and mostly in front of the rear axle ensuring the LE never loses front end grip unless you intend to initiate a wheelie. Honestly, it’s almost impossible to get the front wheels off the ground whether loaded or empty.

We did hear some of our passengers complain about two issues with this ATV. The first is the wiggly nature of the rear backrest. This large padded unit does display a less-than-solidly-mounted posture and, combined with the suspended seat, according to backseaters, can be annoying.

The other comment we heard was the rear grab handles. There are multiple locations to mount the handles, however the angle of the handle grip itself can sometimes be a little awkward for shorter passengers to grasp. The issue appears to be the more rearward location of the grips.

When it comes to versatility the Sportsman XP Touring platform offers the ability to remove the passenger seat and backrest in one piece. The hole left can then be filled with a custom snap-in tool chest. That’s the kind of versatility we’ve heard 2-up buyers crowing for.

It’s worth noting the Sportsman XP Touring does not have much rear rack space left when the rear seat is in place. However, the rear seat space on the Sportsman XP Touring is a clean area.

Little if any tire roost bothers the passenger and site lines over and around the driver are good for just about any average sized-rider.

Dirt Trax Online
Dirt Trax Onlinehttps://www.atvmag.com
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