In a financial climate that's sent many companies to the brink of disaster, Polaris has somehow found a way to continually redefine their brand by persistently bringing exciting new products to the market year after year. For 2013, in addition to the all-new Polaris Ranger XP 900 that we gave a sneak peak on a few weeks ago, the sporty new Polaris Scrambler 850 H.O. arrives as both a base and a Limited Edition model. In late August, I got the opportunity to test the Scrambler on an amazing 13,000-acre cattle ranch in Great Falls, Mont. My initial impression left me very satisfied and I look forward to spending additional time aboard the Scrambler 850 when I secure one in my long-term fleet.
- High Output 850cc liquid-cooled twin cylinder with 77HP
- Sporty new styling
- Two small racks that keep the design sporty, but allow 75 pounds of gear to go along for the ride
- On-Demand True All Wheel Drive
- Sport Tuned Exhaust
- 12" of ground clearance
Additional Limited Edition (LE) Model Features:
- Electronic Power Steering (EPS)
- Fox Podium X shocks with compression adjustment
- Stealth Black automotive style paint
- 14" Matte Black Cast Aluminum wheels
- LED Headlights
- The 850 H.O engine has fantastic power all throughout the rev range.
- The Scrambler 850 H.O. LE EPS is approximately 30lb. lighter than the Sportsman XP 850 EPS and in combination with the smaller plastics, if felt very nimble.
- The engine, transmission, and chassis are twins to the Sportsman XP 850.
- The Fox Shocks on the LE model give the Scrambler an incredibly sporty ride and their compression adjustment allows owners to dial in the shocks to their own riding style.
- Electric Power Steering (EPS) worked great at both low and high speeds. At high speed, I could actually feel the EPS fighting to keep the bars straight rather than allowing the large rocks I was hitting to pull the bars from my hands.
- The racks are small and sporty and can haul a moderate load. For taller riders who move around on the seat, the rear rack is pointy and bruised my caboose several times.
- On a sporty machine like the Scrambler 850, utilizing separate front and rear brakes make more sense to me and would likely satisfy the aggressive riders that will be drawn to owning one.
- The rear foot brake on the floor felt numb and had a tough time stopping the rear wheels when ridden aggressively. The hand brake, on the other hand, is very powerful and stops all four wheels with low effort.
- The floorboards are large, which helps protect the rider's feet from debris. However, in sticky mud, they get clogged up pretty quickly.
- The fenders are aggressive looking and do a decent job of keeping mud off the rider if it's moderately muddy. When the mud gets deep, however, the fenders allow mud to sling in every direction, including in front of the machine.
- I'm confident that this machine can do chores around the house like plowing snow just as effectively as the Sportsman 850. Good luck convincing your wife that's the real reason you're pulling the trigger on buying one though.
After riding the Scrambler 850 in Great Falls, it certainly left me wanting more. Stay tuned for an in-depth evaluation of the Scrambler 850 H.O. EPS, the Ranger XP 900, and the all-new RZR 570 Trail in the next few months. 2013 looks to be an exciting year for Polaris and I can't wait to see what they have in store for us in the future.