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By: Jason Giacchino
Email: offthepegs @ atvsource.com

September 2008 - Off The Pegs

A Tale of Suffering and Financial Ruin: My New 450

Polaris Outlaw 450
Polaris Outlaw 450
True story (because even an imagination as twisted as my own couldn’t make this one up): I test a lot of ATVs, too many as my finance likes to remind me; and although it’s a great way to establish a hold on what the industry has to offer, it can also get really ugly when I happen to fall in love with one of the models tested.

Case in point--those darn Austrians over at KTM somehow managed to catch me hook, line, and sinker with their new ATV models (the 450 in particular). I spent a solid day roosting around on both the XC and SX variations and came away with a very simple thought: I think I have to get one of those.

As is always the procedure, once I become obsessed with a particular machine, the next few weeks will be spent in intense research mode: eBay, Craigslist, local classifieds, our own ATV Source archives--what’s really sick is that I even resort to rereading my own reviews just to remind myself of the actual experience! Well, low and behold; when the earliest possible incarnation of a given model is nary a year old, there aren’t a whole lot of options on the used market scene. Try as I may, I simply couldn’t scrape together the $11,398 asking price for the 450 SX (or the slightly more affordable XC model at $10,698). Before abandoning all hope, something I’m usually quite good at, I happened to stumble upon reports of the 2008 Polaris Outlaw 450 MXR: Liquid cooled KTM 448cc powerplant, check. Magura Hydraulic clutch, check. Electric start, check. Maxxis RAZR MX tires mounted on Douglas Wheels, check. Ohlins suspension, well, not exactly, but aftermarket Fox units all around will work just fine. Best of all $7,199 MSRP (for a 2008), we were getting closer.

A trip to the local (and by local I mean 80 miles each way) Polaris dealer with an ’08 leftover on the floor revealed a tasty tidbit of information: To make room for the forthcoming 2009s, he could knock a few buck off the list price. Just how many? A little shy of a grand; Doable!

Polaris Outlaw 450
Polaris Outlaw 450
So last night, the rearview of the old pickup truck was filled with the menacing image of those dual headlights and very face-like front bodywork. It was after dark when I finally made it back to home base and despite the close proximity of my neighborhood; it was impossible to resist just a single test ride around the yard before turning in. As if the day simply wouldn’t be complete without some sort of let-down, I made it a solid eight feet down the driveway before the front end of the quad locked up solid and nearly threw me into a spin.

I hopped off the machine to assess the situation. For whatever reason the front left wheel refused to turn as if the brake was being applied full force but only to that wheel somehow. After fiddling with it as best as I could in the dark, I eventually gave up (with a little cussing out of sheer frustration) and left the machine right there in the middle of the driveway until morning for a better look inside. Once I removed the wheel and caliper, a stone came tumbling out of the assembly and rolled to a stop near my sandaled toe. Yes, the odds of picking up a stone and having it lodge into the softer material of the brake pads are probably the same as hitting the lottery yet at present, the lotto still eludes me. Problem solved but not before the obstruction managed to severely score the pad, but then again I suppose I should be grateful the rotor wasn’t ruined as well. It was back to the dealer for a new set of pads. While I was there, I happened upon a Yoshimura slip-on in slick chrome finish that was simply begging to be purchased. Out came the credit card once more--I can still feel it smoldering in my wallet.

So now,  here we are in day two and I’ve yet to officially sample my latest steed; ironic considering this whole mess began on account of a successful test ride. The good news is here in New York some of our best riding happens to take place in the fall, and there are few sounds as soothing as the woodpecker in the tree on a cold crisp autumn morning with a shiny new Yosh-pipe barking on the trails below.


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