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Polaris Outlaw 450 MXR

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Rear fender brace.



Front fender shroud.
The Fox Podium suspension is quite remarkable as well. We expected its compliance on the small stuff to indicate harshness when coming in for a landing on the big double but were pleasantly surprised to note that this simply wasn’t the case. The dual-rate spring in the rear does an excellent job of ramping up the compression damping as a heavier hit calls for it. The front shocks were even more flawless in performance than the rear and, like all Fox Racing Shox goods, offer up more custom tuning options than just about anyone out there.

On The Trail:

The transition from track to trail was a painless one on the Outlaw 450 MXR. About the biggest change we found ourselves making was taking some of the preload out of the shocks in effort to allot the rear tires better bite when powering out of flat corners. Most MX-specific quads are stiff and offer jarring rides, which makes them poor choices for epic trail duty but not the Outlaw. In fact, once we dialed in the suspension, the 450 MXR could easily have become as trail-worthy as such icons as the Honda 400EX or Yamaha Raptor.

While we didn’t encounter any problems during our foray across the dry, well-packed trails of New York in the late summertime, some may find the 18-inch rear wheels a bit too easily broken loose and/or restrictive in terms of ground clearance (explaining why the 525 is outfitted with taller 20-inch wheels in stock trim).

Conclusion

It didn’t take us long to come to appreciate the subtle charm of the Polaris Outlaw 450 MXR. Riders who balance their saddle-time between racing the local MX circuit and zipping through the woods have much to celebrate here. We were able (on two occasions) to make the switch from trail duty to MX practice with nothing more than a few clicks of the compression dial and three turns of the preload rings. The quad’s handling is absolutely superb thanks to precise steering that makes the vehicle’s bulk instantly disappear.

About the only complaint to surface during our testing came in the form of the seat’s tendency to pull riders toward its junction with the tank. At the time of this review’s writing, Polaris has just released totally redesigned versions of the Outlaw 450 and 525 for 2009 that allegedly take care of such concerns (with completely new bodywork/ modernized styling).

In truth, Polaris has crafted up a worthy contender to a very competitive field. Even more encouraging is the simple fact that in only its second year of existence the Outlaw 450 and 525S have been heavily redesigned, proving Polaris’ commitment to keeping their new flagships competitive in an ever-advancing environment.

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