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By: Jason Giacchino

Polaris Homepage

ATV Review: 2010 Polaris Outlaw 450 MXR
Deceptively Fast and Decidedly Versatile

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Taking it to the Tracks & Trails

We spent quite enough time gawking and taking in the subtle details of the 2010 Polaris Outlaw 450 MXR and decided to test its merit in a wide variety of conditions.  We began by taking the machine out on four epic trail rides spread out across two weekends.  The terrain was fairly dry/ hard pack with fast sweeping corners and small kicker jumps & singles.  It’s in these conditions that the Outlaw reveals what is perhaps its greatest attribute: It’s ability to turn revs into forward momentum.

The KTM 450 engine is so smooth in its power delivery that it’s easy to mistake the Outlaw as not going too fast.  However, don’t let the extra-quiet muffler and the Razor’s knack for finding traction fool you, the Outlaw out accelerates the best of them without the noise, smoke, and hoopla so often associated with “going fast”.  This is the type of quad that all riders believe they are going slower on but discover that their lap times have actually significantly decreased once they dismount.  Not being forced to fight the machine to hold its line is the key to putting in smooth, consistent laps.

This quad is an absolute delight in XC situations and muddy GNCC stuff thanks to a powerband that comes on almost right off idle and pulls steadily into the stratosphere.  In other words there’s always power on tap and you’ll never find yourself in the wrong gear.  If the Outlaw is your top choice for trails, XC competition, or just general play riding, replace the rear 18-inch tires with a set of 20s and don’t touch anything else.

Once satisfied with the quad’s trail performance, we were off to some of the finer tracks in the area & surrounding states in effort to put its racing prowess to the test.  The first week of testing was sandy and dry, bordering on too dusty while the second was done in downpours so violent that had Noah been around, construction of an ark wouldn’t be far off.

As we suspected going in, the Outlaw’s uncanny ability to find traction and pull until the proverbial cows come home works really well in the motocross environment.  It’s here that the Fox Podium X suspension really shines with the perfect balance between small-bump sensitivity and the ability to absorb hard-flat landings.  One of the tracks we visited had sections of three individual doubles, one right after the other and we came away quite surprised with how forgiving the Outlaw could be.  A few riders confessed to having gotten way out of shape on one of the earlier jumps in this section and thanks to the incredible suspension and more-then competent motor, a simple blip of the throttle was all it took to get back into rhythm.

Additional props are due to the Magura hydraulic clutch: It’s butter smooth, it never slips, and feels feather-light even after twenty-laps in the pouring rain.

The Not So Good

We nearly escaped this test with nothing but endless praise for this ATV and would have stood proudly behind such conclusion except there is one interconnected area that we have to bring up that may or may not be a bad thing depending on what you intend to do with the quad.  The stock exhaust pipe (muffler in particular) strangles an otherwise fire-breathing engine.  How do we know?  Well first off our main tester rides a 2008 Outlaw that just so happens to be equipped with a full Yoshimura setup and the difference over the stocker is mind-boggling.  Second, we actually just concluded testing of the KTM 450 XC, which, as we said before, is equipped with the same motor but with a more free-flowing exhaust system.  Once again the difference is immediately apparent.  Finally if all of this weren’t enough evidence to support our claims, we experienced near-constant popping on the motocross track, especially when going hard into corners.  There’s no question this machine is choked up to meet sound standards.

Of course, faulting a machine for being conservatively quiet is something we never like to do and in fact we must say kudos to Polaris for recognizing the reality that noise pollution is one of the leading causes for public riding area closure.  That said, if your primary function in the Outlaw 450 MXR is trail riding, recreation, group rides, or involved public riding areas, the stock exhaust is more than adequate.  However, if this machine is being purchased for closed-course competition of any kind, do yourself a favor and don’t even leave the dealer without at least Polaris’ own PURE brand slip-on system and freer-flowing air filter.

Additionally and along the same lines, we have heard from many sources that a part of out the Outlaw’s breathing woes stem from an undersized air box that was selected only for its ability to fit in the narrow confides of the frame.  Removing the lid or better still running an aftermarket intake are additionally effective means of unleashing the KTM’s potency.


Race-oriented ATVs are rarely considered for their ability to do everything well and yet the Outlaw 450 MXR managed to handle everything we could throw at it and didn’t so much as flinch at our flogging.  To be honest we rode this machine hard and put it away wet for three months of a rainy Western NY summer and came away with nothing but respect.  With winter on the horizon it is looking less and less likely that we’ll have an opportunity to conduct any pipe-testing before this machine returns to Polaris but we can state with certainty that this machine can be taken from smooth and efficient to explosive with little more than a muffler.

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