Polaris has dubbed the new Scrambler XP 1000 S “The World’s Most Formidable Sport ATV”, and even just looking at spec’s we’d be hard pressed to disagree. Measuring out to a previously unheard of 55 inches wide, the somewhat intimidating Scrambler XP 1000 S is creating a class of it’s own. In a World where simply bigger, is often viewed as better the Scrambler XP 1000 S doesn’t stop there. The greatest thing about this wider, and obviously more stable chassis set-up is that Polaris engineers matched it with class dominating suspension travel and ground clearance.
The Scrambler is Polaris’s crossover sport 4×4 with a very close resemblance to a Sportsman Utility quad with better shocks, and less load carrying ability. It is missing the winch, the tow hitch and a few pounds, but otherwise a pretty similar machine. A close competitor with Can-Am’s Renegade. The Scrambler started as a quirky looking 400 CC two stroke, sport 4×4 ATV in the early 90’s, and got a 500cc, four-stroke power plant in 1997. Polaris released the 77HP Scrambler XP 850 in 2013 and followed up with the 89HP Scrambler XP 1000 just a year later. The XP 850 one upped the Can-Am’s Renegade 800R with a little more HP, and the 89 HP Scrambler XP 1000 was the response to Can-Am’s 91HP Renegade 1000.
Just what is the Scrambler XP 1000 S exactly? We mentioned a class of it’s own, and here’s why! The proven reliable, 89 HP ProStar Engine has more than enough power for any rider in just about any situation. A history of one upping each other in the HP department might leave you expecting additional “class leading” gains, but instead Polaris ignored the 2HP deficit and went after dominating the ride and terrain conquering ability of the sport 4×4 class. The massive 55” wide stance is something the industry has never seen, or experienced in an ATV before.
Basic hydraulics tells you a wider track width can greatly improve stability on an ATV. Whats’ even cooler to think about, is that with this increased width the ATV can be set up taller, with more ride height for maximum ground clearance without being tippy. Polaris engineers created an unheard of 14.5” (37cm) of usable ground clearance using sealed High Clearance Arched A-Arms and 27” Duro Powergrip II Tires. To put this in perspective, the previous Scrambler 850 and 1000’s had 11.5”s of ground clearance and a RZR XP 1000 Side by Side has 13.5”s.
Usable and controllable, quality suspension travel is the other area that can be greatly improved with a wider machine. Wider/longer a arms alone can increase wheel travel numbers, mating them too longer, higher quality, fully adjustable shocks makes for a completely different machine. Since sometime around the addition of the fourth wheel, ATV racers have been adding +2” or +3” longer a arm kits for more stability and wheel travel at the track, in the desert, or even in the dunes. Somewhere along the way the 45-46”s wide became the norm for factory produced sport quads as they also had to work in the narrower trail systems on the east coast. Most racing organizations limited ATVs to an outside width of 50”s to keep things within reason when taking up space on the track. This 50 inch max guideline also became the standard on Utility ATVs and there are even trails in a few states that limit access to anything over 50”s wide
Polaris engineers designed an advanced suspension geometry with 12.5”s of front wheel travel and 14”s of travel at the rear with reduced wheel scrub for a plush ride with improved control. Up front a predictable steering geometry with the ProSteer linkage eliminates unwanted bump-steer for a confidence inspiring handling, especially at higher speeds. The Walker Evans 3-way adjustable shocks are on another level from anything we’ve seen in the sport utility market. They feature dual coil springs, high and low speed compression and rebound adjustment, just like a top of the line RZR.
Building a long travel, 55” wide Sport 4×4 ATV, meant Polaris could also borrow a lot of race proven parts directly from the RZR XP 1000. The front differential and half-shafts are straight from the RZR XP 1000 and 15% stronger than the previous generation. A new transmission is built with 25% stronger components to insure it holds up to the big HP, larger tires and countless years of abuse it will see.
When first looking over this new S model Scrambler one might assume that they just added wider, longer travel suspension and some RZR drivetrain components. Upon closer examination you will realize that it’s clearly not the case. The Scrambler XP 1000 S chassis is actually brand new with 31% larger frame tubing improved strength and durability. With this new chassis design, Polaris engineers also put a lot of thought, effort and testing into ergonomics and offering the perfect driver positioning for aggressive driving. The big hurdle here is that it will surely be ridden by a wide range of different sized people, and different skill sets. They came up with a performance bend handlebar and an infinitely adjustable 3” riser between the stem and the clamps. I must admit when I first saw this riser it looked a little awkward and out of place, but it’s actually straight from their snowmobile catalog and been working fine in the snow for years.
PUSH BUTTON POWER
While this massive new Scrambler XP 1000 S features the same proven 89HP ProStar power plant, it does get dual drive modes at the touch of a button. Performance mode gives you all the go, the wheel spinning, arm yanking, pure exhilaration you would expect from an 89HP ATV. The Scrambler’s standard mode accesses this same HP but with a much more mild mannered, and rideable power curve. The performance mode is incredibly fun to ride in, and standard mode is designed to make the machine more controllable in tighter situations like tight woods, rock climbing, or even just navigating tricky terrain.
UNLEASHING THE BEAST
Considering the recent market trends and skyrocketing popularity with Side by Sides, it was a pleasant surprise to get a call from Polaris for an ATV test. I have personally spent the better part of my life racing ATV’s in the MX Nationals, SCORE, BITD, WORCS, and local MX/GP scene. ATVS were my life from 1994 to 2015 when a pretty good get off and the popularity of SxS racing got me opting for a cage. When the call came to test a crazy powerful, long travel sport 4×4, i really thought to myself something to the likes of “Oh $H! T here we go again!” I have to admit it had been a quite a while since I had even ridden a sport 4×4, much less tried to really Moto one. I quickly agreed to go pick up the loaner and I instantly got a little reminder of that butterfly feeling sitting on the line waiting for the flag to drop, it was truly bringing back a lot of memories just thinking about it.
So my son and I picked it up at the local dealership and let me first warn you that it doesn’t really fit in the tiny excuse for a pickup bed that comes on a for Raptor. I had to remove one of the factory bed extender/bed organizer brackets and in hindsight I should have removed both. It reminded me of this by ripping the flip pin out of it with the wheel when I tried to unload it at our house. Lesson learned bring a real truck or a trailer when picking up the largest sport utility ATV to ever hit the market. My son rode the machine around the house to park it and “accidentally” carried the front wheels through the driveway. Sebastian was excitedly telling me how powerful it felt, but I had a conflicting job schedule and it was gonna be a minute before I could find out for myself.
I called my buddy Beau Baron to see if he wanted to ride an ATV for photos and help out with a test session. Beau is an incredible athlete/multi-faceted OffRoad Racer with multiple ATV, SxS, and Motorcycle Racing Championships, and he happens to live on a beautiful ranch with a track just a few hours from my house. When I told him what machine it was he jumped at the opportunity and filled me in that he had been the photo model for all the location and action shots about a year ago for Polaris. He said he had rode it at all kinds of bitchen spots for photos and couldn’t stop bragging about how fun it had actually been. The next part of the conversation was asking me how much I had ridden it and what I thought. I have to admit I felt like a sell-out telling him it had been in my back yard for a week and I hadn’t even ridden it. Beau then told me I was flat out blowing it, that riding it was mind-blowing and it would make me realize just how fun quads were again. (Beau is the guy thats turning 40 this year, rides every day, and still races and wins on both 2 and 4 wheels every weekend) He then told me he was going to hang up and that I needed to drag that thing out of the yard and call him back with a story about how much fun i’d had riding it in the canyon below my house.
It was getting late but I couldn’t call him back without a story so I had to drag it out for a quick ride. Will minimal light left I still opted for full riding gear as this is definitely not a cruising type 4×4 ATV. I selected Performance mode because why not? It had only been probably a year since I thrown my leg over an ATV of any kind. This machine absolutely rips and as I was drifting corners at will, blazing down the dirt road next to the train tracks, I felt exactly what Beau was saying about missing that ATV feeling. My trail loop has a nasty rocky little downhill into a rocky creek bed and the massive ground clearance was immediately noticeable and commendable. On most ATVs you feel like your gonna leave skid plates and spare parts in the stream, and the Scrambler S didn’t even drag a skid plate. The return part of my loop has a long, winding, and pretty steep hill climb that’s gotten way more difficult over the past few years with a massive rain rut to straddle. I opted for the standard mode which was way more than enough power and grabbed low gear for the slow crawl. The extra width made straddling the rut easier than with other ATV’s it was honestly closer to climbing it in our RZR than an ATV. The rest of the loop was higher speed dirt roads, a riverbed and some whoops. This machine eats high speed terrain for breakfast and has absolutely no qualms about being held pinned in the whoops. The Rollout with 27 inch tires makes rough terrain seem smoother and the suspension soaks up anything you can throw at it.
I called Beau back to tell him exactly what he was looking to hear, and Im looking forward to getting in some more ATV seat time in the near future. We made plans for a photoshoot the next day on his track and in the riverbed below his house. We headed to his full blown motocross track first and he warmed up with a few berm shots and before long he said he felt confident enough to hit a few of the jumps for the camera. Keep in mind this is a bone stock, 4×4 quad with floorboards, power steering, and 14.5 inches of ground clearance. Within a few minutes he was perfectly down siding a 65 foot table top and even whipping it a little bit for the camera. We finished up shooting other areas of the track and then headed to the riverbed for some more real world type riding and shots. During the photoshoot Beau could lay the big Scrambler into a corner or rut berm just like a 450 sport quad, and it always stayed flat and predictable.
Looking to truly test the limits of the suspension, we found a spot where the river bed turned leaving a 7-8 foot drop in from the upper level. Initial run in looked a little scary but landing on the gas proved that the scrambler could laugh at landings like this. We found a one foot deep water crossing for some photos and the bodywork proved to keep Beau pretty dry over a handful of high speed passes. With plenty of cool photos, we headed back up to Beau’s house to load up, discuss the machine and head home.
HAIR BRAIN IDEAS
Over a couple of beers in the garage Beau mentioned that he thought he could finish a BITD desert race on one of these Scramblers, and how cool it would be to build one out and beat people on their 450 Race quads. After a little more bullshitting, “building one out” turned into racing this one completely stock at the BITD Jagged X National Desert Cup the following weekend. The BITD schedule had been screwed up by the COVID 19 pandemic and they had added a GP style round at Glen Helen Raceway to make up for missed events. Beau had been racing with Evan Spooner in the previous rounds but they were out of the points and he didn’t really think they needed to split up two hour long moto’s between riders. Evan would ride their Honda 450 race bike and Beau was going To go out and “take it easy” to get a finish and see where he ended up.
Nothing more than a few sponsor stickers and a number plate, Beau adjusted the shock settings to his liking, set the tire pressure and headed for the start line of a Pro Class BITD Race on a showroom stock 4×4. Did I mention that Beau can and enjoys riding just about anything with wheels. With his typical ear to ear grin under his helmet, Beau went out and battled his way onto the podium. Skying all the Glen Helen MX jumps on a 4×4 was quite a site, but he must have really made some of the Pro Motorcycle teams consider going back into training as he passed them. He finished out third for Saturday’s round and 2nd on Sunday for a very impressive 2nd place overall ATV. His teammate Evan was the only one to beat him on Sunday, and it was actually fairly close.
The Glen Helen BITD race course consisted of seven 7.8 mile laps for a total of 54.6 miles per day. A combination of the infamous Motocross track, nasty washes, riverbed, hill climbs and lots of high speed ridge runs. Beau took a Polaris Scrambler XP 1000 S straight from the dealership floor, put fuel in it, adjusted the shocks and beat 75% of the Pro ATV teams and half the Pro Motorcycle teams. A pressure wash and a filter clean and this ATV was ready to go trail riding again. If thats not a testimonial to an incredibly capable, durable, and more than versatile four wheeler, I don’t know what is! This is by far the coolest ATV that Polaris has ever produced and it will put a smile that you can’t remove on any adrenaline junkies face.
2021 POLARIS Scrambler XP 1000 S
Engine type: ProStar SOHC 4-Stroke Twin
Horsepower: 89 HP
Lubrication system: Dry sump
Induction: EFI (x2)
Starting procedure: Turn ignition switch
Type: Paper pleat
Transmission: Automatic PVT P/R/N/L/H
Drive system: On-Demand True AWD/2WD
Final drives: Shaft
Fuel capacity: 19.9 liters (5.25 gals)
Wheelbase: 145.8 cm (57.4”)
Seat Height: 94 cm (37 in)
Overall length/width/height: 209.5 cm / 140 cm / 125.7 cm (82.5”/55”/49.5”)
Ground clearance: 36.8 cm (14.5”)
Claimed dry weight: 699 kg (1541 lbs)
Cargo System: Lock & Ride, 4 liters of rear storage
Cargo Rack Capacity Front/Rear: 11.3 kg / 22.7 kg 25 lb/50 lb
Towing limit… N/A
Frame: Oversized Steel round tube
Front: Sealed High Clearance Arched Dual A-Arm 29.2 Cm (12.5”) of wheel travel
Rear: Sealed Dual A-arm Rolled IRS, 35.6 mm (14”) of wheel travel
Shocks: Walker Evans 3 Way Adjustable Shocks
Front: Single lever 4-Wheel Hydraulic disc
Rear:Hydraulic rear foot brake
Front: AT 27×9-12 Duro PowerGrip II
Rear: AT 27×19-12 Duro PowerGrip II
Front: Dual 65W High / 50W Low beam headlights & a factory installed 1,890 Lumen Pro Armor Light Bar
Rear: LED brake/tail lights
Instrumentation: All Digital Gauge, Speedometer, Odometer, Tachometer, Two Tripmeters, Hour Meter, Gear Indicator, Volt Meter, Coolant Temperature, Hi-Temp Light, Clock
Colors: Gloss Black Pearl w/Premium Red Paint