2003 Polaris Predator 500 ATV – Tested by Off-Road.com
You won’t see many pictures of people doing wheelies on the Predator. The front end likes to stay on the ground.
Other You won’t notice them unless you ride the Predator at night, but it has some nifty lights on the switches to tell you when you are in the run position and when your lights are on bright. The Maxxis Razr tires work very well. Reviewer # 2 (Cliff) – Intermediate adult
Use: desert trail and dunes Things I liked: The first thing that really stood out was the awesome look and wide stance. It fires right up, warming up in no time at all, and then it’s all power from there.
The quad seemed to pull hard from the bottom all the way to the top, reving out nicely and easily staying up with the piped and jetted raptors on either side of me, and putting a major hurtin’ on the stock Suzuki LTZ400. I was very impressed to be riding a stock quad with such awesome power. All I could think about was I cant wait to ride it again after a few aftermarket mods. Then it was off the dry lake bed and into a desert-filled whoop section.
Once again the Predator was impressive, soaking them up with no problems and easily staying with the Raptors (equiped with expensive after market A-arms, axles and shocks). The no-bump-steer engineering really seemed to do its job, as I felt no bump steer at all. And once again the stock Suzuki seemed to fall short in the power category in trying to stay with the larger displacement quads.
After about an hour an a half of up hills, down hills, rocks, whoops, off-cambers and every thing else the Nevada desert can throw at you, there were two humbled Raptor owners and a new Suzuki owner wishing he would have held off on his quad purchase. And one very impressed 2-stroke rider (me) who had been given the opprotunity to ride what I feel is probably going to be the best overall new sport quad of this year.
Then it was off to Dumont Dunes, where the Predator did equally as well, considering it wasn’t even fitted with a set of paddle tires. It had no problems ripping up Competition Hill, or anywhere else I wanted it to go. There were several people in disbelief at how quick the machine was without the paddles.
It was just another great day riding the Predator! Polaris has done a great job. The Predator would definately be my choice if I were looking to buy a high performance
4 stroke. Things I didn’t like: Not so much that I didn’t like these things, but they were concerns I might have for long term reliability – I didn’t care for the attachment of the upper A-arms at the ball joints. The arms go from a traditional wishbone and tie together as one unit before attaching the ball joint. It just looked weak to me.
Another concearn was the lack of protection for the radiator and its overflow bottle. They seemed to be exposed to flying objects from other quads. But perhaps with all that power they wouldn’t expect you to be following. grin
The only other concern I had was plastic molded belly skid and swingarm skid. Though Polaris is offering protection (as a lot of manufactuers offer nothing or little at all) I don’t see why alumnium skid plates couldn’t replace the cheesie plastic ones. After all they don’t seem to have cut corners any where else.
Overall Impression: I think it’s a great quad. with very fun to ride manageable power. Reviewer # 3 (Mark) – Intermediate Adult
Things I liked: The POWER! This thing out of the crate has exceptional power. Definitely faster than a stock Raptor. The ride on the sand was GREAT. The no-bump-steer works great, along with the suspension.
It had a great feel of control, except the rear end seemed to be a little light and would come around a bit too easily in sharp turns. I would think that some adjustments to the suspension would help with that. The controls are all in the right places. The lighted controls were also nice for night riding. Things I didn’t like: Although the bike great power, one thing I did notice riding in the sand is that on the low rpm side the bike seemed to have much less torque than the Raptor.
So when the RPM’s dropped, I found myself having to down-shift sooner. Overall Impression / Comments: I would say this bike has a lot over the Raptor when comparing the two, stock to stock. We were able to run the bikes side by side on some uphill climbs in the sand. The Predator left the Raptor from the start and towards the end of the run the Predator was just walking away from the Raptor. The overall feel of the bike seemed much more stable than the Raptor as well.
If I had the choice between a stock Predator or stock Raptor, I would pick the Predator easily.
REVIEW TEAM SUMMARY The Polaris engineers have created a very impressive machine for their entry into the high performance sport ATV segment. We think the Predator 500 is an excellent buy at $5,999 and is closer to race ready than most of its competitors. It is too bad they could not have added a reverse gear. Only time will tell how well the Predator holds up.
We did not ride the Predator on the motocross track, yet this may be one of the best applications for the Predator with its anti-dive and anti-squat suspension.
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