and comes in very handy. Honda’s
on-board storage is limited to a small
rear box and an even smaller fend-er-mounted cubby that is barely big
enough to fit a pair of gloves in. This
disappointment carries across the
entire Honda ATV line.
As for rack capacities, things are
pretty consistent between Honda and
Polaris. Honda recommends a limit of
99 pounds on the front rack and 187
pounds out back. Polaris is slightly
less at 90 pounds up front and 180 in
the rear. Both Polaris racks are pri-
a nice steel
cargo rack with
plenty of tie-down points. Its
fall right between
the other two
Polaris is the
only manufacturer still using
a MacPherson-strut front end.
We like it for
quad stable and
the rear at 48 mph.
But on the trail, where power really
counted, the Can-Am was lacking
and was very soft down low, making
it hard to get over some tough obstacles. We think it’s just a matter of EFI
tuning, but it needs to provide more
grunt. The Honda had power anywhere you needed, just not arm-jerk-ing power. The low range was handy
in the rocks, and the tight trails and
high range were great on the flats.
It just was no speed racer, and the
machine required a lot of shifting to
have fun on more aggressive trails.
The Polaris had more than enough
power in high or low range, and it
was noticeable over the other two.
The Sportsman wins in the power
We put high importance on storage
opportunities that an ATV might have.
Sure, the rack capacities are nice for
big loads and chores, but we tend to
have the need to carry smaller items
too. On trail rides, we like to carry
trash bags for trail clean-up, lunches,
bottles of water, tools, etc. It’s nice to
have on-board storage boxes that can
fit these items quickly without having
to worry about strapping or securing.
The Sportsman 570 has the best
storage opportunities, with an under-
rack box up front for a wide variety of
items, as well as a watertight cargo
box behind the back of the seat. You
can basically carry twice as much
stuff easily on the Sportsman as you
can on the Outlander. The Outlander,
though, does have a decent-sized
2.9-gallon box that is integrated into
the rear cargo rack. It works great
marily plastic. The Can-Am is rated
at about 20 percent more cargo, with
a 120-pound limit up front and 240 in
the rear. The Honda racks have the
most tie-down points, but both Polaris
and Can-Am have uniquely branded
accessory cargo items that specifical-
ly connect to their rack systems. Of
course, Honda has a line of rack bags,
baskets and accessories available at
the dealer as well.
Overall, comfort is a key to enjoying
hours in the saddle, and suspension
We like the Can-Am Outlander 500L for its overall fit and finish, storage opportuni-
ties and looks. However, compared to the others, it needs some work in the front
suspension department and steering.