Having undergone a spine operation last year, riding my CR250 is currently not an option as my legs are operating like they’ve had a couple of Jack Daniels too many while the rest of me is functioning as well as a 46-year-old can.
It is a little painful to have my baby in the garage next to the nippers’ PW50 and KTM SX, so I have decided to see if a quad – operated with just my hands – will scratch the increasingly-intense off-road itch.
Having had a poke about and asked more questions than a seven-year-old, the stout chaps at Polaris have come up with a Sportsman 570 EPS SP for me to use for a mont. I’ve never ridden a quad but my old boss Rob McDonnell swore by them and even raced one for a while.
So, I thought why not? I have some experience of Honda’s ATC which tried to kill me as a child but that was then and this is now. And it’s going to be a steep learning curve.
The Sportsman 570 EPS SP is the first in Polaris’ range to come equipped with spangly Ohlins suspension which, say Polaris, offer an unprecedented off-road experience thanks to enhanced riding capabilities with upgraded traction and control, as well as better overall vehicle stability and manoeuvrability.
The shocks maximise ground clearance, delivering 20.8cm suspension travel on the front, and 24.1cm on the rear, as well as 34cm of ground clearance.
The Sportsman 570 Öhlins Edition comes standard with electric power steering (EPS) and an engine braking system (EBS), which has received some major improvements, now delivering a smoother and more controlled riding experience with a new clutch for smooth engagement at low speeds.
New features for 2021 include a handlebar-mounted pod with an integrated LED work light and built-in 12v port to charge up stuff.
There are LED headlights with integrated turn signals, and all-new body shape with sharper, more aggressive lines. The new and powerful 18AH battery has been relocated to underneath the front rack for easy access, and there are many new components with enhanced durability and resilience, including the new and sealed suspension bushes, new and improved brake lines and A-Arms, as well as a fully-sealed ignition switch.
Powering the Sportsman is a fuel-injected 567cc Prostar DOHC single which drives through a CVT system, so a bit like a scooter. Front and rear brakes are conventional but you only need a back brake for skids, so that should be fine.
It has high and low boxes with reverse and park, disc brakes all round and has two and four -wheel-drive modes, so long slides should be possible should I discover my talent hasn’t deserted me. And I use the term talent in its loosest possible sense.
Polaris has generously lent me the Sportsman for a whole month without any bribery at all. Tune in next week for the first ride…