2017 Polaris ACE

Not Much New, but yet There Is

Published in the May 2017 Issue May 2017 Feature Mark Bourbeau

Shortly after our arrival at the Bull Run Guest Ranch, located a few miles south and west of Cascade, MT, and our initial “sighting” of the 2017 Polaris dirt toys onsite, we immediately spotted the virtually all-new ACE 900 XC.

We soon learned, however, we could only look at the new ACE, not actually drive it. It was still in “protected status” from the media at that time. With that being the case, we were still somewhat content with taking the 570 SP for a spin as it was basically the same as last year’s 570 other than it was sporting the one new component that we have been politic’n for lately—that being a suspension upgrade, which we learned is standard on the 900 XC.

Actually, we have spent time in an ACE 900 as we had a 900 SP version in our stable of demo units last year. We covered that vehicle in some detail in the October issue of Dirt Toys Magazine (“The Fork On Eight Mile Trail,” page 30). But not all 900s are created equal, even if it is an ACE 900. 

More on that later in this article. Hint: horsepower to match the suspension.

Back to the ACE 570 SP, which we did experience at Bull Run. Keep in mind that the ATV trail-specific narrow wheelbase of less than 50 inches wide on the outer wheel on the 570 SP somewhat restricts the suspension travel. Having said that, thanks to a new front suspension, travel has increased for 2017 to 9 inches in the front while remaining 9.5 inches in the rear. That 9 inches in the front is nearly a full inch more than the base ACE 570 (8.2 inches of front travel).

Huge Step

The addition of the dual A-arm suspension in the front of the 570 SP is a huge step in the right direction for a more compliant ride and sportier drive, even for the more non-aggressive drivers. With the A-arm package’s nearly an inch boost in front travel, our ACE 570 SP test drive in Montana showed a better performing and handling vehicle with a settled down bottom-out rebound hop that was prevalent with the MacPherson struts when the ‘16 ACE was flogged any at all on rough terrain.

Polaris also claims a 17 percent increase in the turning radius with the A-arm suspension and we think that any improvement in tighter turning is always a good thing when off -roading. There are a couple of trails on the Bull Run Guest Ranch that have hairpin turns and not having to three-point (or more) turn is an added bonus.  

A simple upgrade such as changing to the A-arm front suspension bodes well for the Steve Janeses of the ATV world, who are on the ACE bandwagon and have been hooked on the vehicle since it was released.

We don’t mean to hammer on the MacPherson strut suspension but after riding the 2017 ACE 570 SP, we enjoy driving the ACE that much more. We do understand the MacPherson strut suspension is very durable with fewer pivot points and has offered good performance for general applications for decades now. Yet we cried for more after spending some time in the 2016 Ace 900, which outran its suspension in next to no time under acceleration. It was obvious the ProStar engine had more power than the ACE 900 had suspension.

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