Polaris ACE Forum banner

1 - 20 of 37 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,051 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I finally got a chance to take my ACE out and stretch its legs today.

First, let me just say this:
I've written this all based on my OPINION, based on my PREFERENCES in riding style, terrain, comfort, and what I consider fun.
Feel free to disagree with me. The world is a big place and there are many different places and people, and everyone is entitled to their opinions and preferences.
But if you disagree with me, please do not disrespect my opinions and preferences because they are different from yours.

The Terrain
Today I went to Walker Valley ORV Park, near Mount Vernon, WA. This is a medium-sized park (relatively speaking), situated in the Pacific Northwest mountains.
It features lots of forest service roads, tight technical 50" dirt trails with rocks and roots, and muddy rutted jeep trails, also with rocks and roots.

My Summary
I enjoyed my day out quite a bit. I'll enjoy it even more when the "new engine smell" wears off. Nasty!
I'm considering selling the RZR. I'll continue to evaluate that this spring, summer and fall when I take the ACE to all of the places I've taken the RZR - Eastern WA desert, Moab, mountain trails, and the Paiute trail, and really nail down whether the wife is going to ride double with me or not, and then I will know for sure.

I was originally planning to wait for a bigger engine in the ACE, but then I looked at how Polaris has made each RZR physically larger and more expensive with the increased engine power, so I decided to take a risk with the first generation ACE.
I think it is going to turn out just fine for me, and for many other people.
There is a lot of talk that the ACE is targeted at, and only good for, women and children. I call bullshit on that. The ACE is a very respectable and capable machine, with a unique feature set that will appeal to many different people.
Haters gonna hate, but their derogatory remarks are all forgotten when I'm rolling down the trail with a big cheesy grin on my face.

The Riding
On the wide open service roads, I was cruising comfortably at 35-40. I didn't go above 40 because the roads I was on were too curvy, I didn't feel the need, and I am avoiding extended wide open throttle during the break in period.
It did not seem to me like it took a long time to get from 30 to 40, but I was not counting. I was following the 500 in front of me, pacing him - not drag racing, and not running all out in the desert or sand dunes.
At 35-40, the ACE was solid and sure-footed. My Grizzly, by comparison, is a bit squirrely in the front end at that speed, and my RZR's butt tries to outrun its nose around every curve at that speed. It always has.
Update: My RZR has aftermarket EPS installed on it, and it is not progressive, which means it boosts at high speed the same as it does at low speed, which is what causes the squirrely factor. I just installed aftermarket EPS on the ACE, and now the ACE handles pretty much exactly the same as the RZR.

The high RPMs seemed a bit weird at first, but once I felt the machine settle into its rhythm, I got used to that quickly. It's still a lot quieter inside the cab than my RZR, even with the aftermarket "silent" exhaust I put on the RZR.

On the tight, twisty trails, the ACE kicked butt. It was like a mean-spirited mountain goat, climbing over muddy rocks and roots without hesitation or bogging down at all, even in high gear.
I went places I could never have gotten in my RZR S, and it did not feel tippy at all. The Sportsman 500 H.O. with huge mud tires (he was 53" wide) in front of me was leaning hard over and putting his foot against the wall of the trail to keep from tipping over, but I was snug as a bug in a rug. The guy behind me told me he was impressed how my rig just clawed its way through whatever.

When I did use low gear, that's when the "mean spirited mountain goat" aspect REALLY came out. There was no stopping it. I did get hung up on for a few seconds between a huge stump and a rock that was nearly as tall as the luggage rack, on a particularly tight trail, but I just backed it up a bit, took a different line, blipped the throttle at the right time, and I was through. A machine with a longer wheel base such as a RZR 570 or a 50" 800 would have really struggled there.


Comparison Charts

View attachment 496 View attachment 497

Overall Score* out of 130
*This excludes maintenance, because that data is incomplete.
Gas mileage and range are not represented here because I have not calculated it for all three vehicles.

Grizzly: 94/130
RZR: 93/130
ACE: 99/130


Explanations for why I rated these vehicles the way I did:

Overall Speed
The ACE is fast enough for me, in most circumstances. But I occasionally like to haul butt on long wide open straight roads. I've only gone to sand dunes a few times.
The Grizzly and the RZR are faster than the ACE, and so are better suited for that kind of riding. I am putting this first in the chart NOT because I think it is most important. Quite the opposite in fact.
But I am putting it first because I know it's what everyone wants to hear about.

Stability at Speed
The 2007 Grizzly 700 gets squirrely in the front end at speed. I've had two of them and they acted the same way.
The 2010 RZR S 800 tries to drift a lot at speed. This is fun, but not very safe, and can be annoying.
The ACE tracks straight and goes where you steer it at speed. This is very refreshing for me.

Stability on Trail
The Grizzly does well enough, but the suspension is squishy and the short wheel base and 46" width makes it a bit unstable with extreme terrain.
The RZR does well with stability because it is 60" wide and has a very long wheel base. So yeah, it's stable on the trails.
The ACE feels nearly as stable as the RZR, which speaks well for it given its smaller dimensions.

Turning Radius
On the Grizzly, I can crank the handlebar, spin the rear tires, and almost spin in place on gravel. No turn is too tight for the Grizzly.
The RZR takes a lot of whipping the wheel around for not much turning. I often have to back up and try again on "tight" (for the RZR) twisty trails.
The ACE is right in the middle here. It turns sharper than the RZR, and seems to take less steering wheel spin to do it, but still fails the tight turns.

Low End Power
The Grizzly is a single cylinder, and when I put it in low gear, has respectable power, but it's nothing to write home about.
The RZR has a lot of power, period.
The ACE may not have a big engine, but the gearing is such that when you put it in low gear, it is a TRACTOR. It feels unstoppable.

High End Power
The Grizzly feels pretty good in the higher speeds. It can accelerate well when already cruising along. Very responsive.
The RZR is also responsive to a power boost in the high end, maybe not quite as much as the Grizzly, but it has a higher end to give.
The ACE is not great shakes at high end power. It will cruise along all day, but dropping the hammer isn't going to make a big impact.

Engine Noise
The Grizzly is very quiet, and the tone of the noise is muted. It's rather soothing, for a motorized offroad vehicle.
The RZR is frankly quite annoyingly loud. I replaced the exhaust in mine with an aftermarket "silent" one which quieted it down from the outside, but in the cab the vibrations are still very loud.
The ACE is in between. In the cab, you have no doubt about whose engine you're hearing, but the tone/pitch of the noise is not off-putting, and the volume is manageable.

Short Term Comfort
The Grizzly's squishy seat, EPS, and soft suspension make it pretty comfy for a relatively short ride.
The RZR and the ACE are about the same for short term comfort. A bit more than the Grizzly because of the standard seat instead of a saddle, and the wheel instead of bars.

Fatigue Prevention
A long day on the Grizzly makes me stiff, especially if the trails are super-twisty, or super bumpy. Even with the EPS, the handlebars fight you, and the saddle takes effort to stay on, and leaning is required.
The RZR does much better, and you can ride all day and feel good at the end of the day.
The ACE is pretty similar to the RZR, except because of the smaller footprint, you don't have to be quite as vigilant and so it produces less fatigue.

Storage
The Grizzly has racks and a small weird plastic bladder thing, and that's it.
The RZR has excellent storage. Large bed, large trunk up front, and some RZRs have glove boxes in the cab. But the front and rear storage gets hot, which is not great for food storage or anything that is sensitive to heat.
The ACE has nearly as much storage as the RZR, and the heat is not as much of an issue.

Ease of Cleaning
The Grizzly is pretty easy to clean. Most areas are easily accessible and the mud just flies off when sprayed.
The RZR is a pain in the butt to clean. There are SO many little nooks and crannies where mud collects, and many of these reflect the water right back at you, spraying you with mud and water when you clean it. It takes forever to get the mud out of the cab floor, because it keeps swishing around and is slow to drain out.
The ACE is MUCH easier to clean than the RZR, but there is more area and more little recesses than the Grizzly.

Ease of Transport
The Grizzly is smallest and lightest and therefore easiest to drag around.
The RZR is pretty big, even just the S 800, and heavy. It takes up a lot of real estate in the truck, in the toy hauler, and on the flatbed trailer. The RZR cannot side load on the flatbed, and would be over legal width even if it could.
The ACE fits in the truck bed with room to spare for a bit of gear, and without fear of slicing open the sidewalls on the sides of the truck bed (which I have done with the RZR), leaves room for me to hook up the straps to the truck's tie down loops, and I can close the tailgate (long bed). It also fits sideways on the flatbed trailer.

Maintenance Needs
The Grizzly needs minimal maintenance. It just keeps on riding with just oil changes, occasionally topping off a few zerks, a bit of filter cleaning, and very occasionally changing diff fluids. The suspension components are holding up very well.
The RZR needs more maintenance. As far as fluids and grease, it's similar to the Grizzly, but it wears out bushings, ball joints, and tie rod ends relatively quickly.
I don't yet know enough about the ACE's maintenance needs to comment or rate it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
22 Posts
I'll agree with everything you have said about the ACE, it does have a WOW factor for the price! Thanks for the review
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,051 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Thanks! I saw yours too. Appreciated another perspective. I also wished for a bit more ground clearance, didn't think to put that in the review.
Definitely going to have to get some UHWM skids under there as soon as I can.
Might go back and put it in there, but there are so many different details to compare between vehicles, where to draw the line?
Each aspect is very important to SOMEONE, but to list and rate them all would result in a VERY long read.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,051 Posts
Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
My GoPro took some shots for me while it was recording video, and it got a few good ones (out of several hundred). Here they are.
I need to find a better mounting spot. The first one vibrates too much, and the second one has too much of the ACE in the way.

I'm also posting some video here. Make sure you view it in HD if you can.
The video will give you the impression that the ACE tossed me around like a rag doll on this rough trail. However, what was REALLY happening was that the ACE was bouncing all over the place, and I was countering the movement with my upper body to minimize the jostling. But since the GoPro was attached to the frame of the ACE, and there is a large portion of the ACE in the video, you get the impression that the vehicle is holding steady and I'm swaying around.
Oh, and you'll hear a lot of suspension squeaking in the video. I absolutely did NOT hear that on the trail. I think that is transmitting through the frame to the camera.
I might try a helmet mount later. Not sure if I can get it low enough, and it might be barf-tastic, with both the vehicle frame and the ground moving around in it.



View attachment 489 View attachment 490 View attachment 491 View attachment 492 View attachment 493
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
22 Posts
Hey great video!! You guys have some TIGHT trails up there but thats what this four wheeler is made for, tight trails, with protection, the roll cage is perfect for the tightness of the trees. What i've been on have been rocky and hill climbing and of course muddy in spots since thaw, but looks like you hit it harder than I did. These ACE are not just for women and children, mine was a blast, looks like you guys had fun too.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
57 Posts
I can now SEE (thanks for the video) why you did not want to go any wider with your tires.... Those are motorcycle trails. haha.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
107 Posts
Great trails!! See these are the kinds of trails that a high powered, wide machine like a RZR XP 900 or 1000 would be stuck sitting in the parking lot! Believe it or not there are hundreds of miles of these types of trails in the North Eastern states... In my neck of the woods these machines are selling like hotcakes!!!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
93 Posts
Yep.^^^ My riding areas are that way. Even 50 in razrs struggle. Sometimes they're blocked. Sure they're only a little wider than a quad but their longer wheel base adds to their turning radius.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,051 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Precisely. Last year, a guy on a 50" RZR joined a group of ATVs at the ORV park where this video was taken.
He slowed everyone down, and then busted an axle getting through a particularly tight spot (not sure which trail he was on).

In Western Washington State, about 75% of the actual TRAILS (not service roads) are more or less like this, although this is one of the tightest ones I know of.
If you head East over the mountains, things widen out a lot, both in the mountain forests and in the desert areas of course, so it's not as important to be narrow and short.

The difference in trails is why it is important to qualify these things.
Guys on the RZRForums get all bristly when you tell them that the XP 900 or XP 1000 is "not a trail machine".
They say it does trails just fine! But what does a "trail" look like to them? Certainly not this.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
57 Posts
You never disappoint Scoundrel. Great reviews for all walks of life. You might have just sold a ton of Aces for polaris with that review. I already bought one (and will be picking it up tomorrow) but after reading that, I want to buy my wife one. Keep up the great work and spreading the good word about this little machine...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,051 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
I can now SEE (thanks for the video) why you did not want to go any wider with your tires.... Those are motorcycle trails. haha.
They probably started out as motorcycle trails, but just for the record, the signpost at the trail head shows ATVs OK. :)
There are some single-track-only trails at that park too.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
57 Posts
They probably started out as motorcycle trails, but just for the record, the signpost at the trail head shows ATVs OK. :)
There are some single-track-only trails at that park too.
Beautiful country. I thought our trails got a little narrow in SW MO. Not as norrow as that trail!

I would love to spend some time in WA.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,051 Posts
Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
Here is some more video from that same ride.

It starts out on a 4x4 trail, transitions into another 4x4 trail, and then there is a bit of service road riding on there.
The video flattens out the trail, of course, but if you watch the ATV in front going down the rocky muddy bit it will give you an idea.
Also, you'll see on the service road why I was content with 35-40mph cruising speed.

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,051 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
Yeah, it was a bouncy one all right. Mostly I was keeping my head from getting jostled too much, countering the machine's movement with my upper body, so it may have seemed like a rougher ride in the video than it was.
If I'd been strapped into a 4-point harness, then yes, it would have been a very rough ride.

I'm thinking of taking the harnesses out of my RZR and putting the stock seat belts back in.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
131 Posts
Scoundrel, excellent report! I watched the video and I would have broken so much plastic just trying to follow you in my Wildcat. It would have been carnage.... I may have been able to get around/over the one boulder you went over in low range but I would have broken or bent lots of stuff doing it! Thanks again for all the insightful posts.
 
1 - 20 of 37 Posts
Top