Thanks to the utility heritage of the Scrambler 1000 platform, we were able to play on this flooded trail without a drowned rider. No complaints from the 1000, either.
When Polaris introduced the new Scrambler 1000 EPS to the press, they lined up two Scrambler XP 850s and started a big build-up about an all-new model. There had been so much news from Polaris with models powered by the zippy 570 engine, we were sure this was going to be a Scrambler 570. Color us shocked when the 1000 rolled out sporting a huge power boost and a mean dual-exhaust system. In what universe, we wondered, do we need a 4×4 sport quad as powerful as the new 1000? Color us embarrassed for doubting Polaris. It turns out that it is our universe, this solar system, planet earth and so forth right down to our garage if we could find the shoebox where we stashed that $13,299. Yep, that price is not for the faint of heart, but then again, neither is anything else about the Scrambler 1000. This is not a machine for the timid.
Normally this would be rock-crawling, pick-your-way conditions, but on the Scrambler, we just let the motor boost us into the air over the worst sections.
The XP 1000’s engine is not all new but is based on the 850’s tried-and-true SOHC, four-valve (per cylinder), parallel-twin cylinder, water-cooled engine. Some genuine hot-rodding resulted in a 3.5mm-larger bore and a 2.5mm-longer stroke. That jumped the engine from 850cc to 962cc. There is no change in compression ratio, cam profile or throttle-body size, yet the displacement boost and the distinctive new dual-exhaust system pumped peak horsepower from 77 to 89!
The exhaust system is more than the dual stainless steel silencers. The primary header size was increased from 1.375 inches to 1.625 inches for better flow. More power means more heat, so cooling capacity is increased for the 1000 as well.
STILL LOOKING MEAN
The Polaris Scrambler 1000 looks large and in charge, but most were pleased with the rugged look of the machine. It has the goods to back up the macho look.
Aside from the White Lightning graphics treatment and that sexy dual exhaust, the Scrambler 1000 chassis is largely unchanged from the existing 850 platform. We don’t see that as a problem. There weren’t really any complaints about the 850 chassis (or the engine for that matter), and despite the infusion of horsepower, there should be no whiners concerning the 1000. A robust frame is supported by dual-A-arm suspension front and rear. In the rear, the shocks are angled back to allow more travel. The travel numbers are the same as the 850, but that smaller model comes in a basic model and one with the adjustable Fox 2.0 shocks. With the boosted power of the 1000, Polaris just said nope, we’re only selling this one with Fox Podium X 2.0 shocks featuring 18 position-adjustable compression and with Electric Power Steering (EPS) standard.
There’s a popular saying—”You can’t fool Mother Nature”—but this suspension, combined with the EPS, does a great job of fooling physics. This is a heavy machine with gobs of power and torque trying to twist the chassis every time you hammer the throttle. In spite of those handicaps, the suspension keeps everything gathered up. This is the same basic platform as the Sportsman 850 4×4, but fortunately Polaris designed the platform well. The engine is turned sideways in the frame to narrow up the riding position through the middle, so a machine this admittedly massive for a sport quad feels nicely slim and sporty when you are riding. Despite the major boost and sport-quad-targeting, Polaris stayed with the linked brake system. The lever on the left side of the bar controls all four disc brakes. If you are new to a Polaris, then the brake set-up takes a few minutes to get used to, but in this case, you soon get happy that your right hand has only the throttle to deal with. On this machine the throttle is plenty to keep one hand busy.
Some of us have to justify our purchases, and the Scrambler 1000 helps you there. It has modest cargo-rack capacity front and rear, the hitch is rated for 1500 pounds, and the quad itself is actually rated for more. You can be sure it has the power to tow. While the powerful lights could be considered part of the utility of the machine, they also add to the fun arsenal, since sundown can’t pull the plug on the party. If you still have gasoline and energy, ride on.
TRAILS AND WORK
This pass wheelying into a foot-high ledge was the only time we heard the skid plate kiss the rocks. The suspension and tires barely noticed the hit.
We have a lot of time on the Scrambler 850 in California’s open spaces, and we tested the new 1000 at Pennsylvania’s Rock Run and Texas’ Hidden Falls riding park. Naturally, California has tight trails, but in general, the trails in central Texas and Pennsylvania are not the sort of space you think would allow a 1000cc sport quad to breathe; it really doesn’t matter where you are on the Scrambler. We were actually shocked at how controllable the machine is. We expected it to be something of a monster-masher that bludgeoned the trails into submission, but that was far from the case. Dirt Wheels has a 4×4 loop that is ultra tight and technical, so the speeds are extremely slow. For those conditions the Scrambler (or any powerful big-bore 4×4) is like trying to eradicate ants with a hammer—you have plenty of power but there are better tools for the job. Away from our test loop, though, it didn’t matter whether the Scrambler 1000 was in open territory or not.
We’ll tell you this: if you didn’t know what amazing things great suspension will do for a quad, you will after riding the Scrambler. The Scrambler 1000 feels like it has twice the travel of the Sportsman 850, but it is the same! It feels wide (it isn’t) and long (it isn’t) and, of course, dramatically powerful (it is). It wasn’t on purpose, but much of our Scrambler testing was in rocks. You would think that massive power and pushing 800 pounds ready to ride would not mix well, but not so. While shooting photos, we wheelied into rock ledges and jumped off of small hills into jumbles of rocks without one second of drama. While playing on a slippery road, we found that whacking the throttle would result in major power wheelies at what was cruising speed for other machines in the group. And remember, this is fully automatic. There is no clutching it to get the front end up, and we didn’t have a lot of traction, but the 1000 has a load of boost and radical acceleration.
While the 1000 steers just fine and is light with the EPS, we usually chose to turn with the throttle. Just flick the front end a little, then dial in as much power slide as needed to angle the quad in the right direction. Big fun for sure.
We could wish for a little more color on the front, but in the end, what counts is how fast the ground is going by. The front suspension is very plush.
Compared to other sport quads, the 1000’s floorboards and simplified controls are a definite plus. No worries about where to put your feet, and almost no risk of bouncing a foot off here. It doesn’t take long to get completely spoiled with not having to shift. This is one fun machine. Our photo model Josh Bertram’s notes described the 1000 well, and these are notes from a sport quad rider who had never ridden a CVT quad: “Okay, now about my future new toy. The Scrambler 1000 was amazing! It was like riding a mini Trophy Truck—from the sound to the power and even the way the thing would squat down under acceleration. The suspension was plush but not squishy, so it inspired confidence. There is more than enough power, but coupled with this suspension, you feel like you could ride it for days on end. It took a few minutes to get used to the four-wheel drive. The rear end did not want to slide, so you had to trust the front would pull you through the corners, which it did. It was a bit big for tight stuff, but if you got it into the desert or sand, I think the fun would be endless. The shifter was not very positive, and it was difficult to find gears at times. Other than that, like I said, I want one!”
The business end: mini Trophy Truck sounds and roost exit from here. The Fox Shox make sure that the suspension travel is thoroughly awesome, and there are the rack and hitch if you have to work.
We have to emphasize the fun of the Scrambler 1000. The thing put serious grins on our mugs whenever and wherever we rode it. On the other hand, we must caution: this monster is not for timid or inexperienced riders. Slam the throttle and this machine leaps, and you better be ready for that. If you are ready for the power and you can handle the price, you are in for serious, addictive fun.
2014 POLARIS SCRAMBLER 1000
Engine 952cc, liquid-cooled, 4-stroke,
SOHC twin cylinder
Bore x stroke 90.5mm x 74.0mm
Fuel system Electronic fuel injection
Fuel capacity 5.3 gal.
Starting system Electric
Final drive Shaft
Front Dual A-arm/9″
Rear Dual A-arm/10.25″
Front Dual hydraulic discs
Rear Dual hydraulic discs
Ground clearance 11.5″
Seat height 35.0″
Total rack capacity 75 lb.
Towing capacity 1500 lb
Curb weight 767 (dry) lb.
Color White Lightning