With the outgoing Sportsman Forest 500 said to be the biggest selling ATV in the world, the latest generation 570 Forest has some pretty big boots to fill. James Rickard puts the latest model through its paces to see just how it compares with its popular predecessor.
Due to be launched at Lamma next week, the major difference between the new Forest and the old one is the engine.
The new 570, as the model number suggests, now gets a larger, 567cc engine which produces 22 per cent more power.
The British-developed ProStar engine also gets electronic fuel injection which the manufacturer says is more fuel efficient and, more importantly, easier to start.
Because of the extra power, the 570 is fitted with a larger alternator which produces 650 watts at 7,000rpm - significantly more than before and ideal for those wanting to drive a spreader or sprayer, for example.
Heavy-duty electric couplings can be found in the front storage compartment under a panel.
The engine is now transversely mounted, reducing the width of the seat by 76mm (three inches). This subtle difference results in a much better riding position as your legs are in a more natural position.
You also do not feel as lofty as before, giving riders much more confidence, especially on hills. The narrower seat also means the footboards are wider.
To accommodate the new engine, the chassis has also been tweaked. This has had an effect on steering geometry which does make it a bit easier to operate and requires less effort than you might think for a bike of this size.
Engine response is good with plenty of pulling power. It is not too noisy either, but it can get a bit raspy.
The Forest comes road-ready as standard, with indicators and mirrors, but you do have to licence it if you want to use it on the road.
Other frills which come as standard include a winch and the firm’s Lock & Ride composite carriers, which allow a range of accessories to be fitted.
To make these carriers more flexible, the manufacturer has fitted metal bars which can be used as tie-down points. However, looking at what the bars are fastened to, which is not much, we would be careful how much load/tension you put on these.
Ground clearance is generous with 280mm (11in) overall and suspension travel is decent with 203mm (8in) at the front and 228mm (9in) at the rear. This allows it to dig down and find something hard to bite. Traction is also aided with its true, on-demand four-wheel drive.
Suspension is adjustable on all four points which can be done in five incremental steps. A middle setting provided a ride supple enough to be comfortable yet still stiff enough to offer a good level of stability.
Stopping power from the four wheel braking is impressive, which is just as well as there is not much engine braking. However, you can maintain some downhill braking from the engine by keeping a few revs on and making the engine/transmission work for you.
Controls remain the same as before and are logically laid out.
Front storage compartment.
Cosmetically, the bike looks almost identical to its predecessor and the only changes made are to accommodate the new engine.
Operation remains the same with controls logically laid out and easily accessible on the handlebars.
Its belt-driven, continuously variable transmission (CVT) comprises two forward ranges (low and high) and reverse, which are selected via a lever to the right of the handlebars.
This affords quick and easy range changes, but mind your knee when selecting reverse. The bike can also be started in gear as long as the brake is on - good for stop/start jobs such as checking fences.
Uptake of the transmission is good too, with hardly any slack - very noticeable when manoeuvring in the yard with a trailer.
There is a storage compartment in the front under the fold-up rack - a good waterproof space to put tools, medicine bottles, etc - and a rear compartment just above the tow bar.
The detachable tow bar is positioned well and can be flipped over to alter a trailer’s ride height.
After wallowing about in the mud, washing the bike off revealed a lot of exposed components which were brilliant at collecting dirt and debris. Whether they would be susceptible to damage or not, only time will tell.
The most noticeable change to the bike is the engine, which is a real step up in performance and has serious pulling power.
But the subtle changes which come from turning the engine through 90 degrees really add up, making the bike feel much more stable.
Thanks to the transmission, the bike is good for stop/start jobs, but some tidier component layout could go a long way to prevent mud from accumulating.
Overall, Polaris has done a good job of making a decent bike even better.