2002 Polaris 700 Twin Series
| First Ride
When first observing the new Sportsman, you might think it looks like the older model. Don’t be deceived; a closer look will reveal quite a few improvements. Increased horsepower (45hp), automotive style turnkey start, VDO speedometer with several options and an automotive style oil dipstick. Numerous improvements have been made and it would not be surprising to see the rest of the Sportsman line-up following suit. Polaris prides itself on being “Made-in-the-USA” and is one of the two American ATV Companies in the industry today and is always proud to show true American ingenuity
The Sportsman is definitely at the top of its game; no other single model in any line-up has such a variety of machine sizes to offer. The new 700 Twin, 500HO, 400 and the 90 youth model are all included in this Sportsman line.The new 700 twin-engine was designed and built in Roseau, Minnesota, home of Polaris’s main manufacturing plant. When thinking of a twin cylinder engine, Kawasaki’s 650 V-twin or the Yamaha’s Banshee with its two-stroke twin might come to mind. A new-sprung method of producing power with a twin cylinder emerges. According to Polaris engineer Larry Hosaluk, it is considered an “even-firing-parallel twin.” He claims his engine design with its good low-end torque and broad power band is a great solution for both a powerhouse ATV and a touring/utility snowmobile.” The secret behind the “even-firing-parallel twin” is the positioning of the pistons on the crankshaft. Both pistons travel side by side in parallel cylinders and are centered at the same time; but when one is on the ignition stroke, the other is on the intake stroke. The main idea of this concept is both pistons are always in the same position whether it is up or down in the four-stroke cycle.
This design keeps the engine compact and full of power. The 683cc. liquid-cooled engine uses a single 34mm carburetor and a single “Y” pipe exhaust. This is a high-pressure oil system using 35-psi. of oil to pump up the automotive style lifters, which in turn work the push rods. To be sure the larger engine would have no problems starting, Polaris is using a larger 30-amp battery and a superior starter obtained from its watercraft line. You’re probably thinking, this workhorse must have some heavy vibrations; but to our surprise, there were no unusual noises or any over bearing vibrations. The acceleration was superior leaving no flat spots in the throttle range. If the Sportsman 500 HO and the 700 Twin were let out of the starting gates, they would run a close race for the first 50 yards, then the 700 Twin would come alive and easily pull away.
The Polaris Sportsman has a hot new engine with an equally impressive drive train. Transferring the power to the wheels is a complicated task. One type of transmission that has been doing a superior job of both making power and completing the braking process is Polaris’ Dual-Sensing automatic PVT (Polaris Variable Transmission) with EBS (Engine Braking System). The PVT requires no shifting and is dual-sensing. The intent is to have it respond to both engine RPM and vehicle torque requirements.
The Polaris fleet has many improvements. The new Sportsman includes a start in any gear feature and the four-wheel drive system has undergone a major overhaul. The true 4×4 system remains thumb activated and engages when the back wheels lose traction. The new feature is a more reliable design as the older models have a locking mechanism in each wheel. Sometimes when switching the 4 wheel drive off, problems would occur with this old system, at times, the old style hubs would not unlock evenly. When this happens, one hub could stay locked for a distance causing a slight pull in the steering. Now the new design put the locking mechanism in the differential itself, effectively producing problem free operation.
Polaris redesigned the shift pattern giving the unit an automotive style parking feature as well as a turnkey starting. Improving on the old “H” shifting pattern, the gears are in a straight-line pattern. The simplicity of this straight-line design also uses an easy shift from reverse to low range, only proceeding into high range if the foot brake is applied. This feature eliminates the rider to use high gear by mistake. Many up-grades have been made to the Sportsman 700 Twin and some of the smaller changes are the ones most recognized, such as moving the brake rotor and caliper from the drive shaft to the rear wheel. The rear drive is completely separate from the transmission. Another conspicuous characteristic is the transmission; the rear differentials are separated by a drive shaft with a modernistic and stronger belt. Further upgrades to complete the 4×4 format include refined front axles and more suitable engineered automotive style hubs.
Balancing Quality, Weight and Comfort The Sportsman tips the scales at 740 pounds dry weight (one hundred pounds heavier than other big bore models). An effort was made to keep the weight down, but with demand for larger engines also comes the need to increase the strength of each component. Some contributing factors to the added weight are the frame’s rigidity and quality floorboards. Also, Polaris has decided to include aggressive, high quality tires, Goodyear Rawhide Grips (25×8-12 front and 25×11-12 rear) with chrome steel wheels. Polaris did not stop there, a larger 30 amp-hour, 300 cold crank battery was added along with a watercraft type starter. Completing the electrical system is a 300-watt alternator with marine style wire connectors. A larger radiator and electric fan were added, along with an air-bleeding nipple just off the engine. The large bumpers, racks with rails and a towing capacity of 1500 pounds put this ahead of its competitors.
Automatics have always had trouble with freewheeling down hills. The Polaris EBS has sufficient engine braking capability, but when a few hundred pounds are added to the unit engine, braking could be reduced substantially. Another reason why weight cannot be a deciding factor in these large machines is that it takes large braking components to stop big machines with large loads. Polaris has no problem with the hydraulic braking power of the new Sportsman 700 Twin. Incorporated in this fine machine are braided brake-lines and large disk brakes giving the unit a positive stopping action. The new VDO speedometer is analog but has a programmable display featuring hour-meter, current gear, diagnostics, elapsed time, programmable service and trip meter. A large machine like the Sportsman 700 may not be suitable for everyone. The extra large seat and over-all size of the machine may make a small rider feel overwhelmed. It will definitely accommodate a larger person and the rider who wants everything they can get out of a utility ATV.