We picked up our demo Scrambler 850 LE at DestinationX with just 6 miles on the odometer. At first, I had many questions about how this new Scrambler came to be what it is now. Why would Polaris even mess around with making a sport utility quad when the RZR's are selling at an alarming rate? I understand they re-designed the quad to directly compete with cam am's renegade that has been the benchmark for all sport utility's out there for quite awhile now. Why bring back the Scrambler? The Scramblers of old were not bad machines, and not really good one's either. I had to face the facts, the old Scrambler did not give off that warm fuzzy feeling like the old Honda 250R's did. As a matter of fact, nobody that I have ever ridden with ever got excited about riding a Scrambler, they were excited to ride. That being said, Polaris had alot of work to do with me personally convincing me that this new Scrambler was going to be something "Special".
The bodywork design looked like it was taken directly from a Cobra Helicopter, or just a really cool design from an aspiring auto cad student with a very uncertain future. The sharp lines and almost over agressive body work left me a little confused once again. Then I saw the gear selector switch that had the option of low range, interesting indeed for anything that was catagorized as a "Sport" anything. But ok, I will buy it as it would suggest that it is sticking with the "Utility" part of it's name. Once we got out to the riding area, got all geared up, and ready to ride, I cleared my mind of all that I had known about the previous Scrambler as this machine would have to be completely different in every way from the old machine to be exciting.
When I threw my leg over it for the first time, I began to realize that the only similarity between the new Scrambler and the old Scrambler was just the name. I settled into the couch of a seat, turned the key, and the machine barked to life instantly. When I grabbed the transmission shifter and put it in high gear, my concerns went away about it being in the way when riding. Although, if you are not careful when the shifter is in park while boarding the machine, you could easily get a shifter to the peppers.
The ride of the 850le with it's power steering, fox shocks, comfty seat, and virtually perfect ergonomics, combined with a predictable and snappy 77hp motor made me grin from ear to ear. I instantly found myself pushing it faster and faster. The sway bar kept the body roll to a minium, and the Scrambler felt planted the whole time. As i was pushing the confidence inspiring machine a little to far, I needed to brake the 740 pound machine in a hurry. Grabbing the left forward brake control in a panic, I was rewarded with the machine damn near coming to a complete stop almost instantly. These brakes are so good in fact, it made the Scrambler feel like it was carring the lighter weight of a sport quad. As we decended down some hills I allowed the transmission to help out with the braking. This was also very impressive. I then selected low range to see if this new Scrambler could be counted on in the slow going rock sections, and it handled everything I could throw at it with ease. Deep ruts, rocks, logs, off camber situations, etc, were conquered with ease. I even jumped the hell out of the Scrambler, and never found the Fox Shocks limit on travel. We found a high speed fire road to test flat out high speed cornering in 2X4 mode, and that is when the machine got really fun. The hand guards and bodywork deflected the trees and trail objects away from me at all times, and was much appreciated. I then understood the body design for the first time. I could not find a single thing in the 55 miles I put on the machine that it could not do very well. I rode it all day, and woke up this morning without a sore muscle on my body. I was pleasantly suprised to say the least. The standard Scrambler that is $2,500 less would not be near the machine the LE is. The extra money for the Fox shocks, power steering, and handguards are what makes this machine as good as it is. IMO
Conclusion, in order for me to truly understand the new Polaris Scrambler 850LE, i simply just had to throw a leg over it, and ride the thing like I stole it. Aside from the gear selector being in the ball bag area when boarding the machine from the wrong side in the Park position only, this machine is very good off the showroom floor, it needs nothing but a pilot to enjoy it as much as we all did that day. To be blunt, I would not change anything about this NEW Scrambler 850LE. This is a very good thing given it's lofty price tag of $11,999 msrp. This seems like alot of money, and it is. Although if you consider it is $3,000 less than a comparable can am model, might I suggest that it may be a less expensive alternative? Please consider that I am not saying this is the best sport/utility machine on the market, but I would highly recommend this hot rod couch of a machine to anyone who was in the market for one. I was not a fan of the old Scrambler at all, but I am a HUGE fan of the new Scrambler 850LE. DD