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By: Jason Giacchino

Polaris Homepage

ATV Review: 2010 Polaris Outlaw 450 MXR
Deceptively Fast and Decidedly Versatile



The Polaris Outlaw series of ATVs have had a rich and interesting life thus far.  What began as an independently rear-suspended alternative to the Predator has since come to represent the entire manual clutch performance segment of Polaris’ model line.  While the early Outlaws actually shared a platform with the 500cc Predator, 2009 witnessed the first major overhaul of the line.  The goal was to maintain the attributes riders loved (reliability, power, and suspension action) while correcting some of the flaws of the antiquating chassis.  The resulting model was a resounding success.  That’s why Polaris (wisely) decided not to touch a thing for 2010.

We took delivery of a brand new 2010 Outlaw 450 MXR for purpose of review and quickly introduced it to the off-camber, muddy, mucky, rocky, rooty paths we East Coasters call trails.  From there is was down to Pennsylvania to experience the machine’s attributes on several motocross tracks that ranged in style from wide-open outdoor national-style to tight, technical, almost stadium configurations.  In keeping the machine bone stock for the duration of our review, here’s what we found.

The Lookdown

If you’ve grown accustomed to the Predator-esque look of the early Outlaws, prepare for a bit of a visual stunner in the 2010 (& 2009) Outlaws.  In effort to spruce up rider position for enhanced control all new plastic was in order.  The new stuff is much more structurally rigid than the plastic it replaces hence eliminating the need for external bracing.  So drastic is this change alone that it’s hard to believe that Polaris stuck with the same frame between the two generations.  A new single low-mount headlight replaces the dual-“eyes” of the last generation Outlaw/ Predator.   Finally a more compact fuel tank (which carries slightly less fuel) and a completely redesigned seat make up the bulk of the big changes.

Less easily noticed but equally impressive in the real world are the heel-guards which are all aluminum- not only are they more structurally rigid but they shave weight over the previous plastic/steel configuration.

Gone is the PRO Steering system and in its place a more traditional straight-stem design, again the goal being to reduce weight wherever possible.  Additionally Polaris specs new bar mounts which are designed to except oversized handlebars right out of the box.  The bend and sweep of the stockers is pretty darn spot-on but it’s nice to know that the option of running a beefier bar is at the rider’s discretion.

In all Polaris managed to trim off six pounds from the already industry-leading light Outlaw 450 MXR bringing the machine’s total weight down to an unbelievable 359 pounds.  If this doesn’t sound impressive on paper, rest assured it is over 40 pounds lighter than most of the competition.  That’s weight savings that you will feel whether you’re trail riding, racing, or just trying to load the machine on the truck!


Can’t Touch This

For all of the little odds and ends Polaris engineers decided to swap in search of perfection, there are many aspects of the ATV that simply didn’t need tweaking.  After all, there is little sense fixing what isn’t broken.  In this case, KTM’s 448cc single cylinder 4-stroke coupled to a 39mm FCR carburetor puts the juice to the ground once more.  Also they’ve wisely stuck with the Magura hydraulic clutch, fully adjustable Fox Podium X suspension, stainless steel-braided brake lines, Maxxis Razor MX tires, Douglas rolled edge rims, and hydraulic disc brakes all around (with dual piston calipers up front).

Savvy readers may have noticed that the engine nestled within the Polaris Outlaw 450 MXR’s frame is the same unit KTM stuffs into its own 450 XC quad.  Keep in mind that Polaris and KTM had reached agreement/ collaboration even before KTM had decided to release an ATV line of their own.  The only notable difference between the two engines lies within the gearbox as the Outlaw contains 5-forward gears with reverse (opposed to the all-forward setup on the 450XC).

Mounting Up

The biggest difference a rider is going to feel climbing into the saddle of the new 450 MXR is how flat the new riding position is and not just when compared to the previous generation Outlaw but compared to any of the 450s currently offered.  Gone is the intense slope where the seat climbs up the gas tank up front and there is virtually no rise in the rear end to report as well.  This makes for the ultimate in rider mobility, perhaps even too much so for some, as we’ve noticed riders installing seat-humps seems to be the hot setup of late.

After adapting to the flatness of the cockpit, the next area of unique physical sensation comes in the form of the uninhibited view of the machine’s front-end.  Thanks to that smaller fuel tank we mentioned above and stock bars with a nice dip at the bar mounts, the front of the Outlaw is surprisingly uncluttered and “open”.  Upon first impression, it’s easy to get tricked into the thinking that the bars are abnormally tall against the low-flat chassis but it’s an illusion based on the fact that Polaris engineers were able to lower the mass of the ATV so effectively.

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