ATV workhorse with power

Most ATV manufacturers are reluctant to quote horsepower figures but with 62hp under the saddle of its latest quad, Bombardier seems quite happy to flaunt its power figures.

The Outlander 800 has almost as many ponies kicking as the 1.8 diesel Peugeot that I’ve just arrived in and bear in mind that the bike weighs a lot less to boot.

Providing all this muscle is a Rotax V-twin fuel injected power plant – claimed to be the most powerful engine in any production ATV.

But to get it going you’ll need a digitally encoded key which must match the code that the engine management system is looking for.

Once fired up – for which the bike must be in neutral – the gear options are a standard, high, low and reverse.

Selecting high and setting off, the smoothness of the unit becomes pretty apparent – throttle action is neat and steering is nicely weighted – just enough feedback but not too stiff.

Now for the fun part: Open the machine up and the pace is blistering.

You really have to be paying attention to what is ahead and how far away it is, because it won’t be far away for long.

It’s well advised to have a stiff grip on the handle bars when you floor the throttle and a bit of a forward lean is advised to keep the front wheels on the ground, especially if accelerating from a standing start on a hard surface.

The Outlander 800 features a nifty suspension setup.

The rear pivot points are directly in front of the wheels meaning that they can move up and down in a true vertical plane as opposed to the arcing effect of other suspension systems.

The benefits of this and double wishbones up front can really be felt in cornering; throwing the bike into a series of chicanes illustrates that body roll is minimal, all of which makes for tidy handling.

Going fast is fun until it comes to stopping in a hurry and if the brakes aren’t up to the job it can be hairy to say the least.

Bombardier has stepped away from tradition and moved the brakes from the wheel hub and on to the drive shaft.

Terming this in-board braking, the firm says that it protects the discs from mud and debris – which is true to an extent – and to be fair the brakes are as good as they need to be.

A 60/40 split between front and rear is operated via the left hand handlebar lever while the right side foot brake will split the braking 50/50 front-to-rear.

Selectable two and four wheel drive adds further flexibility depending on what you want from the bike, and while four-wheel drive does have an effect on handling it doesn’t diminish the ride quality.

It just dictates that you can’t throw the bike into corners with the same confidence that the tail-happy two wheel drive offers.

Niggly points

To be honest it’s hard to find fault with the big bike, apart from the arrangement of the gear selection.

It’s easy to end up in neutral when looking for reverse.

The largest gripe with the bike is without doubt going to be fuel consumption.

It’s a large capacity engine that has bags of power but that will come at a cost, and once you’ve ridden this you won’t want to get a lower powered bike, so be warned.