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Features

SPORTSMAN HIGH LIFTER 1000

Staff Report, Photos: Mike Lester
4/20/2017

Far more than a production ATV with big, aggressive mud tires and a snorkel, the High Lifter 1000 has been engineered to excel in any kind of condition the mud genre can throw at it.

Its dual balance shaft 1000cc SOHC parallel twin makes 85-hp, which is down from what this engine’s potential is in other vehicles (up to 110-hp in some). Not to worry, the High Lifter version makes enormous amounts of torque at reasonable RPM and that’s exactly the formula you’ll need when all four wheels are spinning in heavy mud.

The High Lifter’s CVT is calibrated so the gear ratios of both high and low range are closer together. This means the high range setting is lower while low range remains close to the same as it is in a normal ATV.

Polaris dubs this a “close-ratio” CVT, but the point is, when you enter a mud hole and haven’t downshifted into low range, you can usually take advantage of 100-percent of the engine’s power without stopping to engage low.

Polaris has made a big effort to guarantee the engine won’t be taxed with excessive heat because of caked mud accumulating on the cases and rad fins.

Two big inverted fans sit where the front rack is and blow down on the rad to keep the airflow going. The intake snorkels are mounted at handlebar height and the vent lines are up high so the engine can keep running in the deepest of the deep.

Appearance-wise, the Hi-Lifter has a stunning presence. There’s a massive front bumper that looks totally military and houses the 3,500-lb winch along with tow hooks that ensure you can hook onto your buddy’s ATV when you need to.

Here’s a unique addition: A grab strap on the top of the handlebar that lets you leverage the High Lifter when you’ve got both feet on one side’s running board negotiating an off-camber or when you’re pinched tight against something in a mud bog. Nice touch.

The combination of stiffer springs and massive wheels and tires makes the High Lifter sit up tall like an NBA center. It looks so tall we’re thinking you might have trouble getting enough oxygen to breathe at that altitude.

The 29.5 outside diameter Outlaw II meats have moon-crater sized lugs and quite frankly, if you’re spinning these tires and making no progress, you better check underneath to see if you’re high-centered. The wheels are classy-looking aluminum ones but they’ll usually be dirty anyway, right?

Another unique feature that goes way beyond appearance is the arched A-arms on the High Lifter’s front and rear suspensions. Their upward curve hugs close to the vertical axis of the wheels and guarantees you’ll have less chance of getting hung up because an underwater branch is tangled in a front or back wishbone.

It really adds to the total ground clearance effectiveness of the 1000 and lets obstacles slip past without risking undercarriage damage. There’s 13.5-inches of clearance but it looks and operates like there’s much more.

The 1000 also comes with electrically assisted power steering - a nice thing when the bars are being ripped from your grip riding invisible gnarl. It also gives the High Lifter a lighter feel at the handlebars when you’re turning those huge front donuts loaded down with sticky mud.

Polaris has really rung the bell with the High Lifter 1000. This ATV is targeted top to bottom for the most rabid mud enthusiast and its total design is a statement that Polaris intends to dominate this somewhat unique but high profile segment.

Maybe the market targeting of a mud-specific ATV of this caliber will take the spotlight off SxS sales in the off-road market for a while. Maybe.



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