The Polaris Predator 500 packs a set of qualities that anyone will want in a sports ATV. That’s because this 499-cc four-wheeler displays an impressive trifecta of speed, agility and steering capability, which makes this beast one of the most-sought quads in the roster of fast-running all-terrain vehicles.
The Predator 500 is known among riders for its robust, bulletproof exterior and low-maintenance features. It has a four-stroke, single-cylinder, dual overhead cam engine that can produce a monstrous 41 horsepower. Thus, apart from a sleek appearance, the Predator is also credited for its top-end speed. In fact, this all-terrain powerhouse eats steep elevations like waffles for breakfast.
Moreover, this mean machine has one of the most efficient steering systems in the ATV world. The Predator 500’s reliable suspension design keeps it stable and manageable, regardless of the terrain. Whether they’re grassy knolls, hard-packs, sandy dunes and even muddy or snowy trails, this fast and aggressive quad can take them all.
Are There Different Models of the Polaris Predator 500?
First introduced in 2003, the Polaris Predator 500 had a decent production run until 2007. The big-bored Predator took the ATV world by storm with its cutting-edge design and excellent performance.
The 2003 and 2004 standard models have a five-speed, manual transmission. The 2005 to 2007 models saw the inclusion of the reverse gear, which gave added convenience to riders.
Moreover, in 2004, Polaris launched a limited edition Predator 500 variant. Known as the Troy Lee Designs (TLD), this deluxe model continued in production until 2006. It was also in 2006 that Polaris offered the Polaris Predator Troy Lee Edition as part of its standard model lineup.
Despite the limited edition designation, there are no apparent differences between the standard and TLD models of the Polaris Predator 500 when it comes to performance. In fact, both units have the same enhanced features, such as the Maxxis® tires and upgraded adjustable shock dampers with compression control. Instead, the TLD models have come in with the same plastic body material with a metallic black colour as compared to the standard stock variants.
|Production Run — Polaris Predator 500 Lineup|
|Model/Trim||Years in Production|
|Troy Lee Designs||—||2004||2005||2006||—|
While the standard Predator 500 variant remained in production from 2003 to 2007, the TLD model had a three-year stint, which started from 2004 to 2006. All quads in the Polaris Predator 500 lineup have a recommended age requirement of 16 years old.
How Much Is a Polaris Predator 500?
Some owners claim having bought a used up Polaris Predator 500 worth $500. Often, these units are far from being mint and have serious issues. For that matter, unless you’re ready to buy replacements for the old components, you will be wise to think twice before accepting these extremely low-cost offers.
Nowadays, the suggested list price of a standard Polaris Predator 500 may fetch at different prices, depending on the year and model. Below is a list of the suggested list value of the standard Polaris Predator 500. The information provided below is taken from www.nadaguides.com and www.atv.com.
|Standard Polaris Predator 500 (www.nadaguides.com)|
|Year||Suggested List Value||Low / Average Retail Values|
|2003 Polaris Predator 500||$5,999||$970 / $1,275|
|2004 Polaris Predator 500||$6,099||$1,090 / $1,435|
|2005 Polaris Predator 500||$6,099||$1,090 / $1,435|
|2006 Polaris Predator 500||$6,199||$1,460 / $1,920|
|2007 Polaris Predator 500||$5,999||$1,485 / $1,955|
|Limited Edition Polaris Predator 500 Troy Lee Designs (www.nadaguides.com)|
|Year||Suggested List Value||Low / Average Retail Values|
|2004 Polaris Predator 500||$6,299||$1,670 / $2,200|
|2005 Polaris Predator 500||$6,499||$1,775 / $2,335|
|2006 Polaris Predator 500||$6,499||$1,845 / $2,425|
|Standard and Limited Edition TLD Polaris Predator 500 (www.atv.com)|
|Year||Suggested Retail Value|
|2004 Polaris Predator 500||$6,099.00|
|2004 Polaris Predator 500 Troy Lee Designs||$6,299.00|
|2005 Polaris Predator 500||$6,199.00|
|2005 Polaris Predator 500 Troy Lee Designs||$6,499.00|
|2006 Polaris Predator 500||$6,199.00|
|2006 Polaris Predator 500 Troy Lee Designs||$6,499.00|
|2007 Polaris Predator 500||$5,999.00|
Specifications and Features of the Polaris Predator 500
The Polaris Predator 500 gets its power from a liquid-cooled, four-stroke, dual valve, single-cylinder, dual overhead cam engine. It has a bore-to-stroke ratio of 99.2 x 64.6 mm (3.91 x 2.55 inches) and an engine displacement of 499 cubic centimetres (30.4 cubic inches). Equipped with a 42-mm Mikuni carburettor, the Predator 500 has a compression rate of 10:8:1. This quad uses PS-4 oil for both engine and transmission lubrication. The Predator 500’s engine is manufactured by Fuji, which is an auxiliary Suzuki.
This four-wheeler sports an electric starter with a capacitor discharge ignition system. Riders can use that to start this quad or turn to the recoil starter which mainly serves as a backup. Also, the Predator 500 uses YTX9-BS battery type and NGK DCPR8E spark plugs.
Initially, the 2003 and 2004 Polaris Predator 500 has a manual drivetrain and a five-speed transmission minus the reverse gear. For its primary drive, this ATV uses a 520 O-ring chain. The reverse gear was only incorporated in the later standard and the Troy Lee Designs models.
The tighter gear ratios in the TLD trim give these variants faster acceleration and smoother and more efficient shifting capability. According to atv.com, the differences between the standard 2005 Polaris Predator 500 and Limited Edition 2005 Polaris Predator 500 Troy Lee Designs models are as follows:
|Gear Type||Standard 2005 Model Gear Ratio||2005 TLD Model Gear Ratio|
This sports quad has twin A-arm front suspensions with the inclusion of Fox podium shock absorbers. The rear suspension, on the other hand, comes in the form of a swing arm fitted with two shock absorbers. Both suspensions having adjustable fork preload and the travel on the front and rear wheels are 10 and 11 inches, respectively.
Furthermore, the Polaris Predator 500 boasts the PRO Steering system. This capability makes the Predator an incredible all-terrain quad when accelerating in tight corners, thanks to its anti-dive and anti-squat rear geometric designs.
Tyres and Brakes
A stock Polaris Predator 500 comes with Maxxis® Razr radial tyres for both the front and rear wheels. The tyre sizes for the front wheel is PR 21 X 7-10, while the rear wheel has PR 20 X 11-9. As for the braking system, the Predator 500 uses a dual hydraulic disc and a single hydraulic disc for the front and rear wheels, respectively.
The dry weight of a Polaris Predator 500 is 415 lbs. (188.2 kg), while the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) is 645 lbs. (292 kg). Also, this quad has a fuel tank that can hold 3.3 US gal (12.5 litres).
At 71.52 inches in length, the Polaris Predator 500 has a width of 47.5 inches and a height of 45 inches. The seat height is just right at about 32 inches. With a wheelbase of 50.5 inches, this quad has a ground clearance of 4.5 inches, which gives this sports ATV its stability. Moreover, this all-terrain four-wheeler has a tight, turning radius of 5.6 feet.
The exterior of the Polaris Predator 500 is a combination of plastic body material and a durable steel frame. This quad comes complete with footpegs and a skid plate that protects the underside of the vehicle. A front bash plate and a set of fenders and bumpers on the front and rear complete the Predator’s streamlined appearance.
What Is the Top Speed of the Polaris Predator 500?
As a sports quad with a weight of 415 lbs., the Polaris Predator 500 has a top speed of 73 mph. Some owners have attested to going beyond 75 mph in no more than a quarter of a mile. These numbers, however, is dependent on several factors, such as the condition of the ATV, as well as the mods installed on it. The type of weather and terrain also greatly affects the speed of the Predator 500.
Advantages and Disadvantages of the Polaris Predator 500
The Polaris Predator is a mean speed machine. With its powerful, 499-cc, DOHC engine and tight gear ratios, particularly for the limited edition models, the Predator has proved time and time again why it is one of the most respected 400-class ATVs out there. However, even for a superior quad, the (stock) Predator 500 can’t have both worlds. Below is a list that mentions the reasons that prove the Polaris Predator 500 is a fantastic four-wheeler, as well as its drawbacks.
As one of the most well-known speed machines in the 400-class, the Polaris Predator 500 has a remarkable handling capability. With a tight gear ratio, especially in the later standard and limited edition models, this quad can move across steep climbs or sandy dunes without a hitch. This knack for fast slope-climbing has earned the Predator 500 numerous rewards in competitive track racing. Because of this ability, the Predator 500 can provide motocross enthusiasts with a superb and thrilling riding experience. In this case, we guess it’s safe to call the Polaris Predator 500 the king of the hill.
Even if the Polaris Predator 500 gains a high centre of gravity at the rear when making turns, the quad can still corner successfully because of its mid-range power. This ability is made possible because of a combination of noteworthy features, like the lack of low-end torque and high horsepower. With this, the Predator 500 can be a vicious machine even in tight and meandering wooded trails.
Responsive Steering System
The Polaris Rider Optimized or PRO Steering system is what gives the Polaris Predator 500 whenever it makes tight turns across a mud track or wooded trail. With the Predator’s anti-dive and anti-squat capabilities, coupled with its small turning radius, experienced riders can perform rapid cornering feats with ease, which is this ATV’s main speciality.
The Polaris Predator 500 is specifically built for what it does best: speed. What better feature can match the Predator 500’s lightning-fast moves than with a unique suspension system. The Predator’s long A-arms are designed to decrease bump steering. Also, this front suspension gives this four-wheeler superior cornering ability as compared to other ATVs in the market. Apart from that, the rear suspension prevents the weight of the vehicle from compressing downward, keeping the quad stable as it accelerates uphill.
Ubiquity of Aftermarket Parts
Thanks in part to online sites, the availability of aftermarket parts for the Polaris Predator 500 have become easy to come by. Because of this, owners do not run into problems when looking for quality, cost-efficient stock or aftermarket replacements and mods. Of course, the proliferation of Predator 500 components in the market says something about the legacy of this fantastic beast.
If there is anything that owners would complain about a Polaris Predator 500, it’s that this ATV has a low-quality carburettor. To them, the carburettor is what prevents most Predators from getting that most-coveted top speed mark. While some riders have suggested replacing the stock with a high-quality aftermarket carb, others have recommended re-jetting and performing regular carburettor checks.
With its strong rate of acceleration, the Polaris Predator 500 can be prone to wheelies. This typically occurs when the vehicle has gone from the second to third gear. Though most veteran riders counter this by putting more weight to the front, wheelies may still occur unexpectedly. Two-wheeling can be dangerous not just to first-time high-speed ATV riders, but also to the machine’s rear end as well.
Comfort is one of the strong suits of the Polaris Predator 500. That’s because the Polaris Predator 500 is designed for adrenaline junkies and thrill-seekers who love to race on their ATVs. Not for riders who want to sit and ride for long hours. Regardless, this concern can be rectified easily with a makeshift seat padding, which trades off style for comfort, for that matter.
Add-in Pros and Cons
Apart from these major features/issues of the Polaris Predator 500, here are some of the additional benefits and disadvantages that are worth mentioning:
• The Polaris Predator has a sturdy clutch design; it never wears out even with extensive usage.
• Its slim build enables the ATV to traverse narrow trails or motocross tracks.
• It has a durable frame and bulletproof engine, with the inclusion of a skid plate for additional protection.
• It has a great stock of radial tires that offer both quality and performance.
• The quad has steel-braided brake lines, which deliver efficient braking capability.
• Earlier models have no reverse gear.
• Shifting in reverse requires more than a single step and can be a bit tricky for new users.
Ways to Increase the Speed of the Polaris Predator 500
With a top speed of 75 mph, the Predator 500 is a savage in and out of the race track. However, that number somehow isn’t enough for most, particularly for ATV racers who love the adrenaline rush. If you are keen on turning your Polaris Predator 500 into a speed monster, you may want to see the suggestions below.
• Carburettor replacement
• Jetting the carb
• Gear ratio change
Veteran Predator riders would suggest changing the gear ratio first, among other remedies. Not only is it simpler than the carb change, but it is also lighter on the budget. Gearing is done by changing the front or rear sprockets of your ATV to get a higher gear ratio.
At the same time, replacing the stock carburettor will be extremely beneficial to your machine. That’s because the Predator’s OE carb is probably what most owners consider as their pet peeve. Tons of aftermarket carburettors that can outdo your stock, such as Edelbrock. Moreover, making sure that your intake is in synch with the engine is as important as the other mods that you will be installing on your Predator. You can prevent instances of running too lean or rich for that matter.
About the Manufacturer
Founded in 1954, Polaris is a world leader in the manufacture of bikes, snowmobiles, boats, and other aftermarket products. The Polaris Predator 500 is one of many quads Polaris has manufactured since the company started creating all all-terrain vehicles in 1984. Apart from that, the firm has also come up with other vehicles for commercial and military use. With more than thirty brands under its name, Polaris continues to serve its valued clients through its incredible power products.
Final Takeaway on the Polaris Predator 500
With its astounding speed and cornering ability, the Polaris Predator is one of the most notable 400-class all-terrain quads that graced the Polaris’ production line. Though it may not be the cream of the crop, its outstanding steering ability, coupled with a highly efficient suspension design, make the Predator an effective quad on the track.
Apart from that, this machine’s superior robust and superior frame, as well as its other features, gives the Polaris Predator 500 an excellent fighting chance against its competition. So if you want to own a Predator, you already know what to expect—nothing but the best.