Polaris Predator 500 ATV: Review, Top Speed and Specs

While the Polaris Predator 500 may not be much to look at, this model, despite being last manufactured over 12-years ago at the time of writing, is a much sought after ATV.

While the Polaris Predator 500 was always designed with the racing crowd in mind, hence why they released so many ‘special editions’ of the vehicle, it is often regarded as one of the best ATVs allround in its price range. In fact, many people are still using their Polaris 500 as a ‘workhorse’ out there in the fields, or perhaps when they want to do a bit of off-roading.

While the vehicle certainly does have a few negatives about it, the positives far outweigh them. Anybody that ends up with the Predator 500 will end up loving it.

Specifications and Features

At the heart of the Polaris 500 is the four-stroke engine. This liquid-cooled motor allows the Polaris 500 to hit speeds of up to 70mph in ‘ideal’ situations. There are ways to squeeze a little bit more speed out of the Polaris 500, but the stock unit does cap out between 70mph and 72mph. Even now, the older models are able to reach this maximum speed without any real issues.

Polaris Predator 500 front

The engine capacity is a whopping 12.5-liters, which certainly isn’t bad for an ATV this size. While it is an older bike, it is pretty fuel efficient.

Behind the engine, you have a five gears. This is a manual ATV only. If you purchase a model from between 2005 and 2007, it will have a reverse gear added into the mix. The later models also have a tighter gear ratio, particularly the ‘special edition’ models, which some people love.

All of the models in the Polaris 500 range have had an electric start, which means that drivers can get up and running the second that they hop on the ATV.

For brakes, you have dual hydraulic discs at the front of the ATV, and at the rear you have a single hydraulic disc. These brakes, other than the gear ratio, is the only thing that got a major overhaul between the model years of the vehicle. The 2004 and 2005 models of the Polaris 500 tend to have the ‘better’ brakes.

The suspension is on the rear and front of the ATV. There is a decent amount of travel in the suspension arms, which ensures that riders of the Polaris 500 will be enjoying the smoothest ride. If buyers pick up a Polaris 500 manufactured between 2005 and 2007, the rear shocks are doubled up on. This provides a smoother ride on the rear.

The ‘best’ feature (and the reason why the Polaris ATVs were so popular) is the PRO steering system. This is why the Polaris 500 is so in demand today. It provides a smoother steer, something that is often unrivaled in later ATV models.

Model Years Available

The Predator 500 was manufactured between 2003 and 2007.

Each year saw the introduction of improvements to the base unit. However, the main change was in 2005. At this point, Polaris opted to change up the gears slightly. This resulted in a vehicle that offered a smoother ride while accelerating a little bit faster. To this day, the Predator 500 ’05 models are among the most in-demand.

Polaris Predator 500 front and side

From 2004 onward, Polaris offered two separate models of the vehicle. Although, these were more ‘limited edition’ designs as opposed to a real shakeup in the overall design of the vehicle.

How much is a Polaris Predator 500 Worth?

They do not come up for sale all that often. However, when they do, the Polaris Predator 500 is affordable.

Buyers can expect the Predator 500 to sell used for between $3,000 and $6,000, depending on the model year and the condition of the ATV.

Pros of the Polaris Predator 500

The Polaris Predator 500 is a fast vehicle. It may not be the fastest on the market, but this is an ATV that has proven it is able to pump out those speeds, even when the models kicking around right now were last manufactured over a decade ago. As mentioned this is a racing vehicle. However, that makes it perfect for a multitude of uses.

The PRO steering system is the real highlight of the Predator 500, and it is the main reason why many people are still using this ATV despite more modern alternatives being available. The steering system allows people to turn at ease, with the minimum of touches on the brakes. Once again, this means that it has been designed for the racing environment, but it is likely most drivers will enjoy the benefit of the smoother steering.

Cons of the Polaris Predator 500

The comfort level of the Polaris Predator 500 is a major downside. This is all because it has been designed for the racing environment. The Predator isn’t designed to be sat on for long periods of time. Most people will ride it standing up. As a result, Polaris never really put that much effort into the design of the seat. Many driverswill add their own padding as a result.

Earlier models will also have no reverse gear. While it was never going to be a major downside at the time, since the bulk of ATVs being produced nowadays have reverse gears, it is a major detriment to the vehicle. Again, this is due to the way that the vehicle has been designed for racing. There, nobody really has the need to be going backward. It is only when Polaris noticed that the Predator 500 was being used by a multitude of people that they figured the vehicle would benefit from a reverse gear being added.

Conclusion

The Predator 500 is affordable. For those that are looking for a quality, older vehicle that is still easy to source parts for, this is the option. While the base unit could probably do with a few aftermarket upgrades, even the base model performs to a high standard in the right hands.