Pros: Good value, proven design, easy for anyone to use....
Cons: Not "high performance" enough for some riders...
I went atv shopping and looked at everything out there. I was interested in some sportier models, but I had to consider who would be riding it, (not just me) and how it would be used, (mostly low-speed trails and hills).
I got this 2001 model Trail Boss in September of 2001 for $3100 cash out the door. It was brand-spanking-new and still in the crate! Cash talks! I watched them uncrate and assemble it, and went for lunch while they charged up the battery and did the final adjustments. The dealer did a good job of explaining all the features and maintenance procedures, and I took it home.
It has been about 10 months now, and I'm still very happy with the purchase. Nothing else would come close for the price I paid. Even first-timers will be off having a ball in no time. It has an easy to use and understand driveline, with a fully automatic torque converter. The driver simply selects forward, neutral, or reverse with a large shift lever located to the right of the fuel tank, and squeezes the throttle. No upshifting or downshifting to worry about. When it's time for braking, the driver squeezes the brake lever on the left handlebar to come to a safe stop. The front and rear brakes are coupled together....no separate controls to apply front and rear brakes to worry about. The driver can apply the rear brake with a footpedal if he/she desires, but the lever is much more effective. This machine also has front and rear disk brakes, most lower priced units have drums in the rear.
The engine starts easily, and produces a lot of "low end grunt", but not much top end horsepower. It is perfect for most trail riding and hill climbing, but you won't win any races with it. Moms and dads needn't worry, this is about as safe for kids to operate as full-size atvs get. It isn't recommended for those under 16 however.
It has a wide stance, and is very stable. It has a single adjustable shock in the rear, and macphearson struts up front. Rear axle bearings, swingarm pivots, and lower ball joints are greaseable, which is nice if you happen to "accidentally" drive through some deep water. The rear axle is driven by a chain, which is adjusted by turning the concentric axle supports.
I gave the machine a service today, and the parts were a little steep. I couldn't cross the number on the oil filter to any aftermarket supplier, so I got one at the Polaris dealer. I also put in the recommended Polaris 0w40 (not a typo) oil. It was $10 for the filter, and $5 per quart for the oil (2 quarts). The manual says you can use any SH certified oil of the proper weight, but it's still under warranty, so I bought the good stuff that they put in at the factory. It's full synthetic, and really contributes to the good cold weather starting.
The machine came with a sturdy rear rack rated at 125 pounds worth of load, a front rack is available as an option for about $60 at the dealer. The seat is long, wide and very comfortable with room for 2 people, although carrying a passenger is not recommended.
It also has a beefy trailer hitch, that is conservatively rated at a 30 pound tongue load, with a towing capacity of 850 pounds.
All in all it's a very good unit for the money. Very basic and easy to use. If you want high performance or a real workhorse with a high/low range transmission, this isn't the machine for you. But for casual trail riding, light work, safety, and ease of use, you can't beat it!