I bought my wife an 07 450 KingQuad two years ago for her birthday. This year I bought an 07 Polaris Sportsman 500 HO from a buddy who did not ride any more. It was neat to test these two head to head. I thought I would post my findings as well as the feelings from seveal other folks who rode both back to back.
First, at time of this comparison the Suzuki had apx. 140 hours, the Polaris had 19. Some might say that the Polaris was not broke in yet, but my buddy rides them hard and I am sure abused it some, so I know the rings were seated and the motor loosened up.
So here goes. Please remember these are mine and my wifes feeling mostly with other members of my family thrown in. Yours may differ.
The Polaris has a MUCH softer ride then the Suzuki. This is good and bad. On flat hard ground the Suzuki will out handle the Polaris hands down. The Suzuki feels like a sport quad and the Polaris like you are floating with poor feed back from steering input. The Suzuki Corners sharp and crisp, the Polaris seems to plow through the corners.
On hard take offs and stops the Polaris really has a lot of body role from suspension movement. The Suzuki not near as much.
In a drag race, the Suzuki is faster at least up to 40mph. This was tested severl times with different riders and the results were always the same. The Polaris was not left in the dust, just beat by 1 or 2 quad lengths. At idel the Polaris is smoother. Both quads were smooth throughout the rest of the throttle range. The Polaris is louder than the Suzuki both in exaust and engine noise. The Suzuki has a louder clutch noise. This may be due to the quieter engine so the clutch can be heard better. Let me add that both quads are fuel injected.
The Suzuki instruments are electronic and the Polaris has a standard Speedo. The Polaris is easier to toggel through several different guages like tach, odo, hour meter. This all done by way of the reverse over-ride button. The Suzuki has two buttons for trip on the speedo face with no tach avaluable. I give the edge to the Polaris in the instrument department.
The gear shifter is easier to use on the Suzuki as it is very easy to shift with your left hand. The Polaris is harder and done with the right hand. The Suzuki does not have the Park function the Polaris has and you must lock the right hand brake on for a barking brake. Both quads have HI, Low, Neutral, Reverse.
Now the brakes. The Suzuki uses two hand levers and one foot pedal. The left hand and right foot pedal operate the rear and the right hand operates the front. Polaris uses the left hand to operate all brakes. The first time I needed to panic stop, I almost went into the trees on the Suzuki. The Suzuki has an enclosed rear brake that is inside the axel housing. Sounds like a great idea but I have never had a problem with open disks like the Polaris. The Polaris will stop on a dime. For me the Polaris wins the brake contest hands down. Another note is that the Suzuki comes with ADC standard. Polaris only offers it on the Deluxe Sportsman.
Ergos are similar with the Polaris having slightly taller handle bars. Both seats are all day comphy. The Polaris has flat foot boards while the Suzuki has raised foot pegs. I would imagion you get better grip with the Suzuki, but the Polaris is more comfortable and I have never slipped even in thick mud on the Polaris. Both bodies seem similar in with in the seating area. To me, too close to call for a better or worse.
Storage is mixed as well. The Polaris has the front storage under the rack and a bigger rear center compartment. The Suzuki has a dry storage bin in the right front fender but is is on the small side. The rear compartment is big enough for most things we carry. Polaris wins this area.
Factory tires on the Polaris are larger and have deeper lugs. Suzuki seems to still do fine in the mud and loose stuff. Ground clearance is similar. Also both quads have 4 wheel independent suspension.
Now for some real world experiance on the trails. Most of the trails we ride are deep wods with some pipe lines thrown in. We don't race and really just enjoy the ride. The Suzuki is by far on the Sport side of Sport Utility abd the Polaris is on the Utility side. In the woods, the Polaris is like a Cadilac, the Suzuki like a Camaro. All depends what you want out of a quad. I would not trade my Polaris for the Suzuki because of the smooth ride and great brakes. My wife likes the Suzuki and the ADC gives her much more confidense going down hills. If I rode high speed trails, I might go for the Suzuki because of the stiffer suspension and better handeling. The rougher the trail gets, the more the Polaris seems to shine.
These are both fine machines and you can't go wrong with either of them. Again your opions may differ, these are mine.