Polaris Predator 500: A Speedy beast and an Emblem of Power

Polaris Predator

The Polaris Predator 500 actualizes the use of the latest technology in the ATV industry. Its power output, suspension, and state-of-the-art handling made it earn its name among the riders’ community. Undoubtedly, it is one of the best ATVs of its time. Even the ATV Sports Magazine Editor, Jerrod Kelly, expressed his view by saying it has the potential to perform in competition formats without alienating recreational riders or the average rider. Specs such as competition-style shocks, knobby tires, and rugged axles indicate that they targeted the racing community.

So much so that it won the Sport Quad of the Year award in 2005. Moreover, Matt Smiley won two podiums and got top-ten finishes during the GNCC season thanks to its heavy-duty features, lean style, and premium performance. Want to know how it ended up earning multiple awards? Continue reading this article and learn more about this high-end machine.

A Bird’s Eye View of the Predator 500

Polaris Predator 500

Being a 41-HP, all-terrain sport quad, the Predator 500 ensures adequate power and smooth performance for hardcore riders. Polaris Inc manufactured this emblem of high-quality engineering from 2003 to 2007. Thanks to its performance and power outlet, it won numerous awards, including the much anticipated Sport ATV of the Year. With the year 2004 came the 04 Polaris Predator 500 that features two versions; Troy Lee Limited and Standard edition quads. However, the company changed its signature TLD from a limited version to a standard offering in the 06 Polaris Predator 500 lineup in 2006.

Both the versions of the 05 predators 500, TLD and standard were more performance-centric. Furthermore, the 2005 models came with close-ratio gears that bettered front aluminum shocks with compression adjustability, remote reservoirs, and acceleration. Aesthetically, the TLD version was better. Besides that, its plastic was metallic black and featured custom graphics instead of stock ones. And minor changes, such as adding a chain tensioner and a horn, kept the chain off the A-arm suspension.

Polaris Predator 500 Specs

Engine4-stroke DOHC
Cooling typeLiquid
Displacement499 cc
Weight415 lbs
CarbMikuni 42mm BSR
Oil type10w40
Final drive520 0-ring chain
Transmission5-speed with reverse
horsepower41 HP
Oil Capacity2L
NotePolaris brand PS-4 oils are common
Top speed 73 MPH
Rear brakesHydraulic Disc with single-bore calipers
Front brakesDual hydraulic Disc with single-bore calipers
Rear tiresMaxxix RAZR 20*11-9 inches
Front tiresMaxxis RAZR 21*7-10 inches

Let’s have a more detailed look at these specs and features.


Polaris predator 500 engine

A four-stroke, liquid-cooled DOHC single-cylinder powers this off-road vehicle. It provides the model extensive power outlet with a stroke of 64.6 millimeters and a bore of 99.2 millimeters. Further, 10:8:1 is its compression ratio, and engine replacement is 499 cubic centimeters delivered by a 42 mm Mikuni BSR carburetor. And 3.3 gallons is its fuel capacity.



The Predator 500 has an electric CDI, an auxiliary recoil pill starter for backup, and an electric start system. And if you want to get rid of the possibility of running out of power in the middle of nowhere, get a battery such as NOCO Genius G26000 12V/24V 26 Amp Pro-Series Battery Charger and Maintainer.


Predator Ignition

The engine accompanies a five-speed, manual shift transmission, including a 520 0-ring chain drive and a reverse gear. And the Troy Lee Designs has tighter gear ratios, making shifting easy and effortless.


Polaris 500 Tires

The Polaris 500 runs on Maxxis RAZR 21*7-10 front tires with aluminum wheels. The rear tires are Maxxis RAZR PR 20*11-9. In case of damage, you can change them with Carlisle Trail Wolf ATV Tire.


Predator 500 Brakes

To stop this speedy vehicle, single hydraulic rear disc and dual hydraulic front disc braking systems appropriately do the task. However, the 2005 and 2004 TLD models came with a “racing-type” steel braided braking system which further improved its performance.


Polaris Predator 500

The overall width of this model is 47.5 inches, and the length is 71.52 inches. When it comes to ground clearance and height, they are 4.5 to 5 inches and 45 inches, respectively. Other dimensions include 32 inches seat height, 5.6 feet turning radius, and 50.5 inches wheelbase.



The rear suspension features a non-link Swing-arm with a single-shock, solid axle suspension with 11 inches of travel and a dual A-arm with Fox podium shocks and 10 inches of travel. But versions from 2005 and onwards had double rear shock absorbers.


Polaris Predator 500

Its exterior includes a plastic body material with a metallic finish and a steel frame. The body also features full floorboards. Use Waterproof ATC Cover if you want to save your model from the elements.

How Fast the Predator 500 can Go: Top Speed?

The top speed of the Predator 500 is 73 miles per hour. Indeed, a decent reading for an ATV with a weight of 415 pounds. In mod and shock conditions, this monster easily annoys higher-cc vehicles. But the speed is relative due to certain factors such as maintenance, road condition, wind, and altitude. Also, the weight of the rider can also slow down its maximum speed because the Predator is already heavy.

Interestingly, some users did attest to going beyond 73 mph. Few even touched about 77 miles per hour in just a 1/89th of a mile. It is also imperative to note that how fast it reaches the top speed depends on the modification. Although the difference is just one or two seconds, it means a lot when racing on a quarter-mile trail. For racer wannabes and average riders, going at 70 mph is still thrilling. Surely, the Predator 500 is a speed demon.

Want to Fly: How to Enhance its Top Speed?

Experienced mechanics and riders come up with a lot of impressive tips to increase the Polaris Predator 500 top speed without spending a fortune. Indeed, there are a lot of tweaks that you can use to amaze your competitors. The below section has some of the most affordable, realistic suggestions to go beyond the top speed. But, they require a lot of skills on the part of the mechanics of riders. Further, you can enhance 3 to 4 mph beyond the baseline with these nods. Since the Polaris 500 is a bit heavy, 3 to 4 mph is also a welcome addition.

Change the gear Ratio.

Changing the gear ratio can significantly enhance the speed of your Predator, especially if you have a TLD version. Going three teeth up from a 38T on the rear and lowering one tooth from a 14T on the front will do wonders for your quad. If you prefer top speed over acceleration, do the reverse. Try and go up to a 15T in the front and do down a couple of teeth in the rear.

Replace the Carburetor

There are contesting views on whether you should change the carburetor to gain more speed. And how to replace the carburetor of the Polaris 500. Some riders prefer Yamie carb, one from a YFZ450 or 450R, as their priority option. Others opt for a Honda 450 carb. On the contrary, some may buy these parts from an online retailer. Basically, all these options are helpful in giving your machine more fuel delivery, which resultantly increases its power and throttle response. Keep it in mind never cut springs on the carb because doing this will only increase responsiveness but not the speed.

Check the Carb Needle

Checking the carb needle can sometimes do the trick. Never forget to check whether it is lifting. If not, make the needle lift by thoroughly cleaning the carb out. Moreover, you also need to re-jet in order to match the intake of your machine. Otherwise, its mods on baffles and exhaust will negatively impact the performance of your quad. With these simple steps, you can lift the speed of your quad.

How Much to Pay for the Predator 500

As the Industry sales publications suggested, a used Predator 500 in adequate condition should range from $1600 to $2800. Generally, the ATVs usually come at 40% and 50% of new MSRPs. And new Polaris 500 quads have a retail price of $6000 when they are new.

What We Like

Handling: The majority of the users love these quads, which is unsurprising because it has won several awards. In addition to being tough on trails, this demon can tear apart any dune much faster than most of its competitors. That is why it is ideal for climbing hills. Because of its acceleration and hook-up factors, the 500 is a trail beast. Further, it performs extremely well on straight and twisty stretches. Handling is better by its adjustable suspension, making it impressive for popping wheelies and motocross tracks once you hand on it. Thanks to its minor mods and 415-pound weight, its handling is quite easy and rider-friendly.

Steering System: With its unique Polaris Rider optimized steering system, the rider can go deep into turns and use the braking system at the very last moment. The PRO anti-squat and anti-dive suspension systems give this machine a distinct handling characteristic. Besides that, it seems custom-fit to the riding choice and style of the rider, making the ride quite easy. Lastly, the Polaris 500 tires and fox shocks add a welcome touch of aftermarket flare to this off-road beast.

Easily Available Parts: Another thing that makes it a priority choice for riders is the easy availability of its parts. There are numerous dealers and retailers that offer proper selections of its parts. More interestingly, they provide online diagrams and schematics that make garage modification easy, in addition to getting rid of the need to pay extra to put everything together.

What We Don’t Like

Stock Carb: The Polaris 500 features some shortcomings as well. Many users have complained about its detrimental and horrible stock carb that hampers it from reaching the top speed. Changing the sprockets would be a quick fix.

The Seats: Seats are something to annoy the riders. They take some time to familiarize themselves with. For longer trail riders, uncomfortable seats can be quite irritating.

Power Shifting Limitation: The power shifting limitation of the 500 is another complaint about this machine. 2003 and 2004 models inhibit full-throttle shifts between gears, which leads to lost momentum.

Want To Learn about other ATVs?


In addition to being a usual sport quad, the Polaris Predator 500 is an award-winning beast that can tear apart dunes in top fashion. Besides, this toughie can easily beat stock raptors and smoke Z400s in a heartbeat. Want a daredevil ride? Enough searching.

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