The front suspension has 9 inches of travel,
and the spring and damping rates are great
for sport riding.
A roomy seating area with a slim midsection
gives the rider freedom and comfort.
The rear suspension is well balanced with the
front. It can handle fast trail riding, and it’s
also comfortable at a casual pace.
the 850 is very cooperative, but it is
cool how easy 78 horsepower makes
steering with the throttle and wheelieing
over obstacles. Less powerful
machines can go most of the places
the Scrambler can, but the 850’s huge
amount of surplus power definitely
makes the trip more entertaining.
WHAT KIND OF SUSPENSION DOES IT
Double-A-arm front suspension with
9 inches of travel. In the rear, double
A-arms offer 10. 25 inches of travel
and a sway bar helps control body roll.
Fairly basic spring preload-adjustable
shocks are used front and rear, but the
spring and damping rates are tuned for
HOW DOES THE SUSPENSION WORK?
It’s very good. Powerful sport-utility
4x4s can reach their suspensions’
limits pretty easily in aggressive riding,
because they’re tuned for comfort at
a more relaxed pace. Being a sport
machine, the Scrambler’s suspension
is set up for fast trail riding, so you
can hit big bumps at speed without
going through the travel. It also offers
good control in whoops and on jumps
as long as you respect the machine’s
weight. At more than 750 pounds with
fuel, you can’t muscle it around like
a 450 sport quad. Even though the
suspension handles hard riding well,
ride comfort is very good. It won’t beat
you up when you aren’t charging down
HOW DOES IT HANDLE?
It’s stable, predictable and
surprisingly agile for such a big, fast
machine. The Scrambler 850 is only
18 pounds lighter than the Sportsman
850, and it doesn’t have power
HOW IS IT ON HILLS?
steering, so its handling is willing but
not effortless. Fortunately, its power
makes the machine feel lighter than it
is. You can steer with the throttle or
skim the front tires over obstacles in the
trail, which helps it negotiate tight trails
and challenging terrain in ways smaller,
lighter machines can’t. With firmer
suspension than sport-utility 4x4s, the
Scrambler slides with better control.
If tough hills are keeping you from
trails you’d like to try, the Scrambler
can enlarge your riding area. Tons of
power that’s easy to apply and the
Scrambler’s surefooted 4WD system
will make you feel like a hill-climbing
expert, even if you’re not. If you apply
throttle on a downhill the transmission
will provide engine braking, but it only
acts on the rear wheels, so you do
need some skill when descending really
steep, slippery climbs. The Scrambler’s
brakes are strong, but the linked front
and rear brakes don’t give highly skilled
riders as much freedom as separate
front and rear brake controls.
Four-wheel drive lets
you go places on the
Scrambler that could
get you stuck on a two-wheel-drive sport quad.