Polaris is a US based maker of ATVs (All Terrain Vehicles) and other unconventional vehicles. Couple of years ago, Polaris has set shop in India and has been selling ATVs since then. While I don’t have exact sales numbers, the sales doesn’t appear to be great, primarily because of extreme pricing.
Recently Polaris has been launching a series of offroad tracks- small custom made tracks where ATV enthusiasts can take them for a ride. There’re two such centres in Banaglaore- one in Yashwantpur and another off Sarjapur road. I went to one of these centres last weekend and this post is my quick review of the track, Polaris ATVs and the experience.
Finding the location was not easy. I’d got the address and phone number from Polaris website and called the telephone number mentioned against Sarjapur road address. The person who took the call told me that I’ve called Chennai centre and slammed the phone. I called the Yashwantpur number, that person had no clue about Sarjapur track (or maybe he willingly didn’t disclose, since Sarjapur road franchise will be his competition). I called a media friend who’d been there- but he couldn’t help as well, since he was taken there in a bus and wasn’t familiar with specific directions to reach the venue. Eventually with some help from auto driver and local people I reached the venue.
Here’s the directions to reach Planet X Games Arena, Polaris’ Sarjapur road franchisee in Bangalore: After crossing Total Mall in Sarjapur road, drive for about 2 kms. You’ll find Purva Sunshine apartment on the left. Next you’ll find Adeeshwar Electronics showroom. Take right turn here, continue till you find Karnataka Bank branch and Silver Woods Regency apartments. The venue-Planet X Games is right behind the bank.
There were many ATVs on offer. Starting from 90 CC (Rs 190 for 2 laps), 200 CC (Rs 290 for 2 laps), 400 CC (Rs 390 for 2 laps) and the top of the line Polaris Ranger RZR, at Rs 540 for 2 laps (I could be wrong by a small margin here- I have lost their invoice and the rates are as per my memory. Actual rate could be +/- few 10s)
The 90 cc one is underpowered and is good only for kids. 200cc and 400cc ones are fairly decent. We did couple of laps in these ATVs. The track had 2 water filled pits, a sea saw for roller coaster ride and few other obstacles. While it is good experience, the actual fun of ATVs can be had only on a free terrain like forest and not on a controlled artificial track. Because there’s no flexibility to ride at our liberty, after couple of laps the track becomes monotones.
The ride experience: The car like RZR was good experience- one should have driving license to drive this. Ranger RZR is powered by a 800 cc engine (more powerful than Nano and at par with Alto800). But there’s no power steering, throttle and steering response is nowhere close to a car. All its power is converted into torque (pulling power) and its straight line speed seems to be limited.
Polaris has no manufacturing/assembly unit in India and is importing the ATVs as CBU (Completely Built Unit). This means 100%+ tax and double the selling price compared to US. The Ranger RZR costs Rs 17 lakhs+ on road. At 17 lakhs, it is certainly not value for money. One can buy XUV500 in that amount. Since ATVs are not street legal, they can’t be driven on roads. Even if they were legal, their low speed makes it impractical for long drives. One will have to carry it or tow it to the destination to enjoy it. Mahindra Thar CRDe 4x4 AC, which is only marginally bigger but 50% cheaper is much better choice, as Thar is almost as capable as Ranger. While Polaris is targeting plantation owners, farmers and recreational users to sell their quad cycles, I feel they need to set up a facility in India and either manufacture them/assemble them here, so that their vehicles can be sold at much cheaper end price..
Polaris is soliciting franchisees for setting up more and more ATV tracks in various cities. If you have few crores to invest, you may consider getting in touch with Polaris India.
Planet X Games Arena also has other sports like archery, artificial wall climbing etc. Some more entertainments like paintball, lazer etc are lined up.
Also, read my experience at Polaris Offroad sports ECR, near Chennai