A year after receiving the “ATV of the Year Award” from ATV Rider Magazine, the 2006 Polaris Sportsman 800 re-enters the four-wheeler landscape. With its classic yet rugged styling, well-loved attributes, and purely EFI selection, the hefty middleweight successfully charmed its loyal following once again. But are these qualities enough to keep the quad afloat in the sea of consumer preferences? Well, we will soon find out in this article.
The 2006 Polaris Sportsman 800 is the 3rd installment of the famed 760-cc lineup and part of the world’s first EFI-enabled ATVs. It boasts a Liberty™ engine, selectable driveline modes, competitive performance figures, and special-edition trims packed with all the goods anyone can ask for in a quad.
The qualities of the 2006 Polaris Sportsman 800 may not be over the top (especially not by today’s standards). But for patrons and enthusiasts, these characteristics are more than adequate in getting the job done.
Come to think of it, this 16-year-old wheeler is still running the parade on many closed tracks, hunting grounds, and off-road trails. And there must be a good reason – something you will learn as you read on – behind that.
About the 2006 Polaris Sportsman 800
2006 witnessed Polaris’ 3rd installment to the “the biggest, most powerful, most technically advanced 4×4 available” and the forerunners to XP/2-Up models for 2007. That year was the first time the company offered consumers purely EFI-enabled ATVs. During its launch, the 2006 Polaris Sportsman 800 offered only four options – none of which were carbureted.
In hindsight, the decision to release only fuel-injected models seemed to have been experimental, as Polaris went back to including carbureted trims in its slew of offerings the following year. By 2007, loyalists had standard models, 2-Up layouts, special Hunter Edition trims, and EFI-enabled iterations to choose from.
There is no documentation anywhere shedding light on what Polaris gained from the said strategy. But what we, consumers, know for certain is this – the Sportsman 800 lineup keeps getting progressively better each year.
2006 Polaris Sportsman 800 EFI Specs & Features
The 2006 Polaris Sportsman 800 EFI roars to life via a 4-stroke, liquid-cooled V-twin (EH0760LE011) Liberty™ engine. It has a compression ratio set at 10.0:1 and a bore-stroke ratio of 80 x 76 mm (3.15 x 2.99 inches), with the stroke slightly shorter than its 2007 version.
Piston displacement is 46.4 in3, delivered by a Bosch multi-port semi-sequential injection system with a 40-mm throttle body.
Fuel & Lubrication
Tank capacity is 4.1 USgal of regular leaded or unleaded gasoline with a minimum Octane rating of PON 87/89 (oxygenated). Gasohol variants are generally permissible, provided they have no more than 5% MBTE, 10% ethanol, or 5% methanol. Ideally, however, zero-methanol fuel variants are preferred as they can be detrimental to your engine if consumed in large quantities.
As for engine oil, the requirement is 1.9 L (2.0 US qts) of Polaris Premium 0W-40 All Season Synthetic Oil or its equivalent. Fully synthetic, multigrade oils or any other variant with an API grade of SJ or higher always yield the best results for the ATV’s pressurized wet-sump lubrication system.
A drumshift gearbox with On-Demand™, selectable driveline modes and an H-L-N-Rev-Park shift sequence (E-Z Shift) controls the four-wheeler. Standard EFI trims have Polaris Variable Transmission, while 2006 Polaris Sportsman 800 EFI LE and Twin models have automatic EBS.
The primary drive is a Hilliard-type clutch assembly, while the final drive is belt-driven. Active Descent Control (ADC) enhances stability and maneuverability on steep inclines and is a favorite feature of serious adventurers.
Ignition & Lighting
The ignition system is a Capacitor Discharge Ignition handled by the ECU, with electronic advance, an auxiliary recoil starter, and an ignition timing of 8° BTDC @ 2,000 RPM. An RC7YC spark plug with a 0.9-mm/0.035-inch electrode gap is responsible for spark ignition. This system is compliant with ICES-002 (CAN), 97/24/EC (EU), and 89/336/EEC (EU) directives.
A triple-phase alternator serves as its charging system, while a 12V, 30Ah YIX30L-BS battery (view on Amazon) powers electronic accessories (if any) and lighting. The battery has dimensions of 166 x 126 x 175 mm (6.56 x 5.00 x 6.88 inches – L x W x H, assembled) and is not interchangeable with YIX30L-BS-PW formats.
As for the lighting assembly, only the headlight and instrument cluster has changed when comparing ’06 and ’07 models:
|Grill||27 W x 2|
Tires & Brakes
EFI trims are equipped with Polaris PXT tires measuring 26 x 8-12 at the front and 26 x 11-12 at the back. These factory tires are tubeless and require a cold-tire pressure of 34.5 kPa (0.35 kgf/cm2, 5.0 psi).
Standard and fuel-injected Sportsmans have knobbies that mount on steel wheels, whereas special-edition trims are fitted on cast aluminum rims. Lastly, single-control hydraulic discs on all fours provide the ATV stopping power and complete its tire-and-wheel assembly.
Nowadays, it is easy to replicate the tire setup on LE trims. All you have to do is purchase ITP SS312 Alloy Black Wheels (view on Amazon) – they will fit perfectly on your quad and give your wheels a fresh new look!
Inside the Polaris 800 Sportsman’s Spirit chassis are front MacPherson Struts and a progressive-rate independent rear suspension with coil-over shocks. These suspension units render a respective wheel travel of 8.2 inches (210 mm, front) and 9.5 inches (241 mm) and work well with the ATV’s high center of gravity.
The 11.25-inch ground clearance improves bump absorption, while the 6.3-foot turning radius and 50.75-inch wheelbase lend to the four-wheeler’s impressive handling.
Dimensions & Capacities
Overall dimensions of EFI trims are 2,110 x 1,220 x 1,220 mm (83 x 48 x 48 inches – L x W x H), with the saddle positioned 864 mm (34 inches) above the ground. Dry and curb weights are similar to its 2007 incarnation at 349 Kg (770 lbs.) and 353 Kg (778.7 lbs.).
GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) is 563 Kg (1,240 lbs.) per owner’s manual – a combination of the quad’s 770-lb dry weight, 300-lb combined rack capacity, rider/passenger weight, and accessories.
Towing and hitch tongue capacities remain unchanged at 680 Kg (1500 lbs.) and 68 Kg (150 lbs.).
The standard 2006 Sportsman 800s consist of a black-colored steel frame and plastic body material in Green/Black, Black/Silver, and Red/Black. Features like grips, composite carrier racks, handlebars, floorboards, and front and rear fenders are similar across all production models.
Browning Hunter Edition trims are clad in Mossy Oak™ “New Break Up” brand pattern with a Garmin® GPS (view on Amazon) to boot. They also sport camouflaged rims, hand and thumb warmers, rack extenders (view on Amazon), a 2,500-lb winch, and a gun scabbard with Lock N’ Ride gun mount.
How Much Is a 2006 Polaris Sportsman 800?
|Year – Model – Trim||List Price||Retail/Trade-In Values|
|2006 Polaris Sportsman 800 EFI||$8,599||$2,510 – $3,300|
|2006 Polaris Sportsman 800 EFI (Silver & Black)||$8,899||N/A|
|2006 Sportsman 800 EFI (Mossy Oak Camouflage)||$8,949||$2,810 – $3,700|
|2006 Sportsman 800 Twin EFI (Browning Hunter Edition)||$9,999||N/A|
List prices for the 2006 Polaris 800 Sportsman were slightly higher than its later incarnations. Base models and special-edition trims were at least $200 more than the ATV’s price range in the following year.
The Sportsman 800 Twin EFI was the most expensive of the lot, selling for almost $10,000 (a bargain, if you would ask me, with all its inclusions and special livery). There were noticeably fewer offerings for the 800-cc Sportsman this year too, which somewhat explains its higher MSRP.
Interestingly, auction listings have better resale values than Nada Guides’ data source. According to the latter, the quad retails from $2,510 to $3,700. Meanwhile, auction and trader sites sell pre-loved Sportsman 800s for an average of $1,500–$8,599.
Of this range, anything priced at $2,500 (or higher) is guaranteed to have good quality, with intact carrier racks, well-maintained wheels, and moderate-to-little cosmetic damage (like a torn seat cover or damaged undercarriage).
If you’re lucky, you may find a secondhand unit with aftermarket footwells, shocks, Camco Black Boar ATV Rear Storage Box and Lounger (view on Amazon), and plow at a low price. However, Sportsmans in this condition typically sell for at least $4,000.
There are plenty of 2006 Polaris Sportsman 800s in the used market. All you have to do is look in the right locations (mostly Southern and Midwest U.S. regions) and websites, and you just might score a steal.
2006 Polaris Sportsman 800 Problems
In my article on the 2007 Polaris Sportsman 800, I did a similar section listing problems associated with the quad. By that time, Polaris had not yet permanently resolved most of the ATV’s issues – which explains the many similarities between that list and this. Again, here are the challenges associated the most with the 800-cc Sportsman:
- Abnormal battery drain
- Blocked radiator or corrosion of 25A self-resetting circuit breaker/fuse resulting in overheating
- Coils and wires inside the left steering tire can get very wet due to their mounting location. As a result, owners experience intermittent bogging or a no-spark issue.
- Faulty TBAP wiring melting the connectors
- Flimsy rear CV joint
- Fuel gauge displaying empty despite a full gas tank
- Fuel pump issues caused by a deteriorating cooling system and warped impeller on the pump
- Inconvenience during all-day rides due to how the radiator and exhaust vent out hot air (ends up getting blown on the rider’s right ankle)
- Manifold bolts tend to come off Sportsman 800s, often used on bumpy, uneven roads.
- Plastics tend to melt due to their proximity to the exhaust.
- Premature sagging of front and rear springs
- Setup flaws from the factory (improper TPS adjustment, for instance)
- Stress on the connectors caused by the wiring harness and connectors being pulled too tight
- The undercarriage gets easily plugged, especially during winter.
- Warped plastic breather causing an oil leak
- Water makes its way into the Sportsman’s clutch/belt system due to poor sealing of the clutch cover and backing plate.
- Weak front engine mount
Although some of these problems carried over from year to year, it is important to understand that these hiccups do not make the Sportsman 800 inherently problematic. After all, the ATV is a utility-oriented wheeler. Since it is being utilized for that purpose – hard riding, heavy loads, and snow plowing (to name a few) – premature wear and tear of its components are expected.
There is only so much you can do to reverse these detriments, especially if you own a secondhand unit. Nonetheless, proper upkeep and regular cleaning of the four-wheeler will tremendously help extend your weekend warrior’s life.
Polaris Inc. is a Fortune-500 industrial corporation headquartered in Minnesota. It is best known for the advent of the automatic transmission, Independent Rear Suspension (IRS), and Electronic Fuel Injection (EFI) and for spawning the snowmobile industry.
Founded by Edgar Hetteen in the ’50s, Polaris went from pioneering snowmobiles with the launch of its 1956 Sno Traveler to venturing into the mass production of motorcycles, electric vehicles, and ATVs like the 2006 Polaris Sportsman 800.
Conclusion – 2006 Polaris 800 Sportsman
The 2006 Polaris Sportsman 800 is an excellent ATV any rider would love to have. No degree of wordplay can advocate for what it does for many of its consumers.
If you want to get the closest you possibly can to knowing what riding on years of legacy feels like, hop on this prized four-wheeler one weekend and take it out for a ride.
Kris is an avid off-roader and outdoor enthusiast who loves to brave the elements and take on challenging terrain. He also enjoys sharing his passion and knowledge with others so that they, too, can appreciate the ride.