Option List

19 November 2013

Polaris reinvents the wheel

New ATV wheels can be shot at by an AK47 and still do over 1,600 kilometres

Rowan Horncastle
Car image

Airless - or non-pneumatic - tyres aren't new. They've been developed and used in the military, as nothing sucks more than getting a flattie in the heat of battle. But now, thanks to a new civilian all-terrain vehicle, they're available to the public.

This is the Polaris Sportsman WV850 H.O, the first non-military vehicle to adopt airless ‘TerrainArmor' tyres. They look awesome, but that pattern isn't for pimpin' style. It's a polymeric web which deforms like a normal tyre when going over rough stuff, for better traction and a (slightly) smoother ride. This web is then wrapped with a layer of rubber tread to give decent off-road grip.

Polaris claims that these tyres can sustain being shot at by an AK47 and still do over 1,600 kilometres. And if you happen to take a direct hit from a 50 Cal bullet - though if that's a genuine concern you should really consider re-routing your morning commute - these puncture-proof wheels will get you home. Even if home is 563 kilometres away.

The ATV they're attached to is based on the military-spec Polaris MV850. It's powered by a 77bhp, 850cc engine, can tow 680kg, carry 272kg and winch 1.75 tons. Perfect for the upcoming Christmas shop, then.

The biggest issue facing non-pneumatic tyres on more real-world road cars is the amount of heat they generate. Until manufacturers can overcome that, we can't help thinking they'd do a fine job on our Arctic Hilux. Especially if those polar bears ever get hold of AK47s...

Tags: polaris, sportsman



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