OK Sportsfans, looking for input here. I've been riding for a lot of years, and have my personal beliefs on the various brands based on 10 or more years of moose hunts and fun rides. My first wheeler was a brand new 1993 Honda 300 back in '93 that was bullet proof. Small (for a 6'4 240# guy), a lot underpowered, but it met with my critical success factor #1 - it got me in and out every single time. I wouldn't hesitate to own an Honda again - have looked at some used Rubicons and Ranchers, but prefer AT -there's not a lot out there on the used market. I like the fact that the new Hondas are USA made.
Fast forward to 2001, I bought a new Yamaha 400 Kodiak, and it served me well until my son dusted the engine at Jim's Creek a few years ago. The former ER Yamaha dealer (no longer in business) rebuilt the engine, and it's never run right since. Hence I'm hesitant to use it for anything other than yard work and short fun rides. Wouldn't hesitate to buy another, would probably be the Grizzly, as there's more of them on the used market than the Hondas.
I also had a Arctic Cat 500 a few years ago, and had generally good impressions with it, although never took it on a hunting trip.
My experience with Suzuki's has been with friends that ride them. Not as many of them as there used to be, but generally they have a good reputation. Same with Kawasaki's. Don't know anything about the Can-Ams other than they seem to command top dollar. Not any of these brands.
Which leaves us with Polaris. My personal experience with them has been less than favorable. They are big, they are fast, and lordy are they comfortable. BUT - we have towed every single Polaris out of the woods that has gone on a long trip with us. 100% over 9 or 10 moose hunts! Everything from a 2-stroke 400 in 1994, to mid 90's six-wheelers, to a 2003/2004 Sportsman. That does not speak highly of the brand, but I also know Stuff Happens (Sierra Hotel!) and most manufacturers have worked to improve the quality of their units over the years. And my experience might not be representative. There's a lot of used Polaris rigs on the market which could be interpreted as meaning a) they are a POS and people are unloading them for that reason, or b) they sell a lot of units up here, translating into a lot of units on the used ATV market.
My neighbor has an 800 and 550 X2, and loves them. However, he uses them very lightly (meaning he doesn't hunt or work with them), which is not a good picture either.
What's your experience with the Polaris rigs? Would you take one on a 10 day hunt? More importantly, do you believe it will get you home?
Thanks for your $.02 . . .
=== On edit - I am limiting my search to nothing older than 5 years old . . .