View Poll Results: Which ATV brand would you choose, with reliability beig the #1 decision criteria?

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  • Honda

    12 27.91%
  • Yamaha

    17 39.53%
  • Arctic Cat

    3 6.98%
  • Polaris

    7 16.28%
  • Suzuki

    2 4.65%
  • Kawasaki

    2 4.65%
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Thread: In the Market - What's your thoughts on the Polaris units?

  1. #1
    Member Sierra Hotel's Avatar
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    Default In the Market - What's your thoughts on the Polaris units?

    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 . . .

  2. #2
    Supporting Member AlaskanSD's Avatar
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    If Yamaha made a 6x6, I would have went with that. Unfortunately Polaris offers some models unique to everyone else. But their fit/finish/engineering and quality are still suspect. This coming from a guy who just bought a brand new 2012 Big Boss! It should serve me fine, but I have a feeling I will always be tinkering with it, adjusting something, and bringing spare parts for long trips. Honda's are great, but their features have NOT kept up with other brands. They need to be offering more IRS, engine braking, locking front diffs, etc etc. The Rincon falls on it's face next to the Grizz 700 and supposedly the displacement is comparable! Good luck!

  3. #3
    Member Sierra Hotel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlaskanSD View Post
    If Yamaha made a 6x6, I would have went with that. Unfortunately Polaris offers some models unique to everyone else. But their fit/finish/engineering and quality are still suspect. This coming from a guy who just bought a brand new 2012 Big Boss! It should serve me fine, but I have a feeling I will always be tinkering with it, adjusting something, and bringing spare parts for long trips. Honda's are great, but their features have NOT kept up with other brands. They need to be offering more IRS, engine braking, locking front diffs, etc etc. The Rincon falls on it's face next to the Grizz 700 and supposedly the displacement is comparable! Good luck!
    AlaskanSD, I agree on the unique offerings of Polaris - they make it tough to not select one of their machines, but I struggle with getting past their perceived reliability woes.

    Re: The Honda Rubicon - the reports I read are right in line with what you've observed. As a working machine the Grizz will eat it for lunch. In fact, the Honda Rubicon gets much better reviews than the Rincon for tough 4x4 duty. The Rincon does get good reviews for as the fastest 4x4 ATV out there, which is completely unimportant to us up here. Honda has always been the slowest to introduce new features to their quads - witness how long it took them to bring in automatic transmissions.

    Thanks for taking the time to respond, I'm interested in hearing the experiences of others before I go ahead and pull the trigger again. I'm staying in the used market so I don't have to sell another one of my toys

    SH

  4. #4
    Member Grayling Slayer's Avatar
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    I recently aquired a used Kawasaki Brute Force 650. It is hands down a better machine then my previous Sportsman 700.
    "I'd rather be fishing!"

  5. #5
    Member Sierra Hotel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grayling Slayer View Post
    I recently aquired a used Kawasaki Brute Force 650. It is hands down a better machine then my previous Sportsman 700.
    Can you elaborate? Ride? Power? Comfort? Reliability (this is a big one!)

    I've got a couple of friends with Kawasaki's and haven't heard a bad word about them at all. My first motorcycle was a Kawasaki back in '76

  6. #6
    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    I basically agree with what has been stated. I purchased the best deal I found and am happy with it. My next machine will be a 6x6 in all probability but I am mostly happy with my current Arctic Cat. In the stable right now is a new pro RMK sled, older cat sled, cat 4x4, yammi Kodiak. 2 Suzuki lt80 kids quads and a Polaris sportsman 90. So far I have had good dealing with the operators of HP AK Polaris and very good with Wasilla arctic cat.

  7. #7
    Member hodgeman's Avatar
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    I've owned a couple Polaris machines and just didn't like them.

    Honda certainly is falling behind on features compared to other brands but they sure do work- if they make what you want they are an easy pick, I wish my last purchase was a Honda.

    I bought a Can AM last time around and it left me stranded with 200miles on the odometer. The dealer fixed it and it runs fine but its soured me on the brand a bit. It is a great riding machine though and climbs like a mountain goat. I'm hoping the issue was a fluke.
    "I do not deal in hypotheticals. The world, as it is, is vexing enough..." Col. Stonehill, True Grit

  8. #8
    Member Grayling Slayer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sierra Hotel View Post
    Can you elaborate? Ride? Power? Comfort? Reliability (this is a big
    Ride is comparable, both had independent rear suspension.

    The V-twin Kawi seems to have more torque.

    The Brute Force has a mechanical 4WD system, where the Polaris had a magnetic activated system prone to failure.

    The serious mudders seem to like the Brute Force, probably because it is very tough to start with.

    Both have a belt drive transmission.
    "I'd rather be fishing!"

  9. #9
    Member Sierra Hotel's Avatar
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    Thanks - good input. I didn't know about the 4WD system.

    SH

  10. #10
    Member 4merguide's Avatar
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    There's a reason Yamaha has been #1 for the last 4, maybe 5 years. I bought a 450 last fall and couldn't be happier. Love the power steering!!!

    Just to let you know.....the AK. Troopers just switched from Honda to Yamaha last year.

    A dedicated mechanic I think from Bethel went into the Yamaha shop here to look around and told the salesman he would never switch from Honda. He ended up buying a Yamaha. Honda "was" a great machine, but like was mentioned, they haven't kept up with the times. They have been relying too much just on their engine.
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

  11. #11
    Member Roger's Avatar
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    I've owned over 60 yamahas for my business 1 arctic cat and 1 polaris over the last 8 years. I know it's a Ford vs Chevy thing. But I've never had a problem with the Yamahas. smooth ride with the IRS the 450's and up have 4x4,diff lock,High and low.I have a few Yamahas from 2001. With god knows how many miles on them and they still are on the same drive belts. Only had to re-ring a few and thats because they were sunk in silty water and over time put a hurting on them
    PEOPLE SAY I HAVE A.D.D I DON'T UNDERSTA.....OH LOOK A MOOSE !!!

  12. #12
    Member Sierra Hotel's Avatar
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    I found an '06 660 Grizzly and bought it yesterday. It's got a couple of hidden defects I found after I got it home (my fault for next checking closer), but t looks like it's going to be another great Yamaha . . . .

    Thanks for everyone's input.

  13. #13
    Member alaskankid13's Avatar
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    If you ever need any help or advice fixing things on the 660 pm me, we have had our go around on little things that can get annoying, but still a great machine! Congrats on your purchase!

  14. #14

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    I sold my 06 Polaris 500 and bought a 2012 Brute force 750i. The problems I had with my Polaris were: 1 Radiator below the winch (nice for winching, sucks for packing radiator with mud and over heating). This has been fixed on the newer units. 2. Starters. I had to replace mine and the one on my wife's Polaris 400 every 2 years or so. 3. I had a small purple wire under my seat that shorted out, causing a slight miss intermittently and the dealers were never able to find it, I did with a lot of Google searches. 4. They are heavy. On the other hand, they ride extremely well, their 4 wheel drive works extremely well (as long as you change the oil as you should) and they are American Made. I will most likely replace my wifes 400 with a newer Xp550 for power steering and raised radiator.
    Ive ridden every brand and there are good and bad for each, just depends on what bad parts bug you most.

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