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Thread: need help narrowing down my options

  1. #1
    Member BucknRut's Avatar
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    Default need help narrowing down my options

    I have been looking long and hard for an atv to bring up with me and have found lots on ebay and craigslist. I am pretty set on purchasing a Honda, but still considering a Yamaha. I just can't decide on the model. I have never owned a 4x4 and not exactly sure what I am looking for in a machine. I will be buying used. How "used" is too used? How many miles/hours are too many?

    What should I get?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Member BucknRut's Avatar
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    Default A little more info on the subject...

    1. I am looking for a machine for get me from point A to point B. I don't need the fastest or most powerful ride out there, but want to be able to keep up with others in all terrain if needed.
    2. I will be using the machine for hunting, exploring, fishing, backcountry camping trips and some hauling work.
    3. I would like enough power to pull a trailer full of meat or gear.
    4. It must be reliable.
    5. I have no problem investing in a winch and tires, but don't want to do a lot of accessorizing.

    I weigh about a buck-50 soaking wet and stand 5'10". I don't have enough experience to understand all of the low geared/high geared info. I would also like to know if air cooled vs liquid cooled is a big concern.

    Thanks!

  3. #3

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    I would highly recommend a Honda, and probably Rubicon or Rincon for the needs you described.

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    If you are considering a used Yamaha I recommend the 660 Griz. It's a great value. But, stay away from the 03 model. The cv joints are smaller and weaker. It came out in 02 and set a benchmark for ATV's we are seeing today. It has plenty of power with the 660 but weighs 150lbs less than a Polaris 500. Has IRS and a locking front differential. The auto tranny is bullet proof. I and a friend of mine each have 02 models and have modded them with larger tires, lift kits, clutch kits, etc. and have put them through the stress test. They hold up just fine.

  5. #5
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    I currently own 4 Hondas and love them all

    2007 Foreman 500S
    2001 Foreman 450S
    1987? FourTrax 300
    "Old" Big Red 3 wheeler

    For dependablility it's hard to beat a Honda, but you do give up some creature comforts ie. independant rear suspension and locker

    The Foreman series of Honda fourwheelers is known as the work horse. It's not the fastest bike in their line, but will definitely pull whatever you need to haul. It's got a solid rear axle and most models are selectable 4 wheel drive. I can attest that it'll go through most anything that Alaska has to offer other than the deepest softest snow.

    I ride with mostly Polaris's and one of the biggest advantages I have over them is that with my manual transmission I can keep the bike in 2cd gear when chewing through deep snow and make it quite a bit farther. It seems that with the automatics they are either not getting enough rpms to make the bike go when easing into the throttle, or when the wheels do start turning they are spinning so fast that they dig themselves in and get stuck. Most all the guys (Polaris owners) admit to this so it's not meant as a bash.

    Any of the atv's out there today will fill the need of 99 percent of your riding desires. I would stay with something in the 400cc or better range with 4 wheel drive to ensure that your hauling needs are met. The steep terrain here and a big load can put a lot of strain on a small bike, and a two wheel drive just wont cut it at least here where I ride.

    Other than that it's pretty much up to you as what you're most comfortable on. I will advise you to test drive as many as possible before making your final decision, and don't get over sold on all the gizmos and gadgets. Most of them are just something else to break in the end. Keep It Simple Stupid (K.I.S.S) are really words to live by if you're planning on getting way back into no mans land around here.

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    I've got four Rubicons and no complaints. Talk about low gearing pulling power!

  7. #7
    Member BucknRut's Avatar
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    Default That helps!

    Thanks for the info guys. It's too bad there aren't more used Rubicons or Rincons for sale out there. I believe those machines would suit me well. I have found many Ranchers with the 350 that have decent price tags, but hesitate on purchasing because I worry about pulling power. I have no experience with them so that is strictly hearsay, but the thing is built like a tank and it looks like it could pull more than my Ford Ranger! Not sure. It seems most guys are using them for play toys rather than work horses...maybe I'm wrong. I have read a lot of good reports on the Grizz and I will still consider buying one if the right price is found.

    So what are the concerns/benefits of liquid cooled verses air cooled? I haven't got this figured out yet. I assume the liquid cooled would have more power, but also be more maintenance and more to go wrong. Anything else to look out for?

  8. #8
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    Default liquid vs. air

    I recently bought a new Arctic Cat 400, which is air cooled. I chose it specifically because it is simpler and has less to go wrong. I may lose a bit of power compared to a liquid cooled machine, but it is a manual, so I figure I can make up for some of that in torque. The biggest advantage, in my mind, to an air cooled machine is that if you do happen to overheat it, it shuts down, you let it cool off, start it up again and keep going. Its not nearly as damaging as overheating a liquid cooled machine. Not that I anticipate overheating, but its one less thing to worry about when you're out in the middle of nowhere. Also, no hoses to puncture, dry rot, etc.
    The main downside to air cooled machines is that they are all at the smaller end of the scale for serious working machines. I don't think you'll find one bigger than a 400. If you have your heart set on a 650 or 700 class machine, they're all liquid cooled.

  9. #9
    Member BucknRut's Avatar
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    Default Still too many options!!

    Golly-gee, I thought I had it narrowed down, but there are so many "details" that folks add in on the ad to intice people and it just makes things confusing. I just need a "machine" that will get me from A to B!!!

    Kinda like trucks. The first truck I owned was a bare-bones rubber floored, genuine imitation leather seats and a 3-on-the-tree tranny...I rolled over 500,000 miles on that unit! Now they have all the bells and whistles and fancy stuff...just give me something that hauls!

    Sorry, just getting my frustration out. I'll find what I am looking for!

  10. #10
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    Huh? Rubicons are liquid cooled as are most over 500CC. I've rarely heard of any need for maintenance. Never had to do a thing on any of mine, ride em hard, abuse them, overwork em, pull outrageous loads, never change out the glycol, what's the point, after 10 thousand miles you trade them in and get a new one. Your car will last for 100K without doing anything to the radiator. Just keep the radiator and oil cooler clean of mud and you should be good to go no matter whic brand you buy.

  11. #11

    Default Liquid cooled shutdown on overheat too.

    My '98 Arcitc Cat 500 has a high temp shutdown on and I didn't even know it until it started doing it. Granted the reason I did it was because I had it in a creek up to the seat for over an hour shutdown because took in some water in the intake due to a deep hole while trying to cross and it shutdown. Then drifted down stream for about 100 yards. Wound up on the wrong side of the river than my buddies. Took some national rodeo quality roping by my buddy to get his winch all strung out to the end to hit my wheeler perfect as the current was too deep and swift for me to leave the wheeler without getting swept downstream.

    Eventually got it and was able to winch it across. Anyway when we started it up I knew the engine oil had to look about like 2% milk and was worried about overheating. Since we were about 15 miles out and towing out wasn't an option being that there wasn't really a trail so pulled to plug until quit getting water then eventually got it to fire. Dryed otu the air filter and starting riding. Every about 20 mins the machine would shutdown on its own and we'd have to sit for 5 to 10 mins and then go again. Not efficient but we were able to get it home. Once home I changed the oil and at the end of the season had Alaska Mountain Magic go through it and they said the engine looked fine. The hi temp shutdown saved it.

  12. #12
    Member BucknRut's Avatar
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    Default did some shopping

    Well, I spent some time searching craigslist and ebay and found that the Rincons, Rubicons and Grizzleys are expensive compared to the Ranchers... I think they might be worth the extra money, but that puts another wrench in my budget! The good thing is that the Rubicons and Rincons are fairly new machines and don't look to be road as hard or far as the ranchers I looked at...only so much you can tell from a picture and a paragraph though.

    What would be a good deal on one of these with low hours/miles and in good condition? What can I expect to pay for a good set of mudders?

    Thanks again!

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    Member AKsoldier's Avatar
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    One other consideration if you're still interested in a Yamaha - Big Bears and Kodiaks are bomb-proof machines in terms of reliability. They will do anything you need them to, and give you very few problems. They are built with the simple is better principle that tends to create fewer maintenance headaches. I know the Big Bears are air-cooled. Not sure about the Kodiak, but it is a tried and true mid-size model that's been around forever.

    The other 299,300,000 people can have it.

    Noone has a more intimate understanding of, or deeper appreciation for freedom, than a soldier who has fought for it in a country where it does not exist.

  14. #14

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    Get the Kodiak 450 or grizzly 660. They can't be beat with the differential Lock!!!!! Disc brakes and independant suppension are also nice. The differential Lock will get you out of messes that every one else is pulling out there wench. Also try and get one with the reverse overide. That gives you full power in reverse without a rev limiter kicking in. Tis handy when you change your mind.

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    Hate to say it but three of my four Rubicons have 7000 miles on them, 2001, 2002, 2003. I am going to invest some money into them and ride them for a couple of more years, by then I will be approaching the 12K mark and l'll think about selling. No way am I selling my new Rubicon, 2006, it has all the fancy features. I estimate 500-1000 dollars each to bring them up to snuff. Cheaper than buying a new one times three!

  16. #16
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    I have owned a few ATVs in my day, still have a Kawasaki Bayou 300 and a 2005 Yamaha Kodiak 400. A few things you might consider is do you want to shift it, or have an automatic transmission? Will you be in deep mud alot? My dad has a 2003 Suzuki Vinson 500 with semi auto tranny, and that work horse really gets to it. I had it up to 65 on a gravel road back in Iowa, kinda gettin squirrelly. I prefer independent suspension, but solid axles are great for sliding around corners and not so much body roll. Independent rear suspension feels like riding a couch when you aren't used to it, its nice. The Big Bear and the Kodiak are like two brothers each with their own good traits. The Big bear is air cooled, the Kodiak liquid. The big bear is manual tranny, the kodiak automatic. Both have great 4x4 capabilities. The kodiak 450 has a front locking differential and a digital display though. Any newer atv isn't going to let you down, all will go from point A to B, but some will get there quicker without getting stuck as much. Big bores aren't a necessity, but they can come in handy. I prefer the littler quads I can throw around with a little body english better. Tip over a Brute Force 750 by yourself and try picking that Hoss back up, its tricky. Mileage isn't as much a factor as abuse in my opinion. If the machine looks abused, it is. If it looks like the guy maintained it well, starts up good and runs without hiccups, its prolly a great machine. All will work, but how much do you wanna spend?

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    I'd like to cloudy the issue further. He's from michigan and wants to drive from point A to B in alaska. What point A to B? You ain't following my Point A to B unless your snorkled, powered and got great tires. Drive from Point A to B for 12 bonejarring hours and tell me how your back feels with a straight axle rig compared to a IRS. No contest. Hondas are dependable and last a long time. Way long enough to hate their drum brakes, 3 wheel drive and straight axle ride. I've destroyed a lot of 3 and 4 wheelers in 30 years and wouldn't buy any model used. ain't no old ladies taking these things on sunday rides. If you're buying used buy the cheapest thing around and when you get up here and figure what Point A to B you want to ride then sell it and buy new and mod it for your tastes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kenaislayer View Post
    Get the Kodiak 450 or grizzly 660. They can't be beat with the differential Lock!!!!! Disc brakes and independant suppension are also nice. The differential Lock will get you out of messes that every one else is pulling out there wench. Also try and get one with the reverse overide. That gives you full power in reverse without a rev limiter kicking in. Tis handy when you change your mind.
    They don't make them with a reverse overide. The overide button is for use in differential lock. If you want a true reverse overide you have to modify the bike yourself for liability reasons. It takes 5 minutes and involves grounding one wire. PM me if you want to do the reverse override on Yamahas and I'll tell you how. It doesn't come standard on any Yamaha model.

  19. #19
    Member schmidty_dog's Avatar
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    Sometimes you can find quality used quads, from people who thought they would be into ATV's and bought a new quad then soon realized it wasn't for them. That was the case for me, and I saved about $2000 off of what the thing cost new. Used isn't necessarily bad, just make sure you look it over good before you buy. I have personally never bought any ATV new, and I haven't had any failures so far. I've had 3 trikes and 5 quads, all used. Maintain whatever you get and it should last you many years.

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