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Thread: New ATV Thoughts

  1. #1
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    Default New ATV Thoughts

    I am intending to buy a 4-wheeler sometime this fall. I've been doing some research on the web at the factory sites, reading posts here and some review sites. As this is my first 4-wheeler, I've set myself some criteria. Having ridden a little bit, and talking to folks that have their own, I have a few ideas what I'm looking for.

    First, I feel fully independent suspension is paramount. As chances are good I'll be doing a fair amount of solo riding, a winch is a necessity, not a luxury. I don't need to have the biggest, baddest, fastest bike around, so a 400-class I feel should fill the bill pretty good. These also will fit very good into my budget as a starter bike.

    Optionally, I like the idea of on-command 4x4 vs full-time. I just don't know if I like having it run in 4x all the time (steering, stuff wearing out). Also, I rode a friend's Arctic Cat with an auto tranny. I didn't really like it as it was just too loud, mechanically, and the engine seemed to run too fast and loud for as fast as the bike was going. I really want to get a manual. This again fits into my budget and 400-class bike.

    Any thoughts on what you guys have and like would be appreciated. What kind of winches do you use? I'll mostly be using it as a tool. Hauling my butt back and forth fishing, dipnetting at Chitina, most likely on drive-to moose hunts to get back off the road (where there are trails, or course) and the like. Though a day-trip with some friends is not out of the question. Also, what kind of meat wagons do you all have, or wish you had?

    I've been looking a lot at the Yahama Big Bear 400. I won't be buying until this fall and don't really like buying used. Thanks for any and all input.

  2. #2
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    Default

    Don't cast aside the constant variable transmission yet. I didn't think I'd like it, and at first I didn't, but I'm now sold on it. No more thoughts on what gear I'm in or trying to shift at the right time on technical terrain - the power is there as I need it. Put simply, it's just so easy. Try some other machines with a CVT and then decide.

    I use a Warn 2500lb winch. It's plenty adequate for me. Be nice to have something with a longer cable, but I really can't complain about it.

    Seriously, check into the CVT more. It does feel weird to not shift, but the feeling passes. I just rode a little sport machine today, and it felt really weird to shift again. I'd go CVT again.

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    Default CVTs and Winch Cables

    Thanks Schloss for the input. You're not the first one to say the same thing about the CVTs. That AC I rode is a little older model, from when autos were pretty new, and I'm sure that had something to do with it. I guess I'm not 100% on the manual, and I'm not 100% against CVT

    As for winch cables, I remember reading somewhere in here that there is a braided nylon rope available as a winch cable. Have you heard about this? Do you have any thoughts on it?

  4. #4

    Default i like my AC

    the wife and i got a new 650 trv this year and love it i thought of the cvt the same way and hey i ride snow machine and i live on it there so i figured it was time everybody is going to it so thats what i did and it has been great you just have to decide before you go up the hill do i need low range or not.

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    Honda Rancher, it may not have an IR but it has everything else that you could want or NEED! With the electronic shift you get easy shifting and the control you want. It now has a 420 EFI engine and it is a Honda. The toughest, longest lasting, most dependable atv. If you get another brand you may get to know your mechanic more than you would like.

    As for a winch, for a 400 class bike I would recomend a Warn 25 series winch. The RT25 comes with steel cable and XT comes with the synthetic rope. You can save money by buying a cheep inport winch but would you risk be stuck out in the bush for a couple hundred bucks.
    Dave

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    If at all possible, go for the synthetic winch line (which is about the consistency of clothes line, but as strong as cable). It spools off easily, doesn't kink, and you can handle it with bare hands.

    As far as a rig, I've got a Bombardier/CanAm 400 and am really happy with it. The 500s and up have EFI, which would be nice.

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    You got that right about wanting an IRS machine. Don't back out and get a straight axle. It's a caddy ride vs a model T ford ride. I have both, I won't ride that straight axle for anything, it's for friends who don't know any better to ride
    The Yamaha Big Bear is a beast, my hunting partner bought a new one last month. IRS plus manual and 4 wheel diff lock to boot. You won't touch no Honda in that price range with IRS. Plus the Hondas are 3 wheel drive and they refuse to get rid of them worthless drum brakes.
    Those syn winch lines are OK. They aren't vastly superior though. Rocks and logs or sharp objects will fray them. I tried them and went back to steel.

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    Default wheelers

    Got my new '07 Rancher 420ES last week, I am an avid Honda guy, don't care one bit that it doesn't have IRS, some guys need to ride on cadillacs, I personally don't think the ride is even one bit harsh. Hondas are the most dependable bar none when speaking of wheelers. I'm 33 and have been riding forever and have riden most, but not all, and I'll ride 'em until I decide I want to walk home! Then I'll buy a different brand! Just kidding! My two cents on the winch issue would be, go with quality (Warn or Ramsey), stay away from the synthetic strap, (the XT's), and 50' of cable is enough, just carry some good rope or webbing for making some good anchors to winch from. Don't get dynamic rope! Also go with the 2500lb winch for the obvious weight issue and you'll get thicker cable. Good luck

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    Member byrd_hntr's Avatar
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    Default Big Bear

    I have an 04 big bear. So far is a great machine. I have hauled out several moose and a couple of bou. I fuel up about half as much as the folks with the big bikes. In 2 wheel drive I get about 50 miles per gallon if I keep the RPMs low. I have a 2500 winch and for kicks I hung it by its cable in moose camp last fall. Its a solid rear axle, which isn't so good for the ride, but when I am side hilling it makes it much more predictable. I ride Honda's for my work but I can say when its wet the slipping of the automatic can be a little annoying, but they run as smooth as glass. But they are really spendy compared to the Yammys. I am partial to my manual, it nice to know the power is there when I need it.

  10. #10

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    I have a Honda Rancher (SRA) and a 750 Brute Force(IRS). On a 20 mile trip give the me the IRS any day. The ride is much smoother and doesn't beat the back nearly as much as a solid rear axle. On top of that I will take a belt drive over any gear driven atv on the market today. A belt drive will give you constant power, which is very useful through snow, mud, water, etc etc.... Also I have the synthetic winch rope on my Warn 2500. It's great to handle, doesn't hold memory, and if it breaks it will come whipping back, but I severely lacerated the rope on my first outing on rocks winching out a buddy. This stuff is very susceptible to rocks and abrasions. It's a give and take relationship I suppose.

  11. #11
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    Default Definitely get the independent rear suspension!

    i've got a kodiak 400 with the cvt and i love it.........however........the solid axle beats the crap out of me on rough terrain.

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    Default Yam 400 Big Bear

    Stick with your first thought. The 400 Big Bear manual w/IRS. It'll be a great machine. If you use it in temps below -20 watch for carb icing (it has a system to warm the air before using it...it may create moisture which then freezes in the carb/efi). Tons of folk pull meat trailers and sidehill with IRS...just be smart about what you're doing. You'll like the manual on hills, and you'll be allright w/out the CVT - it works well 98% of the time, but the engine/tranny braking can fail..going downhill with a meatwagon. I've only heard of it happening once, but that's one more time than I've heard of it happening with a manual. You want your wheeler, wagon, meat, and you to all arrive in one piece at the bottom, together.

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    Well, sometimes I ride my old standard transmission ATV down the side of a mountain, and still maintain full controls of it. I just downshift to the correct gear to assist with braking. There in nothing more scary than riding downhill on an ATV that do not offer full engine braking. A friend of mine has a 2002 Honda (don't know which model), and he gets a little scared when riding downhill. The transmission slows the machine a little, but he has to slow down with the brakes. Other than that, them Hondas are great machines.

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    Default 400 Kodiak IRS

    I own a 2005 Kodiak 400 with IRS and push button 4x4. Its a great quad, but doesn't come with front Diff lock, if you want that get the 450 kodiak, it has it. This machine really is a beast, I can't get enough of it. I thought I might like a big bore, but after riding the kodiak it really doesn't seem necessary to me.

    I like the CVT. I have always had manual tranny, and it really is a nice thing to have. You'll never get stuck going up a steep hill and having to downshift again! It really does pull through the snow and mud too. My vote is for the Kodiak, er the grizzly 400/450 now I guess.

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    Default Couple More Questions

    Guys, thanks for all the advice. I obviously need to get my eyes/hands/butt on some machines to decide what exactly I will settle on.

    I do have a couple more questions. I'm comparing the Big Bear 400 and the Grizzly 450 right now. Do any of you know if they come pre-wired/bracket for a winch? I know it was mentioned earlier, and I do intend to buy a Warn. No sense in worrying about that for a few bucks. Secondly, I've heard good things about the diff lock. Is this your perception, too?

    Finally, can I expect to get a 'model year closeout' kind of deal in Oct? Will a dealer let me ride one around a little before deciding?

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    Quote Originally Posted by AKdreamn View Post
    Guys, thanks for all the advice. I obviously need to get my eyes/hands/butt on some machines to decide what exactly I will settle on.

    I do have a couple more questions. I'm comparing the Big Bear 400 and the Grizzly 450 right now. Do any of you know if they come pre-wired/bracket for a winch? I know it was mentioned earlier, and I do intend to buy a Warn. No sense in worrying about that for a few bucks. Secondly, I've heard good things about the diff lock. Is this your perception, too?

    Finally, can I expect to get a 'model year closeout' kind of deal in Oct? Will a dealer let me ride one around a little before deciding?
    If you buy a Yamaha ATV at the right time (summer months, I believe), you get a Warn winch with it. I believe they ask $70.00 for the winch, plus installation. However, I bought my 1994 Big Bear a week before the offer by Yamaha, so when I found out what was coming I wrote a letter to Yamaha explaining my displeasure of the dealer not telling me about it. Yamaha called the dealer to tell them to get a Warn 2000 winch for me, and I installed it myself.

    When the dealer instals the winch for you, the solenoid is always powered as soon as you turn the ignition key ON, and this in turn draws battery power. When I installed mine, I routed the power to the solenoid from the switch, but I installed a power switch near the ignition switch, to only energize the solenoid when I wanted to use the winch. The solenoid is just a relay that when energized, it transfers battery power directly to the winch's control switch at the handlebar. So if I touch the winch's switch to extend or retract the cable, nothing happens unless I energize the solenoid with the control switch I installed before.

    If you plan to buy a Yamaha ATV, make sure to call the dealer and find out when Yamaha offers the winch deal. It will save you around $350.00 at least.

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    Forget about getting the Yamaha winch deal- it's over. As far as test driving one of their new machines- good luck with that.
    My buddy bought a 07 Big Bear 2 weeks ago. He talked to salesmen for a few weeks trying to get the best deal he could. All he could get was the winch installed after he agreed to buy the winch and some handwarmers. Them guys don't budge much on anything.
    He talked to Honda also but they wanted a absurd price for their IRS machines. He's been riding straight axle machines forever. All it took was one ride on my IRS and he had to have one

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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    I would go with an independant rear shaft driven machine from any of the major manufacturers. I have to have a big machine just to fit on it comfortably. I would put in another vote in favor of the newer CVT machines since I always ran away form my old man on the flats with a manual machine because I am a better rider than he is but he would pass me at every steep hill with a big grin on his face and rocks spraying from the rear tires since his machine was always in the power band.

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    I bought an 07 Big Bear this last January, and I really don't think there is any other machine out there that will meet your criteria quite as well. Simply put, the Big Bear is almost completely bomb-proof, and will run reliably long after most other wheelers have broken down. It's built with one of the most reliable engines from any manufacturer, and has simple, low-maintenance features that will keep you from getting stranded on the trail.

    I don't have anything against the other brands, I just think in the 400 class Yamaha has the best option. I am more than happy with the Big Bear. Oh - they have a mounting bracket for the winch from the factory. I had mine installed at the dealer, but it looks simple enough to install if you're mechanically inclined. Good luck!

    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.

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    Default Yamaha 450 Grizzly

    That would be the way to go. I second Schmidty Dog on this choice... Also money talks, don't be afraid to get the salesman at a moment when he needs to make the quota for the month and make a reasonable sale in your favor. The 450 has the IRS, High-Low, 2wd-4wd and diff. lock when needed. Plus the automatic transmission. This is a bullet proof machine. Thanks for listening. I got mine, a 2007 last October and am pleased with it.

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