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Thread: best and worse ATV

  1. #1
    Member tboehm's Avatar
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    Default best and worse ATV

    I'm sure that it may have been done before but couldn't find anything. Who makes the best ATV for alaskans. What model and why? Which manufactures should I stay away from, why? I sure this will bring lots of opinions but I need all of the info I can get to help make an informed decision. Thanks for the help.

  2. #2

    Default opinion

    In my opinion, there is no substitute for reliability. Honda provides that. What they don't provide, to the same level as alot of them, is rip snorting power. Don't get me wrong, they have plenty of power, but they don't seem to have as much tire spinning, stone throwing power as say Polaris. I have had the opportunity to pull several polaris's out due to failure of one thing or another. I am very proud to say that I have never had a breakdown to the point where I did not drive out under my own power.

    I own a Honda Rubicon. The nice thing about the rubicon in the automatic transmition. It is a totally sealed transmition with no issues with getting water on the drive parts. Polaris, AC, Suzuki all have the belt drives that when driven through water have a good chance of getting water on the drive belt. This is not to say that every time one of these machines drives in water that the belt gets wet and you can't drive, but it is a common ailment that takes a few minutes to work itself out. This is never the case with a Honda.

    Honda has the reputation for making"bulletproof" machines. They do not put something on the market that is prone to failure. This comes at the expense of some of the gadgetry on some of the other machines. But what good do the gadgets do when your engine doesn't run, or the CV axle comes apart because the engine is too powerful for the rest of the drive components, or the drive belt breaks etc etc.

    Honda is probably the roughest ride in the work machines. AC is probably the smoothest.

    I chose Honda because of the reliability. Suzuki probably is 2nd in this category

    jdub

  3. #3
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    Default Honda

    I second the motion with Honda's. Reliability is the key with me. I've had them for years and they just run and run and run... True, my Foreman 450 isn't the smoothest one out there to ride, but I didn't buy it for smoothness, I bought it to work. Work it does. I knew what I was getting into when I got it, no regrets.. I have never had a problem going places that my friends go with their 600cc, 700cc, 800cc, belt driven-power steering-gadget invested-accessorized bikes. I have a 27" Mud Lite tire kit, winch, full skid plate, cv joint protectors and hand warmers. Actually, everytime we've had a problem, not one time was it my bike having it, it's always been theirs. Belts, brakes, axles, joints, & electrical problems-Not my Honda. Of course now that I've said that, something will go wrong. But I doubt it...
    You ask who makes the "best" atv for Alaskans...Hmmm, that's a big question that will typically get ALOT of different answers. All I know is that after a hunting season and you go looking around the local repair shops, you won't see too many Honda's when compared to some of the other brands stacked in there like chordwood.. My .02...

  4. #4
    Member schmidty_dog's Avatar
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    Default Yamaha

    Yamaha's have never failed me. This question is somewhat loaded though. Any brand will work if you don't abuse the machine to the point of breaking. I ride my machines hard, but I don't abuse them. Suzuki makes some tough quads, but what is your definition of tough, or how do you judge it? You want a really tough machine, get a semi auto, such as a Vinson or Big Bear. They are built like tractors, the big bear is even designed for heavy mudhole use, in case you are worried about sinking in a bog. Figure out what options you want, then you'll know which is the toughest, for what you are using it for. I don't think you can call an automatic transmission the toughest... it just isn't.

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    Thumbs up

    I've owned a Kawasaki 400, Arctic Cat 500 auto, Yamaha Grizzly 660 and a Yamaha Grizzly 700 so I've been around a few machines over the years. I've never owned a Honda but I think they are as reliable as any machine out there. That said You would have a very difficult time getting my Yamaha Grizzly 700 with power steering away from me. When side hilling for long distances with loaded racks it is a breeze to steer. For my needs it can't be beat.

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    Default Suzuki Eiger

    I have not had a lot of experience with 4-wheelers prior to moving to Alaska last winter. I bought a 2003 Eiger off the lemon lot on Fort Wainwright in the spring. It was in decent shape with 1200 miles on it when I got it. I put about 400 miles on it through the summer and hunting season and it is still running great. Some of the places I took it were pretty rough but it held in there. I have really enjoyed it and plan on purchasing another 4-wheeler next spring for the wife. I have heard good things about the Grizzly 660 and pylaris except they are heavy but have never rode them.
    -Tonyjoe-

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    Default CanAm anyone?

    How about the new Outlanders? Don't have one but am looking into it?

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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Buffy View Post
    How about the new Outlanders? Don't have one but am looking into it?
    Outlanders are great machines. I would suggest visiting the Can Am forum on Aurora Wheelers to learn more about them--plenty of user discussions there.

    On the plus side, they've got plenty of power, a good suspension, and if you are looking for a two-up, they probably have the most comfortable system. Also, for the displacement, they tend to be lighter than most competitors.

    The downsides are that you'll want skid plates installed on them (the unprotected lower frame is prone to denting otherwise), they are at the expensive end of the scale (but, to be fair, compare models not by their base price, but how you want to upgrade and accessorize them), and there tend to be fewer aftermarket parts than many other brands.

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    Default

    The best one is the one you are anxious to pick up from the dealer as you just paid for it. The worse one is the one you are riding on the trail and it beaks down!
    Seriously, I doubt any brand is more reliable than another. Just find one with the features you like and go from there.. I've owned several Polaris's, 4 Suzuki's, one Arctic Cat and a couple of Honda's over the years.
    None ever left me stranded on a trail.
    I personally don't buy that Honda is more reliable than the others. And before some of you get all huffy understand I currently own a Honda Goldwing and a new Civic. So I am not a Honda basher but I do think there ATV's are overpriced.
    The 700 Arctic Cat I currently own is the best machine I have owned to date mainly due to its rack's. If I didnt need (or want) an ATV for hunting I like the Suzuki King Quad's. They are very nimble and easy to steer. My AC on the other hand is a bear to steer in the tight spots mainly due to the 27 inch tires.
    To confuse the issue even further if I had to pick just one ATV for hunting I would probably buy a Polaris Big Boss 6x6 and put tracks on it.
    Tennessee

  10. #10
    Member KRS's Avatar
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    Default

    I have ridden a Honda 500 ES 4x4 Foreman alot over the last 3 months, and I don't think anything else surpasses it.

    The ES (electronic shift) is very nice and it rides great.

    I also rode an Artic Cat 400 4x4 with the constant speed transmission (no shifting), and I really disliked it. Even when creeping along on a road the engine is loud and at a higher rpm, it's noisy and doesn't feel as solid as the Honda.

    KRS

  11. #11
    Member EricL's Avatar
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    Default

    What a question! In 2004 I bought a new Rubicon. I have been a Honda guy since I was 11 when we got our first new 3 wheeler, 200s if I remember correctly. I swore on Honda and said I'd never own anything else. Well, times change. Started thinking I needed something more for my type of riding. After all, I may pull a meat trailer a few days a year and that's it. This spring I started looking at other machines. Was contemplating a CanAm or the new Yamaha 700. After much consideration and listening to everyone I went with the Yamaha. The belt thing was my biggest mental hurdle to get over. Just returned from a ride 15 minutes ago. First time I had to use my winch on myself. But just a couple things that I have now that I didn't on the Rubicon: 4 wheel disc brakes (ever come down a mountain a little off camber and realize the 1 brake on the back is on the high side? You'll never forget it!!), independent rear suspension (not sore after an all day ride), fuel injection (no choking anymore), power steering (don't need a workout when I just want to ride), true 4X4 with the diff lock not 3X4.

    The biggest thing I like is the IRS. I no longer get hung up in the water hole ruts. My Rubi was always getting hung up and I couldn't even back out. The VERY FEW times I actually get high centered on my Grizz I am still able to back out.

    I have not had ANY problems with the belt. I have not submerged the machine yet but have had water up to the seat with no slippage.

    It is just very nice to ride more than winch. Winching is fun the first time but a pain in the ars after that!! Guess I should add that both machines had and have 26" Mud Lites. Good luck on what ever decision you make!!
    EricL

  12. #12

    Default Best Machine

    I think if you're all out mudding/pulling/water and flat out worst conditions, etc. you need to stay with a manual shift and solid rear axle. With that said, I've a 400 Kodiak and ride with similar machines. Never a drowned machined amongst the group (yes, I've ownes Polaris' w/belt slippage), which includes a King Quad and Foreman.

    The Suzuki has been high maintenance, esp. in the carb and rear wheel bearings, while the Honda has been bulletproof. My Yamaha has been everything I need without any serious adjustments, but this fall my ball hitch completely ripped off at the plate metal. A result of the shi**y trail, to be sure, but what a bummer when it happens! Other than this, I think Yamaha stacks up superbly with the Honda when looking at price, especially. Mine I added Mud Bug Tires to this year, and it will dig with the best of them. Nice ratio and from what I glean from those who deal with it regularly, the life on the drivetrain is second to none.

    Good luck

  13. #13

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    Remember, this is MY opinion only.

    Best = Honda
    Worst = Polaris

  14. #14
    Member tboehm's Avatar
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    Default you're killing me

    A guy could go crazy trying to figure out what to get. I really appreciate all of the input. I thought that I would like the Polaris 6X6 but I was thinking that it would be just to big to get around with in the woods and I can't beleive that it only comes in the 500. Seems way to under powered for what it should and could be capable of. I was also looking at the drive shaft vs the belt and thinking that a drive shaft is the way to go. I swear, why can't you find a manufacture that takes the best ideas from all the different models and put them together to come up with the ultimate machine!!!!!!!!!!!

  15. #15
    Member EricL's Avatar
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    I remember going to my first moose camp with some friends in 2004. I had my Honda then as did my hunting buddies. We stopped by one of the other camps to visit a bit. Walking from the wheelers up to their camp and passing by their gear I asked one of the guys what all those parts are for. They said for their 4 wheelers. There must have be 6-8 boxes of parts all labeled "Polaris". Heck, all I took was gas.
    EricL

  16. #16
    Member fullkurl's Avatar
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    Default yes, but....

    Quote Originally Posted by AkHunter45 View Post
    Remember, this is MY opinion only.

    Best = Honda
    Worst = Polaris

    I'd break it down:

    If I could only have one machine to last me forever: Honda.

    If it boils down to comfort, handling, "fun ro ride" factors: Yamaha

    The machine I'd not buy: Polaris
    Just my .02, no offence to anyone.
    Its funny though, I think Polaris makes a great snogo.

  17. #17
    Member Crumm's Avatar
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    My list

    1. Honda
    2. Honda
    3. Honda
    4. Yamaha if no Honda's are available
    5. Arctic Cat
    6. Suzuki
    7. Walk

    I have owned may different machines and I like the two Honda's I have now the best. I have not seen a belt drive machine that will cross water without drowning sooner of later. My current Rubicon and Rancher AT have the best transmissions out there. True they don't have all the fancy suspension, rear disks and bling but when it comes to getting me home they do it better than the Yamaha and Arctic cats I have had in the past.

  18. #18

    Default

    It all about your perception of what an atv will achieve.

    Hondaís are great when a reliable atv is highly preferred. Iíve used my wifeís Rancher as a backup for many years, but it will, in no way, go to the places my 750 brute force has taken me. For almost a month, last December, I was the only atv to make it to Jim Creek and beyond. Other machines tried to follow me but failed, miserably. I may have spent more time on this machine in the garage replacing parts, but the ability to get to my coyote hunting grounds in three feet + of snow and be the only one their all day was worth it. Literally, only snowmachines could follow me through the flats. Overall, I am a big fan of the light weight, instant power, IRS, big bores. Iím sad to say my snowmachine on fourwheels was stolen from my yard a few weeks ago. Iíve stayed quiet hoping someone would offer the machine as a for sale item on craigslit.

    I just hope SC has a marginal snowfall this winter. I just canít get to my usual areas on any other machine.

  19. #19
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    Best machine I have owned was a Honda Rancher, 3,500 miles and it only needed a new speedo cable.
    Worst machine was a Poo Poo 6x6. In the two years I owned it, it spent six months sitting in the shop being worked on. The 6x6 also has so much regular maintenance that you get to the point you don't want to ride it.
    I currently have a Honda Rincon and I now have 850 trouble free miles.
    From this point on I will only own a Honda. Yes you do miss out on all the bells and whistles but you do get reliability.

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    Yes Honda is the industry leader in reliability and innovation. You can count on them to come out every year with new color schemes and decals. As soon as I want some underpowered, overpriced, straight axle, 3 wheel drive atv, I'll buy a honda.

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