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Thread: Big Bear, Rancher or Griz?

  1. #1

    Default Big Bear, Rancher or Griz?

    Help me decide.

    Of the three, I think that Rancher has gone to the bottom of the list due to ride comfort, lack of 12v outlet being standard on the model. I do like the price on the leftover 2007's though. I do like the reputation of Honda ATV's on reliability and how long they seem to last before completely dieing.

    Looking over Yamaha's website, there seems to be only subtle differences between the Bear and the Griz. Am I missing something? Of the two, the Big Bear seems as though it might be a good choice for me for my purposes. I'm looking in the 400-450 range.

    Now, what I need is a decent utility ATV for hunting, hauling material out to a remote cabin that's on on a pretty decent trail system. Maybe some light trail riding. Nothing really fancy, just a good atv at a decent price.

    I guess I should say to, that I'm looking over the leftover 2007's on the dealer floor.

    Thanks!

    Ken

  2. #2
    Member fullkurl's Avatar
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    Default Grizzly 450

    The rancher is a great bike but lacks the quality brakes and suspension that should be expected nowadays. It'll run til the end of time though. You'd be assured of build quality and bullet-proof durability.

    The big bear is nice but that Griz fully auto tranny is a joy, and belt worries are a thing of the past.
    Step up to the better machine if you can. mho. If there's any downside to the Griz, its that the machine is a bit less economical gas-wise. In the long run though you'll see why that machine is so very popular. You can hunt, work and sport ride til your butt's numb. You'll love it.

    All of these are great machines.

  3. #3
    Moderator Daveinthebush's Avatar
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    Default Rancher

    I chose the Rancher. Mine is a 06 and has the 12V outlet. I also bought a 2,500 lb. winch. With the lower 1st gear it is a pulling machine and plenty fast for a hunter. I haul a wood card, 30" wide x 4' x 2' high sides. It pulls the cart full of wet spruce with no problems. The 400 Rancher is also awesome on fuel. I have friends that bought the 500 and they hate the fuel economy. Empty the thing can climb trees. I would buy one again no reservations.

    Loaded with a 2 1/2" dredge/highbanker, 30" sluice, days provisions and the prospecting gear.
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  4. #4
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    Default

    The Honda is abit over rated, I witnessed for yrs where I live the ride of a Honda in that it is tough on the organs. The engines are reliable and start up well. The lighting is very good as well. The winch is an option but I too would opt for the 2.5 Warn as I have one on my Grizz 660.

    The Big Bear is dependable but light in its pull and the ride is no different than the Hondas-straight rear axle.

    The Grizz will give you independant rear along with a "roll over" the bump feel instead of the dreaded "jolt". Seating on a Grizz is about as perfect as a bike can get. It will pull what you need to have done with torque left over.

    Obviously the Grizz will get my vote.

    I do have a Honda 250 Recon that is just a reliable little 2 wheeler that one can ask for in a tiny get around bike. It pulled approx. 6 cords of wood for me this last fall without a problem at all-very good on gasoline.

    regards,

  5. #5

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Daveinthebush View Post
    I chose the Rancher. Mine is a 06 and has the 12V outlet. I also bought a 2,500 lb. winch. With the lower 1st gear it is a pulling machine and plenty fast for a hunter. I haul a wood card, 30" wide x 4' x 2' high sides. It pulls the cart full of wet spruce with no problems. The 400 Rancher is also awesome on fuel. I have friends that bought the 500 and they hate the fuel economy. Empty the thing can climb trees. I would buy one again no reservations.

    Loaded with a 2 1/2" dredge/highbanker, 30" sluice, days provisions and the prospecting gear.
    Dave, what's your impression of the ride comfort? That seems to be the only complaint I can find with the Ranchers so far that I've seen on the Internet. You know, it's IRS this or IRS that is what you need when you see the Rancher mentioned for opinions.

    I will say that I'm getting old enough that I'll sacrifice speed for comfort somewhat. Or is it the other way around?

    A buddy who works remote tells me the villages are filled with Honda's and he says that ought to tell a person something about reliability.

    And did your '06 come with the outlet of was it an add on accessory? I looked at the specs on one website and it called the 12v outlet an accessory. I wasn't sure to take that as meaning it was there from the factory, or it meant it was an available accessory for purchase.

    Thanks!

  6. #6

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by grizz106 View Post
    The Honda is abit over rated, I witnessed for yrs where I live the ride of a Honda in that it is tough on the organs. The engines are reliable and start up well. The lighting is very good as well. The winch is an option but I too would opt for the 2.5 Warn as I have one on my Grizz 660.

    The Big Bear is dependable but light in its pull and the ride is no different than the Hondas-straight rear axle.

    The Grizz will give you independant rear along with a "roll over" the bump feel instead of the dreaded "jolt". Seating on a Grizz is about as perfect as a bike can get. It will pull what you need to have done with torque left over.

    Obviously the Grizz will get my vote.

    I do have a Honda 250 Recon that is just a reliable little 2 wheeler that one can ask for in a tiny get around bike. It pulled approx. 6 cords of wood for me this last fall without a problem at all-very good on gasoline.

    regards,
    Thought I read on Yamahas website that the newest BB's had IRS too (?).

    Thought the BB was pull rated to something like (depending on memory here) 100 pounds or so less than the griz (?). I seem to remember the BB was in the 900lbs range for pulling, and the griz was in the 1000 and change range.

    I will say this, I have yet to step foot in a Yamaha dealer yet. Wasn't really thinking ATV right now, but I stopped in to Hartleys in WAS. for a snowmachine part and saw the prices on the remaining 2007 ATVs and it got me thinking......

  7. #7
    Member AKsoldier's Avatar
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    Default

    Ken,

    As an owner of an 07 Big Bear (slightly biased, I know) I have to advise you to go with the Bear. It seems you want a machine to do just what the Big Bear does best.

    The Honda is reliable, but has a straight axle in the rear. That means it rides rough, and has poor ground clearance. I have talked to some Honda riders who admit that the Big Bear is the Honda's equal in reliability. There have been some issues with axle seals in the rear of the new IRS set-up on the Big Bear, but I strongly suspect that Yamaha will have remedied that by now. Even the "leftover 07" models will likely be updated. I bought mine a full year ago.

    The ride comfort is phenomenal at "sane" speeds. ( below 30 MPH) It feels like a much bigger, more plush machine without the added weight. You are correct about the towing figures. I think it is around 900+ LBS or so, and you can also carry around 200 LBS on the racks.

    If, however you want a machine that you don't have to shift, and has a bit more "pep" then I would say the Grizz might be a better choice. Go see Ben at Performance Yamaha in Was and see what he can do for ya.

    Best of luck in your decision!

    By the way - if a test ride would help, shoot me a PM. I'd be happy to let you take the Big Bear for a spin.

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

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  8. #8
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    Default It's what I have

    Well I have the 07' 660 Grizz.

    I worked it hard during moose season and into the winter, I must say it ride nice.
    The only things I would change are a More agressive tire!! Got stuck a few times, Then I would chabge how much it weighs but hey they are akk heavy. Just remeber to tuelly hunt you must ride then hike. If you kill then ride to it if you can. I ran a few day of 30-40 mile hatd ridding uo down mud creeks swamp. It makes you hurt the next day, and I'm 6'2 220 lbs,
    well good luck. I kind of wish I found some thing 100 lbs lighter!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!```
    Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.

  9. #9

    Default Either one is good

    I think you really can't go wrong with either one. Personally I wouldn't go with IRS on anything below 500CC just because when you get into towing trailers and knocking over large alders some seem to not have the guts from what I've seen. Of course that was with an AC and might have been just a matter of it not being geared low enough. It could be a non-issue on the yammis in the same situation. The one thing I might suggest is to look on craigslist for a while to find one. Then you can take the money you saved and spend it on tires and whatnot.

  10. #10
    Moderator Daveinthebush's Avatar
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    Default Honda Ride

    I have only ever ridden Honda's so I can't say it has a worse or better ride than anything. For what I use it for, I am not going very fast except prospecting along the Alyeska ROW. Otherwise it is crawling in the woods. I have a bad back and no problems. The 12V came with the machine.

    When I moved here someone said don't buy anything until you get here. See what everyone else in the village has and buy that. There is a reason they all own the same thing. And usually someone has already broken there's, knows how to fix it and there are usually parts around.

    When I bought mine, 5-6 other guys that I hunt with or might hunt with all bought Honda's. All were 500's except I went with the 400. So basically we all have the same machine and knowledge of how they work.

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  11. #11

    Default

    I'm with Dave, all i've ever ridden are Honda's and I don't see any reason to switch now. I have no issues with the ride comfort or power, it has all I need. The one thing I did do to my machine to soften the ride a little was add the Perfex Long Travel kit, it gave a tad more lift, softened the ride a little, and increased the payload of the front and rear racks by 100 lbs each. I got a couple of friends with Kodiaks and they seem to always have problems, 1 has gone through 3 tie rods and had problems with his cooling system, the other had issues with his machine not wanting to run. I would stay away from water cooled machines also, you puncture that radiator and your not going to get very far. It's all personal preference as you can see in this thread, everyone thinks their machine is the best but the only way to find out for yourself is to go out to the dealers and ask lots of questions. I wouldn't rely on info from the internet when it comes down to making a decision on an expensive ppiece of machinery. Good luck!

  12. #12

    Default Honda

    I have a Honda 450S it has all the options I would want on a hunting and work horse wheeler. I dont ride that fast on trails so the ride is just fine for me. And the honda motor will last for ever.
    I have heard that yamaha has came a long ways on their wheelers, but i just am not going to seperate from the honda legacey.
    The 12v plug in is standard i believe on the ranchers.
    Good luck on the new wheeler.
    Big Daddy

  13. #13
    Member fullkurl's Avatar
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    Default proof's in the butt ache

    First of all, no diss to my Honda bretheren out there. Honda oozes quality.
    But, I used to hunt caribou quite often up at 80 mile (maintanance station) of the Steese. Usually 2-3x's a year I'd head in there and do about 13 miles in and the same out.
    The tussocks in that country about tore my innnards out on my foreman 400 and then in later years my 450ES. I really loved the durability and solid feel of those machines, I spent the bucks on them, but dang I'll tell you they flat out beat me to a pulp.
    I went to a spankin new 2003 camo 660 grizzly------------nervously!-----------I've always been a Honda man, but the difference was unreal. I floated over those bumps and could ride three times farther a day and still feel no body fatigue. My buds riding those same sra Hondas were 1 mile behind me, groaning all the way.

    Griz106 summed it up. The IRS machines roll over bumps they don't jar a guy to bits.

    I've had both machines, UpS. Go with the IRS in any Yamaha or go with the Honda Rincon ($). That solid axle is a dinosaur in the muskeg and tussocks.
    Save the solid axle for farming work in Kansas or Okie.
    just mho.

  14. #14

    Default It sounds like a long walk

    from where you are going to use it to where you need to go. I haven't been shopping in the last 2 years but from what I have seen and gone through while riding there are a few things I would want for getting there and back (not in any order).
    Air Cooled
    Carburated
    winch
    As light as I could get (probably single axle for this)
    aftermarket tires
    largest gas tank
    pull starter (if you can even find one!)

    All the major brands put out good machines anymore, I may hear a lot of squealing but I would shop for features and price.
    Mike
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    There is a faster way off the mountain, might hurt a little though.

  15. #15
    Member walk-in's Avatar
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    Default second that

    I have to agree with Mike Echo on this. I would add a manual transmission to his list of requirements.

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    Default

    Anyone that has used ATV's in Ak. long enough should know that a manual shifter is the "dinosaur". The automatics in both of my machines a Suzuki Eiger Auto and the Grizz 660 have never failed me, climbing, pulling, snorkeling etc.......That is not an issue anymore it seems.

    Yes your correct in the villages about Hondas. They work but rear axle seals and brakes and solid axles are the major pain the brain. I would make certain the disc front and rear are a must and IFS. Ergo or seats that saddle well are a must for a long ride-a comfort thing. Yamahas have that.

    I have owned 3 of the big names Yamaha, Honda and Suzuki-Yamaha is overall the best for your money----caveat emptor!

  17. #17
    Member byrd_hntr's Avatar
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    Default my .02

    In 2004 I went with the BB, mainly because it was about a grand cheaper than the Honda. It has the solid rear axle, so its not the plush ride like the newer IRS system but is get me to and from the field every time and gets good mileage. All Ive done to it in 2000 miles is change the oil and beat the crap out of it. I use Hondas for work and eveyone is right they never die. We leave them out all winter and every spring they start right up like its nothing new. My only gripe about the Formans we use for work are that they are heavy, and low to the ground.

    Im really excited about the new BBs with the IRS and locking front diff. I be interested to see what you decide.

    I have never been on a Griz, but they look nice. I myself like the manual tranny, but that just a personal preference.

  18. #18
    Member AKsoldier's Avatar
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    Default

    07 and newer Big Bears are IRS. They also have both manual tranny and pull start, air-cooled carbureted engines. Mike - you sound like a Big Bear man.

    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.

  19. #19

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by AkHunter45 View Post
    I'm with Dave, all i've ever ridden are Honda's and I don't see any reason to switch now. I have no issues with the ride comfort or power, it has all I need. The one thing I did do to my machine to soften the ride a little was add the Perfex Long Travel kit, it gave a tad more lift, softened the ride a little, and increased the payload of the front and rear racks by 100 lbs each. I got a couple of friends with Kodiaks and they seem to always have problems, 1 has gone through 3 tie rods and had problems with his cooling system, the other had issues with his machine not wanting to run. I would stay away from water cooled machines also, you puncture that radiator and your not going to get very far. It's all personal preference as you can see in this thread, everyone thinks their machine is the best but the only way to find out for yourself is to go out to the dealers and ask lots of questions. I wouldn't rely on info from the internet when it comes down to making a decision on an expensive ppiece of machinery. Good luck!
    I agree with you quite a bit. I kind of turned here, because the yammi website allows you to compare models (BB & Griz or whatever), and I didn't see a whole lot of difference between those two models.

  20. #20
    Moderator Daveinthebush's Avatar
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    Default One more reason for the Rancher

    One more reason for the Rancher was machine weight. If I remember right when I compared the different class machines, the Honda was the lightest. With a bad back, the weight issue was a big concern. It is also another reason I did not choose the 500. The 400 with the winch gave me everything I needed in a lighter package. I have only need the winch once to unstuck the machine.

    I buried the right wheels in swampy dirt as I was going up over a hump and had the cart on with it full of spruce. I was just asking it to do too much.

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