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Thread: If You Could Buy a New 4x4...

  1. #1
    Member BakInAlaska's Avatar
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    Default If You Could Buy a New 4x4...

    Hey Folks,
    Been out of the state for awhile but now that I am back I am looking to buy a new atv. I have a few questions about the newer machines.
    For Moose hunting, is it better to buy a hog of a machine (Polaris 800 or Honda Rincon) or a machine that has less power (400-500cc)?
    I suspect right now may not be the best time for the best deal seeing as it is so close to moose season. Since I am hosed for this season (out of state licensing) I can wait until next season. When is the best time to buy?
    Thanks in advance folks,
    Jeff

  2. #2

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    I would think right after hunting season when they are bringing the new machines into the show room. Personally, I don't really see the need for a 700-800cc machine, my Foreman does everything I ask of it and never fails me. Anything in the 400 to 600cc class will be more than adequate. Take a look at the Honda Foreman, thats the workhorse of the Honda family, out of all the Honda's out there you'll probably see more Foreman's than any other model.

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    Moderator AKmud's Avatar
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    Default Late season

    October (like AK45 said..after hunting season) is a great time to find a deal on a new one. Dealers don't want to store last year's model all winter while trying to sell snowmachines.

    As far as size, I would stick around the 500 range. It gives you plenty of power, decent gas mileage, and a WIDE range of machines to look at. There are too many options out there to just name one machine. My advice would be to go out and test drive a few and maybe even rent one for a day. Find what options you just have to have and start whittling it down. Eventually you will have the choices down between two machines and will have to pick what color you like better )!

    Options to think about (in no particular order) -

    - Solid rear axle vs. independent suspension
    - EFI
    - Automatic or manual shift
    - If manual shift....old school foot shifter or electric pushbutton
    - If automatic....engine braking?
    - Front diff locker
    - Rack system
    - 2-up seating
    - Utility bed
    etc....

    Good shopping. (don't forget about looking in the used market as well, lots of good deals out there)
    AKmud
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    Default which quad...

    I agree with AKMud. Should weigh out what options you want and how you will use your quad and that should help answer which quad will best fit you. I have a 700EFI Sportsman, my wife has the 400 Sportsman carb of course. I swear by my quad but if only for hunting sure, nothing at all wrong with a 350-500cc. Now if a meat wagon is involved step up to 500 or bigger, just my .02. Big thing is how the seat/controls feel; I swear by my Polaris seat after 8-10 hours over anything else. Now IRS was a big thing to me as well. my gas milage sucks horrible, if that is big go Honda anyday. Can also talk to you about certian dealerships if you are in the interior but send me a I/M for that as I don't want to air that bad news up here.

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    Default

    I think if you are planning on running stock tires and not pulling a load a 500 cc motor is more than enough.
    The potentail problem (if it can be called that) is when we add a winch, over sized and over weight tires, 150 pounds of gear, maybe a trailer full of supplies, and then add on the potential 200 - 300 pound Alaskan rider with his rifle and revolver to boot and well.......the 500 cc motor isn't that big after all.
    After owning several Honda's, Suzuki's and Polaris's the only ATV I have no desire to purchase again is a Honda. They are simply to expensive and have nothing to offer for the money (to me anyhow, other opinions will differ I am sure). Nothing I ever owned left me stranded or required major repairs.
    I would suggest you take a look at Arctic Cat's line of machines. If you use your quad for mostly utility you will love there rack system. It is the best in the business.
    Be careful of purchasing a machine after hunting season is over. Most only come with a 6 month warranty and you could find the warranty period over before you had a chance to take it out in the mud to play with it.
    Arctic Cats and the Bombs come with a limited 3 year warranty.
    Oh, and don't take your wife for a ride on any you buy or you will be buying two!

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    Default

    I gotta disagree with snowwolfe a bit. My wife has an '88 bigbear 350. I have pulled over 600lbs (wagon weight) with this rig (and it has a winch). shes also pulled my polaris out numerous times at extended ranges with no difficulties. grant it, it isnt a speed demon. I have a 2 stroke polaris 400 explorer and it has its issues but so far it pulls what ever I hook up to it.

    As for racks, I think polaris sucks hind tit. I hate those plastic racks. give me a good steal bar rack.

    To me if I buy a new one its gonna be a new yamaha in the 400cc range. as long as it has IRS and a dif lock, I'll be happy.

    As for tire, well some folks gotta think before they buy. I dont care if they sell 28" tires, folks gotta stop and think if they can turn them. its on the buyer. not the machine.

  7. #7
    Member AKBighorn's Avatar
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    Default

    Its funny to me that not too long ago 350cc was the biggest machine out there and most of us had 300cc's. I guess I just haven't put any priority into spending money on a new quad as I am still riding a 300. It has pulled out an entire moose in the meat wagon as well as my gear. Yeah I know it doesn't go as fast as the big machines or throw as much mud but it still gets me there and back. IMHO all the machines today are pretty much equal in quality. You just have to consider the options mentioned above and how much you want to spend. If I'm not mistaken the difference in the price of a Honda has more to do with being the lightest in their category or at least that used to be the case. To me the 2 most important items to concern yourself with is the suspension-either independant or semi independant and the ability to shift from 2-4 wheel drive. These add to the comfort of ride and the ease of manuevering.

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    Member Erik in AK's Avatar
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    Default

    JM2C but,

    Power to weight ratio and actual weight of the machine are huge considerations IMO.
    If one accepts that most machines of a given engine class are similarly capable for most general use, AND if you ride enough you will eventually get bogged down in some far off muck hole....then which is easier (and safer?) to unstick...a 480-520 lb 400-500 or a 600-700 lb machine. Lighter machines may not have the ability to pull a whole moose out in one load but they're a helluva lot more nimble on the trail.

    Personally I consider IRS and a winch with removable remote a must in AK.

    Again JM2C

    Happy shopping

  9. #9
    Member Erik in AK's Avatar
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    Default

    Things have changed since I sold my machine (Sportsman 400 H.O.)....

    After the above post I checked out the Polaris site and was surprised the 800 EFI only weighs 55lbs more than the 500 EFI

  10. #10

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    I would also have to disagree some with Snowwolfe, 2 years ago i pulled a trailer with my fully loaded down Foreman 19 miles back to the truck. It had a whole cutup moose and camp gear, over 1000lbs in that trailer plus myself and extra gas on the wheeler. So saying that a 500cc machine or less is not that big afterall is not completely true. I have seen some IRS machines that are fully loaded squat so much that the rear tires were hitting the inside of the fenders. It's all personal preference and you have plenty of time to find the one thats right for you.

  11. #11
    Member Crumm's Avatar
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    Default

    Be sure to also take fuel consumption into the equation. 400 or 500 cc is plenty for utility use and use a little less fuel than the big boys. While none of them use much fuel it does make a difference if you plan on any long distance remote trips. In the past I have owned Yamaha, Arctic Cat and now a Honda. So far I am very pleased with the Honda Rubicon. It handles much better than the Yamaha Kodiak I had and it burns less fuel and is more stable than the AC 500 I had. I do only have about 100 miles on it so time will tell but it has the best transmission for a ATV I have ever been around. Completely sealed hydraulic drive with NO belt and no shifting unless you want to. Best buys can probably be found in a month or two.

  12. #12

    Default Artic Cat

    If you want a hard working machine that will stand up to a steady diet of heavy loads their is only one choice Arctic Cat the 500 and 650 are awsome they also have a new 700 coming out.

    If all you want to do is play and trail ride any ATV will do.

  13. #13
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    Default Artic Cat 2

    My son's friend has an Artic Cat. Three times in the past 5 years my son's old Yamaha 350 has towed that same Artic Cat out of the Alaska Wilderness. Snowwolfe usta' ride an old Suzuki 250. It ran like a champ. I'd like to find a similar one for November deer hunts in KY. Right now my old Polaris rides/runs just fine..... It'll be a tough decision determining which new machine to purchase, maybe an Argo Avenger this time. It may be slow, but I'll get there eventually.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by DR B
    If you want a hard working machine that will stand up to a steady diet of heavy loads their is only one choice Arctic Cat the 500 and 650 are awsome they also have a new 700 coming out.

    If all you want to do is play and trail ride any ATV will do.
    Not true, my Foreman will tow just as much as your Cat will and then some. 2 years ago I towed over 1000lbs from my moose camp back to my truck, which is close to 19 miles, and it never missed a beat. Point is you don't need a big bore to do the manly things.

  15. #15
    Moderator AKmud's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Little bikes

    I've had a Suzuki LT250 and have pulled out some HUGE loads. Chained up and in low range it pulled an entire 45" moose (back in the any bull days) out of a nasty swamp. The load was split between the racks and a small meat trailer.

    The only advantage I can see with the big bores is being able to hold momentum going up steep hills. With the smaller bikes you depend more on traction (thus the chains).

    Currently I have a 1992 Honda Fourtrax 300 and I would guess it will tow nearly as much as my 2004 Polaris 500 6x6. It may not be as comfortable, but it will pull a load. I hauled out an entire moose on the racks with this bike (a fork antler bull). The suspension was maxed out, but I made it out and loaded it in the truck with the entire load still on the bike.

    Top speed is only about 40-45mph (plenty fast) but the thing I like the most about it is the weight. It is so nice being able to simply lift the rear of the bike out of ruts or mud holes. Cost is considerably less than the big bores too.
    AKmud
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    Default

    "If You Could Buy a New 4x4..."
    KYMCO, that's in my price range. For me this is fictitious...New...I wish! Since I'm wishing, I wish for one of each, that way I can complain about all of them...Ford Chevy Dodge...Same argument. I say, It needs to have a locking front diff. If it's a 4wheel drive, I want 4wheel drive. But that's me. I went for the 700 cause 1) it has a diff lock and 2) I like to go fast and have fun too 3) it was used and in my price range 4)still one heck of a utilily ride. But thats MO.

  17. #17
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    I remember back to the days of my King Quad with the 280 cc motor and it's super trannie with ultra low, low and high geared trannie. Yes, It would pull anything I could toss at it. And it was the most rugged ATV I have ever owned. I also remember every morning when the temperature dropped below freezing going out to it with a hammer to break the rear brakes loose cause they would freeze tight. I also remember being stuck in mud holes that on the atv's I own today I can go through with hardly spinning a tire.
    But the ole King wasnt even in the same class as a larger bore utility ATV built now a days. The current crop of EFI automatics with IFS have a much improved ride, power to spin the taller tires, and get as good if not better mileage due to improved effeciency and EFI. With my 6 1/2 gallon gas tank I even have a improved mileage range
    There is no perfect machine for everyone or every situation. If I had a wish list I would wish for a Polaris 6x6 with a 700 EFI motor and shaft drive the entire way back. While I was wishing I would also ask for a slightly longer swingarm so it could handle 27 inch tires.
    If you travel with buddies any small 2 wheel drive atv with small stock tires will get to the same destination as the big 4x4's with the large mudding tires. When you get stuck, they pull ya out.
    I am glad we have this many choices in quality machines and a huge assortment of aftermarket accessories. Enjoy whatever you purchase!

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    I wish they still made a 250 4x4 with super low range.

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    I have a '94 Big Bear with a 350 motor, and it has plenty of power for all my hunting needs and more. The difference with the old and new machines is that back in '94 most machines were semi-automatic (had foot shifters), and most had HI/LO range. I replaced the stock tires with a set of BearClaw, and every year I tow a meat trailer loaded with moose meat and hunting gear, plus a leg on the front rack, and another on the back rack to keep the machine level. I ride a mountainous and rough trail with lots of deep pools of mud by the trailhead. If I get stuck in the mud, I disconnect the trailer and move to hard ground, and from there I pull the trailer with the ATV winch.

    I can pull the same trailer (loaded) over pretty high ground. The only time I can't pull it is if the tires lose traction, or when the trailer starts plowing mud forward.
    -------
    I have heard that Honda finally has one of the 2007 500-motor ATV's that has a great automatic transmission that other automatic machines can't even get close. However, I haven't read the article. Most automatic ATV's can't pull as much as the '94 Big Bear from a stand-still. The Big Bear was designed to pull 900 pounds. The new ATV's with automatic transmissions bug down with a heavy load in the mud, but they are getting better.

  20. #20

    Cool ATV

    Lets keep in mind the increasing price of gas and the real need for anything over 500ccs. Here in Kotz we are paying $5.50 for gas and the need to go far for a little cash is always important! I have a Rancher 350 and a Rubicon 500. The Rubicon is the work horse but it like the gas for sure!

    A more important thing to keep in mind especially fro those of us in the Bush where finding some to work on a machine can be tough,.. If it says anything but Honda on it, plan on fixing it often. Hondas are fare more dependable than all of the others. The back streets of Kotz are littered with rusting hulks of many 4-wheelers and most are not Hondas!

    Walt

    www.northwestalaska.com

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