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Thread: Please...Help a NEWBIE????

  1. #1
    Member akhunter3's Avatar
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    Question Please...Help a NEWBIE????

    Hey there guys,


    I've been looking around at ATV's lately, and would like to get one for fun and hunting. However I am SERIOUSLY wet-behind-the-ears when it comes to ATVs. I know absolutely nothing about them.


    With that said...I was wondering if you all would help me figure out what I would be looking for? I have somewhat of a limited budget as I start UAA this fall.

    What I would be looking for....Something easy to drive (Automatic/semi-automatic?) 4x4, with enough power to get me anywhere I might need for fun/hunting and with the ability to haul a moose or similar size animal out of the bush either on the ATV itself (This possible with a 'bou?) or on a trailer.

    Any/All info on makes/models, what level of CC's I should look for, suspension/break type, air or liquid cooled, etc. would be great!


    I would be looking at trying to spend no more than 3-3500 so I know I'll most likely be stuck with an older machine.

    If I left any info out lemme' know!

    Thanks for ANY/ALL info guys! I really appreciate it!!!



    Jon
    Nurse by night, Alaska adventurer by day!

  2. #2
    Member EricL's Avatar
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    Anytime you are buying a used ATV, look them over very closely. Might want to take someone who has been around them for some help. Anyway here are a few on Craigslist to get started.

    http://anchorage.craigslist.org/rvs/743411037.html
    http://anchorage.craigslist.org/rvs/742165597.html
    http://anchorage.craigslist.org/rvs/741120585.html

    I know a couple of these are higher than you mentioned but you never know how bad someone needs to sell something!! Do yourself a favor and ride with someone until you are no longer "wet behind the ears".
    EricL

  3. #3

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    I was in your situation a few years ago and made a bad decision picking up a machine that had a few troublesome problems. So here are a few tips.

    1) If you are looking for a specific year and model do a search on atvconnection forums and see if there were a lot of problems with that vehicle, you'll see a bunch of things here and there but if you constantly see something like engine overheating or broken axle beware. Sometimes a company just has a bad year.

    2) Some will dispute it and I don't want to start any brand wars, but Yamaha and Honda are known for their reliablity, but still beware because that trouble machine I had was a Yam.

    3) Look how worn the machine looks, are the racks/bumpers dented? panels torn up? those might show it was run hard on trails and thrashed around pretty good.

    4) Check miles or hours if it has an odometer, some older ones don't, just to give you an idea. Ask about maintenance and if they have records. If they keep track of when the change the oil, you have an idea how well it's cared for.

    5) Grab the wheels and shake them, if they are loose the bearings may be shot. Check how much tread is left on the tires, new tires can get expensive.

    6) Look for how easy it starts and if it smokes, check if the muffler is rusting out. Makes sure it shifts easy between gears or to reverse.

    7) Check the brake levers operate smoothly and don't pull to one side when you stop.

    Hope that gets you started. If you are in Anchorage it could be worth seeing if you can get on Elmendorf and check out their For Sale lot. This time of year a lot of soldiers/airmen are moving out of state and selling their toys.

    Whatever you get, it's worth getting the service manual and doing some of your own maintenance, ATV service gets expensive, and a lot of stuff is pretty easy. For what it's worth I got an 01 Honda Rancher used that has been great, it's only a 350 but it tows big loads really well, very few electronics compared to the newer machines, manual shift. It's been bullet proof so far.

    Manual shifts are really easy on ATV's, like motorcyles, they have an auto clutch so you just lift with your toes to pull the lever up to shift up, tap on it to shift down. Some years/makes have hade trouble with their automatic transmissions or electric shifters so do a search. The autos are easy, but I think the manual is a little more fun like the difference between a stick and auto car.

    Good luck.

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    I sent you a PM

  5. #5

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    I've owned 3 different atv's since I moved to Alaska and they were all Honda's, 1 2wd Honda 300, 1 300 4x4 and my current rig, an 04 Honda ForemanES 450 4x4. Everyone of them has always done what I need it to do without any problems. They are simple to work on, reliable, and strong machines. If you do more hunting and utility type stuff with some trail riding then i'd look at the solid rear axle (SRA) machines, if your doing a lot of trail riding, mudding and such then you might want to consider an independant rear suspension (IRS) type machine, you can add lift to these machines which will give you more ground clearance and the only way you can add clearance on an SRA machine is to add bigger tires but keep one thing in mind, the IRS has more parts and you stand a chance of something breaking over an SRA type machine. I prefer the SRA because I don't do a lot of mud riding, only what I encounter when I'm hunting or trail riding. I can pull a fully loaded trailer with camp gear and a whole moose with my Foreman without any problems. I also like the air cooled machines because they don't overheat like the water cooled machines can. I've seen that happen to a friend of mine on several of his machines, you have to keep the radiator free of silt which is prevalent in Alaska. Keep it simple and have fun.

  6. #6

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    What ever brand you get make sure you check it out good like Bquad mentioned. Another thing that is really important is how it rides. All of them ride different. So if you can, ride it before you buy it, see if it's comfortable for you. Some seem to turn easier, others seem more tippy, some shake a little more than others at higher speeds. Just depends on what works for you.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by AkHunter45 View Post
    I've owned 3 different atv's since I moved to Alaska and they were all Honda's, 1 2wd Honda 300, 1 300 4x4 and my current rig, an 04 Honda ForemanES 450 4x4. Everyone of them has always done what I need it to do without any problems. They are simple to work on, reliable, and strong machines. If you do more hunting and utility type stuff with some trail riding then i'd look at the solid rear axle (SRA) machines, if your doing a lot of trail riding, mudding and such then you might want to consider an independant rear suspension (IRS) type machine, you can add lift to these machines which will give you more ground clearance and the only way you can add clearance on an SRA machine is to add bigger tires but keep one thing in mind, the IRS has more parts and you stand a chance of something breaking over an SRA type machine. I prefer the SRA because I don't do a lot of mud riding, only what I encounter when I'm hunting or trail riding. I can pull a fully loaded trailer with camp gear and a whole moose with my Foreman without any problems. I also like the air cooled machines because they don't overheat like the water cooled machines can. I've seen that happen to a friend of mine on several of his machines, you have to keep the radiator free of silt which is prevalent in Alaska. Keep it simple and have fun.
    You're slipping up, you forgot to add how honda must be the best because everyone in the villages has one.
    I'm still waiting for the day you add hondas are overpriced, underpowered and only have 3 wheel drive, like they are

  8. #8
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    Default Where do you live?

    I'm not asking for a response but if you live outside of any of the cities consider where your closest dealer/mechanic is. You don't want a honda if the nearest shop only wrenches on Polaris. Just my two cents.

  9. #9
    Member schmidty_dog's Avatar
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    Lots of good info so far. I was surprised to see nobody saying you need a big bore up here. The 300-500 cc machines have more than enough power for hunting and fun trail riding. If you don't need to go 70 mph on a road you don't need a big bore, plus the littler machines are easier to man handle if you need to.

    I've owned all of the big four brands and I think they all make quality machines. The more important factor would be making sure a used machine is still a quality machine and not beat to junk.

    4 wheel drive is a life saver up here, I would highly suggest having it on your list. A winch would also be desirable to me, they can get you out of sticky situations as long as there is something to winch to.

    I think some of the best value right now is in the Yamaha garage. They offer a few different smaller/cheaper machines that come with 4x4 and IRS (independent rear suspension) and automatic trannys. I really like IRS, its very comfortable in the bumpy terrain. A used Bruin/Grizzly 350 auto would make a nice starter quad... i've seen a few in the top end of your price range this spring. Keep your eyes open and check out a lot of quads, you'll find a keeper.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by dws View Post
    You're slipping up, you forgot to add how honda must be the best because everyone in the villages has one.
    I'm still waiting for the day you add hondas are overpriced, underpowered and only have 3 wheel drive, like they are
    Don't hold your breath.

  11. #11
    Member akhunter3's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the info guys! I really appreciate y'all takin' the time to give a newbie a heads up and some good info.



    Keep it coming!



    Jon


    P.S.- DWS-pm's on it's way
    Nurse by night, Alaska adventurer by day!

  12. #12
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Jon - They're a bit more expensive, but when I finally get serious about getting a machine I'll only be looking at Polaris six wheelers. The box on the back eliminates the need for a trailer and they're pretty darn difficult to get stuck. I have borrowed one a number of times and yes, I have gotten it buried, but much less often. I've put a whole quartered moose in the back along with my camp without a problem, something that isn't feasible with a four wheeler. Just two cents from a guy who knows much less than these other fellas.

  13. #13

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    WOW, you got a whole quartered moose and your camp on one of those 6 wheelers?? What is the payload on those? Aren't they 2 strokes too?

  14. #14
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AkHunter45 View Post
    WOW, you got a whole quartered moose and your camp on one of those 6 wheelers?? What is the payload on those? Aren't they 2 strokes too?
    Unknown what the technical payload is. It's a 4-stroke, though.

  15. #15

    Default What Brian said!!!

    6-wheelers are amazing machines. I don't have one, but it'll be the next wheeler I buy when it comes time for me to look again. Last year we hauled out a whole 57" moose back to camp in the back of one. Crossing those narrow deep creeks are much easier than with a wheeler as you never really get the whole wheeler in the creek at any one time. I've seen some decent deals on craigslist for them for $4500 or sometimes less.

    If you are only getting one wheeler it'd be the one to get. Just a little more maintenance required with them with chain tension, etc is the only draw back. But the versitility and payload far exceeds the additional maintenance IMO. Just be sure to get a winch installed before you take one out.

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