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Thread: Help with ATV selection

  1. #1

    Default Help with ATV selection

    I need some help picking out a new ATV since itís been about 12 years from the last time in the market. The ATV will actually be for my parents who live in North Idaho. Iíve gone back through through some old threads but havenít found what I was looking for.

    Currently they have a 96 Arctic Cat 454 and theyíve been really happy with it but itís getting tired and time to upgrade. 95% of its use is utility with a little trail riding. Primary tasks are pulling a heavy drag, spraying weeds, fixing fence and fertilizing fields. Good rack space for tools and equipment it also needed. The fence lines are heavily timbered so the size of the 96 works great working through the trees and tight trails, seems like the new one just get bigger and bigger. The ability to go slow without riding the brake is a must. A lot of my family members have Polaris but their engine braking just doesnít seem to hold back very well. In talking to the Cat dealer he says their engine braking is just like a manual. I donít have any experience so is this true? Would the auto hold up to prolonged pulling of that heavy drag?

    What would you pick for the task? Iím a fan of the Honda reliability but in looking at them it seems like they are falling behind the others. You guys know best so all comments and ideas are greatly appreciated. Thanks for the help.

  2. #2


    What Honda has falling behind in caters more to the mudding crowd than the utility crowd. They need/want machines that they can lift and put big tires on for riding through huge bogs/mudholes. For the kind of work they'll be doing a Honda Foreman would probably be their best best, but if their doing a fair amount of trail riding too then maybe something along the lines of a 550 Grizz would work. Contrary to what a lot of people say, if they can get one with power steering they shoud do so without even thinking twice, it is amazing on atv's. Keep in mind machines with IRS have a tendency to squat when your pulling a heavy load but you can remedy that by putting on stouter springs like the High Lifter lift springs, i've got them on my Foreman and they are stout to say the least, they do not squat at all when i'm pulling my fully loaded meat trailer. I like the racks on the Honda's and the Yamaha's but feel that the better racks are on the Honda Foreman's and Rubicons.

  3. #3
    Member StockNStuck's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Eagle River

    Default Go red.

    Solid rear axles are the bane of mud bogging but the blessing of working machines. I have an '03 Rubicon that has been my working machine since I bought new and would never give it up, even in lieu of my '08 Polaris with independent rear suspension. IRS makes for a Cadilac ride but most of my needs are for hauling various work trailers around. Racks are ok for carrying small tools & such around but most work involves hauling logs, fencing, dirt, etc which makes a good trailer(s) mandatory. IRS isn't so good for heavy weights on a trailer. I've moved some stout construction trailers around with my Rubi & its solid rear axle. Rubicon still does a heck of a job on the trails as well. In the five years I've had it I've never had a glitch, just changed the oil and air filter, and it has had a hard life. The hydrostatic tranny is great for work as well as machines with CVT require certain RPMs to engage making it less sensitive to low end throttling. I can crawl the tranny at any speed without using the brake to keep the desired speed under control. Downhill powertrain braking is equally effective. Only complaint: Machine only weighs around 600 pounds and when carrying very heavy trailer loads downhill, it's helps to add weight to the racks so the trailer doesn't dictate the speed!
    For a working machine, I don't think there's a better unit out there.

  4. #4

    Default Try Ebay

    If they don't have to have a "NEW" machine. Look for a Traxter or John Deer Buck. They were made for the type use you are describing. Mine has 13,000 miles on it and still going strong. you should be able to pick one up for 3000 or under of of ebay if your patient. The XT model even has a dump bed for those farm chores. with the step through seat they or easier to get on and of for some more mature less flexable folks like myself. good Luck


  5. #5


    I agree with the guys above, for ranch work or heavy hauling regularly the SRA's are the way to go. I think that either a Rubicon or a Foreman 500 will suit their needs just fine and provide them many years of dependable service. I know there are others out that make SRA's but if your not in need of the new technology for trail riding,climbing, and mudding, the Honda is unbeatable IMO.

  6. #6
    Member schmidty_dog's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006


    These guys are right, go with a solid rear axle. For putting along most of the time why not get a five speed semi auto tranny instead of automatic CVT. The semi-auto trannys are bullet proof, no belt to change EVER. My 86 Kawasaki Bayou 300 has been to hell and back and it has never missed a gear. In my mind the perfect machine would be a Suzuki Vinson 500 from a few years back, not sure if they still make it but it was a solid rear axle five speed that had tons of power if you needed it (such as plowing) and was very stout. Great machine.

  7. #7


    I have a Rubi also and I agree with everything that Stocknstruck said.

    Honda and solid rear axle sounds perfect.


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