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Thread: Need ATV Advice

  1. #1
    Member BucknRut's Avatar
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    Default Need ATV Advice

    Alright, never thought it'd come to this, but I am becomming more and more convinced that I am going to have to get a wheeler for transportation purposes when hunting, fishing, camping and exploring. I have never been to Alaska and obviously never hunted, but I can see that this is going to be a near necessity for me.

    I'll be the first to tell you that I don't know the first thing about them because I've always had the luxury of my feet taking me where I needed to go, so I could use your thoughts and opinions on "what I should have."

    Don't need anything fancy, just something that will get me where I'm going (hunting, concentrate on moose for these purposes) and back with a load of meat in a small trailer.

    Any help would be much appreciated.
    Joshua

  2. #2
    Moderator AKmud's Avatar
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    Default Can of worms....

    Boy you opened it up now! You ask 10 people this question and you will get 10 different answers most of the time. Probably the best advice is to go test drive a few and see what YOU like. Everyone will give you their opinion, but just like backpacks, it may not fit you.

    If you are strictly hunting, I would make a few recommendations. Stay away from the big machines (over 500cc). The extra power isn't necessary and the big machines use more gas and are usually heavier. A solid rear axle tends to be stronger, but you lose some clearance. You will want something with a good low range or low gearing. A lot of the trails up here you will ride 10 miles and probably won't be out of 1st or 2nd gear. Make sure your ride has a good winch (2500# or more) and hot grips (hands get cold even in the summer/fall). Front differential lock is nice, but not necessary.

    Like I first mentioned, drive a bunch and see what feels good to you. Once you get up here, there will be many neighbors and friends who will let you take 'em for a ride more than likely. If you are buying new, I would think about pricing them down there and maybe bringing one up so you don't have to pay the "Alaska tax". For some reason, everything that crosses the border into AK suddenly becomes worth more.....

    Good luck shopping!
    AKmud
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    The porcupine is a peacful animal yet God still thought it necessary to give him quills....

  3. #3
    Member BucknRut's Avatar
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    Red face much needed clarification!!

    Okay, so maybe I sounded like I was looking for "the best machine out there" and I should now make myself clearer. I'd forgotten about "the guy that only wants the best." This machine will be used mainly for carting my arse from the road to the hunting spot and home again. After reading about all of these 6-wheelers and 4-seaters and 700cc and 100" ground clearance and having to spend the kid's college fund for four tires...I got a little nervous and confused.

    I am basically asking if I can get away with a used machine with 300-350cc for my purpose of getting too and from the field. Found a 2003 Honda Rancher. The machine has gotten little use (still has the little knobbies on the tires), got four tires, a seat, fenders, racks and an engine that goes vrrrrrrrum. Price tag is at $2100. Deal or NO Deal??? Will it get the job done. Will it be underpowered to haul a 150 pound runt around? How bout with a load of moose behind it?

    Thanks for the realization Mud...maybe now someone can be of assistance! Now don't hold nothin back boys, tell me how it is!

  4. #4

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    Gotta go with AK Muds advice.
    Mike
    (apparently having his brains(sp?) swell up has helped him think deep thoughts :-)
    Mike
    www.alaskaatvclub.org
    There is a faster way off the mountain, might hurt a little though.

  5. #5

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    I have never heard anyone up here knock a Rancher.
    It will do what you want and the price is great!
    Mike
    Mike
    www.alaskaatvclub.org
    There is a faster way off the mountain, might hurt a little though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Echo View Post
    Gotta go with AK Muds advice.
    Mike
    (apparently having his brains(sp?) swell up has helped him think deep thoughts :-)
    YIKES!!
    I do think your spelling is off! Way off!!
    Anyway, I too have never heard anyone knock on Rancher.

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    Member fullkurl's Avatar
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    Exclamation Josh...

    Is that machine 4X4? The Rancher is a great choice-especially at that price, but a 4X4 is mandatory up here--too many bogs and mudholes for 2wd. My 2 cents...

    Frank

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    Default

    For me there is only word to answer your post.


    H O N D A


    Buy it Joshua. If its in good shape and is 4wd , you could sell it for a $1000 more than that up here.


    This little guy loves his Honda!

    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v2...ep4me/hunt.jpg


    Seriously you wont find one in good shape up here for that price, wheelers **** near hold a better resale value than Homes. If you dont plan on staying up here forever and on a budget a solid Honda like that Rancher for that price is worth it. And then if and when you leave I can buy buy it from you and give it the my little Honda monger.

  9. #9
    Member AKFishOn's Avatar
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    Default ATV

    Lot of ATVs fit the bill and I'm no expert, but Honda, Polaris and Arctic Cats I have owned and I thought all were good. Seems like the newer you get the more plastic crap you have which I'm not a big fan of, sometimes you want to drag them around and I often wonder how cold it gets or where the heck to I grab this thing without breaking the plastic.

    I had an Arctic Cat 454 which was great, threw on some real aggressive tires and you could go anywhere. Currently I have two newer Polaris Sportsman 450s, ride nice but both have been in for warrantee work. I'd think you could not go wrong with a Honda for $2000 and something. I'd buy the tires down in the lower 48 if you get the machine there, however there are often decent to very good deals on used ATVs up here.

    Dean

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dean Denter View Post
    however there are often decent to very good deals on used ATVs up here.
    Especially after hunting season and before tax season!

  11. #11
    Member BucknRut's Avatar
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    Unhappy The turtle didn't win this race...

    It's funny how you find out how good a deal is/was after it's gone!!
    It was a 2003 Honda Rancher 327cc 4x4 almost no miles. The one I saw today had a price tag of $2100. After looking around and hearing what you all had to say, seems like I missed out on a heck of a deal.

    What is done is done. So learning by looking back, would this bike be sufficient for my purpose of getting to and from the field? I can't complain about a price like that, heck I was figuring on spending $1k more for a real used one!

    hindsights? thoughts?

  12. #12
    Moderator Daveinthebush's Avatar
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    Default Moving

    When I was in your situation, thinking about moving to Alaska, I asked many of the same questions that you are asking (vehicles and boats). The best advice I got was:

    "Don't bring anything up. Wait until I get to the villiage where I was going to live and see what everyone else is riding. One, there must be a reason they all drive the same thing. Two, someone has probably already broken it and knows how to fix it. Three, there are probably parts laying around from those that have wrecked theirs in crashes and such."

    So after seeing what everyone had I have a Honda Rancher, Honda 90 hp on the boat, Honda snowblower and a Honda gold dredge pump. And I can't complain about any one of them.

    I love the Rancher. Low first gear for hauling firewood, really easy on gas, always runs, fast enough for my aging bones, never got it stuck, and quality.
    "Never again shall one generation of Veterans abandon another".
    Vietnam - June 70 - Feb. 72
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    I have the Honda Rancher 400 GPScape 4X4. GPS for marking your secret hunting spots. Has the electric 4X4 switch for running in either 4X4 or 2X4. Has the ESP so you can either run in automatic or manual shift. Carries 2 nicely over the Tundra while out goose hunting. Good gas mileage. Not very good in snow though. So you will need a sno-go and a 4 wheeler.

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    Default

    All the major companies make good atv's. I would most certaintly go with a 4 wheel drive model and a winch. After that if I lived out of the main towns I would pick the brand that would be easiest to get serviced. Having a good dealer close by is worth its weight in gold.

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    Moderator AKmud's Avatar
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    Default Ha!.....my brains

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Echo View Post
    Gotta go with AK Muds advice.
    Mike
    (apparently having his brains(sp?) swell up has helped him think deep thoughts :-)
    This has been quite an enlightening experience to say the least! Maybe since I'm not thinking about my woman, I am able to concentrate more? Kind of like when you lose one sense, the others sharpen....
    AKmud
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    The porcupine is a peacful animal yet God still thought it necessary to give him quills....

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    Default Take care of your toys; they'll take care of you.

    Whatever you decide on, take the time to take care of it. Winter's provide ample opportunity to inspect bearings, change fluids and filters, upgrade tires/rims or whatever work needs to be done. In my experience a lot of problems can be avoided by just performing regular maintenance.

    Another thought is build an emergency kit for your ATV. Talk to other riders and find out what common problems they see out on the trails. Put together a kit with a spare belt, plugs, tools, tire repair kit, rescue kit, ropes pulleys or whatever you think you need to get out of a jam. Make it portable! If it's too bulky to easily take on your wheeler, you'll be tempted to leave it behind. It does no good to you sitting in the back of your pickup at the trailhead!

    We all have our favorites and swear by them. I love my Suzuki King Quad and other guys curse them. That's fine. Listen to these guys and find what is in your price range and what you're comfortable on. Then go out and enjoy the hell out of yourself. Be smart, be safe and come back alive. I need a hunting partner when I get back!

    ERR

  17. #17
    Member BucknRut's Avatar
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    Smile Thanks a bunch...

    Thanks for your thoughts and opinions guys. I spent some time pricing them out all over the lower 48 and AK and found that they are typically less down here, but can get a used one up there every now and again cheaper. I think I will wait and see if I come across another deal and maybe jump on it, I just wasn't prepared to make a purchase without knowing exactly what I needed. Glad to know I can get something, hopefully cheap, without buying new. Let me know if you come across a good deal!
    Joshua

  18. #18
    Member BigDK's Avatar
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    Hi to answer your ? 3 wheelers are nice one the muskag and tundra and it real depends on where your hunting , 4 wheelers are are for the hard ground terrian so it really depends on you

  19. #19
    Member alaska bush man's Avatar
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    Thumbs up ATV

    Keep it simple......I have used the Honda Fortrax 300 4WD for years........now I have a 88 Honda 350D Foreman and a 94 Kawaski 400 KLF both excellent machines. Good on gas and simple!
    Alaska

  20. #20

    Default Artic Cat

    WE have had six Hondas all the way back whe a 110 three wheller was the largest you could buy, one Yamaha, and a Artic Cat. We still have one of the Hondas 300 Fortrax. I love the Hondas they are bullet proof, but the Artic Cat 500 standard shift ie no belts, is just the toughest SOB in the woods. When you ride with other 4-wheelers the difference is obivious.

    DR B

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