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Thread: Entry level machine

  1. #1
    Member aknewbie's Avatar
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    Default Entry level machine

    I have been looking into an entry level 4 wheeler, but I wanted to get some suggestions before I get serious.

    I have some experience on 4 wheelers, mostly in the mountains of afghanistan and riding some other people's
    machines. I would be using it mostly for plowing the driveway, light trail riding, and hunting. I'm not looking to spend
    a ton of money off the bat and I have no issues with buying used as long as it hasnt been abused. This would wind up
    being my wifes machine down the road so being easy to ride would be a plus; she wasnt too keen on the idea of a
    manual shift. Any suggestions as what to look for would be great- Lets hear some of your opinions!

  2. #2
    Member Rich_in_AK's Avatar
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    My advise is if you are going to be using it for hunting then forget about the "entry level machine" concept. Get a Grizzly with EPS (power steering) and you and your wife will both love it now and the future.

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    If I were in the market for a "wife" machine I would buy a used Honda Rubicon or a used Kodiak 450, something that I would enjoy riding myself.

    A few of my friends bought older, cheaper, rougher riding, foot shift machines for their wives and they ended up riding them. Their wives took ownership of the newer ones.
    USN Seabee '90-'95, NRA Life Member

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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    I agree with Happy. Those are two great choices!
    The EPS makes the big rigs work great even for women. I bought my wife a Kodiak 400 cause I got a screaming deal. If I were to do it again I would go w/ the Kodi 450 for its dif lock. The Kodi works great for her and even w/ 3 wheel drive running mudlites it gets through all but the worst.
    I will go w/ a full size machine in the 650-750 range when I buy . For a 180 plus pound man I view the 500cc mark as being the smallest one should go. There are lots of great deals to be had on the used market in that class too.

  5. #5

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    If you want to have a riding partner that will always go riding with you put your wife on the best machine you can afford and you ride the lesser machine. It seems lots of people put the women on the inferior machine and then can;t figure out why they lose interest very quickly. Buy a Yamaha with power steering and you will never look back.

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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by akexpress34 View Post
    Buy a Yamaha with power steering and you will never look back.
    Of course you never look back you are to busy focusing on the trail trying to catch up with your buddies on their Suzuki's

  7. #7
    Member alaskanmoosehunter's Avatar
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    550 FI yamaha griz. You have the option of power steering if you want. It can be tame enough for your wife or wild enough for your wild side. Great machine! Throw out the rest.

    Once you find out the beauty of fuel injection also you'll be hooked. Just go and turn on the key, no choke needed.

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  8. #8
    Member Rich_in_AK's Avatar
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    Good to keep all those Suzuki riders up front anyway. That way you will see them when they get stuck and need your help pulling them out with your Grizzly.

  9. #9
    Member BAR300's Avatar
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    Default not like a snowmachine

    ATV's are not like snowmachines, ie, most of us have bought "entry level snowmachines" not quite what you'd like but what you think you can handle as a newbie. You use it for a year and then move into something bigger and better. Lots of different philosohies on that out there, but seems to be a good plan. With ATV's there is not much of a learning curve, they are much easier to ride, and the throttle does not always have to be your friend. like others have said, get what you want now. for two reasons, one two years from now your finances could change and now your wife won't let you upgrade..... and two if you get an underpowered machine this year it will suck big time if you get stuck in a mud hole. one last piece of advice, Don't buy a Polaris ATV, unless of course you like machines that are heavy, and are prone to sticks piercing the radiator.... good old american engineering on that one.

  10. #10
    Member EagleRiverDee's Avatar
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    I agree with some of the posts here. Don't get a small, inexpensive "entry level" machine, particularly if you're going to use it for hunting. I nearly did that myself and friends talked me out of it by pointing out that you will so quickly master riding that you'll wish very quickly you'd gone with a bigger and better machine.

    My first (and current) ride is a Yamaha 700 Grizzly EFI with EPS. At first it felt big, now I am completely comfortable on it and am so glad I didn't go with a smaller machine that may have felt more comfortable at first but that I would have outgrown in a matter of weeks.

    Riding during hunting season is some of the most challenging riding out there, as it is typically the rainy season and you're ranging further afield. Having a dependable rig with good ground clearance and power enough to haul gear in and meat out is a must. In my opinion. I'd also recommend a good set of mud tires.
    "If snowmachiners would adopt the habits of riding one at a time and not parking at the base of avalanche prone slopes, the number of fatalities would likely be whittled by at least a third, if not by half." ~ Jill Fredston, in the book Snowstruck, In The Grip Of Avalanches.

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    Default "Light trail riding"

    For my wifes first quad ever she got a Polaris sportsman 400. I had ridden alot more than her and i also got a 400 sportsman because she wanted the same exact thing as i got. Spent about $10,000 for the pair, we rode 2000 miles in three summers. Sold them for $7500 because of moving to alaska and didn't have the room to bring em. You get to ride alot more if the wife gets to go. I just bought my son a 350 grizz and it has been a nice machine. After a couple of years of experience on quads, then jump on a bigger one IMO.

  12. #12
    Member atvalaska's Avatar
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    Talking I AGREE WITH LuJon!!

    AND rick in ak!!!...it takes the "leaders" to find out whats out there and save the rest from even going that way.... as it will make for a long day
    WHEN IN DOUBT> THROTTLE OUT.......

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    Default Entry level machine baloney

    Reading all the posts will give you some ideas.
    My advice after having been a "newbie" and buying a Yamaha 450 because "I don't need the biggest and best" is to buy as much machine as your wallet will stand at one whack without payments. That crap about upgrading later is just that, crap! Second ride out and you'll wish you had bought bigger and better. Third ride out and you'll know you screwed up by buying an "entry level" machine. I scoffed at my "whimpy" friend buying power steering until he let me ride it once. That power steering should rank right up there with a winch, ITP Mudlites and handwarmers. Don't buy any of the rack carriers until you've been out several times. There are too many choices and ways to go to let someone else tell you what is going to work for you.

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    Default If I was going to buy another...

    I have a Honda 500 Foreman ES. As my name suggests, I am not a small dude, I am 300 pounds + and 6'2". I have plenty enough power for whereever I want to go.

    I agree with the train of thought, buy as much machine you can afford. I would not go smaller than 500 size.

    I too, don't subscribe to the "entry" level concept. After a couple trail rides with others, you will quickly move beyond entry level and want more.

    If I buy another 4 wheeler, I will not buy one without power steering. If you ride well travelled trails, you will quickly understand and appreciate power steering. I do not have it, and with my new ITP 589 tires, this Foreman can be a chore to drive, if I am on rough trails. If I have my wife with me, it can even been more difficult.

    A 2500 to 3000 pound winch, I think, is a necessity. These rigs are getting pretty heavy, and I am not as young as I once was. I understood this quite well last year when I got stuck. I had to use my winch and it was not operating correctly because it was broken. I was able winch out with extreme difficulty. If I did not have the winch, I would still be walking.

    You have many different perspectives to consider. Good luck on picking one up. I do not think you will regret it. If it turns out it is not for you, 4 wheelers have pretty good resale value.

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    Default Entry level machine

    is there anywhere i can go online to find some entry level DH races, i only know of the ones at Diablo during the summer and i want to find a few more in the northeast

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    I don't follow the popular opinion. Bigger isn't always better. I've had a Yamaha Timberwolf for a long time. Most would classify it as "entry level". It's a great machine and still gets as much or more use than the 6x even though it's smaller, lighter, and less powerful. Sometimes smaller/lighter is better/more fun.

  17. #17
    Member AKMuddy's Avatar
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    I have had machines from 350cc all the way up to my current 700cc Grizzly w/EPS. I will have to say I agree with most folks on here. My wife rides my 700cc Grizzly nearly every weekend while I drive my Rhino 660. Don't be intimidated by the larger displacement machines. Yamaha has a "throttle limiter" screw that allows you to tune down the throttle response on your ATV (I am sure other manufacturers have the same thing...or they should if they don't). I started my son out on a 500cc Sportsman (I will never buy Polaris again) when he was 10 years old. I limited him to 10mph while he was getting comfortable with the bike. He is 14 now and loves the Grizzly 700 and the Rhino 660.

    My advice is to go shopping for ATVs and take your wife along. Pick out a few quads you like and let her weigh in on the issue as well...since it will eventually be her bike. I would HIGHLY recommend a quad with power steering and a good 4x4 system (I like Yamaha). Once you have ridden all day with power steering you would be hard pressed to ever want to go back to a regular quad. My wife and I can ride all day (40 - 100 miles) and not get worn out by the trail conditions.

    Any quad on the market will get you down the trail and back...but each quad will give you a different experience doing it. Good luck! If you do choose to look at Yamaha I would suggest the dealer in Wasilla...they have treated me right and continue to provide the highest level of service after the sale.
    2007 Yamaha Rhino 660
    2007 Yamaha Grizzly 700 SE w/EPS
    http://www.grizzlycentral.com/

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    You made an important distinction. 40-100 miles? Around my place you'd be hard pressed to ride 5-6 miles in a day. No trails, just forest and an occasional wet meadow. Pick which two trees you want to go between and make tracks. Smaller/lighter has it's benefits.

    A 4-wheeler isn't a bike. Especially if it has floor boards rather than foot pegs!

  19. #19
    Member AKMuddy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Pid View Post
    You made an important distinction. 40-100 miles? Around my place you'd be hard pressed to ride 5-6 miles in a day. No trails, just forest and an occasional wet meadow. Pick which two trees you want to go between and make tracks. Smaller/lighter has it's benefits.

    A 4-wheeler isn't a bike. Especially if it has floor boards rather than foot pegs!
    There is no replacement for displacement!

    And most of us that hunt and ride don't go to places that you can only ride 5-6 miles...most folks just walk those distances. I am fortunate enough the have a 50 mile trail in my back yard, but I also ride Sutton, Eureka, Petersville, Jim Creek, Eklutna, Hatcher's Pass, etc. Riding 5-6 miles a day is not really enough to distinguish what a quad feels like unless it is mud bog or marsh and even then just about any ATV would fit your needs. Spend 6-8hrs on a quad and cover 50+ miles and then you will probably change your mind.

    If I were going to go with the lightest quad I could find I would go with something like the Yamaha Raptor 700. Those quads go just about anywhere a skilled rider is willing to take them except for deep water crossings (which I tend to find on every ride). My Grizzly 700 is only 600lbs. That is pretty light when you compare it to the 700cc class Arctic Cats and Popos (all 725lbs+). I think the Suzuki comes in at the same weight as the Yamaha and has a very similar if not identical 4x4 system.
    2007 Yamaha Rhino 660
    2007 Yamaha Grizzly 700 SE w/EPS
    http://www.grizzlycentral.com/

  20. #20
    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    My only gripe w/ the KQ is the rear braking system. Really a sealed disk drum thing?? Why? Honestly is there a single racing series of any type of vehicle that uses something like that? If they would slide a quality disk braking system back there then I would be a lot more comfortable picking one up!

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