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  1. #1
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    Default Opinions

    I'm looking to get an ATV and I have 3 that I like. Each has something alittle different that is appealing. I need some opinions on my choices. I'm looking at the Polaris Sportsman , Yamaha Grizzly and the Arctic Cat all in the 500cc to 700cc. If you have one of these machines I would love to know why you choose it, or didn't choose it. Thanks. (mind you these are only opinions).

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    Default Opinions are like ...

    politicians...scared ya, didn't I? you thought I'd employ colorful language.

    We own a very nice unmatched pair of Yamaha Grizzlies...a 550 and a 700, both w/ Mudlite xtr's and EPS. 26's on the 550 and 27's on the 700.

    We are new to the ATV scene. Our experience is very limited, these two bikes being the first we've owned. Not to start a brand war...I can't imagine any better wheelers...several just as good but none better. What could possibly make them better would be, perhaps, not having a loose nut on the handle bars. We don't ride at million miles per hour with our hair on fire though...we save that for the snowmachine.

    My wife and I did KRPUA yesterday...my third and her first trip (I told ya we was new!) We went all the way to terminal moraine...Wifey didn't feel like she had the stuffings beat out of her...love that power steering.

    Try out the ones you like to narrow it down further, then go with the dealer and service department you trust...we like Alaska House of Yamaha out here in Big Lake. Cuz, no matter what anyone sez about how tough and rugged this or that brand is...stuff happens, and you'll be breaking things off it real soon.
    Natural Selection begins with you!

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    Member AKDoug's Avatar
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    I own a Cat 500, my brother has a Polaris 500. I can't emphatically say that my Cat 500 is better. It does have better ground clearance and weighs less. There are those that say the Polaris is a maintenance hog, but my bro's ride has been as reliable as my Cat to this point.


    Now, after riding a Yamaha Grizzly with power steering, I will not be buying another ATV without it. At the end of the day the power steering really shines. Hardly any bump steer, your tires aren't constantly being yanked around in the ruts, and the ability to steer easier at crawling speeds, make it a superior design. Cruising through the net you will find hardly anyone complaining about the durability of the design. I'm just holding out for Cat to go to powersteering. If I had to buy today I would buy a Yamaha. If you are not looking at a powersteering model, then it's a tossup between Cat and Yamaha.
    Bunny Boots and Bearcats: Utility Sled Mayhem

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    Default Polaris

    Polaris is the only true four wheel drive, I ride with all other brands and they just don't go where I can. Three wheel drive just doesn't compete with four wheel drive.I had a sportsman 500 for 12 years,not one problem and I changed the drive belt one time.

    That being said I just bought a polaris 800 six wheeler and, if your going to hunt with it go the extra mile and get a polaris six wheeler. I can pull a broke down three wheel drive four wheeler through stuff that they can't even drive through when there running. With a whole moose in the bed of the six wheeler.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Captain T View Post
    Polaris is the only true four wheel drive, I ride with all other brands and they just don't go where I can. Three wheel drive just doesn't compete with four wheel drive.
    I am going to assume you are ignoring Yamaha's "diff lock" feature which is most certainly true four wheel drive.
    "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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    We have two Yamaha Grizzly 700's EPS EFI. Love them!

    Here's my breakdown of pro's and con's for this rig:

    Cons:

    Body panels are weakly riveted together with plastic rivets which have a tendency to break.

    Front and rear end are prone to severe damage if struck by a Polaris. (yes, we know that from experience).

    Tendency to stall at low rpm, such as when crawling over difficult terrain when you are feathering the throttle in four low.

    The seat doesn't go very far forward and the gas tank rises up right in front of it...not a problem for a woman but I've heard it can be a problem for guys.

    Pros:
    Power Steering. At the time we bought these, they were the only make that had it. Others do now, but Yamaha's PS is very good.

    Engine braking. It's good. Some other makes have more aggressive engine braking (Polaris' new model, Can-Am) but I don't want to go too slow, and I think the Yamaha goes just slow enough down the hills. In fact, much of the time I'm actually applying gas to override the braking system.

    Power to weight ratio: In my belief, no other four wheeler has as good a power to weight ratio as the Grizz 700.

    2wd, 4wd and diff lock features. You can shift between 2wd and 4wd on the fly, likewise you can move between low to high gear on the fly. Just briefly let off the throttle when you do it. Diff lock is amazing for when you truly need traction. Most of the time 4wd is good enough but when it's not diff lock will do it.

    The belt NEVER smokes. Other brands- Polaris comes to mind here- smoke the belt when doing rock crawling in high gear. Using low gear is option with the Grizz, not mandatory when crawling. We've never smoked a belt yet, under any conditions, and we've ridden just about everything you can think of. When I first bought the machine I tried to buy a spare belt from our Yamaha salesman and he told me I'd never need it. So far, he's been right on.

    Disc brakes all four corners. Need I say more on that?

    Cushy ride, nice seat, although I tend to ride standing up anyway.

    High air intake makes it hard to drown it. We've ridden in some deep water and never drowned it yet- had water right up to the top of the fenders before. No problems.

    Easy to service. We do our own oil changes, air filter changes at home. I think other models are just as easy or easier to service but had to toss that in there.

    So far our rigs have been extremely reliable. We've been running them for 3 seasons now - we ride spring, summer, fall and put hundreds of miles on our machines each year. We've had zero problems with them and have put nothing into them besides annual maintenance (lube oil filter) and of course the necessary repairs after the Polaris collision.

    As a side note, if you're looking for an underpowered, mechanically flawed but rather heavy tank of a four wheeler, a Polaris will suit you fine.
    "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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    Whatever you choose I highly recommend going w/ EFI! I had my cat upside down in a creek yesterday and after 15 minutes we got it righted, gave it 5 minutes to settle down a then it fired right up! The Polaris's seem to have come a long way over the years my uncle has a 500 HO X2 and it has done great for him! To be honest we havn't had any problem driving either the popo X2, my big AC or my wifes little Yammi Kodiak pretty much anywhere we wanted to take em!
    For me power steering would be great but honestly I purchased two wheelers complete w/ aftermarket wheels and both under 4 years old and less than 400 miles. The TOTAL cost including trailer was about what a new Griz w/ EPS would cost me alone!

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    Member AKDoug's Avatar
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    My Cat is true 4wd when the front diff lock is locked in. I rarely need it, though.

    As for EFI. I wouldn't pay extra for it, but most new rides are coming with it. My 500 has been on it's side several times with no issues, steep climbs and descents with no issues, cold starts with no issues..etc.. all with a carb.
    Bunny Boots and Bearcats: Utility Sled Mayhem

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    Default had a 2004 sportsman 500

    for 2 years. it was great when it ran. had to replace the battery 2x a year even with a trickle charger on it. pulled the battery except for when I was gonna use it and still ate them. sold it for a loss just to get rid of the frustration and never looked back.

    might have got a lemon, but they won't get my money ever again.


    Can't speak for the others. For my $ ... I'll be looking for a pair of old suzuki king quads. they aren't the biggest, baddest or the most comfy to ride, but they don't quit and you can't stop them. No really, you can't stop them because the rear brakes suck! HA but that's easy to fix.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bigbear View Post
    I'm looking to get an ATV and I have 3 that I like. Each has something alittle different that is appealing. I need some opinions on my choices. I'm looking at the Polaris Sportsman , Yamaha Grizzly and the Arctic Cat all in the 500cc to 700cc. If you have one of these machines I would love to know why you choose it, or didn't choose it. Thanks. (mind you these are only opinions).
    Well, I would like to weigh in on this thread if I may. I would like to first state that I am partial toward Yamaha...just wanted to be honest and get that out there first. I have owned Yamaha (350cc, 660ccx2, & 700cc) and Polaris (500cc H.O.). I have also ridden Arctic Cat (400cc & 700cc H1) in the last two years.

    Now that the disclaimers are out of the way...

    My first experience with Polaris was less than good. It was bad enough to make me want to never own another product from Polaris. Build quality is poor in all areas. Polaris weighs about 75lbs - 100lbs more than it should. This additional weight comes into play on long technical rides and when you get stuck (and you will). Ride quality is good but other companies have come a long way in comfort in the last three years. Polaris can no long claim the best ride on the trail. That being said, Polaris recently redesigned it's quads. I have seen the 850cc Sportsman in action on several occasions. It is impressive on power alone...but it is still a Polaris so durability is a concern. Time will tell if the new Polaris quads are up to task.

    Arctic Cat...I will admit they have improved over the last 5 years....but, they are extremely heavy when steering at low or high speeds. Not to mention the actual weight of these quads. The weight of an Arctic Cat rivals that of the Polaris. These bikes are built like tanks...with the size to match. They are a little too bulky when you are riding in narrow, technical, situations...think 3, 4, & 5 point turns when in the narrow stuff. But, I would take one of these quads over a Polaris any day!!! Build quality seem decent. Other than the heavy steering (think about pushing a large rock up hill) the only other problems I have seen with the Arctic Cats is slipping belts and deep water crossings (Cats don't like water).

    That leaves us with one more quad...the Yamaha. In my opinion, you will not find a better quad on the market for the money. The Grizzly 700 may not be the best quad at any one particular task but it is the best "overall" quad on the market at all tasks. Despite what was posted earlier, Polaris does not own the market on true 4 wheel drive. Yamaha, Suzuki, Polaris, Arctic Cat, and others all have "TRUE" 4 wheel drive. Honda is the only quad that does not have a true 4 wheel drive mode as far as I know. Yamaha 4 wheel drive works like this...2wd, limited slip 4 wheel drive (actually 3 wheel drive), & fully locking differential 4 wheel drive (all wheels pulling with full power). You can go from 2wd to limited slip 4 wheel drive with the push of a button (on the fly) on the Yamaha. To go to fully locked 4x4, it is recommended you come to a full stop...but I have switched when going 5mph or less with no issues. Seat comfort on the Grizzly is among the best in the market today. Plane and simple, you can ride all day and your butt doesn't feel like you rode all day. The ground clearance on the Grizzly is good also. It comes in at 11.8" with stock 25" tires. I would recommend going to 26" tires which will give you an extra inch or more of ground clearance, depending on what tire you choose.

    There were a couple "cons" mentioned by EagleRiverDee that I would like to address...

    Cons:

    "Body panels are weakly riveted together with plastic rivets which have a tendency to break."
    This can be a "pro" if you look at it the right way...The rivets are built to "give" or break...to save the plastic. I have broken several of these rivets. I spent $2.85 replacing these rivets. If I would have had to replace the plastic, it would have cost me over $300.00. If you want a little better constructed rivets go get the rivets that Suzuki makes. They fit the same way the factory Yamaha rivets do but they are a little more "heavy duty" and will tend to last a little longer. Dee, this might fix your issue...hope it helps.

    Front and rear end are prone to severe damage if struck by a Polaris. (yes, we know that from experience). Can't help here except to say "stay out of the way of the Polaris".

    Tendency to stall at low rpm, such as when crawling over difficult terrain when you are feathering the throttle in four low. This issue is well documented on the internet. Some Grizzlys seem to suffer from this while others don't. I had this issue for the first 200 miles on my quad but it has gone away since. There are a few threads out there on the fix. I believe you can replace the "tip sensor" valve and the problem goes away. Like I said, it went away on my bike all on it's own. Yamaha seems to have addressed this issue and fixed it in the 2009 models. Should not be a major issue anymore.

    The seat doesn't go very far forward and the gas tank rises up right in front of it...not a problem for a woman but I've heard it can be a problem for guys. Well, I have to agree with Dee. The new seat design does make things a little "crowded" for most guys, but there is a fix. I replaced my handle bars with some Rox pivot risers and some flat ATV race style bars. The overall height is the same as stock but the adjust-ability not only fixes the issue but makes the Grizzly one of the best handling ATVs on the market.

    Dee also mentioned power to weight ratio...the Grizzly comes in at around 600lbs (dry weight) and around 648lbs (wet weight). Other than the Suzuki, most similar class quads come in over 700lbs (dry weight)...the advantages are obvious.

    All this, and I have not even mentioned "power steering"...not going to say much on this subject...but I will say this: I will NEVER own another quad without power steering...it does make that much difference! It's not about ease of steering. It's about how you feel at the end of the day after a 70 mile ride and how your quad handles in the slow technical stuff. Don't let the "Macho" guys tell you any different. I have been riding quads for more than 28 years. Nothing compares to power steering. It is the single best feature on quads since 4x4 and the auto tranny was invented.

    Now that we got all my bias out of the way your choice comes down to one more important issue...service after the sale. You can buy the best quad in the world and it's not worth any amount of money if you get crappy service from your dealer after the sale. Go talk to each dealer and see what "feel" you get from them. Ask them about service after your purchase. Your dealer will make more difference in your ATV experience than any other factor. Once again, I like Yamaha in this area as well. I prefer the valley but I have had good experiences with Anchorage and Soldotna as well.

    Good luck...ride each machine before you buy it. Let us know if you have any other questions.
    2007 Yamaha Rhino 660
    2007 Yamaha Grizzly 700 SE w/EPS
    http://www.grizzlycentral.com/

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    Just so you know what I am talking about when it comes to replacing the stock handle bars...here is a picture:
    Attached Images Attached Images
    2007 Yamaha Rhino 660
    2007 Yamaha Grizzly 700 SE w/EPS
    http://www.grizzlycentral.com/

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    Default Thanks

    Just wanted to say, "Thank you", to everyone. It's much appreciated. I'm looking for a good all around machine, i.e.......trail riding, hunting, snow plowing, etc........I'll be taking everyone's opinion to heart. Thanks again.

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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    When Cat puts out a TBX w/ power steering I may just have to go and pick up my first truly new wheeler.

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    I would personally go with a 450 or 550 Grizzley. Decent dealer in Anchorage. I won't go Polaris due to the dealer. I know nothing about the Cat.

    Smaller machines can be much easier on fuel, easier to handle and more enjoyable to ride. I had 2 Polaris 500 H/O's and enjoyed them both. Plenty of power for most terrain.

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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    Didn't see this mentioned so far but if you plan on towing a meat trailer the Polaris has THE WORST hitch receiver!! A buddy of mine was towing a pac rat trailer about 35 mph on a smooth road and suddenly the trailer took of on it's own. Initially they thought it cam unpinned they drug it out of the brush to find that the entire hitch receiver had ripped lose of the machine!! I am not sure about the Griz but the AC uses a 2" truck style hitch receiver while the popo uses a little metal 1" deal.

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    Well I have to say a few things about Arctic Cats... Unless you have put several thousand of miles on one like I have some really don't know what they are talking about. The AC is one of the best all around ATV out there that is as dependable as they come. And not just dependable riding trails out at Jims or somewhere else. They are a work horse and are a real 4x4 utility ATV. But have some real disagrements on the handleing and other aspects that were made light of. First off the weight is not and issue at all. Its power to weight is the best out there. No they are not the fastest but any means but I still get out there tooling along with the wife while she in on her 650 TRV. I have a 05 H1. Someone mentioned cushy ride on the yamahas. They are but all the ATVs with full independent suspension is cushy. I know I rode a yamaha staight axle for many years before. But as for suspention AC has the most articulation of any of the ATVs. Full 10 inchs all around. Now lets talk power steering. Not needed. And I have drove a grizz with powersteering. No different from my 05 H1. One has to set the suspention correctly on any A arm machine. This will make the machine steer correcly and easy along with having 6ply radials. Stock bias tires on all of the atv tend to roll under the machine. Water......Not sure where you get your info that cats do not like water. Since 05 Cats have had and still have the highest level of belt intake, exhast, engine intake on the market. Its at the handle bars. I have never or know any one else with a water issue and the belts. The older 500 that had a suzuki motor had some issues with the belt exhaust. But that was how the suzuki tranny was designed and still is by suzuki. AC do not use anything from suzuki any more. Its all cat American made now 550 and up. I can say I have never had to do a 5 point turn on my H1 on tight trails. That is a exageration but some means. Even the wife on here 650 TRV (two Up) does not have to do that. Other things to consider. One of the mags about 6 months ago did a rollover test on several ATVs. Well guess what they were all knowing that the AC had to be the most tippest on off camber just because of the weight thing and ground cleanace. What they did find by quite supprise was that the AC was the most stable by far than any of them. That is because the over all width and that the suspention work as it is supposed to. No one even came close. But if your looking to go so fast with your hair on fire and not care about all the aspects get something else than a AC. Mine will go fast enough for me anyway. But where I do know mine will still be together when 40+ miles in with my meat wagon going to moose camp I know that it will not give up on me. The other little things that it comes with a real 2 inch reciever hitch built into the frame. Also AC has about the most advance number of attachments you can buy for a ATV. Something for every body. So take this from some one that has put sevral thousand miles on a AC. Look at them all. But before you buy anything take the time and go up to Alaska Mountain Majic in Talkeetna. I am just about sure they will make you a great deal. Its worth the drive. They have treated my wife and myself well. Will be up ther this weekend to pick some stuff up from Heather and hopefully find our retirement property to build a house on too. AKDoug you will be soon having another full time customer soon. Even though we have shopped plenty of time at the hardware store. They live and run the business right from their home off of the parks hwy. And they are open 365 days a year.

  17. #17

    Default Fuel consumption

    Smaller machines can be much easier on fuel, easier to handle and more enjoyable to ride. I had 2 Polaris 500 H/O's and enjoyed them both. Plenty of power for most terrain.
    Do smaller machines really get better mileage? On my Grizzly 700 I can easily get 70+ miles on a day trip without the need of filling up. When we go out with friends with smaller machines I see them having to press the throttle down all the way to get up some of the hills. With the Grizzly 700 I barely have to hit the throttle to climb the same hills.

    On flat, hard-pack terrain I would think that smaller machines could get better fuel consumption, but on pretty much any trail in Alaska which is comprised of mud and hills, I question whether the smaller machines will get better mileage - they simply have to work so much harder than the big machines. That is especially the case if the machine is towing anything.

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    I can push my H1 to over 100 miles on a tank. My wife right at 100 miles.. Both 650s. Mine has a 6.5 gal...hers is 5.5 gal..Smaller useally means lot smaller tanks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AKMuddy View Post
    Just so you know what I am talking about when it comes to replacing the stock handle bars...here is a picture:
    Thanks for the info on the Grizz stalling problem, rivet options and handlebar options. I appreciate that.
    "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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    Gary- I look forward to meeting you. Dave and Heather at Alaska Mountain Magic are very close friends of mine. It's a major reason why I own Cats. Yep, they are really looking to sell some wheelers and they will deal right now.


    We'll have to agree to disagree on the power steering thing. I've ridden both and have owned a Cat 500 since 2006. I can't wait for Cat to get power steering and it will happen soon since Polaris now has it also. I don't find the Cat steering to be hard. I do find the "grabiness" in rutted out trails and rocks to be really tiring by the end of the day. I'm running agressive mud tires and I can counted on the handlebars getting completely yanked out of my hands at least once every ride. I'm not getting any younger and my wrists are hammered from a lifetime of riding. PS really makes it nice.


    On your other comments I totally agree. The machine is built like a tank and has served me very well.
    Bunny Boots and Bearcats: Utility Sled Mayhem

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