UTV - 400cc to 500cc Class - Are They Worth It?
Any opinions on the performance of the low-end side-by-side UTVs (e.g. 450 rhino, 400/500 Ranger)?
I'm wondering how they perform on the trail compared to their bigger brothers since weights are nearly the same.
From what I understand The 450 rhino performs like the 660 in low speed trail running. It just doesnt reach the same top speed. The 450 rhino is geared lower than the 660.
the Ranger 500 makes more horsepower than the rhino 660 or 700 from looking at independent dyno tests.
I have both a side-by-side (Rzr) and a 400 cc Can Am ATV. I guess the answer to your question depends on what you want to do with the smaller side-by-side. Compared with its larger-engined bretheren, it will have less torque (which is good for pulling things stuck in the trail, like other ATVs / SxS's). Also, if you load it up with a bunch of cargo (or heavy riders), it will have to gear down in order to climb hills, and thus have to start the climb at a slower speed.
Let me give you an example. For my 400, I also have tracks I put on in place of the wheels in order to ride it in the snow. First of all, the ratio between the tracks' bogey wheels and the ATV tires diameters drops the top speed, fuel mileage, and range down by a half. To climb a long and steep hill with the tracks, I often have to stop, shift the ATV into low gear (further limiting my top speed), and then power my way up the hill starting from a stop / low entry speed. Compare that to how a much higher-HP snow machine can tackle the same hill. They can hit the gas, start the bottom of the hill at a good speed, and then spin the tracks a little and blast their way up, using momentum to help them. Since I have little momentum, if I start spinning the tracks much, I end up digging myself in. While the 400cc ATV with tracks feels grossly underpowered for long, steep hill climbs and high-speed runs over frozen lakes, it's fine for tighter trails. My guess is that a small-engined side-by-side would experience limitations similar to what I see with my tracked ATV.
Most riding around here is not particularly horsepower-driven, as we typically don't ride very fast, or climb insanely steep hills (except B-29 trail...). So, back to my original point, what kind of terrain do you intend to drive on, and what kind of other riders do you intend to ride with? (If it's guys on high-powered sport ATVs, you're going to have trouble keeping up.)
When comparing alternatives, I would suggest focusing more on torque than horsepower. Also, look at things like gauges for differences between the small and large-engined versions of the same machine--often the smaller-engined one is geared towards the budget market, and leaves off things like gauges.
Up here your two biggest contributors to trail ability would have to be traction (good tires and 4WD / AWD system) and ground clearance.