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Thread: Need some ATV input

  1. #1
    Member Dan in Alaska's Avatar
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    Default Need some ATV input

    My wife and I are hoping to get some 4-wheelers this year. We've been looking at various models, and I would appreciate some input on the following models:

    Kawasaki 360 Praire & 650 Brute Force

    Honda Rancher AT & Rubicon

    Suzuki 500 Vinson


    The main features we are looking at are 4x4, automatic shift, and the ability to shift between 2WD and 4WD. Can you folks enlighten me on the finer points of these machines?

  2. #2
    Member jakec5253's Avatar
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    Default the right ATVs for you

    This question has been discussed quite a bit here, and there is a lot of answers to be found searching through old posts. Everyone is going to put in a plug for the ATV that they own, and some will tell you that you have to buy the one they have. I think that most ATVs made today are good quality, and it comes down to the Chevy vs Dodge vs Ford thing. If all the machines that you listed have the features you are looking for, i would test drive them all, see which ones you like the best, and then see who will give you the best deal. Dealer location might also be a deciding factor, it is nice to live reasonably close to the dealer of which brand you buy, just incase you need any warranty work, servicing, and things like that.
    I have an '04 rubicon GPScape, and my wire has an '06 400 kodiak, and i am very happy with both machines.

  3. #3
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    Talking

    I'd haveto agree that it's all up to you and what's most important in your book. I purchased a 2007 Honda Foreman 500 S 4x4 b/c I wanted the biggest bike I could get with a manual transmission. I've owned 3 other Honda machines and to this day they all still run great. Honda's aren't known for the smoothest ride b/c of the solid rear axle, but few will dispute the durability and longevity of life that Hondas have.

    That being said most of the other manufacturers bikes are faster than Hondas of equal engine displacement. Most of the others have gone to independant rear suspensions that allow for a more comfortable ride if you're going the distance. Some offer features such as power steering (Honda included), front lockers, and hi and lo gears. In the end it's trying to balance the scales of what you want vs. what you need.

    All in all.............................I'd go with the HONDA!!

  4. #4

    Default New rides

    Think I'll just echo Jake's comments. The market is to competitive to have any "bad" machines. However, there are two levels of manufacturers anymore though. The established brands - Polaris, Yamaha, Kawasaki, Honda, Arctic Cat, Suzuki, Can-Am (used to be Bombadier but no one can remember how to spell it;-) - are at one level and the new breed of imports are at a different level. For up here, I would (based on watching some and pulling others home) only go with the established brands for now. And your stated needs rule the new brands out anyway.
    My suggestions - Don't go big for the sake of big, if you can't get it done with 500 cc.s it ain't gonna happen with 800 either (or you really should re-evaluate what you are trying to do). Get at least 1 winch between the two machines (and carry a towstrap). It wouldn't bother me at all if the machine I like the most was air-cooled and didn't have EFI (less to go wrong, I said carry a towstrap - not want to use it). The switchable 2-4 wheel drive is a must as far as I am concerned.
    That said - see what kind of deal you can get from the dealers!
    Mike
    (take a few rides with the Alaska ATV Club (www.alaskaatvclub.org), we are pretty friendly folks)
    Mike
    www.alaskaatvclub.org
    There is a faster way off the mountain, might hurt a little though.

  5. #5
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    Default Take a look at Polaris

    I ride an 06 Polaris Sportsman 800 EFI. Take a look at one of them or the 500cc EFI. The 4x4 is probably the easiest on the market to operate and you don't need any extra switches, buttons or levers to lock the front diff. Also, I agree with everyone else, a winch is a must. I have a warn 3.0 with a warn multi-mount. I can switch my winch from front to back in about 15 seconds, you never know where a winch is needed.

  6. #6

    Default

    "The market is to competitive to have any "bad" machines."

    You've got to be kidding. Polaris and Arctic Cat are junk, everything they make is junk. Polaris quit making PWC's because they had such a bad rep that sales were too low to keep them in production. I don't think Suzuki and Kawasaki are very good either as far as long term reliability goes. If someone wants a machine that is going to have high initial quality AND last for years to come without working on them constantly, Honda and Yamaha are the only way to go. Yamahas, in my opinion, last longer, but you can't go wrong with Hondas.

  7. #7

    Default

    Oh yeah, I used to have a Kawa 360 Prairie, I got it almost for free in a trade, and while I am not going to put it down, I wouldn't exactly praise it either. The top speed brand new was 35 mph, which is fine if all you do is woods riding. It shifted kinda rough, and it just gradually lost power and speed as it got older, which wasn't very old, I mean, it got noticably weaker in months. I only used it for one summer and a fall before I got rid of it. It always started tho, and it was "okay" overall, but you ride that and then go to a Grizzly 660 or a Honda Foreman 500, man, there is no comparison. Every Polaris in my small town, snowmachine and 4wheeler, is now or has been this winter, broken down, including my nearest neighbors brand new 800 Sportsman. There is another guy I know whose brand new Arctic Cat Bearcat Turbo last exactly one month of riding before the turbo went out, which caused some other problems. There is a lot of misinformation being spread about brands and a lot of people just don't ever come to find out about some of the garbage that is being sold out there. I would never own another Chevy car or truck, Mercury outboard, Polaris or Arctic Cat anything, Volvo, or SAAB.

  8. #8

    Talking

    I own two of those "pieces of junk" which have thousands of miles on them and have never been to the shop for repairs, I must have the only two good pieces of junk made by Polaris.
    2004 700 Sportsman
    2004 500 ATP
    Frank
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    www.wildroselodge.com

  9. #9
    Member AKLoser's Avatar
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    Default

    Thats ok, I own the other 2 "pieces of junk" Arctic Cats. 03 500 Auto and a 05 500 Auto. Never been to the shop. 1850 miles on the 03 and 869 on the 05
    Live life now, or forever wish you did!

  10. #10

    Default

    A 2004 is practically brand new. Will it still be running 3 years from now? There are four Polaris 6x6's where I live, I know the people who own them, and they have all broken down multiple times within the first three years, with an assortment of problems, some major. I just got rid of a 600 RMK snowmachine a month ago that had very little mileage and gave me nothing but trouble, wouldn't start if it was colder than -20, etc, and the story goes on ad nauseum with every one I have ever known who owns a Polaris. Maybe you ARE the owner of the only good Polaris.

  11. #11
    Member tyrex13's Avatar
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    Default

    You've got to be kidding. Polaris and Arctic Cat are junk, everything they make is junk. Polaris quit making PWC's because they had such a bad rep that sales were too low to keep them in production.
    I'm pretty sure all of that is untrue. I've owned at least 4 different Polaris snowmobiles and currently have 2 Cat sleds and a Polaris 500 Sportsman. I have considered all of them to be quality built machines and have enjoyed them all. I'll trade what little reliability my Sportsman gives up to a Honda anyday for the performance difference.

  12. #12

    Default

    I think we have gotten away from the original reason for this thread, thoughts on Honda, Kawasaki, and Suzuki. If you look at some of the stuff that Kawasaki and Suzuki puts their name on, like Kawasaki generators and power tools, or Suzuki Sidekicks, it makes me think, "If they would build junk like that, or put their name on it, where did they cut corners in the building of their high profile stuff like race bikes and ATV's?" Of the three the threadstarter mentioned, Honda would be the only choice I could recommend. I won't even comment on Polaris and Arctic Cat anymore, they might have high initial quality, but I don't see too many older ones still running without a lot of work.

  13. #13
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    Default

    I have owned 4 wheel atv's since 1985. These ranged from my first 2 wheel drive Honda to my present Arctic Cat 700. Previous brands owned were Suzukis and Polaris. Polaris atv's incuded a couple of 6 wheelers and 3 four wheelers.
    My son and wife both presently both ride Suzuki King quad 700's.
    None of the machines I ever owned left any of us stranded anywhere anytime. The only machine we ever had to tow out of the woods was a Polaris 6 wheeler that the owner did not like to adjust the chains on and he wore down the middle sprocket. Not a fault of the machine, but of the owner.
    The most capable stock machines were the Polaris. I give the credit for this there more aggressive mud tires than the other brands.
    Once you get past the stock tires which are usually the limiting factor for traction you can change your machine to suit your needs.
    Our present King Quads and AC 700 will go places I would never attempt to go with my 6 wheeler. I give the credit for this to the aftermarket tires we added and the extra ground clearance the independent suspension offers. The down side to the larger 700s with after market tires are they heavy. My AC is difficult to steer at low speeds with the 27in tires on it but it will go through mud holes that will stick the King Quads with the 26 inch tires.
    If I were going to buy a very first new atv for hunting and playing I would choose either the Polaris 500 efi or the Suzuki 700 King Quad. If you want a machine that has superb racks and lots of carrying capacity then go with the Arctic Cat.
    I never owned a Yamaha nor Kawasaki so I can not comment on them.
    In my humble opinion probably the most durable 4 wheel drive atv ever made was the older style Suzuki King Quad with its 3 speed transfer box and 280 cc motor. But it didnt have the power to spin the larger tires that most people like these days.
    I presently own a Honda car and a Honda motorcycle but for some reasons their ATV's just dont do anything for me.
    Find a dealer who treats you well and go from there.

    Do not think just anyone can get on a atv and make it perform. There is a large learning curve with these rigs. It takes time to learn how to drive it,where to drive it, and how to keep it from getting stuck.
    Tennessee

  14. #14
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    Default Pieces of junk

    I guess there are alot of us up here who got the only good POS's up here. I had an 03 Sportsman 500 with no problem and my Sportsman 800 hasn't been in the shop except for regular maintenance. My 05 600 RMK starts in any temp (I've started it all last week and this week in -40). My friends Sportsman 400 was used as a submarine and it still runs fine after we drained it.

  15. #15
    Member Dirtofak's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by profishguide View Post
    I own two of those "pieces of junk" which have thousands of miles on them and have never been to the shop for repairs, I must have the only two good pieces of junk made by Polaris.
    2004 700 Sportsman
    2004 500 ATP
    I rode a Kawi 360 a few years ago, I was VERY impressed with the steering. Seemingly effortless.

    I have 2 Polaris machines left. Both 500 HO. Used to have 4 but ran out of room to store them.

    No real problems with the machines. If there is any distaste it would be with the dealer.

  16. #16
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    Default New ATVs

    Dan,
    If I was looking to pick up a pair of new machines I'd be looking hard at the Suzuki KQ 450 or the Yamaha 450 Griz. If you're into the big bore machines the big brothers of these guys are hardcore. I just don't need one that large. Both of these models have independent suspensions front and rear, so they ride real nice. Their trannys do pretty well when descending slopes. The both are 4wd selectable, and the kicker for me is the locking front differential. If my '01 king quads ever need replacing these are the ones I'll be scoping large. Good luck with the shopping, it's almost as much fun as riding!

  17. #17
    Member Bear Buster's Avatar
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    Default get junk and ride alone!

    I got over 3500 very hard miles on my grizzly and love it, get what you can afford. Just remember this when your riding or hunting with people that don't want to screw around with someone having constent breakdowns

  18. #18
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    And never purchase a more capable machine than the rest of your buddies own.
    Cause you will just spend more time pulling them all out of mudholes
    Tennessee

  19. #19
    Mark
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    Quote Originally Posted by profishguide View Post
    .....I must have the only two good pieces of junk made by Polaris.....
    Sorry. I got one, too.

    1993 Polaris Indy Wide Track. It's still going, and I ride it hard. Never fails to start. Odometer broke at 5,000 miles, about 5 years ago.

  20. #20
    Moderator AKmud's Avatar
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    Default

    I have a couple of the "good pieces of junk" too. My '98 700 RMK has over 4000 miles on it and has only let me down when I was doing things I shouldn't have. Through the years I have had several Polaris snowmachines and most recently I added a 2004 6x6 to the garage which has yet to let me down.

    Like Snowwolfe said, regular maintenance is the key. If you get a more complex machine, it will require more maintenance. If you want to just turn the key and go, go with something very simple.

    For the record, I also have owned two Suzuki quads and still own one Honda quad. Each of them have their issues, just find what you like.
    AKmud
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