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Honda Foreman/Rancher opinions, please

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  • Honda Foreman/Rancher opinions, please

    I was just wondering what you more experienced trail hands thought about the Honda Atv's? This would be used mainly for freighting, pulling a small trailer, etc. Just safe stuff. I'm got a bum neck, it doesn't turn much since the surgery, so I tend to take the easy way, even if it means going a couple of miles out of the way. A couple of guys said that the solid rear axles that the Hondas have are much better for hauling and pulling trailers.
    Just so you know my level of involvement my last atv was a 1985 Suzuki
    Quadrunner. Before that an 83 Big Red. Thanks in advance for your suggestions.....

  • #2
    Not that experienced but for what it is worth -
    Honda has had an excellent reputation for reliability. Some people say the reliability gap has closed, I don't know. My Rancher never let me down, only in the garage now for some smoking after 3000 miles. I think all the manufacturers still have at least one model of SRA, maybe not the biggest engine-wise but in the range you are asking about.
    A lot of old timers are riding Hondas and most of the machines in the bush are Hondas, usually Ranchers and Foremans. That has to mean something.
    There is a faster way off the mountain, might hurt a little though.:eek:


    • #3

      Mike has it right, a lot of people in the bush tend to ride Honda's which has to mean something because they tend to not be the cheapest atv's out there. I've ridden Honda's for over 15 years now and they are a very reliable machine. I've owned a 92 Fourtrax 300, a 93 Fourtrax 300 4x4, and now currently own an 04 Foreman 450ES 4x4 and couldn't be happier. With that being said, I don't believe that their is a bad machine out there, some have more frills than others but thats about it. I use mine mainly for hunting and just plain old trail riding, it's not the fastest machine out there but it does the job. My wife owns a Rancher 350ES 4x4 and I really like that little bike, when you hit the throttle on that baby you better hang on cause she can fly and it's just plain fun to ride. Only thing with her's is it's full time 4wd but that's not a big deal, she handles it very well. Good luck on your search and let us know what you get.


      • #4
        Honda's are great

        I agree with AKHunter45, the Honda's are great rigs. I had the same 92 Foutrax 300, it was my first 4x4 hunting type of atv and to say "it got beat up" would be an understatement. (It was my learning bike). It NEVER gave me engine, tranny or drivetrain problems, never! Which is what Honda is famous for. I now have an 04 Foreman 450S and couldn't be happier. It's a utility (work) quad, not a dune ripper or even a sport quad. It's plenty fast enough for me and it's made for work. It's top speed (+/- 35mph), it rides a little stiffer than some, and doesn't have all of the frills. To me, there's less stuff to break on it while out in the woods. It's a simple 5 speed with all shafts, NO belts. I change the oil every Spring (Apr) and Fall (Oct) whether it needs it or not. When the brakes finally go, I'm considering the disc conversion kit for it. Other than that, I love it. I put a K&N filter, 27" mudlites, skid plates, steel cv protectors, Ramsey winch and hot grips on it the day that I bought it. It needs NOTHING else.. My cousin has a 01 350 Rancher that is thrashed. He had it a week and rolled it down a mountain in excess of 25 rolls. There were 3 of us right there watching, that's NOT a misprint. When we got down to it, the frame was broken, the racks and plastic were all wasted and a front wheel had broken off. The neatest part was that it was still idling, THAT"S A HONDA!!! It's self fixed and uglier than hell now, but he still rides it. IMHO, Honda's rock!!


        • #5
          I have a 400 Rancher GPScape and it has been very reliable. The only problem with it has been when it is below zero degree in temp. it has to warm up before it will shift. I'm thinking that maybe I'll try some synthetic transmission fluid this winter and see if that helps. If you check out the Goverenment Agency's that use ATV's you will see that the majority of them use Hondas.


          • #6
            Back Up Rancher

            My wife and I have owned a rancher for a couple of years now and in previously years I rode an ancient TRX300 for thousands upon thousands of miles. So, I will give you my honest acessment of the Rancher machine compared to other machines I have rode within my experiences.

            The Rancher, overall, is a good machine. Its very reliable and has given us very few problems over the years. BUT to be fair the rancher isnt driven 1/10th as hard as my brute force 750. With the rancher I have changed the oil and fluids twice, snorkeled (some jetting problems came with the snorkel), and I have had some tire/fender clearance problems. The tire/fender clearnace problems led to muffler problems. Overall, all the problems have been the doing of myself or my grinder/channel lock happy father.

            When I think of the name Honda I think reliability, and that is the main feature Honda has going for them. In my honest opinion the Rancher is underfeatured. Some may disagree but that is their opinion, I respect that. The brakes on the rancher are horrible, Honda still uses that internal oil filter, gearing is way off, DRUMS!, the machine is tippy as two fat men standing up in a 10 foot canoe, full time 4wd, lack of a locker, and its one back banging ride. The machine is a work horse but when work needs to be done the Rancher stays in the shed and I use the brute, even when pulling stumps or towing heavy trailers. In my experience belt drives are far superior to semi auto machines. Maybe I am spoiled by the brute?

            Overall, the Rancher is a good machine to buy if you are looking for a low maintenance always reliable atv. It lacks some features other machines offer but if you are looking for a reliable work horse you cant go wrong. If you are looking for a sport utility machine to run deep mud or tow heavy trailers loaded around the 1 ton mark you are looking in the wrong spot. For the average atv user you cant go wrong with any 3wd Honda. :-)


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