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Side by Side...any good?

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  • Side by Side...any good?

    I haven't committed either way to a machine yet (and don't plan to for awhile-depends on how I do commercial fishing) so I thought I would solicit comments about the newer side by side models. I figure they are heavier, but was wondering how they would do on big hills, through bogs and if they may be feasable (sp?) hunting machines?

    Anyone know if they are belt/chain/shaft driven? Liquid/Air/Fan cooled? Straight axle or independent?

    Anyone have any experience with these?

    Thanks for any information. Like I said before, I am trying to bone-up on my options and information before I go see a dealer or buy one used.


  • #2
    All depends on what trails you ride. For example, the trail I ride during moose season consists of gravel/dirt, coupled to big muddy areas (that's the way it was about five years ago). A heavy machine would have sank deep in the mud, while a regular (lighter) ATV would have not, at least most of the time, and if it would have done so sometimes, it would have been much easier to extricate from the mud by myself. This is very difficult to do with a heavy machine when there are no big trees nearby to tie a winch cable. The trees in this area look like toothpicks.

    But the trail changed a few years ago when there were forest fires. The fire jumpers cut a whole bunch of trees and lined the muddy areas with the tree trucks, so now I could drive a truck through there. A side-by-side ATV should have no trouble going through this trail this year.

    Summary: Most side-by-side machines are very heavy, and this is not the best feature when riding through deep muddy terrain. But they are excellent for riding trails that mostly are dirt/gravel with mud that's not very deep. Some lightweight ATV's with big tires can be almost floated across water. In fact a coworker of mine does that with a 2-wheel drive Honda ATV he has. I can't do it with my Big Bear, but I can ride through pretty deep mud.


    • #3
      Keep in mind that there are some trails that don't allow anything over 1000lbs and like Ray said, if you get stuck crossing a muddy tundra trail that is treeless and you are by yourself, then you will be there for a while. I actually considered this myself, then I asked the wife for her opinion and she said and I qoute " I am not selling my 4 wheeler, it is way to much fun to ride and we can go anywhere with them". She made her point very clear and I would have to agree with her, even though you are more exposed to the elements, they are still able to go places the bigger rigs can't. With my Foreman and Pak Rat trailer, i can go very deep into the wilderness and stay for weeks at a time very comfortably.


      • #4
        Another consideration

        A lightweight tracked vehicle is another option, say an Argo with tracks, or in my case, I'm going to restore an old Cushman Trackster for hunting. With the wide tracks it will walk right over mud that a 4 wheeler sinks into.


        • #5
          Powerful argument...

          I did not know about the 1000 lb limit on certain trails; I didn't think that was a consideration. Where do you find out that kind information?




          • #6
            Maybe BLM or the Parks service, i was looking into a trail off of the Glenn highway somewhere closer to Glenn Allen and saw one there or it may have been on teh Denali, can't quite remember which one.


            • #7

              AK: I appreciate your comments, you seem to know a lot about ATV's etc.
              SBob: I thought about an argo, but I have to wonder if its over 1000lbs. I don't know what a cushman is though. Additionally, I think the suspension system could be a bear to maintain and spendy too.

              I have 3 kids so I am trying to get out of buying 5 ATV's (although I wouldn't have to all at once)! I didn't realize that this could be such a tough decision.

              Thanks for all of the insight.



              • #8
                polaris ranger

                If you are worried about sinking in deep mud the extra tires of a polaris ranger 6x6 are a benifit. Yes, they are heavy, but they can haul a ton and in the deep fast water they stick to the bottom. They won't float away on you. Plenty of room for the family, and very smooth and comfy.


                • #9

                  I have thought about a 6x6 Ranger and a 6x6 Sportsman. I like how AKMud mounted boat seats to accomodate his two youngsters. I have only seen one Ranger 6x6 and your right, it will hold three in the front and you could put seats in the back.



                  • #10
                    tccak71, take a look at the Argo 8 wheeler, i have 2 buddies that own them, nice setups with aluminum frames and fully enclosed cabs with heaters, those thing sure are nice when the weathers bad but they do weigh a lot. The nice thing about them is they float and you can drive them across lakes and rivers, barring the rivers aren't running 50 mph! You can hook up a trailer to them too and pull your kids behind you or you could let them ride in the back. I'm a 4 wheeler guy but if I wasn't, i'd probably get one. The Cushman is a track vehicle, they are nice just like the Argos but if you throw a track your done unless you have a way of fixing it. The oterh advantage I foudn with 4 wheelers is you can get places a lot faster and they are more manuverable.


                    • #11
                      I do not own an RUV or nor have I drove one but I have I rode with a couple and all I can say is that I was thoroughly impressed.

                      The Rhino's are great at climbing hills. For those of you who have rode Pinochle you know that Hick's Creek Hill can get B.A.D!!! One day at Hick's Creek Hill it took me half an hour to make it to the top of this rutt plagued mud covered hill. A Rhino made it up in only a couple of minutes. There were plenty of mudholes that he made it through that I would get stuck in half way through. As long as there is a bottom the RUV's do great. This Rhino sported 27" outlaw radials.

                      A Ranger follows us into hunting camp every year. He has 28" lites with a clutch kit and lift. This is the SRA version. Its ok in the mud but great at climbing hills. He packs all of his gear and hauls out a quartered moose every year on this beast. It a very impressive machine.


                      • #12

                        I don't know much about the side by sides but ATV Television was thoroughly impressed with the Rhino for truly off road stuff. They said the Polaris Ranger was more of an intermediate machine and the Kawasaki mule had better stay on the farm.

                        The porcupine is a peaceful animal yet God still thought it necessary to give him quills....


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