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Thread: I want a 4x4 ATV, what should I get?

  1. #1
    *Flashaholic* jtice's Avatar
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    Default I want a 4x4 ATV, what should I get?

    I have desided I want a 4x4 ATV this summer, but need advice on which to get.

    I have riden a Honda Foreman ES a good bit and like it alot, but dont have alot of experience on theres.

    What would you recommend?

    ~John

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    Flashaholic* rycen's Avatar
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    Default Re: I want a 4x4 ATV, what should I get?

    New or used?Sport or utility?How big are you and do you plan on carying a lot of things with you?

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    *Flashaholic* jtice's Avatar
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    Default Re: I want a 4x4 ATV, what should I get?

    New
    Utility
    4x4 (push button 2/4WD)
    Terrain handling is more important then speed
    want to carry things, so the racks are important.
    push buttom auto transmission
    I am 5'11" 175 lbs

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    Flashaholic* bobisculous's Avatar
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    Default Re: I want a 4x4 ATV, what should I get?

    My uncle has 2 four wheelers and 1 six wheeler for his cabin in the mountains of AZ. When I was there, I rode the six wheeler mostly and thought highly of it. It was just as powerful as the four wheeler and just as fast. It looked the same as the 4 wheeler but just had an extra axle on the back. But then had a large flatbed on the back. I want to say it was Honda but I have looked on their site and I dont see it anywhere. But it was fully automatic and very fast. It took us all over the hills made of rocks and gravel very easily. At one time, we went up a hill probably 45 degrees or more of small rock and it handled it just fine. So thats just a little on 6 wheelers.

    Cameron

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    *Flashaholic* jtice's Avatar
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    Default Re: I want a 4x4 ATV, what should I get?

    I rode a 6Wheeler once, I think it was a Gator.
    Not bad, lot of fun, but just not what I am looking for , you can squeeze through more places on a 4Wheeler.

    Noone has any advice? I KNOW some of you must ride.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: I want a 4x4 ATV, what should I get?

    If you want lots of power for a utility quad, look at the Kawasaki Prairie 650 or 700. this is also sold as the Suzuki Twin Peaks (in at least the 700 size)

    It is a belt driven variable transmission, so "automatic" but some people don't like them if they do lots of water crossings. Oh, and it is a twin cylinder engine. Last I looked a few months ago, these were the fastest "utility" 4x4 quads out there (and yes, button selectable 2 or 4wd. There is also a lever so you can lock the front differential as well for the really bad going.

  7. #7

    Default Re: I want a 4x4 ATV, what should I get?

    jtice,
    I rode a number of different makes & models before I bought.
    I choose the Arctic Cat 500. Incredible power & ground clearance.

    The only complaint some of my friends have had since buying one (after seeing what mine can do) is the quad has a tall stance. Well duh, it has HIGH ground clearance. One friend solved the "problem" by installing the shorter 300 model springs all around. Same load rating, just lowered the ride height a bit, he's happy now. Personally I'm happy with it as it is & have not had any problems at all. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]
    Several members of my hunting club have worn out other makes & models. Most have replaced them with either the 300 or 500 Arctic Cat.

    I have to admit if you don't need the extra clearance & excess power offered by the 500, the 300 can go anywhere & do anything (maybe more) the 500 can.

    For comparision, I'm 6'1" 220 & carry 60lbs of gear on the back rack. When everything works right I might return with a blacktail buck or 200lbs or so of dressed out wild boar on the front rack. Power,load capacity & ground clearance have never been a problem.

    Theepdinker

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    *Flashaholic* jtice's Avatar
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    Default Re: I want a 4x4 ATV, what should I get?

    Thanks guys, im getting a better idea for what i need/want. Bottom line, I need to get out and ride them.

    Theepdinker, Does your Cat have electronic shift? I see it says its an automatic, but, does it let you change the gears?
    My buddies Honda Foreman ES is auto, but you have to change the gears, I like that, cuz I ussually like standard trans, but for this type of thing, I dont want a clutch, but I do want to be able to change the gears, i feel more in control of engine/wheel speed/drag that way.

    The Cat looks great, HUGE ground clearance, and good suspension. Though it may be getting alittle expensive for me, I see the MSRP is about $7000.

    What ever I do< i will have to finance it. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/frown.gif[/img] Last time I looked, you could get a quad for about $80 a month. I can deal with that, and make payments alittle over $80 each time to help it out.

    My buddies Honda Foreman ES is 433cc, and seems to have planty of power, so I guess power isnt a huge issue, but his only has about 7.5" of clearance, and we did bottom out couple times, notthing bad, but still.

    Anyone know any good review sites? I found a couple, but they didnt have many models on it.

    Thanks
    ~John

  9. #9
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    Default Re: I want a 4x4 ATV, what should I get?

    Everyone around here seems to have a Polaris, for whatever that's worth.

  10. #10

    Default Re: I want a 4x4 ATV, what should I get?

    John,
    My Cat is clutchless manual shift. Much better power control & engine braking. After just 4 months my hunting partner sold his automatic & replaced it with an identical manual transmission model. We have alot of steep terrain on our lease.

    I really struggled with the price of Actic Cats. I wanted what I thought would be a superior product, paid the price & have had no regrets with my choice. Remember sticker price on a quad is just like on a car. It's a starting point for negotiating. Current financing makes it possible to get more machine for the dollar than a short while back. Not to mention freebies from the manufacture.

    When you go out shopping be careful. The quad market is changing fast. Mostly mechanical advancements. You could end up buying something other than what you intend with all the different machines & technologies on any sales floor.

    While I like Honda motorcycles, I've not been impressed with their quads. Haven't ridden any of this years models.

    Have fun with the shopping & negotiating. If you approach it with the right attitude it's ALMOST as much fun as going out for a ride.

    Theepdinker

  11. #11
    Flashaholic* turbodog's Avatar
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    Default Re: I want a 4x4 ATV, what should I get?

    I have been riding about 20 years. In that time I've ridden Honda and Yamaha mainly. The Hondas were my choice, the Yamahas not.

    There is a lot of riding done around here. Here's my rough observations based on that and 20 years of riding.

    1. A 2wd with good tires and an experienced rider will go most places a 4wd will.

    2. 4wd has slightly more maintence due to CV boots and a front gearbox.

    3. Independent rear suspension (IRS) has CV boots also.

    4. Winches are useful if you have something to winch to. I always get stuck in the middle of a dirt pit or something with nothing to winch to. Often a winch on the REAR is more usefuly than the front. There are winches that have quick releases and are for either end.

    5. I have no winch (see #4), but have had good luck with a hand winch at times. I carry between 150 and 200 feet of rope with me so I can reach something to tie to.

    6. My BEST tool for getting out of the mud, other than another 4 wheeler to pull me out, is a 3 foot long shovel. I have gotten out of more stuff with it that ANY other method.

    7. I have a cheap mag lite on the front rack in a clip on holder.

    8. I also carry $20 in cash and a cigarette lighter in a pelican box.

    9. The new Hondas have WORKING brake lights, not just tail lights. This will save you from getting rear ended by your buddy on the trail.

    10. A 4wd is tougher to get stuck, but it is also tougher to get unstuck.

    11. Guy down the road, with 9 (yes, 9) Honda models had this to say: His rancher 350es 4wd with aftermarket tires on it will go through more mud than any of his other machines. This included his $8000 tricked-out top of the line 4wd Honda with $1500 worth of tires and a lift kit on it.

    12. I asked local repair shop about the current state of the market.... what machines he does NOT see come through his shop. One model, Suzuki. Yamaha does not polish their transmission gears. They let them wear in, which contaminates the engine oil (transmission and engine oil are the same). Honda uses polished gears. Honda's current models with the sideways engines leaves the pull start right by the rear tire. Mud thrown from the tire destroyes the seal by the pull start. (I have a Honda.... I'll keep you posted on my seal)

    13. I swear by the Goodyear mud runner tires on my 2wd. I can go through more stuff with them than anyone I have seen with stock tires on a 4wd.

    14. Hondas have a 12v socket by the handlebar.... this is useful.

    15. If your bike only has lights that point straight forward, you're gonna need some extra lights to do anything useful at night.

    16. My setup (if you're interested): 2004 Rancher 350 2wd manual shift. Front rack: 150' rope, hand winch, mag lite, aux lights point off at 45 degrees on each side, shovel. Rear rack: empty. Built-in cargo box: pelican box with $,lighter, rag.

    17. My plan on getting out when there's nothing to winch to is to get a 4' piece of steel bar with a point on one end and an eyelet on the other. Carry this and a slegehammer on the rear rack. Hammer this into the ground and winch from it. Either than, or start digging with the shovel.

    18. Speed: Anything available will haul butt.

    19. If you get a 4wd model that does NOT have 2wd ability. Warn makes an aftermarket kit for several models to switch between 2wd and 4wd.

    20. Aftermarket tires (for mud) will load the engine more. Expect this.

    21. Engine cooling. Some/most models have engine oil coolers as standard equipment now. What you MUST get is a fan. Most of the larger bikes will come with one. If they don't make sure you can get one aftermarket. I almost burned mine up in the first week I had it because of this. It was hot enough the oil *almost* caught fire inside the engine. Honda wanted $300 for the fan. I got one off ebay for $35.

    22. I'd recommend an hour meter. This will help ensure you know when to change the oil. Some of the nicer bikes come with them (along with a tach, speedometer, GPS, etc). If not, you can buy a tinytach for about $30.

    23. Belt driven bikes.... no experience here.

    24. Air intake snorkel: how deep of water can you ford before trashing the engine? Check on this. You don't want to find out the hard way.

    25. Clutches: unless I am wrong, no utility bikes require a hand clutch. Sport bikes are another story.

    26. More ground clearance = easier to tip over.

    27. 4wd: check your mfg docs on this as the salesman will likely NOT know, or will lie. The front diff may be like your car..... one wheel is all that really pulls. Some models have procedures to lock the front diff for TRUE 4wd action. Some models are auto locking.

    28. Helmet add weight, don't wear one. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/tongue.gif[/img]

    29. My rancher has an electric carburator heater. It's supposed to enhance cold weather operation.

    30. Might wanna check the amperage output of the charging system. I have a sneaky feeling you're gonna add extra lights.

    31. Most models should have good skid plates.

    32. Turning radius. If this is important. Not likely though.

    33. Trailer hitch: does it come with one? how much are they? You need one to have an easy point to hook to for people to pull you out.

    34. I like the Rancher's floorboards that have footpegs also. I can really grip the pegs with my shoes and the floorboards go a good job for keeping my somewhat clean. They also prevent me from getting my leg hung under the rear tire (don't ask).

    35. Some models (polaris?) have 1 lever that controls front and rear brakes. I don't care for this as it is nice to be able to slide the rear end sometimes. Be aware that ANY model in 4wd mode will have full-bike braking when using either front OR rear brakes.

    36. I *really* like Honda. I am somewhat concerned over this seal thing though. I'm gonna keep a CLOSE eye on mine. Honda have simply lasted longer and gona through more than any other bike I have ridden. I notice little things like plastic coated brakes cables (they don't corrode or have a lot of friction), REALLY good sealed brakes assemblies (all the Hondas I have ridden are still on their first set of pads, and this includes the one I grew up with. I put 1.5-2 gallons of gas through that bike Monday-Friday for 4-5 years and it's still going strong).

    Questions?

  12. #12
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    Default Re: I want a 4x4 ATV, what should I get?

    Jtice

    Started with a Honda 300. Not enough power at high elevations, 7000 feet. Honda has the best reputation for low maintenince.

    Next machine was a Polaris 350. More power than you can use, went down hill as fast as up. This was before the new engine braking systems. Also didn't like the single brake lever. Because of the long spring travel this machine was a rock climbing fool. The newer Polaris machines are somewhat stiffer sprung and the engine braking does work well on steep downhills.

    I think the best model on the market is the Yahama Kodiak. 450cc, plenty of power. Auto transmission, get a auto tranny and you will never want a clutch or a HondaES type again. 2wd to 4wd and 4wd lock, very nice for rock climbing or tree's across the trail. I agree with you on wanting a manual tranmission for mountain use in a full size pickup. In a 4wheeler you won't feel out of control at all, unless you get a early Polaris. I have back problems and I find the current Yahama Kodiak to have a smoother ride than the Honda's.

    While I have not been on a Artic Cat for any length of time I found that the independant rear made the machine somewhat tippy on side hills but was a smooth ride.

    I have used some of the larger machines, 650 to 700cc class machines and found them to be to big physically and to tall causing side hill problems. Get one of these big suckers stuck and you will need two men and a boy to help. If you need more power than a 450 class machine get a Honda Banishie(spelling?), now thats power.

    FWIW get a Kokiak

    Leadfoot

  13. #13

    Default Re: I want a 4x4 ATV, what should I get?

    turbodog,
    Sounds like you use yours around the farm, with some swamp thrown in for fun. My uses are mostly hunting & chasing trespassers(same thing?). No mud bogs, a lot of very steep terrain.

    John,
    Consider terrain & use when you shop. I believe the points turbo & I disagree on relate to those differences.

    A winch will save a lot of work & a lot of time if you can use it.
    12v socket comes in real handy.
    Training & experience carefully acquired will keep you rubber side down better than low ride height alone.
    The rest of turbo's points I either agree with of are simply personal preference.
    Including not wearing a helmet. Don't take the helmet comment as a recommendation. That's a personal choice we adults still can make for ourselves on private land. We are responsible for the consequences of that choice as well.
    I don't wear one either. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/sssh.gif[/img]

    Theepdinker

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    Flashaholic* turbodog's Avatar
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    Default Re: I want a 4x4 ATV, what should I get?

    [ QUOTE ]
    theepdinker said:
    turbodog,
    Sounds like you use yours around the farm, with some swamp thrown in for fun. My uses are mostly hunting & chasing trespassers(same thing?). No mud bogs, a lot of very steep terrain.

    John,
    Consider terrain & use when you shop. I believe the points turbo & I disagree on relate to those differences.

    A winch will save a lot of work & a lot of time if you can use it.
    12v socket comes in real handy.
    Training & experience carefully acquired will keep you rubber side down better than low ride height alone.
    The rest of turbo's points I either agree with of are simply personal preference.
    Including not wearing a helmet. Don't take the helmet comment as a recommendation. That's a personal choice we adults still can make for ourselves on private land. We are responsible for the consequences of that choice as well.
    I don't wear one either. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/sssh.gif[/img]

    Theepdinker

    [/ QUOTE ]

    No hunting and no (not anymore) farm use.

    Swamp.... most anything works in a swamp because the swamp is topsoil mud. It's not sticky because of the high water content and will easily clear out of the tire lugs.

    Our mud is mississippi red clay and yazoo (indigenous to this area) clay. It is NASTY. It is about as sticky as roofing tar and I am NOT kidding. If you've got a tire that will work with this stuff, it'll work with anything. The goodyear mud runners are the only thing I have found that will self clean in this mud, and even they have problems.

    I pull a full size 6x10' trailer behind mine around my property. It works well as long as I keep the tongue weight under control.

  15. #15
    *Flashaholic* jtice's Avatar
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    Default Re: I want a 4x4 ATV, what should I get?

    wow, GREAT info guys GREAT ! thanks alot [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/bowdown.gif[/img]

    I will have to look into some of these other models. I like hearing Honda has a great reliability record.

    Clearance is important, but I would rather round out, than roll !,
    I need something VERY stable, I live In West Virginia, theres not a flat spot in site hehe.
    I will do alot of woods riding, and not all on trails [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img] So I need it to handle some crrazy terrain.

    A winch will be later on, I can left one end of the Honda Forman myself, so I can get it unstuck if need be.

    I really liked the look of the Arctic Cats, and the independant suspension in the rear, though, if you say it is less stable on uneven land, thats not good, I want something that rides real nice, but not at the expense of stability.

    I saw that some models have auto trans, that you can selest FULL auto, or it will let you shift, that FULL auto mode moght be nice in alot of situations, but I definately want the option of shifting myself,,, its alot more fun [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]


    I need to ride my freinds again, (the Honda Foreman ES) to see if its enough power, its 433cc.
    Theres also the Honda Rubacon (spelling?) I think its better than the Foreman? Dont know the main differences though.

    Locking in the fron wheels in TRUE 4wd would be nice [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img] I will be in some mud [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img]

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    Default Re: I want a 4x4 ATV, what should I get?

    Now, I'm starting to feel old. I've had a Kawasaki Bayou 300 4x4 for 15 years! I really can't offer any comparisons to other models, but I will say this - In those 15 years, I've had to replace the battery twice, and bleed the brakes once. Outside of normal oil changes and tires, that's the entire extent of maintenance I've had to do. it's extremely reliable.

  17. #17
    Flashaholic* turbodog's Avatar
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    Default Re: I want a 4x4 ATV, what should I get?

    [ QUOTE ]
    jtice said:
    wow, GREAT info guys GREAT ! thanks alot [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/bowdown.gif[/img]

    I will have to look into some of these other models. I like hearing Honda has a great reliability record.

    Clearance is important, but I would rather round out, than roll !,
    I need something VERY stable, I live In West Virginia, theres not a flat spot in site hehe.
    I will do alot of woods riding, and not all on trails [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img] So I need it to handle some crrazy terrain.

    A winch will be later on, I can left one end of the Honda Forman myself, so I can get it unstuck if need be.

    I really liked the look of the Arctic Cats, and the independant suspension in the rear, though, if you say it is less stable on uneven land, thats not good, I want something that rides real nice, but not at the expense of stability.

    I saw that some models have auto trans, that you can selest FULL auto, or it will let you shift, that FULL auto mode moght be nice in alot of situations, but I definately want the option of shifting myself,,, its alot more fun [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]


    I need to ride my freinds again, (the Honda Foreman ES) to see if its enough power, its 433cc.
    Theres also the Honda Rubacon (spelling?) I think its better than the Foreman? Dont know the main differences though.

    Locking in the fron wheels in TRUE 4wd would be nice [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img] I will be in some mud [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img]

    [/ QUOTE ]

    FYI: you can always lift one end when standing on firm ground and the bike's not stuck. I have yet to be able to lift a bike when standing in mud with the bike stuck in mud. It creates a nice little suction that you can't break. I've not have much better luck even with 2 people. But, then again, see my above notes on MS mud.

    I think the foreman is a 400 or 450 cc bike. More power w/o getting into the heaviness/cost of the rubicon.

    Also, you might wanna check on insurance. Some homeowner's policies cover these guys from theft and some don't. They're hot enough (pun intended) items that you need to check on this.

    If you enjoy shifting I wouldn't even look at electric shift (not to mention full auto). I'd go straight manual. That'll save you some bucks also.

    FYI: honda rubicon/rincon is a ~$7000+ bike

    Rubicon and Rincon use hondamatic tranny. AFAIK it's the same 3 speed automatic that they use in the honda accord.

    2005 honda rancher 4wd has limited slip from diff. I would *guess* that all other models above it have similar/better ones.

    You might be able to score some good deals on 2004 models.

    If you get too big in the engine dept you move into a full liquid cooled bike. More stuff to go wrong and have to watch out for.

  18. #18
    *Flashaholic* jtice's Avatar
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    Default Re: I want a 4x4 ATV, what should I get?

    turbo,

    You probably have a point about lifting it, once its stuck, itsSTCK, and gonna take more than me to do anything.

    The Foreman is 433cc, and probably enough power, last time I saw the 600+cc ones they were way to big for my taste.

    I was thinking about insurance tonight, I dont know about the house insurance,
    you dont need insurance on them to ride them, do you?
    Sure hope not, I hate paying the truck insurance lol.

    I like shifting alot, but not so much as to make it want to use a clutch on a bike. I can see it getting me into trouble on a hill, or tricky situations.

    It seems the higher priced ones dont really gain MANY features I need, overkill on power, TOO big, etc.

    heh, same tranny as Accord huh? lol thats funny
    If so, its more than strong enough for the quad then [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

  19. #19
    Flashaholic* turbodog's Avatar
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    Default Re: I want a 4x4 ATV, what should I get?

    [ QUOTE ]
    jtice said:
    turbo,

    You probably have a point about lifting it, once its stuck, itsSTCK, and gonna take more than me to do anything.

    The Foreman is 433cc, and probably enough power, last time I saw the 600+cc ones they were way to big for my taste.

    I was thinking about insurance tonight, I dont know about the house insurance,
    you dont need insurance on them to ride them, do you?
    Sure hope not, I hate paying the truck insurance lol.

    I like shifting alot, but not so much as to make it want to use a clutch on a bike. I can see it getting me into trouble on a hill, or tricky situations.

    It seems the higher priced ones dont really gain MANY features I need, overkill on power, TOO big, etc.

    heh, same tranny as Accord huh? lol thats funny
    If so, its more than strong enough for the quad then [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

    [/ QUOTE ]

    As far as I know only the sport models have an actual hand clutch. The rest (utility) models have an automatic clutch even though the shifting is manual.

    Here's how it works...

    crank the engine, the bike will be in neutral

    the gear shifter will be by your left foot, pull up on it and you're in 1st gear

    the clutch is disengaged right now and will engage as you give it gas

    when you want to shift to 2nd gear, let off the throttle some and pull up on the shifter again, the clutch will take care of itself during this process

    it simply enough that my wife learned it in about 10 minutes

    insurance is not usually needed to ride one, but you could be liable if you hit something. although I'm not aware of many 4wheeler crashes....

    theft is another matter....... my homeowner insurance automatically covers mine against theft so long as it's here at the house.

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