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Old 01-13-2011, 08:31 PM
DocGP DocGP is offline
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Default Which ATV in 4-500cc range

I am leaning toward the old standby Rancher with a slightly larger tire/wheel kit. Nothing fancy, but all around functional. I have an RTV for the heavy lifting. Just looking for a solid, reliable, capable bike. I am not dead set on Honda, but have always had good luck with them. I don't want to spend 12 grand on an ATV, but am looking for a new bike. I tend to be anal about maintenance and like to get new and put alot of years on something.

I am in mid 40's and don't drive stuff to tear it up. Will not be mud bogging, or floating it across any rivers. Plans for the bike are light farm and deer lease, and yearly runs to Colorado/Wyoming/Utah on vacation type stuff.

Looking for any and all opinions.

Doc
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Old 01-14-2011, 04:23 AM
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The rancher is a fine selection. I'm a Suzuki kind of guy but know the Honda, Suzuki, Yamaha, Kawasaki and a couple others are pretty much bulletproof.

A couple things I'd consider when looking.

Belt vs. Shaft drive - If the machines normal use is work, I prefer shaft.
Manual vs auto shifting - Again, if it's work, I like manual.
Engine braking - If you have hilly conditions, this is important. A manual gear setup inherently has it. Some auto's don't and other autos require you to increase the gas to engage it which isn't intuitive as you're trying to go slower, hitting the gas isn't instinctive.
EFI vs Carb - EFI is better running in the cold and at high elevations.
2wd vs 4wd - If it doesn't have 4wd at all, it should stay in the yard or in the sand. I prefer selectable 2wd/4wd as opposed to full-time 4wd. I can engage it when I want, but when I don't need it, a machine in 2wd is normally easier to steer and doesn't use as much fuel.
For work/towing/hauling... look at the racks and towing capabilities. Some of the newer utility ATV manufacturers (I'm pretty sure Yamaha and maybe Arctic Cat) have some proprietary (but nice) racks that kind of make it where you need to buy their storage boxes to have it work out. Some ATV's have the muffler in the center of the machine when it comes out the back. That's a problem when you're trying to connect a trailer...

To mix things up a little, and I don't know if you're looking new or used but there's been some merging between the manufacturers in the past few years. E.g. Arctic Cat used to use Suzuki engines and trannys. I don't think they still do. Kawasaki and Suzuki did a lot of merging. IIRC, the small Kaw's are re-badged Suzuki's. The Large Suzuki's (except the King Quad?) are re-badged Kawasaki Prarie's.
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Old 01-14-2011, 07:44 AM
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I bought the Honda 450 ES new in 1999. ES = Electronic Shift. It's not automatic but you shift by hitting a button on the handlebar with your thumb. Very easy to operate. I went ES since we already had a Honda 300 4 trax (2wd) which was manual and my wife did not care for that. I needed her to be able to drive one, so ES was a the perfect option. 11 years later (man, I can't believe it's been that long) I still like the ES. It has run trouble free for 2k+ miles, all on our property. I've went through one set of knobby tires, and three or four batteries. Other than that it has been cost free. I finally started keeping a battery tender hooked up to it during the off season and have extended battery life considerably.
I haul a 3/1/2 x 8 foot trailer through our woods, carrying firewood, trash, rocks etc. I have lots of hills. 50 acres of all hills and it does a great job of traversing the terrain. It does the work that I would do with an RTV if I finally bought one of those.

When I get something that works this good, I stick with it. So if I had to buy an ATV again, I'd buy another Honda.
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Old 01-15-2011, 10:44 AM
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hondas are very well built and i love the solid rear axle for heavy duty hauling. now me i would go with a yamaha because of it's 4x4 capabilties it has more pulling power than the honda and also has a full front dif locker that might come in handy .my vote would be yamaha first then honda but i think you would be happy with both.on a atv with a front limited slip dif if you want to lock up both front tires just give the front brake a little squeaze and it will lock the front end up giving you all 4 wheels pulling i used this method on my hpx and it never let me down.
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Old 04-18-2019, 10:40 PM
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I really like my 2014 Honda foreman 500. its perfect for use as a pack mule on my 40 acre timberland. I have the plain jane model with manual shift and steering. Always starts even in our wet coastal climate. I have about 2000 mi. on it now, but nearly 900 engine hours. The foreman was a better choice than a rancher for me as it has bigger tires and wheels, push button 4wd, electric locking front differential, a little lower gearing, better lighting up front, a couple of cubby hole storage compartments, a 12v accessory plug, better ground clearance, much healthier brush guard, and just a little bigger overall size. On a year end model sale, I think it was only 5 or 6 hundred more than a rancher. Money well spent and I'm happy with it...Dan
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Old 04-19-2019, 06:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tree farmer View Post
I really like my 2014 Honda foreman 500. its perfect for use as a pack mule on my 40 acre timberland. I have the plain jane model with manual shift and steering. Always starts even in our wet coastal climate. I have about 2000 mi. on it now, but nearly 900 engine hours. The foreman was a better choice than a rancher for me as it has bigger tires and wheels, push button 4wd, electric locking front differential, a little lower gearing, better lighting up front, a couple of cubby hole storage compartments, a 12v accessory plug, better ground clearance, much healthier brush guard, and just a little bigger overall size. On a year end model sale, I think it was only 5 or 6 hundred more than a rancher. Money well spent and I'm happy with it...Dan
I still have the 1999 450ES Foreman and it's still chugging along. I have had side by sides, RTV's and a Honda Pioneer, but the 450 ES is still my favorite fun ride through my woods.
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Old 04-19-2019, 07:12 AM
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I have several but my "go to" is almost always my Honda Rancher. It's 13 years old and very reliable. I will say I've had to replace the voltage regulator and starter in the past couple years. Probably $200 total but for that many years of use, that's minimal.
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Old 04-30-2019, 09:49 PM
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Well here's what I will say NOT to buy. Let me start out with good.

My 2004.5 Polaris Sportsman 500 H.O. Bulletproof. Absolutely trouble free. I trail ride, I skid logs out of the bush, pull a dump trailer with it for loam and firewood. And it plowed my yard for 8 straight years until I bought my Kubota.
Not even a belt was ever needed.
Included a pic of what it plowed for 8 years. The driveway, a parking spot where my dump truck is and there is also driveway all the back side of the house and to the right where I turn the tractor trailer around and park it and my 3 vehicles.

My 09 Sportsman...also good.

Then bought a new Sportsman 570 EPS. Junk. Quality in my opinion has gone way down hill on some of the new Polaris's. The plastic body panels don't fit right on it. Polaris gave me new ones. Still don't fit. Went back to dealer and looked at others on the floor.....they don't fit either.

Water pump housing was leaking. Replaced under warranty along with a $56 bill to use the warranty. Still has coolant disappearing but no wet spots of detectable leaks.

Heat issues. So now they enclosed the whole engine and installed a cheap flimsy door you have to pop off to check engine oil.

And the Polaris branded windshield cracked around every mount point on first low speed trail ride and they said sorry, no warranty.

I've been looking at a couple CF Moto's people around me have bought and they are better built with better and more features even. And way cheaper, LOL. They have CV Tech clutches and transmissions and CF MOTO shares an engine plant with KTM....a dominant Austrian off road motorcycle brand.
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