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Buying an ATV Questions and suggestions about what to buy, financing, insurance, etc.

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Old 12-31-2016, 04:44 PM
Weekend Warrior
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Default Totally lost

Hey all,
So my wife and I will be moving to the finger lakes region of NY into about 38 acres. I want to buy ATV's in order to enjoy the outdoors more. I have never owned one, and have only ever ridden one once for about 10 mins. I have no clue what make or models I should be considering and was hoping to hear some advice. I'm looking for a machine that I can use for hunting and trail riding, as well as utility use around the property (something with a trailer hitch would be nice). Obviously I want something 4 wheel, although not sure if I want full time or not). I am a little bit bigger at about 6'2" and 260lbs. I will be getting a machine first before thinking about one for the wife (who probably wants something with a steering wheel that she can take on trails) so that I will be more knowledgeable by then. I would love to hear any and all advice you all can give. Thanks
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Old 12-31-2016, 04:53 PM
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Hello Chester,

I would visit the local dealerships and see what you like, lots of good choices in ATV's today. I started out years ago with a Honda Rancher that did everything you mentioned and more for about half the price of some of the others, the rancher is a good utility around the farm too. currently I ride a 2016 Yamaha Grizzly 700 and for me it's the perfect ATV.
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Old 12-31-2016, 06:12 PM
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Todays machines are all pretty good, each one has its pros and cons. You best bet is to go shopping and look at "everything" and not settle on just one recommendation. My wife and I had atv's for many years, I used mine a lot and she used hers very little, she just wasn't up for 4 wheelin that much. So last year I sold both of out atv's and purchased a side x side and never looking back. Far more versatile and user friendly around our property and the wife enjoys it more than her atv. She doesn't care for serious 4wheelin so she lets me do the driving when we are on the trails but around the property I find her using it more and more. With the dump bed we no longer have to hook up a trailer like we did on atv's and if we are both going to work on an outdoor project we can go together, much easier to talk while riding rather than yelling between atv's. I researched for over 3 months and crawled over and under every UTV I could find before deciding on my Kymco 450i, so far it has been a very wise choice. However each person has his own "feel" for any machine so looking at them all is really needed. Depending on your size and personal wants and needs there are many to choose from. Good shopping and keep us posted on your findings. We love talking about atv's and utv's on this forum!! Welcome aboard....
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Old 12-31-2016, 06:57 PM
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Hi Chester and welcome to the ATV Connection forums. I was in the same boat as you just a few months ago. I had never ridden an ATV, and knew nothing about the various makes and models. ATV Connection forums was very helpful to me in my decision. I just took delivery about a week ago.

Okay, you are wise to list your wants in a vehicle. I read you want to trail ride, hunt back woods, and do some chores around your new place.

My ATV friends here in Colorado recommended a "side by side" to me, as it would do most of what you want. Here in Colorado we have ATV only trails that have a 50" width limit on the vehicle. I wanted full access to all ATV trails in Colorado so I wanted 50" or less in width. They do make side by sides that are 50" or less in width. My friends say a side by side is more comfortable for long rides. I can see where it would be. My friends also recommended at least a 700 cc machine for trail riding at 12,000 feet. The air gets thin, and the power goes down. You may not have an altitude problem in your area.

Most folks would say a 500cc size is quite adequate for trail riding, hunting and chores on the average. More power yields more speed, steeper hills, and more fun. But not necessarily more work capacity, or a bigger frame, or a stronger transmission.

Honda kinda invented the ATV with their three wheeler around 1970 as a fun "bike" supplementing their motorcycle lines. Honda builds a great "utility" ATV with proven reliability and work-ability. They are not as advanced as some of the other makes, but they are rock solid. I wanted a fancier machine for no good reason.

We lived in Minnesota for over 25 years and moved to Colorado over a year ago. Minnesota is home to Polaris and Arctic Cat. Polaris may be the volume leader in ATVs. Arctic Cat makes a good machine too. I included the BRP Can-Am machines in my search. They are pretty good too. I suggest you visit these makes at the dealer close to you.

And then the list goes on from there. Kymco, Odes, Yamaha, Kawasaki, Suzuki, and others all build good ATVs. It can get overwhelming. Dirt Wheels magazine January 17 issue has a buyer's guide that lists many of the machines and their specifications. Maybe you can find an issue somewhere. It was helpful to me.

I found in these Forums and internet "reviews" that most ATVs have reliability issues. They are "light duty" machines compared to a compact tractor, pickup truck, and the like. They are used hard in some cases. I think they are built for low cost more than robust life. The warranty period was important to me.

I decided on a traditional "motorcycle" type ATV due to cost and maneuverability. You ride them like a motorcycle, or a horse if you will, straddle the engine. These ATVs are generally called "quads". The turning radius is less on a quad ATV. This will be handy for me pushing snow on my narrow driveway, and working on dead trees in my wooded lot. I purchased a "2 up" model so I can take my wife if she wants to go. I wanted the longer wheelbase of these 2 up models as I perceived improved stability going up and down steep hills. I suspect after a couple of hot, dusty rides, that 2 up seat won't get used much by my wife. We'll see. Polaris, Arctic Cat and Can Am make a two up machine. So does Kymco and Odes. But many of the Japanese ATVs are not 2 up machines, including the Honda. They makes side by sides instead. Side by sides are quite a bit more expensive.

Read, research, list specifications and features of each make (and model), visit dealers, and don't rush. I thought I wanted a Polaris, but ended up with a Can Am based on anecdotal reliability reputation, the looks of the Can Am, the Rotax engine, and the fit and finish of the machine, and they offered a 2 year warranty as a December "promo". I'm pleased with my decision, and I know I have to live with it for a long time.

Daivd
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Old 12-31-2016, 07:11 PM
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Don't over look used machines. If you look , there are some bargains out there. I actually like the simplicity of the older stuff. I learned how to tune a cvt carb, it's pretty simple. I also like the manual transmissions found on some older bikes, like my 2001 and 02 Arctic Cats. I trust them to go into the worst boonies and bring me home. I spent $1,400 for the 400 and believe it or not $400 for my AC 500. Original owner thought the motor was bad, nope. I now have 8,500 miles on it, half were mine.
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Old 12-31-2016, 10:56 PM
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It helps to know what features you want and who has them. For example no one Honda model meets all my wants or needs but just about every other brand does. Other people love Honda and won't buy anything else. It's personal preference and there are lovers and haters of every brand. It would be great if you could test ride them all but a lot of dealers won't let you. If you have friends with ATVs you could find out what they like or dislike about theirs. There are a lot of good choices in full size 4x4s. My 500 tops out at 55+ MPH and has never left me wanting more power but one of my friends bought a 1,000. They can both haul and tow similar amounts but his is a lot faster. If I was to buy another one I'd be looking at 500-600 cc models but like I said it's all personal preference.
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Old 01-01-2017, 09:18 PM
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Welcome Chester! I have lived in and around the finger lakes region my whole life, glad to have another rider joining us! These days it is hard d to onto wrong with any of the Japanese and North American manufacturers. They all have some issues you may want to address, but are all capable of longevity with proper maintenance. Personally I think the Yamaha Kodiak has a lot of bang for the buck of buying new.

If you think side by side there are only 2 models that can currently be registered in the state. I purchased one, as it turns out most places don't care that much as long as you are insured. Still, it is something to think about. I would be more than happy to help you out with any local stuff.
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Old 01-15-2017, 09:41 AM
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Default AWD vs 4 wheel lock?

So thanks for all the great advice. My wife and I where at Bass Pro yesterday and looked at some of the Arctic Cat ATV's. To my suppose once she sat on one she decided she liked it more than a side by side.
I have been doing some research and am trying to get some opinions about the Polaris machines. I read some bad reviews on the arctic cats and some good ones on the Polaris. My issue is 1. I don't know if the AWD is better than 4 wheel that can be locked (heck don't even know if Polaris can be locked as well) and 2. I have searched for a dealership near Syracuse and really haven't had one that had an impressive inventory. I'm pretty sure I want something over 700 for my first machine.
Should I be considering something else more popular? I read good things on Honda reliability, but that they where not as easy and comfortable to ride, which is important so that I can get my wife into it. As always I appreciate any advice
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Old 01-15-2017, 11:03 AM
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Just browse thru the different manufacturers forums right here on this site. You will find many pros and cons on everything out there. Polaris will have more complaints than any other mfgr but then they sell more than any other mfgr so who can say? You always take the chance of getting a bad one no matter whose name is on it. So much depends on personal feel, comfort, and the machines ability to do what ever you need and want it to do. Statistics show that in areas where there is no limit on machine widths and areas with wide open spaces the side x side is the most popular seller, but in areas with width restrictions or smaller more confined areas then the atv is more popular seller. One common thing you will hear thru all this advice is to search and go and sit on, and test ride as many different machines as you can. If the dealer won't allow a test ride then find one that will and tell them that, more dealers are opening up to test rides as people are spending their hard earned money more wisely these days. You may have to do some driving to next town or county or whatever it takes but its your money...get what feels right to you!
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Old 01-15-2017, 03:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chester50441 View Post
So thanks for all the great advice. My wife and I where at Bass Pro yesterday and looked at some of the Arctic Cat ATV's. To my suppose once she sat on one she decided she liked it more than a side by side.
I have been doing some research and am trying to get some opinions about the Polaris machines. I read some bad reviews on the arctic cats and some good ones on the Polaris. My issue is 1. I don't know if the AWD is better than 4 wheel that can be locked (heck don't even know if Polaris can be locked as well) and 2. I have searched for a dealership near Syracuse and really haven't had one that had an impressive inventory. I'm pretty sure I want something over 700 for my first machine.
Should I be considering something else more popular? I read good things on Honda reliability, but that they where not as easy and comfortable to ride, which is important so that I can get my wife into it. As always I appreciate any advice
I had Polaris machines in the past. Had good reliability with all of them. Couple small issues like a bearing here or there. Polaris tends to have the most comfortable ride. If you have back issues it's worth considering. The Polaris 4wd system is very easy to use. Put it in AWD and it will lock up the front end seamlessly as soon as it senses any difference in wheel speed between the front and rear tires. It works very well and is essentially unnoticed other than the extra traction. We ride in rocks, mud, water, snow, sand, rocks, roots, and more rocks here in New England and the Polaris will go any place other machines can go. They also have some of the best ground clearance and on-board places to store various types of gear.

Can-Am is another company I personally like. Has great power and the power comes on very quickly. With the newer Polaris machines the power comes on gradually but smoothly. The Can-Am transmission is a bit more noisy. If you bought a Can-Am Outlander 650 you'd have a quad that is as quick or quicker than all but the 800+ cc machines out there. Can-Am uses a system called Visco Lok. Kind of like the Polaris system. You flick the switch and it comes on as needed. Older Can-Ams had a noticeable lag time but the newer Visco Lok QE (quick engagement) comes on almost as fast as the Polaris system.

Arctic Cat and the other makers use a switch to turn on the 4wd. The first click gives you a limited slip front end that is good in most instances. If you do need the front full locked you have to press the button again, and slide a switch to get fully locked. I personally like the Polaris and Can-Am systems for ease of use but the others work just as well. Given the same tires almost all the quads out there will go over and through the same terrain.

Honda is reliable but I find they just don't carry the features I like in one quad. They also aren't as exciting a ride as the other machines. They are way down on the horsepower per cc compared to most of the other machines. Been on pretty much all their quads from the "flagship" Rincon 700 all the way down to the Recon 250. Not for me, but there are plenty of others who love them.

Suzuki and Yamaha make great all around quads too. Worth a look.
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