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

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Old 05-19-2017, 02:28 PM
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Default ATV Model Performance Specifications

So you are in the market for your first ATV, or a replacement ATV. Many people come to ATC Connection seeking information and advice. What machine is right for me?

I think one reason we buyers seem so lost is a significant dearth of facts about various ATV brands and models. It is much easier to pick the right car or pickup as you can get get lots of data to compare. I certainly did so when buying my "last" pickup truck. (Last because of my age!)

These data would have been very helpful when I was in the market for my first ATV. My "wants" were reliability, 2 up, snowplowing capable, good handling, high altitude power. What data was available was engine displacement, horsepower (not torque), wheel and tire size, ground clearance, suspension travel distances, physical dimensions, dry weight (so what), fuel tank size, trailer pull tongue and gross weights, price, and a few others.

But I'm interested in how the ATV performs in comparison to others. Here is a list of what I'd be interested in:

1A Reliability history for the make and model
1. Engine horsepower and torque versus rpm. The power curve.
2. Acceleration 0-40 mph in seconds - level hard tarmac
3. Braking performance 40-0 in feet - level hard tarmac
4. Fuel consumption in liters per hour at 4000 rpm, 30 horsepower load.
5 Draw bar pull
6 Drive by noise at 25mph in DBa (there is a standardized test for this.)
7. Machine roll over angle on a side hill (there is a "tilt table" test for this)
8. Suspension effectiveness (a series of small "whoops" at 25 mph; measure vertical accelerations at the driver's lap. High gs, stiff suspension)
9. Ergonomics "opinion" Steers easy, logical switch gear, handlebar position, seat height, step over height, etc.
10. Nifty standard features, e.g. comes with full skid plates, come with remote winch control, LED lighting, GPS, big storage capacity, etc.
11. Trail ride ready weight of the machine, no cargo
12. Center of mass of the machine from the ground, from the front axle.

We need one of the ATV magazines, or ATV.com, or someone to start testing and building a database. Motor Trend started in the mid 50 with cars. The automotive media does a yeoman's job in their comparison tests. We buyers need similar data comparisons for our ATVs and UTVs.

What do you think?

David
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Old 05-19-2017, 04:03 PM
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ATV magazines, both paper and online, will answer some of those questions for any particular model they do a review on. For all the unanswered questions I guess they don't care, or they think no one else does. Most of it probably wouldn't affect what I buy. I just go by the questions we have answers for.
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Old 05-19-2017, 05:19 PM
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I know what your saying, but sometimes you gotta go with your gut. I always drove Toyota Camrys and Tacomas because Consumers Reports gave them such high ratings. Then, in 2004 I saw my first Dodge Magnum RT. Getting out of a 4 cylinder Camry and into a Hemi Mopar was quite a switch. 345,000 miles later and 255,000 miles later on my 05 Ram, so glad that I switched. Haven't picked up a CR since.Sometimes you just gotta take a chance. I'm old enough to remember the Car of the Year: Chevy Vega.
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Old 05-19-2017, 06:56 PM
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I did a little reading on the Vega. One model had 80 HP which is less than a few ATVs I can think of. That had to be huge disappointment to drive. My ex said she had a Vega way back when. I think she said it was totaled out and then repaired and had a lot of electrical problems. When I met her she drove a Chevette with 2 big holes under the hood where the shock towers should have been. One of the shocks was lying against the tire and rubbed until you could see the belts inside. It was quite a step up when I bought her a Cavalier.
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Old 05-19-2017, 07:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hydrex View Post
I'm old enough to remember the Car of the Year: Chevy Vega.
Ex 73 Vega GT owner here.. Oil smoking within 4-5 months,sold it at about 7 months. Bought a 350 1974 Nova hatch back and drove it 10 years..
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Old 05-19-2017, 08:18 PM
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You fellas are car guys from way back like I am. I loved those mid sixties muscle cars. But I liked those "foreign jobs" better. More fun to drive in my view.

Sometimes in the "Buying an ATV" forum, posters ask "which is fastest" this or that. Or which is better in the mud. They value that aspect even though many of us "chicken out" well before we reach a maximum acceleration or top speed. Having performance data would help answer those questions.

I often think a 600cc class ATV can do the same work as a 1000cc ATV. The high horsepower gives a guy lots of acceleration and lots of wheel spin, but what comes after that? Big size, high center of mass, more fuel usage, more heat off the engine, etc. I think the bigger machines are less nimble than the midsize ones. The midsize machines might be quicker on a twisty trail. We need some good testing to find out.

Dirt Wheels magazine covers ATV features, upgrades from the old model, and judgements about how the ATV performs. They did enter a Polaris Sportsman 1000 in a ATV race against sports machines and did quite well with it. I was surprised. Dirt Trax on YouTube is better with some pretty well evaluated comments about this model or that. But no real data.

Car and Driver magazine has about 10 years of their "Lighting Lap" timing high performance cars around Virginia International Raceway. In my view, there is no better way to evaluate the performance of a Mazda Miata or McLaren supercar. It is a very valuable set of data. What's better, Mustang GT or Camaro SS? Europeans do it with the 'Ring. All aspects of the car are tested in a fast lap on a challenging road course.

Yes, there is subjective judgements when buying an ATV, new or used. And we have our gut feelings when doing so. Mention the "Chinese quads" here and you get a lot of wrinkled noses. Why?

I like to know what I'm getting for my easy social security dollars.

David
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Old 05-20-2017, 08:36 AM
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I was in the Army and in Korea from 1971-74, so I had only magazines to read , like Motor Trend. So that Chevy Vega GT (Car of the Year) sounded good. Went to my local Chevy dealer, the owner took me aside, said he wouldn't sell me one, they were such a pile of $hit! I bought a low miles , mint 1971 MGB ,instead. British Racing Green, wire wheels, Abarth dual exhaust and factory performance package. Drove it 175,000 miles, was a great car! Just saying, don't believe everything you read. Trust your instincts, you lived long enough to collect social security, musta learned something, hehe.. BTW, if I had the money, the Alfa 4c looks just right to me. And maybe the biggest CanAm Outlander ATV.
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Old 05-20-2017, 11:22 AM
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I like watching the youtube reviews, I watch Doug on Atvtv sometimes too. I go back and watch some of his old reviews for fun. Dirt Trax is good and I like atv on demand too. I think I watch them more to get a look at new models and see what they look like in action more than to get real information about them. For me, they're more for entertainment. I like the shootouts, you do get a sense of how comparable atvs stack up against each other.
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Old 05-20-2017, 02:07 PM
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hydrex: Interesting story about you ending up in an MGB. I owned a 66 B from 1970 to 1973. It was great fun to drive. I was married in '72 and traded MGB for a Austin Healey Bugeye Sprite and cash. Needed the cash worse at the time.

greg74: Since I'm on a data plan up here in the mountains (internet service is weak), I don't watch very much You Tube. But I have seen the "channels" you mention. When you get into a hobby, you crave information. The ATV hobby is fun. I got my Outlander all put back together from a "25 hour maintenance list" yesterday. I did it at 17 hours needlessly, but it was something to do. It was fun for me to learn more about this contraption.

I crave information on the various ATV makes and models. I'll guess the Yamaha Rapture is the fastest ATV. I'll guess the Honda Rincon is the most reliable. I'll guess the Arctic Cat Terra is the best buy. I'll guess the Polaris Sportsman is the best riding ATV. I'll guess the Can Am Outlander makes the most noise with a standard muffler.

I guess I'm wrong on all my guesses. That's why we consumers need more data.

David

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Old 05-20-2017, 02:29 PM
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I liked Doug Meyer of ATVTV.com fame gave some of the best reviews out there. If there was something that went wrong during a test he'd share it. If the brand had a lot of problems he'd let his audience know. To the point where some makers stopped sending their machines for reviews. He did a lot of long term testing with Specta out on the Paiute Trail that showed the machines' strengths and weaknesses. Was always a good review to me.
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