New ATVs?

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2,130
Location
WNY
Thread starter
Would like to buy a new ATV. Thinking Yamaha. Some recommendations from friends have revered them as about the best out there. Come to think of it, I can't say anyone I know has ever had anything bad to say about a Yamaha. I like Polaris but don't think they're the greatest. Have a '95 Magnum, but it is too old to reliably count on for long trail rides. Looking at the 2018 450 Kodiak. I don't think I need anything bigger engine wise, not trying to race. Honda ATVs good? Or is this an example of just riding on a brand's perception? I aim to trail ride, and potentially long distances -- I am in Western New York but would love to go and ride the Hatfield McCoy trails on a week long adventure at some point. I like utility as I would like the machine to be able to do work around the house. Also, I want EFI. I do not want to screw around with a carb on an ATV anymore. Power steering I think would be a nice luxury too.
 
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2,582
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in the shop
The Kodiak is super solid and Yamaha knows their stuff! You really get a great machine for a very fair price. I would take one of the Honda all day long.
 
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251
Location
Port Aransas, TX
Sure Yamaha Kodiak has a great machine base $5999. No locking differential and can't go from 2 to 4 wheel drive on the fly. The Polaris sportsman 450 has larger 497 cc engine, much more travel in the suspension and on-demand true 4x4. The 2018 has many improvements, 50% stronger axles and cv joints, beefed up transmission and engine now fully enclosed so no heat on legs. Much more storage on Sportsman and has the third headlight. If you can find a 2018 Sportsman 450 or 570 they both have $1000 rebates off of their $5999 and $6699 prices. The Honda 420 has a solid axle, not independent suspension unless you go for the very expensive one. A small machine and very harsh ride. If you want power steering pretty much add $900 to any model. Polaris has the most powerful and best power steering. If you test ride them all I'm sure you will find the Polaris has the Cadillac ride.
 
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320
Location
NC
I've been out of the ATV loop for a while now but Honda ATVs were always great. They are a no-frills machine that will last a lifetime if they're as good as the ones in the 90's and early 2000's. I've had older Arctic Cats (just kept finding good deals) and have a 2003 500 4x4 now and it's solid as a rock. All of them have used Suzuki engines and transmissions and have been 100% dead on reliable. I have no idea how the current generation fairs. Actually I've never heard of any of the major brands being "bad". I'd pick based on what local dealer you like the best. If I were to spend the money today, it would probably be a Honda. I've ridden every brand and I always liked them the best. Again, I'm really out of the loop on new models.
 
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JTK

Messages
12,844
Location
Buffalo, NY
Talk about being out of the loop. My last ATV was a 1985 Yamaha 225dx 3-wheeler I had until about 1989. Yamahas have always been nice machines.
 
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Messages
2,130
Location
WNY
Thread starter
I completely rebuild my '95 Magnum that had spent the better part of it's last 12 years outside. It runs good, but either has something that when it gets wet shorts out ignition or perhaps I have the float adjusted too low and I'm running out of fuel on hills. Got to narrow it down. I love it's simplicity, but it really beat me up riding this weekend. I just want something I can hop on and go or decided an hour ahead of time that I'm riding for the day. Before Mid-Way After
 
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6,925
Location
The Midwest
Where I live, sales of new ATV's fell off a cliff and have been replaced by side by sides/Razors. Some people think Honda makes more reliable ATV's because they have a good reputation with their cars. In reality, you cant go wrong with any Japanese brand, Honda/Yamaha/Kawasaki/Suzuki, so get what you like.
 
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933
Location
Arizona
Originally Posted By: Stevie
Sure Yamaha Kodiak has a great machine base $5999. No locking differential and can't go from 2 to 4 wheel drive on the fly. The Polaris sportsman 450 has larger 497 cc engine, much more travel in the suspension and on-demand true 4x4. The 2018 has many improvements, 50% stronger axles and cv joints, beefed up transmission and engine now fully enclosed so no heat on legs. Much more storage on Sportsman and has the third headlight. If you can find a 2018 Sportsman 450 or 570 they both have $1000 rebates off of their $5999 and $6699 prices. The Honda 420 has a solid axle, not independent suspension unless you go for the very expensive one. A small machine and very harsh ride. If you want power steering pretty much add $900 to any model. Polaris has the most powerful and best power steering. If you test ride them all I'm sure you will find the Polaris has the Cadillac ride.
This analysis is spot on with regard to Utility ATV's Honda are workhorse but a brick to ride. In contrast my buddy's Polaris rode like a cloud and always felt well planted and stable. I don't usually go for belt driven but that Polaris was alright. Sport ATV's are a different story ...the Honda's were always prized for their awesome handling and sharp power. But Yamaha was king of durability. My Raptor 700 was loads of fun. :-)
 
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520
Location
New York
I have two ATVs. Both stored under cover until the need to ride. Was just on my 2002 Suzuki Vinson 500 Auto 4WD this a.m. going through some low ground on one of the lots that floods a bit when we get lots of rain. Feels sturdy under you. It goes as fast as I ever want to go. 4X4 is amazing. Winched and has excellent pulling power in Low. Funny as this may be, I have a 1990 Honda Fourtrax 200 2WD chain driven with the little cover over the storage on the back to putter around the property and mostly used to pull lawn implements and cart. Tires don't tear up the lawn. Starts and goes and goes. Maybe look like Magilla Gorilla on it but at my age, I don't care. My wife still at least likes me. Truly think ATV selection and use is all about upkeep with maintenance regardless the make and model.Too many used great ATVs out there to purchase new at the prices they are asking. Your guess on the carburetor float adjustment would be my guess too. Wire shorts in a NY ATV left outside requires a lot of patience tracing continuity. Get a wiring diagram and have at. With the look of those photos, you have a handle on it with seeing real nice work done. Neighbors have Yamaha and Polaris. They like theirs too. Find a maintained 450 - 500 ATV and keep it fresh in tires and drive line. Trail riding with a crew is lots of fun when you have the confidence that the machine will get you to the destination.
 
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Messages
131
Location
michigan
I bought 3 Honda ranchers in 2000. Two of them have over 5000 miles on them and one has 7500 miles on it. If I was to have one I really like the Rincon but it does not have power steering available. I would probably do the Rubicon with independent rear suspension and power steering. The 3 Hondas I have now have been pretty much bullet proof
 
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1,786
Location
Pennsylvania
Originally Posted By: JTK
Talk about being out of the loop. My last ATV was a 1985 Yamaha 225dx 3-wheeler I had until about 1989. Yamahas have always been nice machines.
That brings back memories, I had a 1984 225DX that I put enough miles on to wear out 2 sets of rear bearings. I rode the daylights out of that thing!
 
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12,431
Location
Phoenix, AZ
I don’t know anything about modern ATVs but my 2005 Honda Rancher has been fantastic. 2 years ago I had my mechanic rebuild the carb because I let it sit too long. It runs great. I don’t use it much anymore though. 3000 miles the first 5-6 years and 300 miles maybe since then.
 
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2,130
Location
WNY
Thread starter
Thank you. The new Polaris models sure look nice. Maybe my perceived quality issues are just incorrect? Are Polaris reliable? In looking up online reviews, many seem to sure mention the ride quality of the Polaris as being better than the other makes.
 
Messages
187
Location
utah,usa
I am in Utah, home of the most extensive trail systems in the US. (Oh, and we also have Moab, the offroad capital of the world). Atvs are a way of life out here. I am in an atv club that has a wide variety of machines, and we ride together once a month. I personally trail ride two times per week, and average about 3000 miles per year. There isn't much that I haven't seen when it comes to atvs. I have owned a wide variety going all the way back to the first quad ever made...the 1983 Suzuki LT125. I have owned two Yamahas, and several friends and family have had them as well. My feelings on Yamaha are that they are well made atvs. However, the Grizzly and Kodiak have historically always had too short of a wheelbase for the seat height. They feel like they are wanting to roll over. But, that has been improved on the new ones, and the Kodiak in particular is now lower and wider. If I were buying a Yamaha today, I'd definitely get the limited edition Kodiak which has the locker. Honda. Who hasn't ridden one? They are all over out here. Their niche is reliability, gear driven, and good resale value. However, they are all severely underpowered, and the gear driven tranny is button operated on most models. I hate it. Also, the tranny will most likely total out the machine if it ever breaks out of warranty. CVTs are quicker operating, and are cheap to fix. Polaris..easily the most broken down atv I've encountered. And some of their designs (like the ebs, adc, and battery placement, just to name a few) qualify for some of the most boneheaded engineering in mankind's history. There has not been one group ride this year in our club where there wasn't a Polaris that broke something. Several atv rental places based along our trail systems initially bought Polaris fleets. After realizing what a mistake that was from a servicing standpoint, almost all of them have replaced their Polaris fleets with another brand. Polaris' only niche as far as I can see are they have a cushy ride (if you are into that type of vague, sloshy feel), and they have cheap entry-level vehicles with good rebates. They also have lots of storage compartments, and a third headlight. Kawasaki.... as my name implies, I am a Kawie fan. Its my current atv that I ride the most. I've got 16,000 miles on it, and I've spent less than $300 fixing things that I didn't break myself. And still, I get a smile everytime I ride it. It's the only Japanese brand to offer a vtwin. You may not need the power of a vtwin, but once you ride one, it's near impossible to go back to a single cylinder quad. In my opinion, if you want to trail ride, you've got to buy a quad that will motivate you to get out and ride it because it's FUN to ride. If you buy something that doesn't excite you, chances are you will get bored with it eventually. Downsides to Kawie are they don't have many options anymore. You can either get a 300cc 2wd machine, or a top of the line 750cc 4wd. Their 750 is a handful for a beginner, but not near as big and heavy as a comparable Polaris or Can Am. Can Am.... They are kind of the enigma. Some people I know love them, others curse them. If you get a good one, reliability seems good. But if you get a bad one, be prepared to use your warranty a lot. Their niche is definitely horse power. They win the hp wars in every engine size. I also really love their rear end suspension design. It combines the sporty feel of a solid axle with the plushness of an irs. They also offer some great prices on their entry level 570cc base models. Other than Kawie, Can Am is the only other brand that I find exhilarating to ride. Even their smaller engines like the 570 have some serious acceleration. I just wish they'd improve their quality control, and not charge an arm and a leg for oem parts. There's my long winded breakdown. Whatever you do, go test ride it before you buy it. Quads are very hard to predict which one you're going to like best just by looking at stat sheets. You really need to feel it in the flesh.
 

JTK

Messages
12,844
Location
Buffalo, NY
Originally Posted By: Slick17601
Originally Posted By: JTK
Talk about being out of the loop. My last ATV was a 1985 Yamaha 225dx 3-wheeler I had until about 1989. Yamahas have always been nice machines.
That brings back memories, I had a 1984 225DX that I put enough miles on to wear out 2 sets of rear bearings. I rode the daylights out of that thing!
Same here!! 2 sets of rear bearings. Several sets of tires, new forks at one point. Pretty sure I broke the recoil start rope a few times too. That thing was a bugger to pull start if the 10sec worth of E-start couldn't do it or a bump start couldn't do it. Mine had what sounded like a rod knock later on, but it still ran like a top. Never had an issue with the shaft drive or rear suspension.
 
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3,510
Location
WI.
I run similar terrain to you here in WI...most important issue is to get back home and alot of that is not only the machine but the implements you'll carry..I also ride mostly solo or with no more than one partner, I don't eat dust. here are some important equipment items I carry. More Power Puller 100FT. 4x25' 1871 cheyenne rig flat saw Kolpin Firstaid glasses I run Hondas, six of them currently from 2-'84 Trikes to '18 Rubicon including a Rincon and a couple Foremans...right now all around the loaded-up Rubicon is king...it's easily all you'll need....remember HQ ATV riding is usually below 15 mph. By spec every Honda must float, very important when fording. keep wheel weight/tire low as possible, try not to exceed the factory weight, lighter is even better. I could go on for hours
 
Messages
42,576
Location
Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted by kawie_guy
I am in Utah, home of the most extensive trail systems in the US. (Oh, and we also have Moab, the offroad capital of the world). Atvs are a way of life out here. I am in an atv club that has a wide variety of machines, and we ride together once a month. I personally trail ride two times per week, and average about 3000 miles per year. There isn't much that I haven't seen when it comes to atvs. I have owned a wide variety going all the way back to the first quad ever made...the 1983 Suzuki LT125. I have owned two Yamahas, and several friends and family have had them as well. My feelings on Yamaha are that they are well made atvs. However, the Grizzly and Kodiak have historically always had too short of a wheelbase for the seat height. They feel like they are wanting to roll over. But, that has been improved on the new ones, and the Kodiak in particular is now lower and wider. If I were buying a Yamaha today, I'd definitely get the limited edition Kodiak which has the locker. Honda. Who hasn't ridden one? They are all over out here. Their niche is reliability, gear driven, and good resale value. However, they are all severely underpowered, and the gear driven tranny is button operated on most models. I hate it. Also, the tranny will most likely total out the machine if it ever breaks out of warranty. CVTs are quicker operating, and are cheap to fix. Polaris..easily the most broken down atv I've encountered. And some of their designs (like the ebs, adc, and battery placement, just to name a few) qualify for some of the most boneheaded engineering in mankind's history. There has not been one group ride this year in our club where there wasn't a Polaris that broke something. Several atv rental places based along our trail systems initially bought Polaris fleets. After realizing what a mistake that was from a servicing standpoint, almost all of them have replaced their Polaris fleets with another brand. Polaris' only niche as far as I can see are they have a cushy ride (if you are into that type of vague, sloshy feel), and they have cheap entry-level vehicles with good rebates. They also have lots of storage compartments, and a third headlight. Kawasaki.... as my name implies, I am a Kawie fan. Its my current atv that I ride the most. I've got 16,000 miles on it, and I've spent less than $300 fixing things that I didn't break myself. And still, I get a smile everytime I ride it. It's the only Japanese brand to offer a vtwin. You may not need the power of a vtwin, but once you ride one, it's near impossible to go back to a single cylinder quad. In my opinion, if you want to trail ride, you've got to buy a quad that will motivate you to get out and ride it because it's FUN to ride. If you buy something that doesn't excite you, chances are you will get bored with it eventually. Downsides to Kawie are they don't have many options anymore. You can either get a 300cc 2wd machine, or a top of the line 750cc 4wd. Their 750 is a handful for a beginner, but not near as big and heavy as a comparable Polaris or Can Am. Can Am.... They are kind of the enigma. Some people I know love them, others curse them. If you get a good one, reliability seems good. But if you get a bad one, be prepared to use your warranty a lot. Their niche is definitely horse power. They win the hp wars in every engine size. I also really love their rear end suspension design. It combines the sporty feel of a solid axle with the plushness of an irs. They also offer some great prices on their entry level 570cc base models. Other than Kawie, Can Am is the only other brand that I find exhilarating to ride. Even their smaller engines like the 570 have some serious acceleration. I just wish they'd improve their quality control, and not charge an arm and a leg for oem parts. There's my long winded breakdown. Whatever you do, go test ride it before you buy it. Quads are very hard to predict which one you're going to like best just by looking at stat sheets. You really need to feel it in the flesh.
Love your post! I'm an occasional rider that started on a Yamaha 225DX trike, upgraded to a mid-80's Suzuki 2WD 250 sport quad and now own a Can-Am. The group I ride in used to be incredibly diverse. We had a Blaster, a Suzuki 450 sport, Grizzly, Polaris, Honda 250 (slower than paint drying) and the odd dirt bike. We'd go out in the trails and when you hit a straight the dirt bikes would take off and the quads would all kinda of [censored] around except for the Blaster, which would tear after the bikes. Then one of the guys bought a Renegade. That was a game changer. Then another guy bought a Renegade. So then you had these two ridiculously fast and comfortable quads that would just walk everything else. My buddy with the 250 Honda was tired of riding a lumber wagon that couldn't catch the slowest quad in the group and so the year before last he upgraded to a Can-Am Outlander Max 850, the guy with the Grizzly bought an Outlander 650 and I bought my Outlander Max 1000R a few months after my buddy got his 850 because it was in stock and the price difference was negligible (was originally going to get an 850). The folks with the Renegades seem to have gone through the teething issues (belts, water getting into the CVT..etc) as the more recent ones seem to be more problem-free. Will be interesting to see what, if anything, happens as the miles rack up, but the Outlanders have all been excellent so far. I'm guessing our scenery is a bit different from yours though, LOL

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irv

Messages
2,137
Location
Oshawa, Ont. Canada
Originally Posted by OVERKILL
Originally Posted by kawie_guy
I am in Utah, home of the most extensive trail systems in the US. (Oh, and we also have Moab, the offroad capital of the world). Atvs are a way of life out here. I am in an atv club that has a wide variety of machines, and we ride together once a month. I personally trail ride two times per week, and average about 3000 miles per year. There isn't much that I haven't seen when it comes to atvs. I have owned a wide variety going all the way back to the first quad ever made...the 1983 Suzuki LT125. I have owned two Yamahas, and several friends and family have had them as well. My feelings on Yamaha are that they are well made atvs. However, the Grizzly and Kodiak have historically always had too short of a wheelbase for the seat height. They feel like they are wanting to roll over. But, that has been improved on the new ones, and the Kodiak in particular is now lower and wider. If I were buying a Yamaha today, I'd definitely get the limited edition Kodiak which has the locker. Honda. Who hasn't ridden one? They are all over out here. Their niche is reliability, gear driven, and good resale value. However, they are all severely underpowered, and the gear driven tranny is button operated on most models. I hate it. Also, the tranny will most likely total out the machine if it ever breaks out of warranty. CVTs are quicker operating, and are cheap to fix. Polaris..easily the most broken down atv I've encountered. And some of their designs (like the ebs, adc, and battery placement, just to name a few) qualify for some of the most boneheaded engineering in mankind's history. There has not been one group ride this year in our club where there wasn't a Polaris that broke something. Several atv rental places based along our trail systems initially bought Polaris fleets. After realizing what a mistake that was from a servicing standpoint, almost all of them have replaced their Polaris fleets with another brand. Polaris' only niche as far as I can see are they have a cushy ride (if you are into that type of vague, sloshy feel), and they have cheap entry-level vehicles with good rebates. They also have lots of storage compartments, and a third headlight. Kawasaki.... as my name implies, I am a Kawie fan. Its my current atv that I ride the most. I've got 16,000 miles on it, and I've spent less than $300 fixing things that I didn't break myself. And still, I get a smile everytime I ride it. It's the only Japanese brand to offer a vtwin. You may not need the power of a vtwin, but once you ride one, it's near impossible to go back to a single cylinder quad. In my opinion, if you want to trail ride, you've got to buy a quad that will motivate you to get out and ride it because it's FUN to ride. If you buy something that doesn't excite you, chances are you will get bored with it eventually. Downsides to Kawie are they don't have many options anymore. You can either get a 300cc 2wd machine, or a top of the line 750cc 4wd. Their 750 is a handful for a beginner, but not near as big and heavy as a comparable Polaris or Can Am. Can Am.... They are kind of the enigma. Some people I know love them, others curse them. If you get a good one, reliability seems good. But if you get a bad one, be prepared to use your warranty a lot. Their niche is definitely horse power. They win the hp wars in every engine size. I also really love their rear end suspension design. It combines the sporty feel of a solid axle with the plushness of an irs. They also offer some great prices on their entry level 570cc base models. Other than Kawie, Can Am is the only other brand that I find exhilarating to ride. Even their smaller engines like the 570 have some serious acceleration. I just wish they'd improve their quality control, and not charge an arm and a leg for oem parts. There's my long winded breakdown. Whatever you do, go test ride it before you buy it. Quads are very hard to predict which one you're going to like best just by looking at stat sheets. You really need to feel it in the flesh.
Love your post! I'm an occasional rider that started on a Yamaha 225DX trike, upgraded to a mid-80's Suzuki 2WD 250 sport quad and now own a Can-Am. The group I ride in used to be incredibly diverse. We had a Blaster, a Suzuki 450 sport, Grizzly, Polaris, Honda 250 (slower than paint drying) and the odd dirt bike. We'd go out in the trails and when you hit a straight the dirt bikes would take off and the quads would all kinda of [censored] around except for the Blaster, which would tear after the bikes. Then one of the guys bought a Renegade. That was a game changer. Then another guy bought a Renegade. So then you had these two ridiculously fast and comfortable quads that would just walk everything else. My buddy with the 250 Honda was tired of riding a lumber wagon that couldn't catch the slowest quad in the group and so the year before last he upgraded to a Can-Am Outlander Max 850, the guy with the Grizzly bought an Outlander 650 and I bought my Outlander Max 1000R a few months after my buddy got his 850 because it was in stock and the price difference was negligible (was originally going to get an 850). The folks with the Renegades seem to have gone through the teething issues (belts, water getting into the CVT..etc) as the more recent ones seem to be more problem-free. Will be interesting to see what, if anything, happens as the miles rack up, but the Outlanders have all been excellent so far. I'm guessing our scenery is a bit different from yours though, LOL
Do the Renegades still have/use Visco-lock? That is the one thing that deterred me from getting one back in 05, there seemed to be too many issues concerning them like they would only engage if one could get the other wheel to spin. Not a great feature on a ATV, imo. Glad to hear they have improved other things. I also remember them being quite pricey back then as well. I purchased an 05 Yamaha Grizzly and although it didn't get a lot of miles on it before I sold it due to lack of use and everything else associated with that, it served me well and never caused me any grieve.

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