ATV Thread

JimP

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Well the time might be coming for me to pick up a new or slightly used ATV for my adventures.

Currently I am riding a 2000 Yamaha Kodiak 400 but it has a slight problem. A cracked compression ring from what I can tell and there is no one within 100 miles that will do a rebuild for me. So I might need to dig into it come April after snow season. If I do I will quite possibly sell it after I get it fixed. I thought about selling it AS IS but I hate pawning off my problem on someone else even if I tell them about the problem.

My problem is that I like Yamaha's and all they are putting out now are 700cc machines which in my use for them is about 200cc more than I really need. A friend rides Artic Cats and likes them and I may steal his for a day while we are in Arizona hunting javelina next month and see if I like it or not. I haven't ridden a Honda in over 20 years but know people that love them.

So what I am looking for is a 500-600cc machine with a huge gas tank (ha, ha). But I really want one that is dependable. My Yamaha is 17 years old with just basic maintence and I think that it may go another few years once I get it's problem taken care of.

So lets hear you opinions on some good bike out there. Just forget about the side by sides, they are too big for where I go.
 

Slugz

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Couple items for thought.
1) I used to think the same way about the bigger 700-800cc quads. After this last season's 4th rifle I'm a big fan of the bigger quad with a beefed up suspension. I was 10 miles from the truck on a two track with an entire elk on it with me. ( Quartered out with bones in) I couldn't have done that on a 400 IMO.
2)I like the Kawasakis due to it seems like it's easier to get parts or aftermarket stuff.
3) Honda sportsman would be my second choice.
4) Lastly, I really like the drop baskets for the rear. I can really haul a bunch of stuff.
 

CoHiCntry

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Mar 31, 2011
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I really like Polaris. I've got a sportsman 500. I didn't want to spend a lot and wasn't interested in a lot of bells and whistles since I don't use mine to much and it's purely slow recreational riding when camping, and the occasional ride over a pass, or transportation when hunting. So I got the standard HO Sportsman 500 brand new for right around $5K a couple years ago. You can spend twice that on some of the other models or bigger machines.
 

Tim McCoy

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I run an old school 2001 Honda 300 4x4, 5 speed auto clutch, solid rear axle, been bullet proof. Suspension is not the best. My brother runs 3 hondas on his place, the mid to to late 2000's automatic 500cc models, they are tough, but suspensions are a touch rough, but much better than my 01. My son in law has a 3 year old can am, it's like riding a magic carpet. Been a good quad so far for him, rides like a dream. I have an outfitter friend that swears by Polaris, they ride good too. About all I know about them.

If I needed a new one, I'd probably look for a Honda or Yamaha, with a more recently designed suspension, 300-400cc is plenty for me.
 

Colorado Cowboy

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I really like Polaris. I've got a sportsman 500. I didn't want to spend a lot and wasn't interested in a lot of bells and whistles since I don't use mine to much and it's purely slow recreational riding when camping, and the occasional ride over a pass, or transportation when hunting. So I got the standard HO Sportsman 500 brand new for right around $5K a couple years ago. You can spend twice that on some of the other models or bigger machines.
I second the Polaris. I too have a Sportsman 500 HO. I bought it new in 2005 and have never touched it except changing oil. I have about 1500 miles on it. I put a whole cow elk on the rear rack and my buddy sat on the front rack and off we went foe about 3 miles on a 2 track to get to the truck. I also have and older Polaris Sportsman 400 that my wife rides and also other friends when we hunt and they don't have a quad. Both have winches. I really like Polaris, they both have served me well.

Bolam Pass.jpgAntelope hunting Oct 2016 006.jpg

I thought I had some better pixs. My 500 has independent rear suspension, while the 400 does not. Big difference in quality of ride. My wife does complain some too. I am thinking about selling both of them and buying a sidexside, but just not sure.
 
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JimP

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I have heard and have a few friends that have ran Polaris ATV's and they have had more than their share of problems. From starters and belts to other minor things. That is where I liked my Yamaha, not a single problem in 17 years until the one that I have now. I also had another Yamaha before this one and ran it for 12 years with zero problems.

Just one thing about my ATV's, I use them. I went through 3 sets of tires on the oldest one and am on my 4th set on the one that I have now. They just don't sit around very much after I buy them. It might scare me at how many miles that I put on one if I had a actual odometer that didn't reset at 999 miles.

On the CanAm's I rode one once and I do have to agree that they are nice, but at the price that you are paying for them I don't know.
 

buckbull

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I have a Yamaha big bear 350 from 1999. It has never been in the shop, even has original tires. I've been holding off on tires because I'm trying to convince myself to get something new. Mine is locked in 4 wheel drive all the time and the steering wears me out. Its also carburetor fed and extremely cold starting. Cannot complain one bit about its durability and reliability; just want something that is fuel injected (good cold start) and can disable 4 wheel drive when its not needed.

I've spent quite a bit of time researching and the Honda Rancher 4x4 ES is what I would buy if I pull the trigger. It is 420cc but thats plenty for what I need. The ES (easy shift) allows for transmission shifts from the handle bars. When I wear pac boots, its hard to get under my foot shifter on my current bike. As you mentioned, the yamaha's are just too big (engine and price) for what I want. IMO the japanese bikes reign supreme on reliability and I wouldn't hesitate another yamaha or even suzuki or kawasaki.
 

Tim McCoy

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Buckbull, my Honda was FT 4x4. Warn, the winch guys, made ATV 4x4 disconnect kits, I installed one, night and day. You might have to look on eBay, as I don't think they are made anymore. Last I looked on eBay a couple years ago, the kits for Honda were out there as were the rebuild kits. I bought a rebuild kit just in case. Not sure if they made/make them for your ride or if at this point it would be worth it if one was out there somewhere. But may be worth an Internet search or two.
 

JimP

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I have a Yamaha big bear 350 from 1999. It has never been in the shop, even has original tires.

My first wheeler was a 1989 Yamaha Big Bear with the 350, full time 4x4 and the 5 speed. In the 12 years that I owned it it never did miss a beat and was still going strong until the person that I sold it to sold it again and the new owner got tinker itis and had to start tearing things apart. But then he did the same thing to a Kodiak that another friend sold to him. They were two perfect running machines until he tore them down.
 

sneakypete

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I have a Suzuki Eiger 400 a 2000 I believe. Plenty of power with maybe 650 miles on it! My Kenetrek's have more miles on them! Lol
 

JimP

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I understand the miles on the boots. I have wore out 4 pairs of hikers in the length of time that I have owned the wheeler that I have now.

I might have to start saving my beer cans again and see if I can come up with enough cash to go buy a new one come summer.
 

ore hunter

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I have a 2006 Yamaha Kodiak 450.its been a good bike exept for a few drive belts{automatic}ive put it through a lot and its been great,,,if I was to get another though,id get a 550 with ps or a 700 w ps,,,I wouldn't go larger than that imo.make sure you get one w front diff lock and low range,,i use those features a lot on my Yamaha.
 

88man

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I have a 500 Honda Rubicon and love it. Many miles on it with 2 riders on rough terrain. Packed out a boned elk with 2 riders one time with rough trails. I do my driveway snow plowing with it.
 

JimP

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I know that Honda is a very reliable machine but I just don't like them for some reason. I'm a Yamaha person and from what I have experienced the Yamaha is just as dependable as the Honda's are. Since I made this thread I have checked out the Artic Cats and at the dealer that I went to I found out that the owner feels like he is doing you a favor by selling you one, I have never met a salesman that was so stuck up, so I wrote this dealer off of my list. Tomorrow I am headed to Grand Junction to check out a Yamaha Kodiak, so we'll see what I come up with.
 

shootbrownelk

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Before I got my Yamaha Rhino I had a Yamaha Grizzly 660 for quite a few years. Other than routine maintenance I have never had a problem with it. It had way more power & torque than my friends 500 Polaris, and I have hauled out an elk with half on the front & half on the back. I also love Yamaha's locking front diffs. Polaris doesn't have that feature that I'm aware of. My friend's Polaris broke down frequently.
 

buckbull

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"My friend's Polaris broke down frequently." said everyone who knew a Polaris owner.
 

JimP

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There are good ones and bad ones with all the makes of ATV's out there. I know of a few Polaris owners that have had no problems with them and only did regular maintenance. I also know others that have had quite a few breakdowns. You just never know what is going to happen.

CC on the battery replacement, I have no idea of what kind they put in my old 2000 Yamaha Kodiak but going on 17 years and it still is starting strong on the original battery. I have thought about replacing it but figure that I would when it died on me and since I also have a pull rope start on it I never worried about it. Perhaps that is why it has lasted this long. Now watch, when I need to plow snow again it won't start.