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MJCatfish

Which ATV to buy?

30 posts in this topic

I'm guessing this question has been asked before, but here it goes.

Any input on which four wheeler to buy? I'm looking at buying new and haven't owned one.

Any good specials around west central Minnesota that anyone knows of?

I like the accessories that come with the pin attachments that the Arctic Cat has, but I know this shouldn't be the biggest factor in my decision.

Which one is the best for my money? I would like to get into anything that is 400cc or somewhere close to that. I've heard the 700s are too heavy for deep snow, etc.

Thanks,
MJ

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If your looking to buy new and are thinking about a Polaris.Let me know, as I found a dealer who seems to be the cheapest around.I just returned a 700 back to Rosou, I picked it up through my cousin who's wife works for Team Industries(they make the transmitions for Polaris).The water pump cover leaked so bad I could ride for only an hour befor it would start to over heat.They wanted it back to see if a new design cover they are working on will hold up.
Any way I need to buy another machine now, I found a dealer in NE Minneapolis that sells them for just over cost.If we go together we may be able to get some free stuff or at least free instalation on accessories.
Benny

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This question would be best answered after we know what you want to use it for. Some are better suited for certain situations better than others.

Also this will probably get a better response in the ATV Users forum.

And Dave or Bonofice would be great sources of info.

Personally I own a 2000 Bombardier Traxter, this thing is a pulling machine!! I started pulling big fish houses out with this thing this year. Many didn't think it stood a chance and even without chains. Add a set of chains and I don't think there is a house on Mille Lacs this thing couldn't pull!

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MJCatfish --

I was in your shoes last fall, I didn't know what to look for, we haven't been in the ATV buyers market since 1988 when we bought a Yamaha Big Bear 350. That machine has been indestructable!!! And I would have been perfectly content buying another one. Its a very basic 4 wheeler and from what I saw, hasn't changed much sine 1987 except the displacement and a few other mods.

We took a Saturday and drove around looking at 4 wheelers at different dealers, taking them for a ride and wheelin' and dealin', it was fun.

We settled on a Kawasaki 650 Prairie, not 1 competing dealer could put it down, they all said they could not knock that machine and I had to agree once we had drivin it. WOW! What a difference 15 years makes..... you owe it to yourself just to take a test drive even if you are not interested.

If I were you, take a drive and kick the tires and take them for a ride. If the dealer won't let you do that, walk away because there are plenty of them out there. They all make nice machines.

Don't worry about the weight unless you plan on getting stuck, 4 wheeler can only go thru so much snow no matter the weight.

Good Luck

Mike

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I run a sportsman 500 H.O. It seems to be a good machine. I personally would not go any smaller than the 500 with polaris because even mine is a bit slow at top half. I almost saved the $500 and went with a 400 but that would have been a big mistake for me. There is lots of low end power though and these things are amazing, they will go through almost anything! I do like the independent rear suspension Polaris has and the clearence at 11 1/2". These four strokes are really quite too. I can't speak for other brands cause I have never owned them, but I hear really good things about Honda rubicon.

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I picked up a new Polaris Sportsman 400 last summer. I have about 450 miles on is now, and it has done everything I have asked of it. It has pulled in docks, deer, pontoons and last weekend I was dragging 18 inch cottontwood logs that were 25 feet long.

I had 4 six gallon jugs of water in the front rack elk hunting in Colorado. This was about 11,000 feet elevation, and it handled this chore with ease.

The Polaris deluxe plow assemblies are a breeze to attach/detach. One pin through the ball hitch point, and one pin under the front suspension. The plow can be hooked up or dropped in a few seconds.

Top end is about 50 MPH. Low end grunt in low gear is amazing.

Really, it is hard to go wrong with any of the manufacturers rigs. I shopped hard, and Acrtic Cat, Yamaha, and Honda nearly got my business. Don't overlook the importance of buying from a good dealer. Sometimes it is worth it in the long run to pay a bit more up front than to drive a long distance for a hundred bucks cheaper.

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I just traded in my 92 Honda TRX 300 on a 2003 Honda 450 ES. HARD getting used to the push button shift but so far so good with the new machine.
There are many good machines out there but I'm a Honda fan from day one. They make some very reliable engines and have for years.
NEVER had one lick of trouble with my 300 and I beat the snot out of it ! It even got hit head on by a Ford F-150 when I was plowing snow ( long story there ) and never missed a beat.
My advice ? First , decide what your gonna use your machine for most ( work - hauling shacks,yard work etc. or play - racing around ,trail riding )
Don't be afraid to talk to the mechanics at these dealers either. They usualy know better than the guy trying to sell you a machine what the pros and cons are on certain machines. I settled on the 450 over the Rubicon after talking to the mechanic where I bought my machine from.

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I have owned a Suzuki 250 Quad-runner since 1995 and have had no complaints. It has plenty of power for pulling deer, good clearance, independent rear suspension for a nice ride, a large selection of gears and selectable 4 wheel drive - so you won't tear up your yard. It doesn't go near as fast as the big machines, maybe 40-45 tops but it depends on what you use it for. The 250 is fairly light so you can easily move it around if it gets stuck. I were to get another I would probably go with the new one they have, I think it is called an Eiger. May be nice to have a little larger motor although the 250 has been just fine.

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Geeman - You need to send me an e-mail telling the story of hitting the f-150 head on!!! Im trying to picture the look on your face when that happened and I cant stop laughing....

The Gissert has a good point about buying from a dealer with a good rep. Things do happen and a good shop will take care of things.

We had a Suzuki 250 for about 8 years and it served up real well but was a little small for my dad and I and a deer. Went with the Polaris Sportsman 500 cuz of the recomendation of a cousin and a few close friends and no regrets aftet 3 years. The power in the thing is amazing. Think ya could drag a house off the foundation. It'll handle three of us(about 800lbs) and draging three traps out on the ice. That is a sight though...
All the big names make similar and awesome machines. Shop around and buy what ya like...

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I've got a 2001 Yamaha Kodiak that replaced a 1986 Yamaha Moto4. Cant say anything bad about a lot of years of use. The old one with 2 wheel drive had some limitations but was so light that it was easy to pick up to move if stuck. I was looking hard at the Big Bear but decided the auotmatic was nicer than shifting like the old machine. Looked hard at the Hondas but just felt the Yamaha was a better machine to me. I've always liked the shaft drive over any of the units with chain drive. Can't say I've ever seen problems with the chain but when running thru heavy woods etc. it just seems like it could be a problem with foreign material. Like someone else said...go ride them and see what you like. With no snow dealers that handle sleds and ATV's may be having deals to move inventory. Just my .02 worth.

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Thanks for the responses. To answer the question of what I want to use it for: A little bit of everything. Ice fishing, pulling my heavy 8x12 fish house once in a while, hunting around MN, ND, pulling my drag around the yard, occasional trail riding, plowing my driveway, etc.

MJ

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Dark Cloud , I was'nt on the machine when the truck whacked it. It had run out of gas and was in the road at the end of my driveway when the Ford hit it head on. I was JUST about to put gas in it when I saw headlights comming right at me. OH SWELL ! Well , that's not exactly what I said. LOL
Needed a new cargo rack ,brush gaurd and a couple plow parts afterwards but that was it.

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Jobs MJCatfish forgot to mention:
1) Hauling a never ending supply of beer to his fish house (wanted: a 4-wheeler that can handle three kegs at once or 11+ cases of beer).
2) Carrying back a never ending supply of empty beer cans.
3) Hauling out his daily limits of sheephead and carp.
grin.gif

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MJ , Another thing to consider is going with a machine that's been online for a while with a proven track record instead of going with the latest modle. That was another thing that made me go with the 450 over the Rubicon. The 450 has been out since 98 and they have pretty much ironed out the bugs. The Rubicon , I think this is only the second year ? for that machine.
Just using the Honda as an example. All ATV lines have theier successful bread and butter modles that have been around a while.

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I have heard from some Polaris owners and 1 dealer that their atvs have a hard time starting in cold weather. Is this a character of all atvs or is it just Polaris?

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Mine (Sportsman 400) starts just fine in the cold. The newer models have a progressive choke that makes starting and warming up a lot easier that the old style chokes.

Synthetic oil helps a lot as well.

Ploaris also has an electric heater kit available.

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MJ,

As far as I am concerned, whatever you want a fourwheeler for, there will be a yamaha for your needs.

Ely lake expert

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I just bought a Suzuki Vinson 500 manual. I researched every other machine out there and bought the Vinson. I do not like any machines with belt drive for the simple fact that I have pulled my buddys sportsman out when his belt is wet and slipping. I also like this over the Foreman because the Forman is pure power and not much for playing. My Vinson can go in low range to pull anything you want or can go in 2wd high range to play around, top speed is about 63 to 65. I can pull my 8x12 fish house all over the lake without a problem. I also got the machine at a very good price, $4999, and I got a warn winch for $69. I recommend this machine to any body who wants a good looking, powerfull, and all around great value. Just my .01.

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Thanks everyone for your great responses. I think in conclusion, I buy whatever type I feel, because they all sound great.

Johnsonator,
Where did you buy your Suzuki? I've heard good things about them.

MJ

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I watched a show on atv's. It was something like Motortrend comparing atv's instead of cars. If I am not mistaken they chose that Suzuki as #1. I do not own any so poor me.
Tully

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Ratings on racks have more to do with safe hauling weight rather than what the rack can actually hold. The OEMs just don't want heavy weight on a rack that'll flip the machine over easier.

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The Vinson I bought was a 2003, manual shift in red, the automatic was $100 more. I believe the racks on the Vinson are rated for just under 100 lbs. They seem just as strong as my brothers Forman 450. I would definatly put a deer on it. I bought my Vinson at Wild River Sports in Grantsburg WI. I called everywhere and they were the cheapest by $600. I tried Caswell, Tousley, and Larson Cylce. Wild River had the best service too, they even let me test drive it. I paid $5438, after tax, winch, and winch mount. I would definately buy another Suzuki from them.

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johnsonator,that is a really good price.Did you happen to call The Hiching Post in St Anthony?
I just bought a new Sportsman 500HO yellow model for $5700 out the door.They to were cheaper than any one else by $600.00.I wasn't intrested in the Suzuki's because of their lack of IRS.They are a fine machine though and you should be happy with it.
Benny

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Johnsonater,
Where did you buy that suzuki if you don't mind me asking? was that a late model you bought? Just looking at the suzuki HSOforum, that retails for 6399 (2003 model). seems like you got a good price.. is there a way to find invoice on these and deal or was that the price they were offering??

looks like a nice set-up... I agree with most that every manufacturer has a pretty nice line-up that would satisfy most of us...

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also, any idea what the front and rear racks are rated for on those?? I'd like something that could haul a deer out of the woods.. I notice some racks only rated just over 100 lbs... didn't see that info on the suzuki HSOforum.

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