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I'm undecided!! (Yamaha or Polaris?)


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Howdy All...

I'm in the "paper" stages of an ATV purchase and I need a bit of advice. Here's my story....

New or used? Undecided. If I do go pre-owned, the unit would be a 2000 or newer.

Polaris or Yamaha? Undecided. I've owned both brands in other applications but never in an ATV. I've heard and seen good things about both. Of the camp owners I know, it's a split. Half go Yamaha, half go Polaris.

What I DO know, the new "toy" will be at least a 4 stroke, 500cc, 4x4. Would like an auto, be it's not a "must have". I hunt upland and big game. I fish soft and hard water. So this guy will have to pull my 8x8, hard sided, easy pulling house which weighs in around 600lbs. Trail rides are fun, and I'm not a speed demon any more.

So with the info I've given, and the brands I'm looking for, how about some pros and cons of each.

Thanks for any help you can provide......Dan

Edit: Added "4 stroke".

[email protected]

[This message has been edited by Dan97 (edited 03-23-2002).]

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I don't think you can go wrong with either choice, but if you are in the soupy mud it has been my experiance the Polaris belt cases tend to leak causing belt slipage.Mind you this is real sloppy mud.The Yamaha SEEMS to have a better seal on it's cases.As to power or load capability they are so close you would never know any differance.If you want some real towing power the new 700 Polaris is a power house, the prototype machines I saw would wheelee from a dead stop if you punched the gas, they did detune them a little to stop the wheelie affect for the general public.It was just a tick faster than the 500 H.O and about the same as the Yamaha Grizzly and Kawasaki 650.
If you want one that will out run them all in top speed only get the Bombardiear,it is a heavy machine but the gearing will let it simply fly at top speed.I know it is more confusing , but I thought I could give you some insight on the other models also.
Good luck,Benny

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Belt cover leaking on Polaris is old news on older models. The new ones are good.
If you're going Yamaha Grizzly, I STRONGLY suggest the Independent suspension (2002). The older ones ride like a lumber wagon.

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Belt covers leaking old news?I would like to know why my cousin's brand new 500HO leaks if we go through a lot of watery , soupy mud.
My brothers 2000 Grizzly doesn't leak, and it seems to go through as much if not more stuff than the Polaris.It can be rocked side to side to get off the trenches left behind by the independent suspended wheelers.Yet if the sportsman gets hung up, it takes the winch to get it off the hump.
Im not talking about shin deep mud, we usualy get into the stuff that covers the whole wheel and tire up to the seat.
I can go through shin deep stuff with my 250r, just hit it fast and lean back with the gas pinched.
Even the articals in Dirt wheels state they had some leakage on the Polaris new models.
Maybe yours doesn't leak, but I know of at least three all 2000 models that do leak at some point.
Thanks for your in put, Benny

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Are you wanting a 2 stroke or a 4 stroke? If you're looking for a 2, go with the Polaris Xplorer -- good power right off the line, making it good for pulling. If you want a 4 stroke, go with a Honda Rancher or a Fourtrax. They are by far the most reliable ATV's on the market. Yamaha only make good racing 4 wheelers, and if your objective isn't to tear around on trails, then you might as well stay away from the Yamahas.

Hope this helps some, it's just what I have seen in the past.


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Yamaha Yamaha Yamaha, in my opinion it is most definately the way to go. You said new or used, if you want a 2000 thousand of newer I would most likely go with a new one, unless you find a really good deal( which sometimes means it was not taken very good care of). You said 500+ cc's which leaves you with the Grizzly. I don't have my own grizzly, but 2 guys at my hunting shack hav'em and lov'em. As for the 500 HO my dad has one (2000) and he has had some trouble with it. Just recently he had to replace the shifter. He has also rippid 2 of the boots on the inner parts of the wheels, just from playing in the mud. The worst thing I think is the weight, if you get stuck bad just start looking for the winch. Not to mention, when you go fast then stop it backfires so loud it seem like you are being shot at.
As for working and playing I have to give the grizzly the thumbs up over any other 500+ 4x4's.( also automatic)

Just a thought, not trying to change you mind, but my wolverine 350 4x4 has no problem playing with the big boys. It also pulled my 8x8 house out onto the lake without a problem. It is a manual (which i like). It had the same approx. top end speed as the 500 HO with a little less acceleration. Has 9 inches clearence( same as HO) and weighs around 300 pounds less. I have had no trouble. ( great running engine) It is my personal favorite machine.

What ever you buy I would reccomend putting mudders on it.

Good luck with what you buy.

Ely lake expert

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Benny, I should've said they're much better....not 'good', as in perfect. Nothing's perfect as far as I'm concerned. If you're truely 'up to the seat', you're past the clutch cover exhaust. Depending on rider actions, it's a lot easier to get water in at that level. As far as pure gooey "mud" (no water) that deep, it'd be tough to make it with any machine.

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Yes the thick gooy (no water) mud is very hard to get through.Better have some big 28's on the quad.
Ely Lake Expert, you are right about the smaller machines being almost as fast on top end and a whole lot lighter.One of the local guys from up north comes out with us from time to time, he rides an old 1985 TRX250 2WD and he has just as much fun as we do on the 4x4's.He goes through a surprisingly lot of stuff , I think it's because we sink in and he floats over most of it.
I have to state this about the Grizzly and Raptor though, they are very cold blooded machines.It takes a while to get them warmed up enough to not sputter and backfire.The Raptor is knowen to blow the carberatoes out of their boots when a serious backfire happenes.

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I am not going to say get a Yamaha or a Polaris. I feel that they both make good 4 wheelers. I myself have a Polaris and would buy either a Polairs or a Artic Cat. Why?, because I live and work in MN and both these 4 wheelers are made in MN.... But that is just me. One thing I do have to comment on.
Ely Lake Expert, If your Dads Polaris HO backfires then something is not adjusted correctly in the carb. I have seen at least one person who has had Yamahas, Honda's, Suzukis... You name it, backfire when letting off the gas. If there is something out of adjustment they will all do it. I just thought it was a little unfare to put that as a reason for not getting a Polaris, or any other brand for that matter.

Just Having Fun!
Love to Fish.

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I own a 2000 Yamaha Big Bear 400 4WD and love it.
I mainly use it for hunting and fishing and it works for all my needs. I also plow with it. I've got a 5' blade and even without tire chains I can push 10" of snow from one end of the block to the other when clearing sidewalks. I've pulled my 6x8 trailer behind it with a couple portables and all our gear 5 miles out on URL early in the season with no problem either. I would definitely buy new though......the only real difference in price is the sales tax (they seem to retain their value)....which in my opinion is worth the extra $ just to get a warranty and not inherit someone elses beat-up problems.
Good luck with whatever you decide on !

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What have you been told? Is it actually true? Do you believe everything you hear or just bad stuff about machines that arent yamaha.If so how do you know for sure--where is the proof? Our family has been useing the electric shift on a few different models since it came out, sorry to say there have been NO PROBLEMS WHATSOEVER shocked.gif I have also talked to other people who have it-- with no problems. The only problem I have heard is in real cold or hot temps (below 0 or above 90) it sometimes seem to stick and not want to shift to the next gear...simply shut the machine off --turn it back on and it works again. Sure maybe a little inconvenient and honda should address and fix this ,but not that big of a deal. Do you think hond would know about a legitamitt problem and do nothing about it? Think about it-- is that the kind of reputation honda has made for itself? I know some people are very loyal to thier brand but come on...not to the point of ignorance. They all are good machines today and we need them to keep competeing with each other to make them even better. Unless its to late for that... now that the infamous Yami Wolverine has been built we can all just burn our machines in shame and run to the dealer and beg him to put us on the waiting list for the machine that has perfected it all rolleyes.gif By the way what is the horsepower rateing of a wolverine? and how much does it weigh? Its got to weigh around at least 400 lbs --so your saying a Polaris 500 is 700 lbs..c'mon
I would pay 10 MILLION DOLLARS to see it beat a 500 sportsman H.O. in a drag race!! What exactly are you an expert of... halucinations tongue.gif

[This message has been edited by Pete_S (edited 04-06-2002).]

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Polaris Sportsman HO. displacement+499cc.
40mm mikuni carberator.
2 quarts of motor oil.
5.25 gallon gas tank
6.7 inches travel front
9.5 inches in the rear
51. wheel base
81 in x 46in. x 42 in.
695 lbs dry weight!!!!

Honda 450 es 433 cc displacement
5.9 in. travel front
5.9 in. rear
3.2 gallon tank,.7 res
595 dry wieght
77.3in. x 45.3in. 33.9
50.9 wheel base.
Sorry can't find my book on the Yamaha or the other brands right now.
So Pete s. The Polaris is 700 lbs and the honda is only 100lbs less and 66 cc less.
I know the wolverine has to be close to the honda in weight as my 250R is 325 lbs and a Raptor is 398 lbs, these are light weight race machines.
I would give a million bucks to see your Polaris 500 HO out run my 250R and I give up 249cc's to you!You would be eating dust and spitting rocks!
The 660 cc Raptor can't even keep up with out being modified.Speed is relavant to what type of riding you wish to do, I like speed some others like putting through a trail.

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LOL, WOW -- I dont even have a 500 H.O --I just never thought it could weigh 700 lbs blush.gif
My god what a tank that thing must be!!
Im not into going fast anymore but I dont doubt your 250r. I know they have allways been regarded as one of the best wheelers ever made for what they do--I just dont understand why they quit makeing such a good thing. My buddy had a 250r 3 wheeler in the 80's when they first came out, what a screaming monster that thing was shocked.gif
As far as the 500 H.O goes I guess at that weight its not going to win many races is it?
Oh well believe it or not I didnt really have 10 MILLION DOLLARS to bet anyway:d

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Yes they are a tank, it scares me to think what would happen if a person fliped one over while climbing a hill.The three wheelers and quads are notoriuos for following you down the hill if you whipe out.
The manufactureres stoped making three wheelers and later the high performance quads because some publicity seeking group got a law suite started, and the manufacturers didn't wan't to fight it.
We all are here to have fun, a little friendly ribbing is great.

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Benny, Yes I agree--and the ribbing I give is all in fun,I can also take my share of it and be fine with it wink.gif What I mean though is didnt yamaha allways continue to make the banshee? Now they have the raptor.
even if it is a 4 stroke its still classified as a high performance machine right? I understand the reasoning behind the
3 wheeler but why would Honda stop makeing the 250r quad if the banshee was still around? Just didnt seem right to me, I loved the 250r frown.gif I have found you will still have to pay a pretty penny today for one. Especially if its in decent shape.

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I don't know what I did to provoke you to go off like that. Sorry, I will explain what I was saying. I don't believe everything, but at the same time I may exaggerate a little. I am loyal to yamaha but not ignorant to other machines. The ES has had few problems, but not as many as you think I am saying. I do have a good source. My neighbor owns 5 seasons sports in eveleth. He is not gonna lie to me. He told me the wolverine would be the best machine out there for what i wanted to use it for.

Wolverine specs,
displacement 348cc
34mm mikuni carbs
3.4 gallon gas tank
width 42.3"
height 45.3"
seat height 31.1"
wheelbase 48.4"
groud clearance 8.7"
front and rear suspension 7.1"
length 73.6"
Dry weight 487Lbs 108lbs less than honda 450ES 208 lbs less than sportman 500 HO
As far as horsepower rating, i don't have a clue.

As far as drag racing, My dad and I raced down a 1/2 mile dirt road. My 2001 wolverine vs. his 2000 sportman 500 HO. He killed me off the line, but about 2/3 of the way down the road I passed him. He told me his speedometer was reading 60mph when I passed him. There is my explaination for you.

We all have a personal favorites and we take pride in them. I give other people a hard time and I can take it too. It is all in fun. It is nice to hear others opinions. I am just glad I found this site so I can talk to you guys. We are really all outdoorsman and should stick together.

Ely lake expert

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You are correct on the Banshee and Raptor, I forgot about the Banshee.I owned one for a short time, did everthing I could to bring the powerband down from it's peaky existance.Still had a hand full trying to race that thing, it sounded awsome though.
I just picked up a partial rolling chassis of a Honda TRX250R for $1000. minus a motor and some other parts.Been offered $5000. or even trade for a raptor on my 1988 R.
I think Honda just didn't want to compete any more and thought the market was shifting to the four strokes.
I know a guy from Arkansa that has a complete 1987 for around $2500 to $3000.,I will vouch for him by Wesnsday when my chassis gets here.

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I found a PDF on the Polaris web site that compares the 500's from most of the manufactures.


Here is a link directly to the 02 line up.


I have not spent much time on any of the competitor sites, I just recently started doing my research but I would guess you would find a load of information on their sites to help you make your decision.

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Two things to think about.(1)-I personlly don't know of a good Yamaha mechanic because I have never needed one for any of my Yami's ive owned.(2)-Everyone I know that owns a Polaris send's his mechanic a christmas card becuase they are just like family.

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hey did you honda 250r boys forget about Quadzilla??? they ate all the 250R's and banshees for breakfast===hahahaahahaha
Anyhow.... as a general rule Polaris Atv's are High maintenance PERIOD!!! I know they are made here in MN..but Ive seen waaaay to many gettin pulled bak to the trailer by a honda/suzuki/yamaha.....seems like the belt getting wet is a ongoing saga that they still havent correctd--and since the housing is plastic and rather flimsy will probly always leak--a buddy of mine has one and he gobs the silicone onit real thick==thats only the start of their problems-they are all overweight and everyone ive ever ridden dorve like a school bus

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