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New ATV Guy Seeking Advice


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I am looking to buy an ATV (new or slightly used). I am a big guy (300 lbs+). Is there any one better than another or anything I should look for or lookout for? I want a 500 or bigger. Hopefully an American made model. Any advise or input would be appreciated. I'm looking for the best one at the best value. I'm not rich. Any places to find a deal would also be appreciated. Thanks!

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I would strongly suggest looking at the Honda 450 Foreman. I know all of the different brands of wheelers have their little advantages, but this machine would not dissapoint you. I've got the 450S (manual shift) and it is very strong. It hauls my dad and I (450 lbs) while pulling an 8x10 fish house full of gear w/no problem - without chains. It's not nearly as expensive as some of the bigger models either, and I'd put it side by side with any of them. Remember how long the Honda has been around as well-they must be doing something right.

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CabinBoy,

I've seen these at some of the ATV dealers. It's a nice looking machine. Have you had any problems with it? I'd prefer American made, but if the difference was huge in either price or performance I would reluctantly buy another model built somewhere else. Thanks!

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I haven't had any problems. It's a 2000 and only has 120 hrs., but I haven't done a thing to it except change oil. I know some guys complain that the Honda's start hard in the cold, but I haven't had that problem. I have also used the machine to pull boats up to 17ft. up a boat ramp with no problem - again they are very strong units. Good luck in your search.

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fish smarter, not harder

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Each manufacturer has a machine or two in each size "class". You will have to decide what features you really want; fully automatic? Manual shift? Full independent suspension? PRICE?? lol Start there and you can narrow it down.

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Uncle Dave,

Being that you say your a bigger guy, you might want to take a look at the kawasaki 650's or 700's. I would think you can find a 650 used in the 4 - $5,000 range and the 700's in the 6 - $7000 range depending on what you are looking for.

I have a 650 and I am very happy with it, only gripe I could say it that it is cold blooded in the winter, these are v-twin engines. The 700 seems to be much better and definetly has more power. Lots of nice features and they are made in the U.S.A too.

Just my $.02 worth but get out there and shop and take the ATV's for a ride, lots of different feels and features.

Good luck,

Mike

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Frozen Bait

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Okay Uncle Dave...I'm sticking up for American made as requested. I have a Polaris Sportsman 500 I bought new a few years ago. I almost spent the additional $1000 to get a 700, but I haven't found a situation where I needed the extra 200cc yet. I weigh about 180 lbs but I have put my machine through the paces.

I too have hauled boats, one 18' long, trailer campers, docks (both in and out of the lake), and trailer loads of wood. I have a 60" plow that gets used extensively. There really hasn't been too many easy miles on my machine.

My machine does start when cold. Have fired it up many times at subzero temps to plow and ice fish.

If you are at all torn between new and used, check out a few of the dealers in March and April. That's when they really try to get rid of last years models. Saved me about $1000 when I bought mine.

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Hands down I would go with a Polaris. Even if you didn't want to stay with the red white and blue made. I own an 02 Sportsman 500 and I just love it. Polaris also makes a 600cc and a 700cc machine. Haven't ever driven a 600 so I can't say too much about them. I have a buddy that has a 700 and he likes it. In the weight category he is about the same or more than you. When I get on the 700 and drive it, it has all kinds of power but it does a lot of spinning when I'm on it. I weigh about 170. Hopefully this helps. Good luck.

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I recently bought an 03 Foreman es. Brand new I paid $5299. It's been great so far and you can't beat that price for a new machine. In the past I have owned Polaris and they too were good machines. A trick I used to find good deals was to put a wanted to buy classified add in the Roseau newspaper. The employees at Polaris get a pretty nice discount on new machines and a lot of times are looking to upgrade on a yearly basis. If you play your cards right you can save a lot of money. It'd the old law of supply and demand. Good luck.

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Good point CSTPETER. I was about to buy one this way from the father of an old roomate of mine from Warroad. Maybe he was trying to make out too good, but he had a 1 yr old Sportsman 500 with 300-400 miles on it he wanted $5400 for. That's not bad since last I checked (2 yrs ago) new ones listed at about $6200.

However, after checking on previous year models and working a few dealerships against each other I got my 500 with 0 miles on it and a guarantee for $5200 before tax. What's more, I got $800 worth of accessories (rack extensions, HD front bumper & 60" plow) for $600.

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I am actually in the market for one myself too. Is the spring the best time of the year to buy one? If buying one used what is the warranty on most of these machines. I too like the looks of the Sportsman but can't look away from the durability and longivity of a Honda. I would mainly just be using it for ice fishing and trails up north. 4x4 is a must for towing on ice right? What dealers will give you the best deal?

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Hey Duckbill...I'll give you the lowdown on how I got a deal on mine a few Springs back. The Polaris had a 6 month warranty when I bought mine. Same when my dad bought his a year later. Not sure what Honda has.

4x4 is a must on ice with 6+" snow...plus you can get rid of your snowblower if you buy one and packing a perm house in becomes trivial. I really like the auto tranny (clutches) in my Sportsman. No shifting, tows fine, and the same clutches have been used for years in their sleds.

When you finally come out and fish with me, I'll let you take mine for a spin.

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"What should I do...I think he's probably got the hook, I'd set the hook...PLINK....ooohh, I would have gave him some more time"

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Uncle Dave,

Dave was right, I think you need to first determine what your're looking for, as far as features are concerned, first. Do you plan on mostly trail riding, if so, you would appreciate the independent suspension systems that are offered on some of your larger machines. If it will be more for utility purposes, you should stick with a solid rear axle. 300lb+ isn't going to be a factor with any machine 400cc+. I go around 225lbs and have add at least 100lbs of gear with me and my machine never even knew it. The ATV's these days are built well and are designed to perform well under heavy loads and in ruggered terrain. Good luck with your "hunt". Oh, by the way, I happen to have a 400 Big bear for sale in the "Classifieds" forum. Take a look at it and let me know if you're interested. I have to sell it. I'm trying to buy a home and need to lower my good old, debt to income ration.

[This message has been edited by ironranger420 (edited 12-31-2003).]

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