ATV decision [Archive] - RetrieverTraining.Net - the RTF

: ATV decision

KC Steve
10-18-2004, 07:16 AM
Hey folks need your personal experience here.

I am seriously in the market for an ATV. I have ridden the Polaris and have eliminated it from the running based on experience with it. I am down to the Honda or the Yammie. My uses will include dog training (duh!), hunting waterfowl and upland birds, as well as deer.


1) 450 vs 500 is it worth the $'s for the extra CC's
2) auto vs manual
3) shift on the fly 4x4 or fulltime 4x4
4) what fits in the back of your std bed pick up (tailgate closed) and how do you get it back there (type of ramps)

I have not, as of yet, ridden either bike and have narrowed the brands down based on internet research on this forum and the fuge (previous threads). I am not locked in to any brand yet.

Thanks for your help


10-18-2004, 09:53 AM
i would consider if you want up to date equipment like what yamahas offer are you want tried and true like honda.I myself have a 04 honda 450 foreman s model it has selectable 2x4 are 4x4 and is plenty of power for most jobs and is reliable.The yamahas offer the irs suspension which is great and they also have disc brakes all the way around and offer a locking front differential which makes a world of difference.I noticed the 05 hondas have front disc now which is a good move. The other to consider is where you are buying from it doesnt matter how good the atv if you have a crappy dealer.I would almost base my decision on that alone unless you have several within a decent driving area.I personally think honda because of price also,But you know what they say about opinions.I also like sticking with manual stuff such as transmissions and the fewer electronics the better .IMO :?:

10-18-2004, 03:40 PM
I know it's not on your list, but I have an '04 Suzuki Vinson and love it. Give it a look and a ride.

10-18-2004, 04:09 PM
I work at a job where we have contractors that use ATV's for field work every day. They put a lot of VERY hard miles (2000 - 4000) per year on their machines. The only one that I have seen hold up for any amount of time under this punishment is the Honda Rubicon.

I also own one myself, and love it.

Beware of the new Honda Rancher AT I have seen several of these with transmission problems already.

Good luck on your decision.

10-18-2004, 08:53 PM
i have had a honda 300 4x4 for several years--the best 4 wheeler ever made.

I just got a rubicon 500. love it. i chose it over the rincon 650. i felt uncomfortable riding on the indep suspension--felt kinda tippie, although is way better on bumpy terrain. on what i usually ride on--muddy turnrows and la. gumbo mud in flooded fields--the indep suspension would not be noticeable.

i am keeping my 300 though.

my honda dealer says the honda 450 is better for the money, but i don't like the electric thumb shift, and i wanted something other than foot shift (although i don't mind it)

honda's seem to be tthe most rugged. but, it seems like a regional thing.

louisiana, most folks have hondas. texas, lots have polaris. way up north, arctic cat and suzuki seem to be popular. my friend has a kawasaki, and neither he nor i like it.

10-19-2004, 08:52 AM
I've had 2 Honda's, and my current ATV is a 2002 Honda Rubicon. It has 500 cc, which is plenty of power for me. I'm not into racing or playing in the deep serious mud, where more power is always better.
The Rubicon transmission is the BEST automatic transmission out there, bar none! You cannot feel it shift! It can also be placed into "manual" mode if you need to do that, or just enjoy shifting on your own. The Honda transmission is gear driven, so there are no belts to slip when the belt gets wet..... a major consideration if you drive in deep water a lot.

Of the nine local folks I know with ATV's 7 have Honda's!

Resale value is higher on Honda's, a consideration down the road.

My Rubicon is full time 4 wheel drive, and I am used to it. However there is something to be said for switchable 2wd to 4wd........ easier turning in tight places for example, while in 2wd.

For dog training, trail riding, pulling deer out of the woods, and some work related things, I could not be happier!!

Some web sites you might want to check out are: and

These sites have forums for each of the major ATV makers. Visit them and see what other riders are saying about their respective ATV's, and others. Be aware that there are a lot of young folks on these sites and all they are interested in is speed and power. They are easy to spot.

Good Luck!

Doug Trautman
10-19-2004, 12:02 PM
I am in the market too and have been doing a lot of research on ATV's. I have locked on the 2005 Honda Rubicon. 2005's have a new body style, can switch from 2WD to 4WD and new front brakes besides being the most reliable ATV on the market. I think they will start to deliver the 05's to the dealers December 1.

10-19-2004, 03:35 PM
You just cant beat a HONDA!!

That's just my 2 cents though!!! 8)

10-21-2004, 08:17 PM
I just purchased the 2005 Yamaha Kodiak 450. Has the differential lock, push button 4-wheel drive and independent rear suspension. I also added the winch w/roller fairlead, hand and thumb warmers and the street legal kit. Total price came to $6,199.95. Couldn't be happier.

KC Steve
11-08-2004, 04:49 AM
Thanks for everyones input. This weekend I will be picking up new 2005 Yamaha Kodiak 450. :multi: Very cool machine with IRS fornt and back, disc brakes, locking differential and fully automatic tranny (the wife will be able to drive it!)

I really liked the Honda Foreman 450 ES but hated the ES shifting, especially reverse, but I am sure I would have gotten used to it. Also the folks I talked to at the dealer were not real impressive with regard to knowledge of the machines.

See ya on the trails and in the field.


11-08-2004, 08:04 PM
Pick up my new Kawasaki 360 4x4 camo and pick it up on Wednesday. Also was interested in the Honda rancher 4x4 AT but the dealer just didn't seem interested in selling a machine or dealin', just stuck on MSRP.......excuse a plow, speedometer, and multiple goodies for less than the Honda..............A NO BRAINER..... :P

11-10-2004, 08:37 PM
Steve, I think you will be happy with your Kodiak. I have a 2001 Kodiak 400 4x4 and it has been great. Not one problem. In fact, I think they all do well if treated reasonably.
have fun

KC Steve
11-11-2004, 09:13 PM
Picked up the ATV today. Very cool, got the helment for the kids and they wanted to go for a ride before bedtime, Mom said OK to a short jaunt down the street.

I only had one problem unloading it from my truck, I could not get it running it would start/stop. Found the choke worked it, still nothing, figured I had flooded so let it set came back, still no luck. Then the light came on.....we turned the petcock to off when I left the dealership. Kind of hard to flood it when your staving the engine of fuel. :oops:

Turned on the gas and she comes screaming to life. Can't wait to get it in the rough stuff to try it out.

Thanks for everyones insight, think I am going ot be very happy with the Yammi. :D

12-01-2004, 05:45 PM
I bought a used 2002 Yamaha Grizzly 650 4X4 w/ wench and it had about 900 miles on it for $5200, I have since put about 300 miles on it since August and its awsome!!

Mike Peters-labguy23
12-01-2004, 08:35 PM
$5200 sounds like a lot for that machine. I guess at this point all that matters is that you like it.

As a side note my dad had jis Polaris Explorer 4X4 fixed by a local guy recently. He said that the Polaris's keep him very busy and make him quite a bit of money! Finally my dad is going to buy a new Honda.

Mike Peters

Howard N
12-01-2004, 10:43 PM
I bought a used 2002 Yamaha Grizzly 650 4X4 w/ wench

Could you tell us a little more about the wench. (Shayne wants to know) :P

12-02-2004, 02:51 PM
I have a Polaris and like it very much. But that is beside the point, I would suggest something with an automatic drive or electro shift personally. Also, be sure to get one with an independent rear suspension. It makes the ride a lot smoother and keeps atleast one tire on the ground most of the time. Good luck.

Mike Peters-labguy23
12-02-2004, 08:34 PM
Independant rear suspesion is not as important as some think. The proof lies in racing ATV's. You will never see a racing ATV with IRS-they ride smooth enough without it and provide better hook up for traction. I own an ATV with a solid rear axle. The same company that makes mine makes one with an IRS and I like mine a ton more. Solid rear axles handle weight on the back much better, better on side hills, and better at higher speeds. IRS are smoother at slower speeds on very rough terain. It all depends what you want the ATV to do for you.
To each his own! Thankfully I got a new job and I don't have to sell ATV's anymore!!!!
Mike Peters

12-06-2004, 01:36 PM
Also was interested in the Honda rancher 4x4 AT but the dealer just didn't seem interested in selling a machine or dealin', just stuck on MSRP.......excuse a plow, speedometer, and multiple goodies for less than the Honda..............A NO BRAINER..... :P

Just need to know where to shop. The honda dealer I went to knocked $1,200 off the MSRP in an e-mail that I sent asking what they wanted for their ranchers or foremans........ I shopped around and found no one who would compare to the deals this place was giving. A couple hour ride but well worth saiving 1200 bucks.....

jason allen
02-02-2005, 08:10 AM
How is the new 4 wheeler doing?

KC Steve
02-02-2005, 03:14 PM

Not sure who the question was direct to but if it was me I am still liking the Kodiak but have not been able to put a lot of miles on it yet. Plan to start soon with the onset of spring.

I have added a front basket and rear basket to it (Versa-rack). Versa-rack is kind of cool. Allows you to change from a flat rear section to a medium or deep drop rack on the back (have to buy the optional pieces but allows for versatility). I only have the flat extension for now.

I think the stability will be improved when I go to bigger/wider tires. IRS is sweet.



Mike Peters-labguy23
02-02-2005, 06:35 PM
I plowed my Dads driveway and his neibors last week with his new Polaris 500HO Sportsman '05 model. It was easy to operate from low gear to reverse which is very important for plowing!

It has the wider tires which give a little more traction but rob way too much power from the single cylander engine it doesn't help that it has an independant rear suspension and no differantial lock. Any ATV without a differential lock on the front end either as both front wheels with power which make it hard to steer or only the wheel with the least amount of resistance has power which makes it a 2 wheel wonder!

The 500 Polaris I feel is not enough power for plowing with a five foot plow. I suggest twin cylander engines if you are looking for serious power.

Mike Peters

03-31-2005, 05:26 PM
If you want that much power, I would suggest you get a Fendt tractor. My dad has the Fendt 712. Check it out at


04-08-2005, 09:54 PM
IMHO I have a 98 Honda Forman 450 S. It has been the most reliable 4 wheeler I have ever owned. I have had Yamahas and Kaws, they did not hold up like the Honda