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Thread: ATV decision

  1. #1
    Member KC Steve's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Overland Park, KS

    Default ATV decision

    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

    Quote to wife after dating several years....."The dogs were here when you got here and they will be here when you are long gone"

  2. #2


    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

  3. #3


    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.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    NE Arkansas


    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.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    north louisiana


    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.

  6. #6
    Senior Member lablover's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Richmond, VA


    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!
    <--- Dooey, MH
    MHR Duckmates Fly Guy MH 05/17/94 - 07/17/08 "Flyboy"
    Candlewood Court Magician JH 1/31/02 - 8/2/12 "Magic Man"


  7. #7
    Member Doug Trautman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Elmore, Ohio


    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.

    Dogs are not my whole life, they just make my life whole.

  8. #8
    Senior Member RAB's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2004


    You just cant beat a HONDA!!

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

  9. #9


    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.

  10. #10
    Member KC Steve's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Overland Park, KS


    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.

    Quote to wife after dating several years....."The dogs were here when you got here and they will be here when you are long gone"

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