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UTV/ATVs What's Up?

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by mjbskwim, Feb 27, 2016.

  1. mjbskwim

    mjbskwim Salmon,Idaho Well-Known Member

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    I cn't really think straight cause I just took the elk and potatoes and mushrooms out of the crock pot and made gravy from the left overs,but I'll try
    I am going to buy a quad ,hopefully this summer. But I am looking at the UTVs(side by side) also.
    Two different things ,but same question.
    I have Yamaha,Honda,Artic Cat,Kimco and Cub Cadet in town. It would be best to buy one of these brands so I can get good service. Out of these brands ,what do y'all think is the best? Both ATV and UTV,if there is any difference in quality.
    The Cub Cadet looks like a pretty good brand ,comes with a automotive battery and alternator and a good price. 9500 range.Seems to me the rest is the same.
    So given that,what about real world warranties,engine powers ,longevity etc,etc
    The Artic Cat guy has told me of the problems with dealing with Artic Cat for warranty work,so not sure that's the best way to go.
    What do you have and how has it survived your abuse?
     
  2. v0lcom13sn0w

    v0lcom13sn0w Keizer, or Well-Known Member

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    ive only owned hondas. super reliable in my opinion. never left me stranded and has always got me to where i need to go. a co worker has a yamaha big bear and its a super reliable quad too. has a lot of good features on it that some hondas dont.

    whatever you get just plan on putting a winch on it.
     
  3. Skier

    Skier Beaverton/Washington County Active Member

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    A friend of mine's family is pretty much an all Honda family, so that was my first exposure, and they really liked Honda's for their reliability. After buying my first quad, a Honda 250x, about 11 years ago, and later buying a trx90 for the kids, then a couple 400ex quads for my wife and I, I have to say, they've been great, reliable bikes for our family. I've never had to do much other than change the oil on the 90 (1998?) and 400s (2006 & 2007) and keep them clean (and replace one battery). My oldest bike (the 250x, 1991), I've changed the clutch once a few years ago, replaced the CDI once, and I'm replacing the rear bearings right now, but not bad for a 25 year old bike that I've had for over 10 years.

    The Honda 4 strokes are solid, dependable bikes. I have friends with Yamaha, and they love them, but typically, even they'll admit to less maintenance on the Hondas. I've ridden quite a few varieties of quads, and my general view for the most frequently discussed sports quads is basically this:

    Honda 4 strokes (in particular the "sport" versions, e.g. 250x fourtrax, trx300ex, trx400x, trx400ex):
    -Quiet, reliable, all around great quad for many purposes, plus they seem to fit me well.
    -I wasn't as much the fan for the 250ex, which has a centrifugal clutch. I think a centrifugal clutch is great for a kid bike like the trx90, but for an adult bike, it was a bit irritating, when I could rev the engine to get into a good horsepower range to take off quick like you need to in sand or mud at times.
    -The "workhorse"/utility versions also seem to have a great reputation, if that's what you need, but I like riding for fun and the sport ones are better for that. If hunting, or getting around a large piece of property, mounting/carrying stuff, is what you need, they'd be great for that. When my kids were young, we a friend drove his 400 utility quad, with my whole family on it (my wife and I, plus 3 daughters, and him driving), for a tour around the family farm. :)

    Honda racing quads. e.g.
    -Older 250r: Fast, but not a two-stroke fan, I'm just not a fan of the noise, mess with the fuel oil mix, etc
    -Newer 450r/450er: Very fast, wouldn't mind having out. Still a 4 stroke, but man, it moves. A little more maintenance than the 300/400 sport quads, but definitely fun and fits me nicely.

    Yamaha Banshee: Very fast, fun to ride, crazy power-band, but again, not a two stroke fan, due to noise, exhaust, fuel/oil mix, reliability/maintenance (which is probably more simple than a 4 stroke, but also more frequent).

    Yamaha Raptor 660: Big, fast, too big, in my opinion, and from a maintenance point of view, you'd probably be better off with a Raptor 700.

    Yamaha Raptor 700: Also fast, but a different kind of fast compared to a Banshee or Honda 450r. For an analogy on the "kind of fast", in my opinion, the Banshee and Honda 450r are somewhat analogous to street sport bike, when it comes to speed/agility, while the Raptor 660 and 700 have more of a "Harley fast" feel to them. They have a lot of torque that pulls you ahead quickly with big pistol pops, while the Banshee/450 rev up much quicker, so it depends on what you like. Personally, I've ridden a friends Raptor a number of times, and while it's fun and I certainly wouldn't turn down a ride/trip if that's what I had to ride, I much prefer the Honda 400/450r. He'll beat me on my Honda 400 pretty much every time where raw power is what would win, but I feel much more agile on my 400ex. When I ride my 400 (or a 450 for that matter), I feel like I'm part of the bike, moving with it, but when riding the raptors, they feel so big that it feels more like I'm riding on top of something, instead of a part of it. He's a little bigger than me, so maybe that why it doesn't bother him, or it could be that he just doesn't like to lose. (He started with a 400, then moved to a 660, then a tricked out 700). :)

    Anyway, those are the items I've had the most experience with. No matter what, they're tons of fun. My family (my wife, 3 daughters, and I) all ride. We tend to like riding on the sand (both safer and more fun, in my opinion), but also ride dirt. If you're in Oregon, there are dunes at Sand Lake (a little SE of Tillamook), Florence, Winchester Bay, and Coos Bay, all along the Oregon Coast, plus there's dunes in Christmas Valley in Central Oregon. As for dirt, I'm mostly ridden in the Tillamook State Forest, staging out of Browns Camp, Rogers Camp, or Jordan Creek, but there's other places. I could give more info on my impression about each place, but I think I've written enough for now, and that's another topic entirely, so I'll keep quiet unless asked. :)
     
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  4. mjbskwim

    mjbskwim Salmon,Idaho Well-Known Member

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    Yeah no sand dunes here in Idaho that I have found so far,lol. Lots of mountains,roads and trails to explore though.
    I'll look at the Hondas again one of these days and the same dealer has my son's favorite,the Yamahas. And he's much better rider than me. And that is his prejudice from his gramps who rode in the Cally deserts for years
    Price will be a big factor and Hondas have plenty of price I'm sure.
    The other thing I wonder about is what to look for o used machines. Where are the break (not brake)parts?What wears out first?
    And thanks
     
  5. erudne

    erudne The Pie Matrix PPL Say Sleeping W/Your Rifle Is A bad Thing? Bronze Supporter

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    Honda
    I suggest you search YouTube for repair vids on the models your interested in, lots of unbiased reviews there
     
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  6. Velzey

    Velzey Estacada, Oregon Gunsmith Gunsmith Bronze Vendor Bronze Supporter

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    I was a Honda fan for a long time, but not a fan of their suspension! Yamaha motors rattle to much for me.. Then I discovered Rotax!
    Well I knew of rotax from racing flat track!

    I bought a brand new 2004 step thru Bombardier with a 500 rotax in it. Plenty of power! And oh so smooth. And I picked up a Can Am Outlander 800. Only problems I have had with either one of them is people wanting to borrow them all the time!
    Bombardier is now Can Am and makes a whole line of great bullet proof machines!
     
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  7. 2A2Dend

    2A2Dend .. Well-Known Member

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    Having a lot of ride time under my butt, on several different brands and models, Honda would be my choice. They aren't necessarily in the Cadillac line-up, but they're proven. Like anything, fit the ATV to you and your use. One that makes me shake my head, a ridiculously, heavy loaded amount of cargo on the ATV itself. There's no "known" balance point, making ease of control always a struggle to avoid a roll-over or off-cant situation.

    For gear, build (or have built) a trailer that tags along similar in style like a Gamma Goat, with the same tire/wheel type as your ATV.

    I've no input on a UTV
     
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  8. Skier

    Skier Beaverton/Washington County Active Member

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    Well, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised. :) Welcome to St. Anthony, Idaho (over 10,000 acres of sand dunes):

    http://www.duneguide.com/sand_dune_guide_st_anthony.htm

    http://www.blm.gov/id/st/en/visit_a...upper_snake_field/St__Anthony_Sand_Dunes.html

    While I've not been there, I've heard they are pretty awesome and have some HUGE dunes, IIRC. If you're never ridden in the sand, I'd highly recommend trying it. Tons of fun. Although sand paddle tires are preferable, you can try it without, and still have a blast. I've spent entire days at Sand Lake with just a Honda 110 3 wheeler without paddles and had fun. :) You just won't be able to climb big hills quite as well, so be careful where you go, but you can get a feel for sand riding. To me, it's cleaner, safer, and more fun.

    I don't think they're that bad compared to the other bikes I discussed. Sure, you can pay plenty for any of them, but if you watch around for deals and try not to buy during the peak selling season (e.g. spring/early summer), you can find good deals. I was basically looking for stock bikes (so I didn't inherit someone else's problems), and I got my 250 (with dirt and sand paddles) for about $1800 (often less than $1500 these days), and both my 400s for between $2600-2800, and one of them came with sand paddles too. You can certainly find them for more, but mine were all in excellent condition at a good price. 450s up to 2005 seem to be around $2500-3000, while 2006 and newer (a little faster), seem to be a couple hundred more than that. Raptors 660s are running $2200 to mid-$3000s (lower demand for them than 700s, as the 660s seem to be a little more of a headache than the 700s ). The 700s seem to often be in the mid-$4000s last time I checked, but have seen good deals in the mid-$3000s.

    It varies from machine type to machine type. On Hondas, depending on age, you might get to the point where a clutch or rear bearings wears out through normal wear and tear, and both are fairly easy to replace yourself. There is something on Raptor 660s that is problematic, but I don't remember what.

    A more important thing to watch for is what modes people have done. Like I said, I bought pretty much all stock bikes, except maybe K&N air filters, and the 250 had aftermarket exhaust, so they've been very reliable. I've had friends who've bought bikes with various mods, but with very mixed success. One of them was fast, well-tuned, etc, and few issues. Most others have had frustration trying to make things work after people played with things they didn't understand, e.g. new air filters and exhaust, but no change to carb jets, or worse yet, improper changes to carb jets. Or, conversely, dropping in different carb jets while changing nothing else. Various aftermarket CDI/ECUs boxes that weren't tuned/matched to other parts of the machine or were less reliable than their stock count-parts, or things where these things made it run good, but very hard to start, etc. Many performance upgrades need to be balanced and/or tuned to each other, but some people don't realize that and just do part of the work, then have a bike that runs crummy. If you a good a working on bikes, you can get good deals this way, but if you want to avoid hassles, I'd consider getting bikes that are all or mostly stock, then doing mods yourself or through/with someone who knows what they're doing. In addition to that, and this is just my impression, the people who do a lot of mods to their bikes sometimes tend to thrash them a little harder. Not always true, but I've looked at enough bikes to see this as somewhat of a pattern. Another thing, some racers (or wannbe racers) will "shave" their fenders or have "race cut" fenders, which often equates to effectively "no fenders," which is fine if you're racing, and need to see how close your wheel is to the next guy, but kinda sucky if you are just out riding for fun, and get blasted by every mud puddle you drove though, or just a wet/muddle road, etc. You can often tell a lot about a bike from the plastic. If it's not cracked, has original stickers, etc, it's probably been reasonably well taken care of, but if the plastic is thrashed, the bike might also have been, and/or, if it doesn't have stickers, it was probably replaced (which is often surprisingly expensive. New plastic seems to run around $200, last I checked, for one piece, e.g. front plastic, rear plastic, etc, then new stickers can be anywhere from $15-75, ouch, which is why stickers are often not replaced)

    When it comes to looking at quads, I like to feel the motor when I first get there, so see if it's warm at all (sometimes, on hard to start/cold-blooded bikes, people will warm them up before you get there, to make them look easy to start). In general, bikes shouldn't be too hard to start when cold, under most circumstances, if properly tuned, and choked if necessary. Check the frame for bent parts, tie rods/steering shafts, etc. Check for smooth operation of the suspesion. They should run/ride/corner smooth without any weird noises, other than maybe brakes rubbing a little they need to be replaced. Make sure you go through all the gears. Without putting yourself in danger, try to find an opportunity to go through the full range of throttle, to make sure it responds well and doesn't cut out. Check brakes, lights, lift wheels (front individually, rear together) and spin them to make sure the bearings aren't grinding. Of course, any of these things you recognize as "bad" doesn't mean you shouldn't buy it, rather, that you know what you're getting into, know if you can fix it easily or not, and can be used to negotiate on price. That's all I have time for ATM. :)
     
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  9. Skier

    Skier Beaverton/Washington County Active Member

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    P.S. Just a couple more quick thing that came to mind on a couple Honda models. IIRC, on Honda 400's, electric start was an option starting in 2005. On 450s, there was a change to them starting in 2006, such that the newer STOCK 2006's would be just as fast as an older 450 (2005 or older) that had an HRC (Honda Racing upgrade parts) kit installed. Then if you wanted to, you could install the HRC kit on a 2006 or newer and be even faster still. Either way, they're both plenty fast and they'll both easily wheelie the front end using just the gas (on my 250, you have to use the gas and clutch to wheelie, and on my 400s, you can wheelie with just the gas if you give it a little tug on the handle bars, while the 450, you can just give it gas and flip it if you wanted to; not recommended, of course). ;-) Also, one last thing. carbureted/fuel-injected... All the Hondas I mentioned are carburated, and many others are too. I know some Raptor 700s are fuel injected, but not sure if all are, nor am I sure about 660s, I forget. For the most part I wouldn't mention it, unless you think you might be riding at places with very different elevation on a regular basis. If so, a fuel-injected machine will probably give more more consistent performance than a carbureted one. For example, my bikes all work great in my area (e.g. Tillamook State forest, Oregon coast, etc), which is between maybe 0 and 1800 feet above sea level. When I rode the Christmas Valley dues in central Oregon (over 4000' in elevation) I could tell that it had a little less power due to running richers (same fuel, less O2), so there were hills that I know I could have climbed at other places, but which were more challenging at the higher altitude. Not a big deal to me, as I still had a ton of fun, and I've only been to Christmas Valley with my quads 2-3 times, so not worth changing my jets for a single trip once in a while, but just thought I'd mention it, as I know that St' Anthony dunes are also high elevation, but I'm not sure of the elevation of the other areas you said you'd ride. If you switched off between high and low elevation every time you rode, you might be better of going EFI (or YFI), but your options are much more limited. Honda has talked about making an EFI version of the 450, but as far as I know, they haven't yet, probably due to two main things: Economic factors (it would cost more, and the economy hasn't been great, which affects quad sales), and it's more complicated, having more sensors that can go out, etc (just like cars these days). TTYL. :)
     
  10. mjbskwim

    mjbskwim Salmon,Idaho Well-Known Member

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    Man,there's a lot of info there ,thanks guys.
    I will be between 4000 (salmon is about 4500) and 8000 and the local guy said a injected rig would probably be best.
    So other than the regular wear points,there isn't anything that guys break or almost break before they sell. OK I can figure the race/no race parts. And yeah too many guys want to change stuff they should let the shops do,or forget all together
    Now I have talked to folks about the Can Am and of course,the ones who buy them say they are the best. A you tube guy,Osticruiser runs all Can Ams and does a lot of swamps way up north with snorkels on the intakes.Crazy fun those guys have.
    One more thing (or did I say that last time?) I am around 250#. I've been on 2 trips with the neighbor,who owns a 800? Yamaha and a 500 yamaha. Both seemed to have plenty of power for my fat a$$ and went everywhere needed. But I am considering a set of tracks ($4k) over a snow machine ($10k) as I don't need to go 75 across the snow at my age.
    Would a 500 class quad be OK or with tracks, should I consider a 7-800 class machine?
    Some speed for the roads but not race type speed
    And Skier,that the reason there is about 10 ATV dealers over by Rigins/St Anthony and Idaho falls.
    Duh!:D I just thought there was more money down there
     
  11. Oregonhunter5

    Oregonhunter5 2C IDAHO Well-Known Member

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    I've ridden dirt bikes for 35 years. Own a four wheeler. Driven some utv.
    I wouldn't touch a cub cadet if it were me. Best for a budget and LONG lasting Yamaha, or Honda. Honda is boring though on a four wheeler. John Deere makes a decent usable diesel utv. Can am makes the most power. Lots of power.
     
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  12. PDX1953

    PDX1953 Active Member

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    I have quite a bit of experience with ATVs & SxS so I'll throw in my two cents worth.

    What you're going to be doing entirely dictates what kind of machine to buy - ATV, SxS (side-by-side) or UTV (utility vehicle with emphasis on utility)

    If you're only going to be ride on dunes or flat land a solid rear axle is OK. If you're going to ride trails, four-wheel drive independent suspension is an absolute must no matter what brand you buy. I've seen a lot of guys with solid axles hung up on trails & it's easy to roll one over - I did it after hitting a boulder buried under moss & dirt. I got rid of it quickly & bought a 4-WD with all wheel independent suspension.

    Depending on where you're going to ride you might be restricted to 50" maximum width. Most ATV brands have 50" models but learn the rules about BLM & USFS property before you load up the trailer. Many trail heads will have barrier posts or boulders that won't allow anything wider than 50". If you're just going to ride on logging roads width isn't an issue.

    There are only three 50" SxS on the market: Polaris RZR 800, the single seat Polaris Ace and the Arctic Cat Wildcat. A large person driving a 50" SxS can get into trouble when they're in a steep side-hill situation. That's why if only one person is going to be driving, the Polaris Ace is the safest option. People bugged the holy crap out of them for years until they finally built it.

    DO NOT get a "two-up" ATV and I think only two companies that make - Polaris & Can Am. They're very dangerous because the rear passenger usually can't climb off until the driver dismounts. There have been many documented cases where a two-up ATV was crossing a creek when a front tire hit an unseen obstacle & flipped the handlebars out of the driver's hands and the machine tipped over. We'll assume the left front tire hit the obstacle so now the right grip is pinning the driver in. Meanwhile, if the water is deep enough the rear passenger is lying on their side with their head underwater and unable to climb off.

    If you're just looking for a Utility Vehicle for use on a ranch or farm get one with a dump bed. Kymko's are Chinese and parts are usually hard to find. They'd be my last choice behind a high mileage but well maintained anything else. I had a Yamaha Grizzly 700 with electronic power steering and if you ever get a chance to compare a brand & model with & without EPS you'll get the one with EPS. Aftermarket EPS kits are available but they're usually $6-700 and unless you're extremely comfortable tearing things apart a shop will probably charge another $200 for installation. Get a winch. You can buy a mount that allows you to move it from front to back simply by pulling a pin. You install a receiver on either end & just put it where it's needed.

    I'd stay away from Cub Cadet simply because of parts availability. They make great mowers & small tractors but it wouldn't be my choice.

    Whatever brand you buy make sure it's fuel injected and you'll never have to worry about the altitude. If I was going to buy a 4-WD ATV my 1-2-3-4 choices would be Yamaha, Polaris, Honda, Arctic Cat. If I was buying a 2-seat SxS I'd buy a Polaris & if a single seat the Polaris Ace because I don't know if anyone else builds one. It also meets the 50" rule.

    If you're serious about snow tracks the larger the engine the better because the tracks sap a lot of power. You DEFINITELY need power steering with tracks.

    As far as parts breaking it's not real hard to snap a CV joint on a 4-WD if you get a front tire wedged between rocks & pour on the gas. When that happens you'll probably bend a tie rod as well - I bent two of them. It's like anything - abuse it & it'll break. Nearly every model uses a constant velocity drive system & CV belts occasionally need replacing.

    Someone mentioned aftermarket ECU or tuning chips. You'll find them from $20 - $400 and the $20 eBay ones are a joke. A $400 tuner needs to be adjusted by someone who knows what they're doing but they normally just readjust the timing & air/fuel mixture to produce more HP. Unless you're going to seriously thrash your machine skip it.

    I lived in CT when I had my Grizzly & there's no public riding areas in CT or RI. Most of us went to Maine because they have over 5000 miles of interconnected ATV & snow machine trails. Some are restricted for one over the other but you can actually get on a trail at the New Hampshire / Maine border & ride all the way to Canada.

    I stopped riding when I rolled my Grizzly in Vermont. I was supposed to meet some guys I'd chatted with on the internet & we had a landing zone and time arranged. They were late, I got impatient & decided to take a short ride up a trail that was on our map. Vermont has a lot of shale ledge & I got the left front & right rear tires on ledges. I was actually dead stopped but knew I'd be really screwed if I gunned it in either direction while turning the wheels. In very slow motion the bike began to roll to the right & I said out loud. "This isn't going to be good" and it wasn't. I had a helmet & goggles on & my head smashed into a boulder. I'd already hit the kill switch so I laid there for a minute, realized everything was OK & climbed off. My only injury was a scraped right pinky & that was because in my impatience I'd forgotten to put my gloves on. Two things went through my head in about 10 seconds when I looked at the quad laying on it's side; 'I always wondered what the underside of this looked like' and 'if you keep riding you'll kill yourself.' It took about an hour to get it winched back onto all 4 wheels & about then I heard some quads coming. It was my riding buddies, two hours late. I told them what happened & they immediately said , "You're never supposed to ride alone." (NS!) That was Saturday afternoon & I rode the mile back to my truck, loaded the quad onto the trailer & went back to CT a day early. By the following Tuesday I'd sold it all in one package - the ATV with thousands in upgrades, a snow plow, a custom built log skidder & the trailer. Financially I lost an arm, leg & a few organs but I'm still alive. I miss riding more than I can describe but now I have a much less expensive hobby - GUNS. LOL!!

    DSCF1239.JPG Left.JPG Brake Lights.JPG Headlights.JPG Bowedashus.JPG
     
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  13. mjbskwim

    mjbskwim Salmon,Idaho Well-Known Member

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    I don't think I'll be doing any chips cause I'm old and I think I'll keep my riding to the same as my hunting.Easy trails I can't get messed up on much.
    The only idea of the UTV is for a small car and to keep my truck off the wash board roads .Then when I go exploring around the back roads it won't destroy my truck.
    And gas mileage up there.I get about 10 when messin' about.
    Then I would get a quad later if I decided the UTV just wasn't what I needed in the woods
    But this is just in the planning stage. I may just go to the ATV and not do a UTV for a small car.
    I mean a used Suzuki sidekick would be less than a UTV
    I didn't think about repair vids for ATV/UTVs .I used them when I decided I didn't want a 6 liter Ford diesel over a cummins,lol
    And I have looked everywhere and can't find much for reviews.Of course magazines have to tell you they are all great. Then the you tubers ,you never know if they know anything or not.
    So thanks all for the info
    And BTW,as far as Artic Cat,the local dealer has already told me how hard AC is to deal with engine repairs.Seems warrantee work is a PITA
     
  14. PDX1953

    PDX1953 Active Member

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    A great place to find information is to troll various brands of ATV forums.
     
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  15. mjbskwim

    mjbskwim Salmon,Idaho Well-Known Member

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    Heck that should be easy,that's all i do here:confused:
     
  16. Oregonhunter5

    Oregonhunter5 2C IDAHO Well-Known Member

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    Go buy a Yamaha grizzly and never look back.
     
  17. mjbskwim

    mjbskwim Salmon,Idaho Well-Known Member

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    My neighbor's 800 is pretty nice
     
  18. Oregonhunter5

    Oregonhunter5 2C IDAHO Well-Known Member

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    Cool
    But the 800 is more than enough. Heavy
     
  19. mjbskwim

    mjbskwim Salmon,Idaho Well-Known Member

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    Yeah and ,what a grand more? Lots of guys around here not much smaller than me are running 450s and 500s. The tracks are a dream and I can get a used snow machine instead for the same money
     
  20. Skier

    Skier Beaverton/Washington County Active Member

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    Couple more thoughts.
    I weigh about a little over 240, and I have a blast and do just about everything I want to on my 400. I wouldn't mind having a 450, and actually had a plan to get one, kind of...

    Back when I first bought my 400, the plan was that if my wife tried it and thought it was too big, then I'd keep the 400, and we'd get her a 300 (just like the 250 she'd already been riding, but with electric start), but if she liked the 400, then we'd give that to her, and I'd buy a 450... Well, she liked the 400, so of course now you're thinking "then you have a 450, right?" Wrong... The problem was: My 400 was red and black, but she wanted an all black one. Yeah, I shoulda known, LOL. So, we got here an all black 400, and I never got around to buying a 450. There is occasionally a hill that I can't climb, and I know I could with a 450 (as I have friends with 450s), but it hasn't yet bothered me enough to try and invest the time in the hassle of buying and selling. hehe. So, in summary, I don't personally think you'd have any problem being 250 and riding a 400 or 500, plus, like I said, the 400/450 are a lighter than the 660+ size bikes, so personally, I like they way they handle better. I have worked my way up from smaller bikes, which forced me to learn to ride better, then the improved skills, moved up to a larger bike. There is a LOT of skill to be learned to ride well, and sometimes when your bike can just climb every hill in front of it, you have less reason to learn those skills, and I think those skills are important, especially for when you get in trouble in a situation where more power won't fix your troubles. As an example, there was a time where I went down a tree shots in my 250 a couple times and came back up without issue, but then I took a slightly different line one time, and I wasn't going to make it, so I started side-hilling, but the problem was, the direction I was side-hilling just kept getting taller and steeper, so eventually I had to turn down the hill and try again. Well, now I'm at a much steeper location and I tried about 6 times to get out, and thought it was hopeless. The friend who got me in to riding came was watching me and ask "want me to give it a try?" I said "sure, but I think I'm pretty much stuck down here." He hopped on and rode it right out. I was like "what the heck?" I started walking back up when he came back down again (and I'm thinking "why the heck did you come back down after you actually made it out?), and he said "okay, now you try again." LOL

    He shared with me a couple strategies, like:
    -Lunge forward when you take off, so the bike doesn't have to work as hard.
    -Lean back a little for a second or two, so you don't get so much traction, then your engine can get up into it's peak horsepower range faster, then lean back a little for more traction, now that you have more power.
    -Don't try to go all the way up in one shot; Go up a little, then turn and go back down around a tree with a banked corner behind it to gain more speed and RPMs, then keep going up again.

    I tried it again, and made it out. It really drilled into my head how many factors can be a play, and how to learn how to make the bike do what you want.

    A couple years later, I was down at Florence with my friend on his Raptor 660, and he tried a hill about 4 times and got stuck every time. Then I thought, well, I guess I'll give it a try, and I made it right now. His bike was a lot more powerful than mine, but it was skill that was needed, not just power, and in my opinion, it's better to learn the skills on a smaller bike that forces you to learn them, then to just power up every hill and hope you learn skills along the way somehow. In all likelihood, if you're on a bigger bike, you'll be on a bigger hill before you need those skills, and therefor at a higher risk. Likewise, as I said, I'd rather have a smaller bike roll over me than a heavier one, and I've had the lighter sport quads (250 and 400s) roll over me probably at least 20 times by now; Sometime I've wheelied and it flips back over me, and sometimes I've stalled out on the side of a hill or hit a bump weird and had it roll over me sideways. So far, never been hurt, but that's mostly been in the sand. It hurts a lot more to roll over on the dirt/rocks. My wife wheelied her bike going up some large rocks (e.g. ~6-8 inch flat rocks/shale) and it fell back on her and she got a bruise the size of an apple on her butt and scratches all over her back and one arm. She was okay, but hurtin. Her handlebars actually landed on her head, but fortunately, she was wearing a helmet, so she was okay. ... Whenever I take someone for the first time, even though I have two 400s, I typically start people on the 250 (which I can still have a blast riding) because I trule believe that starting on a smaller lighter bike is a good way to be safe and learn critical skills. The only time I'd say that won't work well for people is if they have a competitive streak (like my friend with the raptors, who doesn't ever like to lose, hehe), in which case "more is always better." Then again, he's been hurt more often and worse than I have (but he still loves it). I'm not saying "go buy a 250 instead of a 400," but I am saying, that in all likelihood, you can have fun on just about anything. I could still ride all day on my 250 and challenge myself to work the bike to the best of it's and my ability. I've actually taken my 250 up the tallest dune at Winchester bay. It took me about 4-5 tries to finally make it up, but I forced that little 250 up that hill. I started quite a ways back, such that I could get it pegged at top speed in 5th (about 58 MPH, I think) by the time I hit the bottom of the dune, then immediately started down-shifting to keep the RPMs up and driving straight up the dune. Finally, I was down to 2nd gear and only about 1/3 of the way up the hill, so I started to side-hill, and side-hilled almost the rest of the way to the top, when I was starting to lose RPMs and I targetted a small part of the top of the dune that dipped a little bit, then took a risk and dropped it to first and powered up the spot I targeted. That was pretty thrilling to make it up that on my 250. Then I gave my 250 back to my friend who had been riding it, and hopped back on my 400 and drove off to find more fun stuff :) Good times!
     
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