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I am considering the purchase of a new four-wheeler. Will use it mainly for hunting and pleasure ridding. I am leaning toward an Artic Cat. I like the 300 or maybe the 400 both manual shift. I am leary about the automatics in any line of ATVs. Which would be better pro's and con's.
 

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Hello Steve

Welcome aboard Steve. You will not be disappointed with an Artic Cat, which ever model you choose. I have found that a cat provides you with more bang for your buck. They tend to be best in their class for things like ground clearance, rack and towing capacity. Artic Cat make both auto (belt drive) and manual shiftf with a rocker shifter which is a little different than shifting up and down with you toe.

Honda does make an automatic that has a transmission much like an automobile rather than a regular belt drive. Christmas day I tested out a Honda Foreman with a manual trranny, but with a push button handle bar mounted shifter. It worked great oncee I got used to it.

Most models from all the major manufacturers have improved greatly their auto tranny's. They are designed and sealed better than ever, and for hunting and riding around they are just fine. If you are really gonna put them under a tremendous load regularly, then a manual shift might be better. They tend to be more durable, and there simply is no belt to slip or break. One thing to consider is how much $ you want to spend. Again, I think Artic Cat provides the most bang (features) for the money. I would stay away from Polaris, sorry guys.

AC 300 comes in 2WD and 4 WD and has a hi-lo, and I believe a super low tranny. Even their 250cc atv does, allowing you to do more with a small displacecment quad than some other brands which do not have a dual range tranny. Honda generally has a single range transmission but with a rather low, 1st gear which is useedd for towing and other tough stuff. The Foreman I rode, I starteed out in 2nd gear most of the time as 1st was lower than I needed for general riding, and a bit too low for the mud holes we went through.

Auto Pro's Easy, just get on, put it in forward and go. No need to think about which gear to be in. Easy for kids to ride.
Con's Cost more initially to purchase, More to go wrong, belt slip or breakage, Possibly more maintanence. Easier for kids to ride.

Hope this helps some.
markc :D
 

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I ride with a number of guys and we all seem to have something different so I get a good idea of what works and what doesn't. Everyone gets overly concerned about the belt drives. I ride a Prairie 650 with the belt drive, pushbutton 4x4, a front diff lock, and more power than anything else on the market. I litterly swim the local creek and get no slippage from the belt. I just stretched more fence than I care to admit using the bike as a come-along. No problem.

So many bikes have gone to IRS. The only thing this has gained their owners is a lighter hip pocket due to axle and joint failures. Besides they're unstable on the offcamber stuff. The simple straight axle is sportier and stronger.

IMHO the Prairies are hard to beat, the Yamaha Grizzly or Kodiak are a good choice. The smaller Polaris's do well but the 700 still has some bugs to work out. Arctic Cat is more of a tractor. If I was plowing snow or pulling a heavy trailer all the time this would be my choice but they're not sporty enough to keep up on the open trails or the roads where we ride and hunt.
 

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IRS?

Old Syko, I have to disagree with you on independant rear suspension not being sporty or as stable on off camber trails as a rigid, solid axle rear suspension. The whole idea behind an indedpendant rear suspension is to make the quad more stable by allowing each wheel to move through the full suspension travel without effecting the other wheels. Now I might agree with some other posts about them not being as strong when it comes to all out work, but for what most ATV owners/riders use their quad for, they are great designs.

They aren't new really, they have been around for years, kind of a hummer concept. Don't believe a hummer runs a solid rear exle. But then I guess it is a personal preference thing. The AC 250cc and 300 cc have IRS and retail cheaper than others in that class. I mean where can you buy a 250cc quad with triple range tranny, 300# rack capacities combined and leading ground clearance and towing capacity for less than $3600.00? No where, You wouldn't get near a Polaris for that $ and have the same or better features.

Take a look at some comparisons of ATV's on www.atving.com. Nothing there said about Artic Cat not being able to kep up. Apples to apples they are as quick and powerful as any make in their class, but they do have higher towing and rack capacities than almost every atv in their class. They may seem more tractor like due to this and their dual or even triple range tranny's, but then if someone wants a sport quad they should probably buy one of those.


I've only ridden a smaller prarie auto, and it was a fine quad except for the really loud drive system, and it being a 2X4 had poor approach angles in my testing. Worse than my 86 Yamaha. Don't get me wrong, I like Kawasaki, and love the Mule! With a few modifications, it would be simply awsome. But the prarie 650cc really more power than anything on the market? But you would want a AC if you were plowing snow or puloling a heavy trailer all the time? Why?

The only axle or CV joint failures I've been hearing about have been on Polaris ATV's. Have yet to see or hear about one failing on another make quad, but I'm sure it has happened.

I think a person considering purchasing an ATV would really need to decide a couple of things up front. First how much $ do I have to spend, and second what do I intend to use it for. What really lightens a buyers hip pocket is features or engine displacement tin excess of what they really need. Not to mention an auto tranny cost more than a manual tranny. markc
 

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:D Mark, the concept of independent suspension is certainly not new, but the widespread use of it in affroad vehicles certainly is. Of course I suppose this depends on your age a whole lot. Things that have taken place in the last 10 or 15 yrs are recent to me in the total sceme of things.

The guys here all agree on the lack of sport ride with irs. IRS has the effect of following the terrain more closely than a solid axle which gives the feeling of being [tippy] on the offcamber stuff. The idea here is that getting a wheel away from the ground once and a while is what allows the more sporty [rider controlled] ride as opposed to the bike being in control.

Take a look at the rock crawlers for example. www.pirate4x4.com These guys are the epitome of off camber. What ever you do don't go on there and try to tell those guys that irs is the way to go without expecting the flames to be seen around the world. And certainly don't mention a hummer which by the way reminds a lot of us of a 700 Sportsman. Jim, one of the guys I ride with, actually foams at the mouth when we tell him this.

I guess it all comes down to what floats your boat. If it weren't for different products being available life would get old quick.

As for breakage, check www.atvconnection.com or better yet, come ride with us some time. If it can be torn up, we have the people to get the job done. The guys who really use their machines have seen their share of carnage. Sheared axles, separated c/v boots and joints and the like. Ive destroyed my share of parts also, but mine weren't driveline parts.

The reference I made to choosing an AC for hauling and towing has absolutely nothing to do with power or trans availability, it's all in the gearing and tractor style construction. The AC can't run 65 mph nor is it quick to reach its top end. Right now nothing matches the power of the Kawasaki, although the Grizzly 660 comes close but with dated technology.

As far as buying a new ride, my advice to anyone is to get the biggest and most you can afford even if that means taking a chance on something used in order to upgrade.
 

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I got ya'

Now that I see what you mean by a sporty ride. Yeah IRS does exactly what you said, because thats what it is designed for. To keep the tires in contat with the ground. That makes it a bit safer than having one or more off the ground off camber or not.

Now 65 mph? Haven't ridden too many ATV's that fast, and won't. I ain't crazy. Thats what sports quads are for, but riding that fast I can see why ya'll experience so many breakages and failures. Even your new Kawasaki will be breaking down soon with that kind of abuse. Yeah sports quads have a solid rear exle.

Now I would not tell anyone that IRS is THE way to go, but it is a good way. It depends on what you want the quad for. Now was I right about a hummer having IRS? I've seen rock crawlers too, thats neat, but they are going awfully slow. Don't think any of them hit 65 mph on their off camber climbs.

Still can't figure out the tractor idea. AC construction frame wise isn't all that different from other quad frames, and gearing? They are geared with ratios very similar to others. Now have you ridden a 2002/03 Grizzley? I have and they are as advanced technologically as any. They also have front diff lock, but IRS. I remember the first suzuki quad runner 250 I rode years ago. It had no rear suspension at all. Now that was a ride you would call sporty.
markc
 

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My two cents........I own an Arctic Cat 400 and am very happy with it. Now mind you I am not much into rock climbing and such but have been on some trails that I thought were hairy. I use it for hunting but it's main purpose in life is plowing my driveway which is 14x250 ft. long. (anyone know where to get a snowblower attachment for the front?) Have also skidded some logs with it that I thought it would never move. Also as Syko said get the biggest you can afford, I wish I had the 500.
 

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You might try

Looking into a company called Weekend Warrior, They make all kinds of ATV attachments, including plows, disc etc.......
They have some product reviews also on www.atving.com

I totally understand about getting the biggest. Most folks can get by with a small to mid size ATV since it seems like alot of people just ride around their hunting lease. When the time comes for me to purchase a new atv (when I can afford it), I will certainly get a big and bad 4X4 with all the bells an whistles. For now my Mule does so much more than I thought it could, or it is advertised to do.
markc :)
 

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I seem to notice that alot of you are favoring Arctic Cat and yes they do lead in every category. Me on the other hand I have had a lot of problems with Arctic Cats. I am not sure if maybe it was the dealers fault or mine but they are not very reliable. I own a 2000 model Cat 250 and it does have the best features that a 250cc class atv has to offer but if you plan on doing alot of fast trail riding the engine will wear out. A friend of mine went riding with me on a brand new Arctic Cat 500 4x4 and we stopped to take a smoke break deep in the woods. When we decided to leave the darn thing wouldn't even crank. I mean that was supposed to be their top of the line atv and it quit like that. I had to pull him out with my cat 250. If Arctic Cat became a lil more reliable they would be the best atv's on the market no doubt. These were 2000 & 2001 models so maybe they have now fixed those problems. The 2001 model Cat 400 4x4 seemed to be a good model. It has all the pulling power that Arctic Cat is known for plus it runs about 55 to 60 mph top speed. The reason I know a little bit about Arctic Cat is because a friend of mine worked at a local Arctic Cat dealership and we would choose one every now and again to ride on the weekends. If I could see that Arctic Cat has became more reliable now I would love to get another one becuse they do have the best features. I may buy another Arctic Cat but I am not sure yet.
 

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Hey bigcountry

what turned out to be the problem with the Cat 500? Looks like the 250cc was more reliable than the 500. Now what do you mean the 250cc will wear out? They will all wear out at some point. Remember those motors are Suzuki and the 250cc has been around for lots of years and has proven to be a really good, reliable motor. Not saying you do it, but lots of folks buy an ATV, and then attempt to do more, speed, work, loads, etc than the quad was designed for and when it breaks down, they blame it on the quad rather than their actions that caused the failure. Trying to make a 250cc keep up with a 500cc can cause lots of problems, but then it was the 500 that broke down not the 250 on your ride. Some folks, also do not follow break in procedures on new quads and when the break down occurs, they blame the quad. Again, not saying thats what your friend did, but sometimes when we ride a quad or drive a car for that matter that doesn't belong to us, didn't come out of our paychecks, we tend to be more abusive to them, than if we had bought them with our hard earned cash.

I gotta envy you, getting to ride different quads from the shop.
markc
 

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HI Mark
Just got back from hunting Bison uh [Buffalo] in the farewell burn on the south fork of the kuskowim river .
It was a pretty rough trip about 300 miles of the roughest trail area
be known to man or critter.They called off the iron dog snowmachine race
from anc to nome and rerouted the Iditarod sled dog Race.But since
I drew the permt I wasnt gonna let a little bad weather and
the chance of fallen through the ice on the river keep me from gettin a buffler.
Just to get into this area is a real bear ya have fly in on abush plane that
is set up to land on frozen rivers and hope the pilot knows what hes doin.
Well we keep the ole strip in fair shape as this is 3oo miles from any type of civilization in any direction and we keep a couple of those Artic cats
that i have used for the past 7 years there a 454 and a 500
one has 11000 miles on it the 454 and the other 8000 and the 454 is about to be rebuilt but it actually still runs good. I will bring in all the parts as they have to be taken apart to be flown in or out
dependable you cant get any better i have tried them all as i have
talked to ya before these machines are our lifleine out on a hunt
as is the airplane.There are not any farm houses ,roads or help of any kind you must be able to fix it yourself or your leaven it there and walkin back 40 miles in the Alaskan tundra is a horrible option you sink in knee deep moss,Brush and alders all over your head and try crossin a glacier fed stream with water cold enough to make a sex change an option.
You had better be able to work on your equipment and have spare parts
this is the real world and you never go out with just one machine and make sure you have winches on your machines and i dont mean the nagging kind . The Cats have been very good I have honda ,polaris,suzuki and a praire that have all been used here i even got a argo in there at base camp roughest riden thing ever made.But like i told ya before what that rep told me.
IF IT AINT A CAT IT MUST BE A DOG.

dabigmoose
 

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Mark you are right about people not taking good care of a quad then blaming it for breaking down. In my case, yes we did do alot with that little cat 250. I do beleive that I was rough on it. You say me riding with a buddy that had a Cat 500 4x4 was a bad idea. I dont think so, because we werent doing any mudding or anything we would just ride around the ranch. My Cat 250 couldnt even keep up with my brothers Prarie 300 2x4. I mean trying to keep up with him is what I beleive caused me to tear my Arctic Cat up. That Prairie can fly. I will say that I did push that Cat 250 to its limits. I have used it for mudding, hunting, and alot of hauling. My mechanic told me that Arctic Cats were not made for fast trail riding and flying on the backroads. We are in the process of rebuilding the motor right now and after we get it back running I will be a little easier on it. I will have to slow it down some while riding the back roads. I am going to use it as a trade in to get another atv this summer sometime. I am not sure if I will get another Arctic Cat or not.
 
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