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