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Discussion Starter #1
Looking to get some advice for a good starter ATV for trail riding as my wife is looking to join me in the future on some of my trips. I think a 2wd would be fine and at least an auto clutch is mandatory. Up till last year she had never even driven a go cart let alone anything else and prolly would be put off by learning clutch control.

Trails I tend to ride are either sandy groomed almost mx track like trails or slow speed rocky technical stuff. She is of shorter stature 5'5 and not of fragile dimensions lol. But being as I not exactly blazing along trails on my TW we were thinking a 250 class sporty quad may work ok for her though in all honesty short of quick rides after fixing friends quads I have Zero experience with them.

Money is limited so budget is only about $3000 Canadian.

Just wondering if the group here have much ATV experience and could offer any advice

Bikes we been looking at are Honda TRX250ex, Honda Recon, and Can Am DS250. Looked at a TRX250X yesterday and that fit her very well. And looked like fun for me too in the event I don't want a mid trail nap the TW and me seem to so enjoy lol.
 

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If your looking for used its hard to beat a Honda 300 Fourtrax. They have been around for years so getting parts and service advice is easy. They are also like the Dub simple and rock solid. Your not going jump off a ten foot
cliff with one but as your wife is a newbie I think it would be a very good choice.
 

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My wife has a Polaris 330 Trail Boss that rides smooth and has a real comfortable seat. Forward, neutral, reverse stick shift and the front and rear brakes are operated from 1 hand lever. The only minus is that it has chain final drive but it does come with an O-ring style chain. I've only had to adjust it once since we've had it, 9yrs. It even has a key start just like a car. Should be able to pick up a used one within your budget.
 

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We have no experience in the 2 wheel drive ATV's. We use the 4x4 ATV's. One is automatic and the other is I guess semi auto shifting. It has push button shifting but no clutch. just let off the gas and shift.

No matter the model, the automatic is the funniest as you never have to worry about shifting. Well, except into low or reverse when you need too!
 

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Good Idea for a post.

With a shed full of garden tractors equipped with push blades and snow blowers, a full leg cast, and a forecast of 6-10" this weekend, it recently occurred to my wife (who does not know how to operate), "How am I (wife) going to clear the drive?"

I do have a 1991 300 Honda Fourtrax. It is a tank (I think they overbuilt the first / early ones), but has a sloppy gear shifter that most inexperienced riders cannot find first gear, let alone neutral or reverse. And no blade.

A quick run through on CraigsList, I found a 2004 Yamaha 350 Bruin that a indie shop had and they said it could be equipped with a blade for a bit more.

I called and felt him out (all I can do being homebound) and got a good feel. I sent a buddy who owns a fleet service down to give it a shakedown. He said it was ok, so I told the guy I'd do it.

JUST after I did that, a 2007 400 Honda Rancher popped up for $300 less ($1,500, but still no blade). I researched and researched as I am a big Honda fan (the Big Red ATC is maybe the best machine ever made IMO), but still am glad to have gone with the Yammie.

Console shift CVT automatic transmission

Push button 4 wheel drive

Dealer installed, made for Yamaha by Warn, winch.

A bit lighter built than the Rancher (not planning on heavy towing), I am thinking that it will be a good combo of work and sport quad after winter with blade dropped.

Both are rock solid machines with a long and proven track record of reliability and low maintenance, and the Honda was a bit cosmetically prettier, I just wanted a bit more "sport". (speaking of sport - anyone wanting more fun than you can stick in your pocket, two words, Yamaha Blaster ;) :eek:)

The Yamaha is has a bit higher center of gravity, so it is a little more tippy in corners, but again, I wanted a little more fun factor for future trail riding.

There is NOTHING wrong with the 300 Honda FourTrax, just be sure to get a bit later one that you can disengage the front drive. The full time 4x4 ones will climb a tree, but being locked in full time, they are hard to steer and will wear her (your wife) out after a while.

I don't think you can go wrong with any of the smaller Yamahas or Hondas. Decent power, just enough not to pull themselves apart, but all you need for FUN :D .....and fuel efficient!


You do Not need 600-800cc's....(just my opinion). Everybody nowadays wants these, so the smaller ones can be had for fairly cheap.:D
 

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I would suggest a 4wd model, if for no other reason than they'll probably be easier to find.

The Hondas are a good choice. Look for the "ES" model (electric shift) which gives the pushbutton shifting on the left handlebar.

Yamahas are also good, as they will likely be fully automatics. Anything 300cc on up from any brand should be good. There really is no such thing as a bad quad anymore. Just don't buy a Chinese POS. Get one of the name brands.

Oh... look for one of the ones that sits closer to the ground. You give up ground clearance but it'll make up for it in stability. One of the major mistakes noobs make with quads is forgetting that those things WILL roll over, and if they do, it's gonna hurt.
 

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If you look at a TRX-350 Rancher with electric shift. Check it very well. The first ones has problems that where taken care of on later models.
 

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The Honda trx 250 recon is the best ATV that we ever had,it is easy to handle, light weight, powerful enough to tag along with the TW. We rode it in AZ and went everywhere the big 4 WD ATV's could go and then some. The recon is the TW of ATV's.
 

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I have a 2005 Yamaha Kodiak 450 and love it. It's a nice companion to my recently purchased TW. It's heavy and un-sporty but it's a lot of fun and very capable and go-anywhere. I'm usually in 2wd but use 4wd for the gnarlier climbs. This vintage would probably be near the high end of your price range.
 

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My vote would be for the Suzuki Ozark 250. Mine has been bullet proof for 11 years, only needing brakes and wheel bearings from swamp and river riding, if it's not stuck on the frame, its not stopping. It still has the original plug and the carb has never been off of it. I had an 08 Big Bear for 2 years and put 1,550 miles on it so I would guess the Ozark has 5,000 plus on it. My wife is 4'7'' and rides it well yet it is not too small for me 5'11'' 210# with a 220# hog hanging over the rack, it is a lot peppier and quieter than the Honda Reckons.

What ever you do, stay away from the ES (thumb shift) it's really hard to shift and hold your beer at the same time
 

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I would recommend going with something 4x4 and with an independent rear suspension (for ground clearance and a WAY better ride) if you will be tackling some rocky stuff. All the major makers build pretty decent machines, I'd just look for one well cared for. My brother and I started off with 2WD machines, he had a Yamaha Warrior, which bottomed out on everything, and I had a Kawasaki Bayou 250 which was very dependable and easy to ride but also bottomed out a lot and didn't have much articulation to the suspension. Also it had drum brakes front and rear and they were awful almost killed me a few times.
 

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I've found far and away the Honda 250 is the TW of the quad world. I'd avoid belt transmissions (CVT)
and chain final drives. The Honda 2wd 250s do lack an oil cooler and oil filter so watch closely on used and change oil
much. The 4wd units usually have an oil cooler with fan for slow goer's (like plunking down a trail). A 4wd
will have better resale and can be confidence inspiring for a new rider esp if you stay with something like the Honda
Rancher with full time 4wd (no decisions required). I have had to repair quite the few Honda electro shifts as they
get old due to poor water proofing on some of the electronics. Not as easy to fix as one might think. I worked on one 250
quad (Kawasaki?) that had 2wd and the ability to unlock the rear diff thus it steered really easy and tires lasted much longer.
Some years of Honda 250 had odd ball tire sizes limiting tire choices. I'd advise staying away from the Chinese unit's all that I
have worked on were a mite weird. I'd also avoid the "sport or long travel" units as racking them is a hassle. The working models
(like Honda rancher) come with racks. Racks on a quad are essential. Sport models also tend to be higher geared. I'd say stay away from anything
made in the 90s or 80s as the technology needed to refine a bit.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanx all for the advice. I continuing look but Will be patient. Utility quads for some reason even the 2wd are demanding thousands more here.

I'm strongly favouring the Hondas TRX250x as its A shaft driven sporty looking trail quad. It's got the same drive train as the Recon 250 and the wife likes the bikes look and size. Found a few 2004 and newer from $1000 up so it looks pretty attractive as a possible bike to ride along with me.

The can am ds250 we looked at looks pretty nice and even has a winch and a laughable generic plow on it but I'd rather not deal with the chain drive and belt of the CVT.
 

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I have had a bunch of ATVs over the years. Can't go wrong with the above mentioned Hondas. I have also sold thousands while being the GM at a very big Honda/Kawasaki/KTM dealership. I would avoid the Kawasakis in my search.

I was smitten back in 2008 when the Polaris 800 RZR first hit the market and owned one right up until last November. Don't fret about the CVT and the belts, never had to replace one yet if you select the correct range and don't overheat them. Keep her away from the 2 seat UTVs though because once she rides in one of them she will never want another ATV again.

I might be aging myself but back in the days the Honda CT90 Trail 90 was a pretty darn fine MC and the gals really loved them if they had good knobbies. Very easy to ride and light to handle along with being near bullet proof. My neighbor girlfriend had one and her dad set it up to tag along with us boys and she went everywhere we went but just a bit slower. I keep hoping to find a nice survivor in my yard sale searches worth bringing back to their original glory.

GaryL
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
Went and looked at an 05 Suzuki Ozark 250 with the wife yesterday after I finished work. Very nice LITTLE machine in used but very good shape. Everything was solid and working well. Front tires are worn out but rears are brand new. Steering is all tight and it started from cold very well despite the cold temps. No play in the drive shaft u joint that I could see and it looked to be well maintained. The seats been recently recovered though it's not as smooth as i would like. Riding it up and down the street it felt ok had decent power (despite my weight) and shifted through the gears smoothly (though every time I went to shift I kept grabbing for that rear brake lol). The clincher though was how comfy the wife felt on it and her smile. So with a little haggling and $1500 later we loaded the little machine into the back of my Tacoma and brought it home (loading was a easy ride on ordeal up my wide ramp. unloading was terrifying).

But anyways thanx for all the advice and of course here's the pic of. It tucked away beside the TW.
 

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Good choice. We had one and she never rode it much. I bought it for her and I am giving up on getting her out. Like a fool I thought maybe I will try a Polaris ace. Well there it sits. Wish I had the 250 back, it doesn't take as much room up in the garage. Now I use the ace for pulling trailers and such. Only thing about belt drives is the fact that you can't ease into anything. It won't move until you get a few revs on and then the jerk to go. I thought of holding the brake until it catches but then you are burning the belt. No more belt drives for me.

I will say, that ace is fun to drive and it has the power. Will just take some time to get used to. Less than a hundred miles on it.
 

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I'm a little bit confused by the initial question.

Are you committed to a four-wheeler for her? Barring information we don't have...I for one think it's a mistake. Much of the thrill of trail riding comes from the RIDING - and being on a four-wheeler is a different experience, heightened by different kinds of terrain and schedules.

Barring information we don't have, I'd suggest she learn to ride.

Now...she doesn't want to shift. I can understand that...at least as a n00b. Maybe a rugged inexpensive scooter? Honda used to make a Big Ruckus which was sort of a halfway ADV-style scoot. Now they're primo and in demand and buying one to beat on the rough would not be recommended...

...but Znen, a Chinese scoot maker, licensed a BR clone. It's 150, not 250; and it's air-cooled, not water-cooled; and it's cheap. Or was - seems they took them out of production, although some mail-order ChiScoot companies still have them in stock.

150cc-Scooter-with-EPA-YG150D-4-.jpg

New it's about $1400. Used...if you can find one, probably about half that. Little plastic cladding, so a dirt-nap won't ruin anything. Light weight. Air cooled. Economical. Put aggressive tires on it, and she can probably keep up on fire trails.

Whet her interest - she may surprise you and want to trade off a few times. Then you can get a second TW.
 

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I'm a little bit confused by the initial question.

Are you committed to a four-wheeler for her? Barring information we don't have...I for one think it's a mistake. Much of the thrill of trail riding comes from the RIDING - and being on a four-wheeler is a different experience, heightened by different kinds of terrain and schedules.

Barring information we don't have, I'd suggest she learn to ride.

Now...she doesn't want to shift. I can understand that...at least as a n00b. Maybe a rugged inexpensive scooter? Honda used to make a Big Ruckus which was sort of a halfway ADV-style scoot. Now they're primo and in demand and buying one to beat on the rough would not be recommended...

...but Znen, a Chinese scoot maker, licensed a BR clone. It's 150, not 250; and it's air-cooled, not water-cooled; and it's cheap. Or was - seems they took them out of production, although some mail-order ChiScoot companies still have them in stock.

View attachment 24582

New it's about $1400. Used...if you can find one, probably about half that. Little plastic cladding, so a dirt-nap won't ruin anything. Light weight. Air cooled. Economical. Put aggressive tires on it, and she can probably keep up on fire trails.

Whet her interest - she may surprise you and want to trade off a few times. Then you can get a second TW.
After being out with Kris and Lori and her on her quad. She keeps up just fine and a quad to haul out the injured and bring the groceries along. Got to appreciate that.
 

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Mrs Admiral really saved my butt last year in Moab with her quad. I got my Rainbow Warrier and myself out of a situation that I could no longer continue. What a life saver that was. Besides, I got a ride with Lori!!!!! Thank you again Lori, you were a life saver to me that day.
Mel
 
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