ATV, UTV, & Side by Sides: What's Your Experience and Reviews?

View Latest Activity

Home Forums Self-Reliance & Preparedness ATV, UTV, & Side by Sides: What's Your Experience and Reviews?

Viewing 34 reply threads
  • Author
    • #91006
      Joe (G.W.N.S.)

        Thought it might be of use to get a feel for what works best for those using them.

        I have used Enduro motorcycles and three wheelers mainly in my youth and some ATV use in Afghanistan. 4×4’s in various locations around the country.

        Only recently have I been looking at the current offerings.

        If you own/use them, what’s the good and the bad?

      • #91007

          I bought a Polaris RZR 800 2 seater back in 2013. Living in Idaho, it only made sense and my wife wanted me inside something with a roll cage (I’m that kid). I absolutely love this thing. It’s the trail edition, so has a 52” wheel base width which allows me to go on any ATV trail in state. I’ve done some rock climbing with it in Moab, UT and it’s a powerful beast. I test drove the Can-am, Honda, and Yahmaha equivalent prior to purchase, and the RZR fit my need best. It’s plenty powerful and really gets to cruising on flat open spaces. Happy to answer any more specific questions.

        • #91008
          Joe (G.W.N.S.)

            I bought a Polaris RZR 800…

            So something like this?

            Ease of maintenance?

            Fuel range?

            Best feature?

            Worst feature?

            Anything you wished you knew before purchase?

            Thanks in advance.

          • #91009

              Yep, that’s the one! I wanted cammo, my wife made me get the blue one (wasn’t going to argue since she let me 😜).

              Maintainace: relatively easy, the shop is close to home for me, parts are easy to come by. For example, I drilled a hole in the radiator adding a front brush guard, te shop pulled it, repaired it for less than $150.

              Fuel Range: never really calculated it, but I’ve gone on 4 hour nonstop rides and never had to refuel. Typically a full tank and 5 gallon fuel can will last the entire weekend.

              Best feature: push button 4wd, my model has EPS, which is awesome for rock crawling stuff.

              Worst feature: honestly, the only negative I have to say is I added some after market stuff. Spare tire is HUGE!!! I’ve been on a few trips where guys have side walled their atv with no spare…bad day for them.

              Nothing jumped out after the purchase I wish I had researched more. I’m a pretty thorough guy when it comes to researching, test driving, etc before dropping the $$$. I love this thing, had it 5 years and not planning on getting rid of it anytime soon!

            • #91010
              Joe (G.W.N.S.)

                Typically a full tank and 5 gallon fuel can will last the entire weekend.

                Good enough, a feel for logistics was what I wanted.

                Spare tire is HUGE!!!

                I can’t imagine getting out in the boonies without one and some support gear.

                Thanks again.

              • #91011

                  Yeah, after 1 trip where two UTV’s (can-am and Yamaha) went down (both front right tire side walls, both wheel bases >52”), I bought a spare tire, portable air compressor, and all the tire repair stuff I could find!

                • #91012
                  Joe (G.W.N.S.)

                    This is not really what I meant when I started this, but I came across it and thought it worth letting others know about it.

                    Would you like something closer to the original Jeep Willys?

                    Checkout this offering from Mahindra.


                    Since 1947 Mahindra has been licensed to make the original Willys.

                  • #91013

                      All about form/function…what’s the end goal right? I have a little Toyota Landcruiser, that’s my bugout vehicle. This particular vehicle looks fun and capable, but couldn’t go in some of the places the RZR could.

                    • #91014
                      Joe (G.W.N.S.)

                        Well I threw the Roxor in just because it’s a different approach with old school type tech.

                        My first test drive of a side by side was the relatively new Yamaha WOLVERINE X4.

                        I liked it, but I have some more looking to do.

                        I also liked the Kodiak 450 EPS.

                        Haven’t decided ATV vs side by side yet, like the side by side carrying ability, but the price of entry makes the Kodiak more appealing. ;-)

                        Not in a rush so need a lot more looking around and firm up my need vs wants.

                      • #91015

                          I think that mahindra is pretty interesting. I like the old school low tech approach, easy to work on. I’ve got a 1972 jeepster that runs on propane and very minimal wiring. Easy to repair in the event of emp or limited supply.

                        • #91016

                            Depends on what you want to use it for. Sxs carry more people and gear. Atv smaller more nimble can fit down trails and through trees a sxs cant.

                          • #91017

                              I think polaris is the way to go. They have a wide range of sxs / atv and they continue to update and inovate their product every couple years.

                            • #91018
                              Joe (G.W.N.S.)

                                I think that mahindra is pretty interesting.

                                It’s a interesting platform, but the engine interests me more.

                                This could be an outstanding replacement engine for a Suzuki Samurai which would be road legal. A stock Sammy engine had around the same hp, but half the torque and it weighs 1000lbs less than the Roxor. The Sammy’s wheelbase is 18″ shorter and slightly smaller width.

                                The Suzuki Samurai was my idea of a side by side before they existed. Small, light, and maneuverable.

                                The Roxors fuel economy 32 to 34 mpg in testing. I am betting in a Samurai this would be about 45 mpg.

                                Something for another Thread though. ;-)

                              • #91019

                                  Suzuki samurai the original side by side. :yahoo:

                                • #91020
                                  First Sergeant

                                    Polaris is the company to go with for an ATV or SxS.

                                    I went with them based off of my experience in Afghanistan with Polaris, which was very good. It also taught me to stay the hell away form John Deere Gators.

                                    I have a Polaris Sportsman 550. I use it around the property and use it at classes at the VTC. As was said above,it can go places that a SxS can’t. The SxS can carry more.

                                    All depends on what you want to do.

                                    Signal Out, Can You Identify
                                    Je ne regrette rien
                                    In Orbe Terrum Non Visi

                                  • #91021
                                    Joe (G.W.N.S.)

                                      Polaris is the company to go with for an ATV or SxS.

                                      Polaris is on my list to check out.

                                    • #91022

                                        Do they make flat running tires for the Polaris?

                                      • #91023
                                        Virgil Kane

                                          If the Roxor were street legal, that would be the ticket. I have a 2016 Honda Pioneer 1000-5. The main thing I like about it is that it has seating for 2 in the back and the seats fold into the dump bed. That reduces the hauling capacity when the seats are up, but keeps it from being as long as some others with the added back seat. It also has a “turf mode” with a rear differential to not tear up the yard and wear out the tires.

                                          Honda had some trouble with the transmission early on, but they upgraded the clutch and it seems to be good now. It has plenty of power and hauling/towing capacity and also has load leveler shocks in the rear.

                                          I don’t know about the warranty on other machines, a 1 year warranty on a $16k machine is pretty lame. Fortunately I did some work for the dealer and traded on it. It’s not something I would buy new at that price.

                                          We have about 30 acres and it gets used around here, but for recreation I would rather have an old Jeep, so I could drive it to a forest road. I run it on the road locally, but I can’t legally take off to the mountains.

                                          For utility purposes, I would rather have a Kubota. They aren’t fast and sporty, but they are built like a tractor.

                                        • #91024

                                            RobRoy – I believe those tires are available. (But I haven’t looked for a while.)

                                            I have the Polaris Ranger1000. Dump bed, tool rack, rifle rack in cab, soft doors and front wiper. They’re little torque monsters; I regularly take mine up the ATV trail on the back 40. Handles mud & snow just fine. LOTS of attachments available too. Doors just lift off for good weather working.

                                            I got a snow blade (NEED this with long driveway and a mile to my mailbox), pull behind trail mower (a ladies’ bushhog if you will), and a garden disc.

                                            This thing sips gas – but I have nowhere to open it up and let it run. Drive it around 20 mph around here. Oil is easy to check and it doesn’t use much either without working it hard. It does get dusty on my roads – but easy to clean. And the air filter is handy to replace. I do need a jack to get under it to drain the oil, for a full change.

                                            I couldn’t live without mine. Haul all kinds of tools around the property, move things from one building to another, firewood, dirt/compost… and most importantly, easy to back down the hill and around the curve to the mailbox because there isn’t an easy way to 3-point turn without getting onto the highway itself.

                                            THE single best investment I’ve made around here. Sees almost daily use.

                                          • #91025

                                              Those of you who have been to the VTC know that I am entirely reliant on the Polaris Ranger Crew. 6 seater. That thing is a trooper and the only way I can really get the electronic targets out to the ranges. It breaks, I break. I have had some expensive repairs over the years.

                                              I rolled it after bumping a tire of the base of a tree. I though that broke the steering rod but it was cannily suggested that the rod may have broken causing me to hit the tree. I had previously hit a stump with that same tire pretty hard, rearing the vehicle, at night one time, which may have been the cause?

                                              I learned to drive it mainly in low gear after I was burning out the drive belt on the hills.

                                              The great thing with the ranger side by side is that it has excellent lateral stability for cross slope driving. Thus I have been a lot of places at the VTC and been in a lot of stupid situations in all condition in that thing. This is way superior to an ATV. For example, one time the ranger broke and was in repair, and I was putting targets out in my ATV towing a trailer. It could not handle the side slope and even towing the trailer up tac range 1 (before that trail was improved) the trailer rolled. Yes that was the trailer but you will find a much greater feeling of stability in a side by side due to width than you ever will in an ATV.

                                              Don’t drive with a fence post laid on the floor in the footwell of the back seat…..I caught the end of the post on a tree and it cracked the plastic behind it, below the seat. No problem, you think? well, mounted behind that plastic is mounted the CPU brain of the vehicle and that was damaged and again it would not run. Expensive repair.

                                              If you are looking for a support vehicle for tactical operations, something along the lines of a Polaris ranger crew is ideal. Obviously the SF guys have the Razr which is super cool and has belt-feds mounted….. B-)

                                            • #91026
                                              Joe (G.W.N.S.)

                                                Really appreciate the feedback everyone.

                                                Hoping to get to the dealer tomorrow or Monday, to check them out in person.

                                              • #91027

                                                  Do any of them have an optional muffler system that can be used to reduce the noise level?

                                                • #91028


                                                    The RZR has a beltfed attachment??? I know what I’m asking Liz for Christmas!!!

                                                  • #91029
                                                    Joe (G.W.N.S.)

                                                      OK, I can’t get this, but man it’s cool.

                                                    • #91030
                                                      Joe (G.W.N.S.)

                                                        Well I checked on the Polaris and it seems like a good product, remembering we’re talking a short test drive.

                                                        So what am I leaning towards?

                                                        The old school Suzuki Samarai!

                                                        Wheelbase 79.9″
                                                        Overall Length 135.0″
                                                        Overall Width 60.6″
                                                        Overall Height 64.6″
                                                        Curb Weight 2,059lbs
                                                        Cargo Volume 27.8 cu. ft.

                                                        It compares favorably size wise, street legal, and there seems to be relatively clean stock examples available in the $5k range.

                                                      • #91031

                                                          Dude, that’s a car.


                                                        • #91032
                                                          Joe (G.W.N.S.)

                                                            Dude, that’s a car.

                                                            That in stock form is the same size as most side by sides.

                                                            Samarai______________________RANGER CREW® 570-4____RANGER 570
                                                            Overall Length__135.0″_______142″__________________114″
                                                            Overall Width____60.6″________60″___________________60″
                                                            Overall Height___64.6″________73″___________________74″
                                                            Curb Weight_____2,059lbs_____1,326 lb______________1,070 lb

                                                          • #91033

                                                              I had a Polaris Ranger, just 1 bench seat, two wheel drive. Son-in-law has it now, still works.

                                                              2 wheel drive was okay on the flats, but trying to come out of canyons if there was an incline with maybe a 6-8 inch step it couldn’t make it. That’s how I ended up with 2 ex-Swiss Army vehicles.

                                                              Of course you may not have a problem with rock ledges in Florida. Point is get a 4X4.

                                                              edit Oh, and a windshield or good googles are a must. Even moderately cold weather will make your eyes tear. :good:

                                                            • #91034

                                                                I have a 2009 Polaris 700 Crew, bought it used from a dealer in 2010 when I started my land surveying company. It had about 230 hours on it, a carpet grass farmer used it drive around his fields. The tires still had the little rubber tits (don’t know what else to call them) on them. Paid $9,900 for it. Only issue I’ve had is when the rubber boots on the back axle get old, and I drive over a lot of thorny mesquite while working or checking cattle, they get ripped, then you start getting dirt and crud in the CV joint. I’ve already replaced the rear drivers side, fixing to have to replace the other side (of course it ripped right after fixing the other one).

                                                                I’ve gone through several sets of the stock tires (Maxxis), again cause of thorns, and used gallons of tire sealant (tire pooky). But last year I went ahead and bought some kevlar run flat tires, about $209 a piece for the front tires and $229 a piece for the rear tires……best thing I did cause I’ve not had an issue yet.
                                                                I change my own oil, filters etc… so maintenance for me is not so bad. A friend of mine gave me a radio out of a bobkat SxS and a hydraulic cylinder for the bed. So I have a radio and a weather radio and push button dumping for the bed.
                                                                In the pics you can see a magnetic mount on the roof over the drivers side, that’s for my GPS unit. Oh this model for some reason is very quiet compared to the newer models (especially the diesels), and there is a large compartment under the entire front seat that will store a lot of stuff (rifles, air tank bottle etc….).
                                                                I agree with Andrew on the windshield during cold weather! I don’t have one, but sure have wished for one a time or two when a cold front came through, and or rain! But during the summer, I’d leave the windshield off, at least here in my AO. The only bad thing about a windshield is that it creates a suction and will pull a lot of dust and dirt into the cab area and gets in your eyes.

                                                              • #91035

                                                                  Sorry guys, I always forget to resize my photos……
                                                                  Resized photos below.

                                                                • #91036
                                                                  Joe (G.W.N.S.)

                                                                    That’s how I ended up with 2 ex-Swiss Army vehicles.

                                                                    I am a fan of the Steyr Puch Haflinger, but the days of finding a low priced clean example seem to be a thing of the past. Many are street legal too, but forget highway speeds. ;-)

                                                                    Go to 4:40 Mark to see them going through their paces.

                                                                    14:40 Mark to see military convoys with beltfeds and recoilless rifles.

                                                                  • #91037


                                                                      I paid less than 18K for the 6 wheel 712M and about the same for the 4 wheel 710M in my sig pic.

                                                                      They’re great trucks. The 710 will carry 10 troops, 2 in front and 8 in back, will carry a ton of supplies. The 712, will carry 12 troops in back and 2 in front. Or a ton and a half of supplies. Both are 4 cyclinder air cooled, with portal axles, and hydraulic levers for 4 or 6 wheel drive. Top speed 60 to 65. About 12-14 mpg on no lead.

                                                                      The new diesel ones are around $30K and water cooled.

                                                                      My 6 wheeler is for sale. Just sayin’

                                                                    • #91038

                                                                        Wouldn’t it be a pain to get parts for those European off-roaders though? My mom got a Geo Tracker once upon a time, engine went up pretty quick (the dealership wound up being really shady and shut down shortly thereafter), and we had to scrap it because no one had a replacement engine. And that was a car actually sold in the States in good numbers.

                                                                        IIRC there isn’t too much work to make an ATV street legal, you just need appropriate lights and turn signals, DOT-approved, tires, seatbelts, horns, etc., and it’s basically treated like a kit car. The Mahindra looks cool as hell but we can’t afford anything other than used vehicles, let alone ones we can’t drive on roads without modifications.

                                                                      • #91039

                                                                          I’ve got an old Artic Cat 500, will never get rid of ot. I may be a little weird but for my AO I’m saving my shekels for a Rokon.

                                                                        • #91040
                                                                          Joe (G.W.N.S.)

                                                                            Wouldn’t it be a pain to get parts for those European off-roaders though?

                                                                            Back when I considered the Haflinger a good bargain you could have purchased an extensive support package for a couple thousand extra.

                                                                            …there isn’t too much work to make an ATV street legal…

                                                                            In my AO it is very difficult to jump through the legal hurdles to accomplish this.

                                                                            It varies by Local and State.

                                                                            I may be a little weird but for my AO I’m saving my shekels for a Rokon.

                                                                            Good vehicle for many uses.

                                                                        Viewing 34 reply threads
                                                                        • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.