2010 Polaris Limited Edition Models Unveiled
Polaris Industries, Inc. has unveiled its lineup of limited edition models for 2010.
The Minnesota-based manufacturer released 10 new limited edition offerings, including two Sportsman XPs, four Ranger XPs, three Ranger RZRs and one Ranger Crew. Special edition models are available in US and Canadian dealerships now.
It was only a short time ago that Polaris first revealed its 2010 Ranger and ATV lineup. Highlighted Ranger EV, the first all-electric side-by-side from a major manufacturer, Polaris continued to push forward with new and updated off-road vehicles despite the struggling economy. Other highlights of the 2010 lineup are a new mid-size Ranger 400, more power for the Ranger XP and two brand new 2-up Sportsman XP models.
2010 Special Edition Models
Additional features on the limited edition model include:
Exclusive Browning Edition Sportsman XP with Mossy Oak Break-Up camo bodywork
2010 Polaris Ranger Lineup Preview
ATVs and side-by-sides are big business, but Polaris Industries, Inc. also thinks of the industry as a big contest – one the Minnesota-based manufacturer wants desperately to win.
It’s that competitive spirit that drove Polaris, despite a weakened economy, to introduce two brand new Ranger side-by-sides in 2010 and make significant upgrades to seven other vehicles in the Ranger line. All 2010 Ranger and Ranger RZRs also come standard with a ROPS Certified Cab.
“We continue to innovate our Ranger line to offer the most extensive side-by-side
offering in the industry,” says Matt Homan, vice president and general manager of Polaris’ off-road division.
Perhaps the most shocking (please pardon the pun) new model we’ll see from anybody in 2010 is Polaris’ first electric off-road vehicle, the Ranger EV ($10,699).
2009 Yamaha Rhino 700 FI Sport Edition Review
It’s been three months since Yamaha launched a free repair program for all Rhino models which included adding two-inch spacers on each of the rear wheels and removing the rear anti-sway bar. To prove that these repairs did nothing to take away from the Rhino’s off-road capability, we were invited to the San Bernardino Forest in southern California to test out the 2009 Yamaha Rhino 700 FI Sport Edition for ourselves.
Oftentimes when a manufacturer invites the media out to test drive a new vehicle we don’t end up getting a great deal of seat time as we’re focused on getting pictures and talking to the people who helped design it. Also, because they don’t want to put us or their expensive machines in harm’s way manufacturers sometimes avoid the gnarliest terrain. To Yamaha’s credit, this was absolutely not the case this time.
We were led on a near 80-mile trek that had our adrenaline pumping and at times tested our resolve. We beat the holy hell out of our Rhino 700 to see exactly what it was capable of. At the end of our ride our bodies ached and we were completely exhausted, but we came away wholly impressed.
2009 Polaris Ranger HD Review
As Ryan Wiles gave us the tour of Iron City Polaris, we noticed a newer Polaris Ranger fitted out with a cab, street tires, a horn and rearview mirror. Seems that some of the Polaris Rangers sold through the Phoenix-based Polaris dealership portion of parent Arizona Production Machinery Supply Arizona spends as much time on the public roadways as they do exploring the nearby Sonoran desert.
While we were intrigued with the street concept, we were actually borrowing a brand new 2009 Ranger HD for an excursion into the desert. As Ryan explained the “street package” that Iron City Polaris offers we checked out the desert-ready silver Ranger HD. It was one of the few on hand as Wiles explained that the dealership sells far more Ranger XP and RZRs than the more industrial-strength HD versions. We would nod an ignorant “Uh huh” in agreement.
When we returned the nearly US$13,000 Ranger HD, we wouldn’t be as content to agree that the regular Rangers should be more in demand than our HD test vehicle. With the chance to test out the fully featured Ranger HD, we came to the conclusion that it was easily worth the two grand upcharge over a basic 700cc Ranger.
2010 Arctic Cat Early Release Models
Arctic Cat has unveiled a handful of early release models for 2010. The Minnesota-based manufacturer is mostly showing off some new paint, but the smallest member of the Prowler family has been given a new “XT” package of eye-catching and functional goodies, while the ATV lineup is highlighted by a 700 TRV without the cruiser trim.
Of course, these are only the early release models and if 2009 is any indication we can expect a much bigger splash from Arctic Cat in the coming months. For those with short memories, Arctic Cat went hog wild in 2009 with a veritable cornucopia of new and updated ATV models headlined by the TRV 1000 H2 Cruiser, as well as a brand new 550cc powerplant. In addition, the 2009 Prowler lineup was bolstered by the high-powered 1000 H2 XTZ and the 550 Flat Bed.
Arctic Cat has an all-new Advantage Timber Camo pattern in the 700H1 EFI and 550H1 EFI for 2010. According to Arctic Cat, the latest consumer analysis shows that Camo ranks very high in color preference. In fact, just 54 percent buy Camo for hunting, while the other 46 percent choose it because they like how it looks.
Yamaha Rhino Project – Part 2
Back in February we posted a story called Yamaha Rhino Project – Part 1, where we documented our first Stock class race Rhino build, and gave you the scoop on how it performed throughout the season. We also promised that we would follow that story up with the second part of our race build; turning that little stock racer into one of the fastest, coolest looking race Rhinos in the short course UTV circuit. If you have ever wondered what it takes to build a pro level race Rhino, you have come to the right place – read on!
When we made the decision to jump headfirst into the Pro ranks, we had one series in mind initially – the Championship Off Road Racing Series (CORR, for short). At the time, this series regularly boasted a huge UTV turnout, and was home to the fastest UTV racers in the country. This series is where the big boys (and girls!) came out to play, and we had these races in mind throughout the entire build process.
Building a race Rhino is much like writing an essay or a book – first, you need to figure out a basic outline; start broad and work your way in, so to speak. Our first task was to come up with a basic chassis design for our Rhino, and for someone like me, who is an artistic perfectionist, this was only accomplished after researching and studying many race trucks, buggies, UTVs and even some competition rock crawlers. We wanted to be sure our Rhino design was not only functional, but that it was unique and looked great from any angle. Balance and proportion are sometimes overlooked by builders, and we wanted to be sure our Rhino looked as good as it performed.
2009 Polaris Limited Edition Lineup Unveiled
Polaris Industries has announced its lineup of limited edition ATVs and side-by-sides for spring, 2009. All told, Polaris has new limited editions for three Sportsman ATVs and eight Ranger side-by-sides.
These limited edition models come on the heels of a huge 2009 model lineup from Polaris. Polaris introduced the all new Sportsman XP 850 and 550 for 2009, both of which have available electronic power steering.
The Minnesota-based manufacturer gave its Ranger line a huge makeover as well. The Ranger XP received all new styling and improved steering, while the new Ranger HD is a rugged utility machine with power steering and self-leveling shocks. Also new for 2009 are the high-powered Ranger RZR S and the Ranger RZR 170.
2009 Sportsman 850 XP EPS LE-Tequila Gold
Yamaha Rhino Project – Part 1
We are pretty sure that back in the early part of this decade, when the engineers at Yamaha were putting their heads together to design and plan the first production Yamaha Rhino 660, they couldn’t have imagined what would become of their humble (yet fully functional) hunting/utility vehicle.
People stared in awe at the first ‘duner’ Rhinos appearing in 2004 at sand dunes around the country, amazed at the creativity and deep pockets that helped create some of those first tricked out, four seat conversions that continue to dominate holiday weekends at dune areas everywhere. However, those Rhinos pale in comparison to some of the first full race Rhinos that appeared soon after, as an entirely new breed of racing was born.
Gone were the four seat cages, and in their place were low profile, extra wide and fully gusseted custom frames which were welded with great care to the original Rhino chassis. Custom designs, excellent aluminum work and trick looking custom suspension packages turned these purely functional UTVs into some lean, mean, racing machines – and began one of the most entertaining forms of racing today.
2008 Year in Review - Side-by-Sides
ATV.com is wrapping up its Year-in-Review series with a look back at the last 12 months to see all the new side-by-sides that have been released. Feel free to check out our previous articles on utility quads and sport quads.
Sure the economy is not where we’d all like it, but you wouldn’t know it by looking at the ATV and side-by-side industry in 2008. Polaris came to market with the most advanced and most expensive off-road vehicle any of the major manufacturers have ever released, while also giving the Ranger a new look. Also, Arctic Cat put its powerful 951cc engine in a Prowler, while Kawasaki made significant changes to its almost new Teryx. To top it all off, Honda and Kymco have joined the side-by-side party with vehicles of their own.
Side-by-sides are still a pretty new concept, but the manufacturers have stepped up big time in the last year or so to push the envelope with new technology and features. Just look at what’s come out in the last few months.
2009 Polaris Ranger RZR S
2009 Kawasaki Teryx 750 FI 4×4 Sport Review
In 2009 Kawasaki will put a new face on a not-so-old friend. The Kawasaki Teryx, which originally hit dealerships less than a year ago, has stood in the shadows only to observe its competition. The addition of fuel injection, bold new graphics packages and a pile of other new additions in 2009 has garnered attention from the media world. Kawasaki has even gone a step further, adding a sporty package aimed to stop consumers in their tracks.
Side-by-side riding has taken off in a big way and the amount of aftermarket parts available for this segment has grown exponentially. On Kawasaki’s to-do list since the inception of the Teryx has been to create a vehicle that would satisfy the go fast guys and gals as well and allow them to get the most comfortable seat time of any RUV. This has come to pass in the form of the 2009 Teryx Sport.
2009 Honda Big Red Review
With the growing popularity of side-by-sides it has always been a matter of when Honda would bring out its own version – not if. Instead the real question was what kind of side-by-side would it be?
The 2009 Honda Big Red is the answer and after my first ride in Quebec I can tell you it’s as utility minded as it could possibly be. It’s large and wide with an imposing stance. Look at the numbers: it is 114.7 in long, 64 in wide, has a ground clearance of 10.3 in and has a crushing curb weight (with all fluids included) of 1431 lbs. This MUV (multi-use vehicle) won’t fit in the back of your pickup and it won’t scoot down narrow ATV-sized trails.
The first obvious thing I saw at the Big Red introduction was that it’s not going to be raced – but then I sense that’s the point. Honda is big on safety and unlike some of the models that the competition (Yamaha and Polaris in particular) have released it didn’t want anything to do with a narrower, faster side-by-side.
2009 Polaris Ranger RZR S Review
After first laying eyes on the 2009 Polaris Ranger RZR S in June, it’s hard to quantify exactly how much we wanted to take it for a ride.
We spent a little time behind the wheel at Polaris’ press intro in the Minnesota woods in June, but tight, wooded trails are not the natural environment for this super sporty side-by-side. With its powerful engine, beefed up suspension and wider footprint, the RZR S demands to be driven fast and aggressively with ample opportunity to mash the pedal to the floor.
Polaris district sales manager Mike Carr suggested we head to Reno, Nev. and ride at Moon Rocks. With its mix of whoops, steep hills, rock crawling and wide open trails it proved to be an ideal spot to put the RZR S to the test.
Kawasaki Introduces Teryx Performance Parts Catalog
Kawasaki Motors Corp. U.S.A. has introduced its Teryx Performance Parts Catalog, which included a full line of Team Green UTV racing parts for the Teryx.
According to Kawasaki, these parts have been developed in cooperation with the official Team Green factory UTV racing team.
The following Kawasaki Racing Parts and all other items listed are subject to the following conditions:
These items are intended for closed-course competition only. Alteration of emissions-related components can constitute violation of federal and/or state laws. Substantial fines and penalties can result if used for other than closed-course competition use. Also, use of unauthorized components and/or use of a vehicle in competition can affect a vehicle’s warranty coverage. Kawasaki Racing Parts or other items listed here are not covered by any warranty and are not returnable.
2009 Arctic Cat Prowler Lineup Review
Let’s get right to it. Kick in the throttle on Arctic Cat’s Prowler 1000 H2 EFI XTZ 4×4 and it will set you back in the driver’s bucket. With the same 188-ft-lbs. of torque built into the Thundercat ATV, Arctic Cat engineering gives the Prowler some serious performance in an all-new for 2009 premium package.
If you know anything about Arctic Cat and its northern Minnesota neighbor, Polaris, then you understand that there are serious bragging rights at stake where the two ATV makers compete head-to-head. Arctic Cat intends to be the performance leader in its market segments. You can understand that Cat engineering in Thief River Falls had to be unhappy at the performance image Polaris gained with its nifty, low slung Ranger RZR.
Entering this season Arctic Cat’s Prowler was good, but not terribly sporty. It had nowhere near the performance character of Polaris’ RZR. Spring ahead to 2009 and you have a Prowler that’s not only much improved as an overall product, but endowed with the baddest, meanest engine to hit the side-by-side scene to date.
Engineered, designed and built by Arctic Cat, the 951cc H2 V-Twin is just what the Prowler needed to go from dowdy utility to full-on furious roadster. It should out-accelerate and out speed the RZR, but it won’t out handle it. Even with suspension tweaks that make it a bit lower, the Prowler is still a Prowler, albeit one with incredible off the line performance and hill climbing power.
2009 Honda Big Red Preview
With Yamaha, Polaris, Kawasaki and Arctic Cat already on board and Can-Am rumored to be coming along; it was only a matter of time before Honda joined the side-by-side revolution. Enter the 2009 Big Red.
Honda has been teasing the Big Red for months and the utility-minded side-by-side has finally been released.
According to Honda, what sets the Big Red apart from the competition is the focus on convenience features.
The Big Red’s cab features rubber-mounted seats with adjustable backs designed to comfortably fit a wide range of body types while also reducing fatigue on long drives. Each seat is equipped with three-point Emergency Locking Retractor (ELR) seat belts, which are similar to automotive type belt systems. To keep debris at bay, the belt deploys from a housing that features a narrow topside slot. The bottom has a port that Honda says will allow debris to exit so it doesn’t accumulate in the belt housing.
2009 Kawasaki Teryx 750 FI 4×4 Preview
Just released in 2008, the Teryx 750 4×4 received great reviews from just about everybody who rode it. Kawasaki, however, didn’t spend much time resting on the laurels of its sporty side-by-side and started working on making improvements for 2009.
ATV.com had a chance to put the 2008 Teryx through its paces and we loved almost everything about it. Fuel injection and digital gauges were really our only concerns and Kawasaki addressed both of those and more with the 2009 Teryx.
One of the keys to the Teryx’s success last year was the mid-mounted 749cc 90-degree V-Twin engine. With the addition of digital fuel injection, Kawasaki says the already powerful engine has more performance and utility and is quicker revving than ever, giving it an edge over its rivals.
Though much of the character of the V-Twin was left untouched, Kawasaki did alter the ignition timing to boost low and mid-range torque and improve response at higher rpm.
2009 Polaris Ranger RZR and Outlaw Preview
Polaris has made major changes to its 2009 ATV and Ranger lineup. ATV.com has already looked at the brand new Sportsman XP lineup and the new Ranger HD and redesigned Ranger XP. Now it’s time to explore Polaris’ 2009 sports-oriented quads – the Outlaw line and an offshoot of last year’s much-talked about Ranger RZR.
The Ranger RZR set the side-by-side industry on its ear in 2008. Not only was it the fastest stock vehicle in its class, but it was also trail capable, thanks to its 50-inch width. It was hands down the sportiest side-by-side ever released by a major manufacturer and Polaris had trouble keeping up with the demand.
The aftermarket, as expected, sunk its teeth into the RZR almost immediately, finding ways to make it faster, tougher and more stable. Many consumers spent thousands of dollars to upgrade the RZR, changing it from a trail-oriented machine to a desert racer, dune blaster and everything else imaginable.
2009 Polaris Rangers: First Look
Polaris executives get excited when they look at the growth potential of the side-by-side (UTV) market. Polaris got so excited that the company split off its UTV models from its ATV group to form a separate and distinct Ranger Division. This move lets Polaris focus strictly on the dynamics of the side-by-side market.
States Ranger general manager Matt Homan, “Growth in the recreational and utility market is big. It’s a US$2 billion industry.”
He points out that the UTV market breaks down into three distinct categories. The utility segment is the biggest with 59 percent of UTV sales. But he explains there is rapid growth in the recreational segment, which currently accounts for 23 percent of sales. The third component for UTV sales is oriented toward the industrial segment and is where you’ll find the remaining 18 percent of sales.
Homan foresees double-digit growth for Polaris in the expansive side-by-side market. In fact, he says, “This is a dynamic market. Every six months there is news and change.”
2008 Team Joyner Trooper T2 Review
KYMCO introduces two new ATVs for 2009
KYMCO USA of Spartanburg, SC introduced a pair of new off-road vehicles for 2009 at its first annual dealer meeting.
Both the UXV 500 and MXU 375, according to KYMCO, are designed to appeal directly to consumers who are more closely considering the pocketbook when purchasing a new ATV or UTV.
With the UXV 500, KYMCO made the leap into the burgeoning side-by-side market. The vehicle, which will have a base MSRP of just under $8,000, is powered by a 498.5cc 4-stroke DOHC liquid-cooled engine that pumps out 33 horsepower and has a towing capacity of 1,200 pounds. You can also carry an additional 420 pounds in the cargo bed.
“The UXV 500 brings the side-by-side utility everyone wants into a price range that everyone can afford,” says Bruce Ramsey, KYMCO USA sales and marketing vice president. “When we unveiled it at our annual dealer meeting, it truly impressed the crowd. The UXV is definitely one of the best received products KYMCO has ever released.”
2008 Bad Boy Buggy Review
2008 Yamaha Rhino 450 4×4 Review
2008 Arctic Cat Prowler 650 XT Review
Arctic Cat’s series of Prowler UTVs have been a hit since they were first introduced. At first buyers sought them for their pickup truck utility. The small dump box could be loaded with spools of barbed wire and tools to repair fence lines and the four-wheeled vehicles were nimble and could readily cover terrain that punished a farm truck.
More recently, the Prowler has become a favorite for motorized recreationists, especially those who like to travel with company. These side-by-side vehicles are a more comfortable and companion-friendly alternative to the ‘king-queen seat’ two-up ATVs, like Arctic Cat’s own TRV 650 H1 4×4. The Prowler features a more familiar cockpit that emulates a truck or Jeep. There is a steering wheel, floor pedals and a stick shift for the fully automatic transmission.
Arctic Cat’s constantly variable transmission is smooth and effective, showing the benefits of the company’s nearly half-century of building CVT-equipped snowmobiles. Unlike a snowmobile’s drive, the Prowler setup allows engine braking, which was very nice to have when coming down twisty trails in those low-lying Arizona desert mountains.
Kawasaki Updates Mule Line
Kawasaki has given its entire Mule line of side-by-side utility vehicles a face lift for 2009.
The entire 10-vehicle family, from the compact 2WD Mule 600 to the flagship 4010 Mule Trans 4X4 Diesel, has all received upgrades for the new model year.
Kawasaki’s new 4000 Series Mules replace the previous generation 3000 Series and each features new truck-like styling and digital fuel injection (DFI). On each of the 4010s, Kawasaki has also included electric power steering (EPS).
2008 Polaris Ranger Crew Review
The Polaris Ranger has been a benchmark for over a decade now and has been copied by some yet vilified by others. The reason? It’s big – but in the ATV market that too can be an advantage. For 2008 the Ranger is going with its strength and unveiling a six-seat model called the ‘Crew’ which is even bigger.
This stretched Ranger will carry six passengers and 750 lb of payload on a frame that boasts two bench seats and a dumping cargo box. The power in the Crew comes from a 700cc twin EFI engine that churns up to 40 hp through an on-demand (switch activated) AWD system that will also tow up to 2000 lb.
Obviously this is not a machine that’s going to dart around narrow trails – but it is a vehicle that is going to appeal to anyone who has to move people and gear to and from off-road sites.
I had a chance to drive the new Crew out in East Tennessee in an area that is littered with old logging roads, which are currently being rutted out by trucks dragging drilling rigs into the mountains. While these were not bush trails, this environment was where a vehicle like the new Crew would be most often used. Carrying people and cargo is what this version of the Ranger is for – and the reason I ran it around the Smokey Mountains was to see if it fulfilled that mandate.
2008 Club Car XRT 1550 Preview
While the UTV market is expanding with sportier, leisure oriented vehicles like the Polaris Ranger RZR and Kawasaki Teryx, utility is still the backbone of the segment.
Club Car Inc. of Augusta, Ga. produces the XRT line of vehicles and the flagship XRT 1550 is utility to the core. For Club Car, the idea behind the XRT 1550 was to build a tough, rugged, easy to use vehicle and it is backed up by a 24-month/2,000-hour limited warranty.
Powering the XRT 1550 is a Kawasaki 23 horsepower, air cooled, 675 cc twin cylinder engine. An optional 20 horsepower, 3-cylinder , liquid cooled, 719 cc diesel engine from Kubota is also available as an option.
“You’ve got two different choices, both very high quality engines, both industrial strength engines and you’re really going to get a lot out of both of those engines,” says Club Car regional manager Noel Phillips.
UTV Accessories Booming
Utility all terrain vehicles, or UTVs, are continuing to gain more and more popularity among enthusiasts—and manufacturers have taken notice.
Of the seven major ATV OEMs, Yamaha, Polaris, Arctic Cat and Kawasaki have already entered the UTV market with high-powered side-by-side models, and Honda is just about ready with its Big Red slated as a 2009 model year release. That leaves just Suzuki and Can-Am, and you can bet that they’re already at the drawing table.
Many consumers, however, seem to be looking for more than just the stock units the manufacturers are providing.
ATV.com attended a recent industry trade show in Indianapolis, and the amount of aftermarket accessories and modifications available for UTVs was staggering. As far as we could tell, if there was anything at all you wanted to change about the appearance and in some cases even the functionality of your UTV, you could find it here. From something as small as a shifter knob to an entire body kit that would make it pretty much impossible to tell what the original vehicle was from the outside.
As interesting and useful as many of these items are, the thought of spending a lot of money on accessories for a vehicle you just spent thousands of dollars on doesn’t always make a lot of sense. Why spend the time and money changing the look and feel of a vehicle you spent so much time and money picking out?
Polaris Broadens Ranger Line
Looking to increase market share and broaden the appeal of its popular Ranger series of side-by-side UTVs, Polaris announced new choices in this growing subset of the ATV market. There will be five Limited Edition Rangers, including a spiffed up version of its Ranger Crew model. While overall ATV sales have slowed, the market for Rangers has grown as Polaris has been adept at finding new niches to encourage sales.
The hot-rod Ranger RZR tapped into an entirely new segment of sports side-by-side models. Low and lean with ample power, the RZR set Polaris apart from the competition by creating a unique sports machine that takes the side-by-side concept off the farm and into the world of trail sports riding.
With this hot rod model in the line-up and with special offerings of Limited Edition models this past season, Polaris engineers and designers realized that consumers were hungry for more than ‘me-too’ ATVs and Rangers. As we head into 2008, Polaris expands its ‘limited’ collection with five decked out Rangers specially suited to the leaders of the pack—not the followers.
As overall ATV quad sales have slowed, side-by-side or UTV sales have increased. One reason is that side-by-sides allow riders to bring along a friend so they can sit beside you, not behind you, hanging on.
Four of these new Polaris Limited Edition Rangers are thematic expansions of the Ranger Series 700 line. You’ll find a Polaris-engineered and built motor displacing 683cc and scavenging fuel via an efficient electronic fuel injection system that is designed to maximize the range of the nine US gallon fuel tank. Delivering 40 horsepower the liquid-cooled engine can propel the base Ranger XP upwards of 50 miles per hour.
Ranger XP Baseline
The four Limited Edition versions are based on Polaris’ popular 700cc Ranger XP but customized in four unique ways—Orange Crush; an update of last year’s limited but popular Midnight Red; Black Metallic; and a deep woods Mossy Oak Browning edition. The fifth Limited Edition is a Turbo Silver version of the six-passenger Ranger Crew. All versions share the new-for-2008 hand-operated parking brake with shift interlock and increased towing capacity.
Here’s what’s specific to each new 2008 Limited Edition Ranger model.
2008 RANGER XP, Painted Orange Crush Rally
2008 Kawasaki Teryx 750 4X4 Review
ATV Food Plot Accessories
Quality deer management is all the rage among white tail deer hunters. Providing highly nutritious forage for deer will increase their antler size, help them survive high-stress conditions and hopefully help you fill the trophy space on your wall.
Even a small food plot only a half-acre in size can noticeably improve deer hunting. ATV accessory manufacturers have caught on to this booming market and there are more ATV and UTV implements available today than ever before. Food plot packages are available for small, medium and large food plot acreages—some are ‘one-pass’ designs that can make putting in a plot a snap. Here is a selection of some makes and models on the market.Quadivator
PowerLoader UTV Accessory
Any hunter who has had to lug a downed bear out of the woods knows that it can be some of the most grueling work imaginable. A chubby bear has no natural holding points comparable to the legs or antlers of a deer. So even a 200 lb bruin is next to impossible for a solo hunter to carry out—especially if the bear is being retrieved from a thick cedar or spruce swamp.
Indeed, extracting a larger bear from such cover will put the strength and teamwork of a handful of men to an extreme test. It can be very warm during bear hunting season in many locations, and time is of the essence to prevent meat and hide spoilage.
One device that might be of assistance is the PowerLoader from Great Day Inc. of Tallulah, La. The PowerLoader is a lifting device that mounts to the front of an ATV or the back of a UTV and uses a winch (purchased separately) to hoist game up onto the vehicle’s rack or cargo bed. Then it helps to hold the animal in place for the ride out.
How to Buy a UTV
“Honey, you know how the trail to our camp is really muddy and rough, hey?”
I always add the “hey” when I’m about to ask something to which I know the answer will more than likely be negative.
“Well, I was thinking that if we had one of those side-by-side ATVs, we could go into the camp together and getting in over the trail wouldn’t be a problem.”
A moment of silence, then a reply. “Okay, maybe you should get one then.”
And so began the search for a side-by-side ATV, or UTV, or RUV, or whatever they are called. I anticipated a quick drive around to a few dealerships to size up each of the offerings from the various manufacturers, and expected I’d be in my new side-by-side before the weekend. I mean, how many options could there be in the seemingly young side-by-side market?
Well, too many to mention actually.
2008 UTV Roundup
The UTV category continues to be one of the hottest areas of the ATV business, with technology, innovation and utility driving innovation. Here’s a rundown of what to expect from the major manufacturers for 2008.Arctic Cat
Arctic Cat’s Prowler UTVs have been turning a lot of heads, and the 2008 models should be the best yet, with the Prowler XTX 700 H1 LE leading the lineup. An Arctic-designed 695cc liquid-cooled single-cylinder 4-stroke powers this Prowler. The company has invested millions of dollars in advanced design and assembly technologies, and this package shows it. The transmission is a rubber-belt high-low-reverse cvt with engine-braking built in. The Prowler is equipped to be a serious terrain conqueror, with push-button four-wheel-drive and a locking front differential.
The 26-inch tires, stunning 12.5-inches of ground clearance and independent double-wishbone suspension at all four-corners (with a swaybar on the back) will inspire confidence for almost any riding conditions. Another feature that the Prowler boasts of is an 8.2-gallon fuel tank. The big Cat has a towing capacity of 1,500 lbs. To top it all off, Arctic has some of the most advanced noise-reduction technology in the industry, and it’s used here to help the Prowler deliver all of this power and performance quietly. Other Prowler models in Arctic Cat’s lineup include the model that started it all—the 650 4×4 Automatic, the 650 XT 4×4 Auto, and the 650 XT 4×4 Auto M4 in wetlands camouflage.
2008 Yamaha Rhino 700 FI Review
The second generation of the Yamaha Rhino debuts into a very different market than the one that greeted its predecessor in 2004. The side-by-side ATV is no longer an anomaly or considered just a knobby-tired golf cart.
In fact, with several competitors since launching models of this type of ATV, it may easily become the dominate body-style in the years to come. The ‘why’ of this is obvious; the easy-to-drive automotive style appeals to everyone—it carries two comfortably and costs almost the same as a single-rider machine. And, no one has to take a backseat to the driver.
For 2008, the new Rhino still shares its architecture with the Yamaha Grizzly as it did in 2004—engine and frame components—but the changes that have occurred in this update make the new Rhino just that much better than the original. The new Rhino 700 powerplant moves from 660cc to 686cc, which adds additional power through the entire rev range, but which is most notably in the low- to mid-range power. This engine hasn’t just gained in the cc
|Specifications FourTrax Rincon GPScape|
|Engine:||675cc liquid-cooled OHV single cylinder four-stroke|
|Bore x Stroke:||102mm x 84mm|
|Carburetion:||Yamaha Fuel Injection (YFI), 41mm|
|Ignition:||32 Bit ECU|
|Transmission:||Yamaha Ultramatic V-Belt / H,L,N,R|
|Engine Braking:||All Wheel|
|Drive Train:||Yamaha On-Command push button 3-way locking differential, 2WD, 4WD, locked 4WD; Shaft|
|Suspension/ Front:||Independent Double Wishbone, 7.3″ w/ 5-way Preload Adjustment.|
|Suspension/ Rear:||Independent Double Wishbone, 7.3″ w/ 5-way Preload Adjustment.|
|Brakes/ Front:||Dual Hydraulic Disc, Twin Piston|
|Brake/ Rear:||Dual Hydraulic Disc, Twin Piston|
|Tires/ Front:||AT25x8-12 NHS|
|Tires/ Rear:||AT25x10-12 NHS|
|Fuel Capacity:||7.9 Gal|
|Dry Weight:||1124 Lbs.|
|Bed Capacity:||400 Lbs|
|Towing Capacity:||1212 Lbs|
|Instrumentation:||Digital LCD Multi-function display. Speedo, Odo, Dual Trip, Hour, Clock, Fuel, and Gear Position|
|Lighting:||Dual 30W Krypton Multi-reflector Headlights & Dual 21/5W Brake light|
department—it also has a new forged piston; a new aluminum cylinder body with composite coating and new roller rocker arms are said to reduce friction in the valve train. These are some of the changes that have added durability and shaved weight in this engine, according to Yamaha.
Riding the backcountry in the Appalachian Mountains of Tennessee is where the truth in this last statement surfaced. Navigating long twisting uphill trails requires torque—but torque that is calibrated and controlled. With many of the grades covered in rocks, stumps and protruding tree roots, getting over and around them was an exercise in gas-peddle finesse—not too-the-floor excess—spinning wheels get you in more trouble than not.
This better torque control on the new Rhino is the result of a combination of upgrades, such as new fuel injection. The Yamaha Fuel Injection (YFI) system improves throttle response throughout the powerband. It also detects and compensate for changes in altitude, which means better fuel delivery which keeps the power consistent. YFI also eliminates the need for a choke and improves cold-weather starts.
Two other new items found on the Rhino speak directly to rider security—an issue that I wrote about after testing the original back in 2004. At the time, the side-by-side was a new concept and the new way of riding was only just starting to reveal which physical forces it was going to be subject to. What I wrote then was: “With the side by side setup, a whole new set of physics is involved while the Rhino is rocking through the bush—namely Yaw forces. In plain language, on rough terrain, it wants to throw you and your passenger out the side. While the driver has the steering wheel to hold, and can anticipate the sideways movement of the machine, the passenger may not be so lucky.”
So, for 2008 Yamaha has added a set of tough polyethylene half-doors and a center mounted grab-handle for passenger and driver safety. But, these upgrades have also been engineered to attach to any year of Rhino; thus righting an old wrong. Yamaha is going as far as offering these free, including installation, to any Rhino owner for the asking. The inference here is obvious—they want to avoid any injuries that can be attributed to design. And frankly, that’s good.
In the real world, such as down the hollers and across the ridge tops of Lewis County, TN, the doors hold your knee inside the vehicle regardless of the bumping and swaying on the trail. The grab-handle naturally has you lean towards the centre of the machine, again minimizing the exposure of your head, arm and chest outside the roll cage to passing trees, branches and boulders. The door also cuts down the amount of water and mud spray that previously landed in your lap. Lastly, if a rollover does occur, these upgrades, along with the seatbelt, will do a better job of keeping inside the safety of the cage.
The creek bottoms and hill tops we crossed during our testing required a thoughtful approach to traction; one that made use of the three setting and two powerbands on the Rhino. With a HI and LO range on the floor-mounted shifter, it’s possible to pick what amounts to the torque required to get over, thorough or around an obstacle. Use this in combination with the selectable 4WD system and the traction tools at your disposal multiply. Rhino offers a 2WD setting (which makes for the easiest steering effort) an automatically engaged 4WD system (which kicks in when slippage occurs) and a ‘locked’ 4WD setting, which effectively give the machine real three-wheel drive, as it locks the front differential. I had a chance to use all the combinations on our rather muddy outing and where one selection was defeated, another would invariably overcome the obstacle.
Another safety concern, particularly in hilly terrain, is ‘freewheeling.’ A condition common to CVT belt-driven machines (reduced rpms going downhill causes the belt to go slack allowing the machine to run free with gravity) has been addressed in the 08 Rhino by Yamaha with its new Ultramatic system that keeps constant tension on the drive belt. This second mechanical clutch also helps avoid unnecessary belt wear on startup, as well as dealing with freewheeling. I noted that it did a good job of braking the 1,124 lb machine on the downhills, but because it is not really run off the engine the downhill speed does not top-out as it would with a real engine-brake. Instead, it continues to gain speed till you brake. Still, this better than the alternative—no braking at all.
John Deere sticks to its roots
2008 Polaris Ranger RZR Review
Polaris broke new ground with its sporty 2008 Ranger RZR, so ATV.com made some calls and set up a test ride.
We put the RZR through its paces up in the hills of northern California. We found a great mix of terrain, including fairly smooth, rolling fire trails and technical hills with huge rocks and fallen trees to maneuver through.
The RZR is much different than anything Polaris has ever released and is really a new animal entirely in the side-by-side market.
To start with, the RZR has a completely different look than its big brother, the Ranger XP. The Ranger XP is bigger, sits a lot higher and generally looks like a utility vehicle, while the RZR is more compact, has a much lower seating position and just looks like it was born to go fast.
Fortunately for us, those looks were not deceiving and the fire trails were the perfect spot to open up the throttle and see what the RZR was capable of.
2008 Kawasaki Teryx 750 4×4 Preview
Pro Armor Introduces Side Net System
If you are tired of having stuff fall out of your UTV when you are tearing up the trails, a Corona, Calif. company may have a solution.
Pro Armor has introduced a new side net system (SNS) for the Yamaha Rhino 450 and 660 (2004-07) side-by-side vehicles.
The system, which uses high-strength nets to completely enclose the side of the Rhino, is designed to keep all belongings in the vehicle. Beyond its functionality, the SNS also makes the Rhino look like it’s ready to race.
The nets are made of heavy duty nylon and are triple stitched to increase strength. They are protected from direct sunlight by a UV coating and Pro Armor says they will last for many years of continued outdoor use.
2005 Kubota RTV 900 Review
The all-terrain vehicle market is big and getting bigger—attracting at least one new manufacturer a year. But when I saw that Kubota was building an ATV (the company calls it an RTV) I wondered if someone wasn’t casting their bait into the wrong pool.Granted that utility versions of most ATVs have emerged as the dominant design (rather than the two-wheel drive sport type) but what does a tractor builder know about an ATV? Apparently, quite lot.
I recently had an RTV 900 out working on my property in northern Ontario and that experience left me with some definite impressions on the machine that Kubota figures is going to make inroads for them in this lucrative market.
First, though, I have to state the obvious. At 1,800 pounds and five feet wide, the RTV doesn’t fit in the bed of your pickup. It’s also too big for a conventional snowmobile trailer and with the side by side seating for three, it doesn’t navigate normal ATV trails very well.