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a noobie looking to buy a Side-by-Side ATV

  • G_Smitty
    Participant
    New Richmond, WI
    Posts: 1297
    #2145450

    So I’m seriously considering buying a side-by-side, for use around the house, ice-fishing, trail riding, etc. Would prefer something that has a snow-plow, to use to clean the driveway after smaller snow falls. Never had one before, nor any three or four wheeler ATVs. Anything to look out for? Any brands to stay away from? Brands that lead in quality? Since this is the first time buying one, I’d prefer to stay in the ‘between $10,000 and $15,000’ price range.

    I’ve seen a decent mix of different years, different number of hours, different add-ons, etc. on Facebook Marketplace. Any other good sources of listings?

    Just looking for some basic advice on what to look for and what to look out for…

    Thanks!

    Jeremy
    Participant
    Richland County, WI
    Posts: 575
    #2145477

    I have less than 15000 in my Mule Pro MX with a 72 inch snowplow, soft cab and heater. I bought it brand new in 2019 for just over 10000 and installed the extras myself. Always use them long enough in winter temps to get them up to normal operating temp for at least 10 minutes or condensation in the engine will cause issues. I wouldn’t worry about 3 foot snow drifts with my Pro MX as I handled them with the 2006 Kawasaki 610 I had before it

    buckybadger
    Participant
    Upper Midwest
    Posts: 4117
    #2145487

    I’m no expert. We have been casually in the market for one if the right deal fell across our path. The only advice I can give is that if you really want one in that price range, to have cash in hand and be ready. The sub $20k market on toys is still absurd. If it’s in good shape and in your price range listed…you may only have hours to move versus days.

    Jason
    Participant
    Posts: 448
    #2145501

    Sad to say but in today’s market you will most likely be looking at a used machine only at that price point. You have lots to options to choose from. If you not into speed a smaller motor will save you a few grand. Do you want a cab, or a certain atyle dump box. Can Am and Polaris are probably the highest rated most popular units. Look for an HD5 or an HD8 Can Am unit for a good starting point.

    bigstorm
    Participant
    Southern WI
    Posts: 982
    #2145511

    As mentioned, be ready to jump on one quickly if you see one that interests you. Be able to go look at it quickly and ask the owner if he would hold it for you for a down payment while you secure the funding (unless you have the ability to take full cash amount with you at that moment)

    My wife and I went thru this earlier this year.

    mark-bruzek
    Participant
    Two Harbors, MN
    Posts: 3581
    #2145539

    Since you asked, My rule of thumb is to stay away from Polaris.
    I know some love and swear by them but overall polaris has way more issues than any other MFGR.
    Honda and yamaha have had great track records for me. I do not buy an atv for comfort and speed though, I buy them to last and am happy to sacrifice those aspects.

    Chad Luebker
    Participant
    Annandale, MN
    Posts: 403
    #2145541

    Since you asked, My rule of thumb is to stay away from Polaris.
    I know some love and swear by them but overall polaris has way more issues than any other MFGR.
    Honda and yamaha have had great track records for me. I do not buy an atv for comfort and speed though, I buy them to last and am happy to sacrifice those aspects.

    I have had no issues with my 2014 Polaris Ranger 900. I don’t have a ton of miles on it but overall it has been a good machine. However, probably hard to beat Can AM or Honda but most likely you will be paying more also.

    dbright
    Participant
    Cambridge
    Posts: 1604
    #2145553

    For the price range you are looking you will be buying a older machine or a well used newer machine. Either way you go I myself would not be looking at a ranger. Yamaha or honda would be my top choice but if you run across a can am defender in that price range I would consider that also. If you look at pioneers I would consider all of them but the 700. The lack of low range and only 3 speeds it does not make for much for low end torque for plowing or deep snow.

    TheFamousGrouse
    Participant
    St. Paul, MN
    Posts: 9529
    #2145571

    <Initiate script “standard IDO repsonse”>

    This is an area where you need to MAX it. Bigger is better and really big is the new big. Don’t fall into the trap of buying one of those little soccer mom 1000 CC machines, they won’t have enough power to scrape the top 3 inches of frozen drit off your driveway when you plow that first quarter-inch snowfall. And what about when you need to use that blade to push over a 100-year-old oak tree? Good luck with that. Plus, resale value of those little machines will be $0 once you drive them off the lot.

    Basically, you need a minimum of a 5000 CC turbo diesel 6 seater and that’s just the basic weekend warrior machine. Serious guys are going with 7500 CC twin turbo rigs that seat at least 8 and will haul 2 tons comfortably.

    Bigger = Better.
    <End script “standard IDO repsonse”>

    Okay, so now that we got that out of the way…

    I bought a Honda Pioneer 520 and took delivery last spring. For a utility machine, it does everything I need it to do and it doesn’t take up half the shed to store it.

    What I can say about Honday quality is that it is what people say it is. They aren’t the highest tech machines out there, but they are tough as nails.

    There are plenty of new options in your budget if you look at the (about) 700 CC machines. A new Honda Pioneer 700 can be had for around $14k, so there are new options in your budget if you don’t have to have a 1000 CC machine. If you have to stay under $15k all in with accessories then this may not work with the budget, but there are close options.

    IMO the used market is overpriced right now in general. Great if you can find a deal and move fast enough to get it, but from what I saw there’s no value in paying nearly new money for a machine that’s out of warranty and you don’t really know the history of.

    haleysgold
    Participant
    SE MN
    Posts: 934
    #2145573

    I just posted this on another thread.
    I had a 2014 Ranger 900 with a nice Boss V-plow
    The pic is what was left after it got hot, blew a gas line on the muffler and caught on fire with 3 gas cans in the box!!
    Rangers, I guess, had those issues from around 2011 to 2016 I think before they changed the design. I replaced it with a 2020 1000 XP which is the new design.

    I’d stay away from any Rangers prior to the new design which somebody else may know better than me which year it started.

    I have the 2020 Ranger 1000 now after the old burned up that I use around home.
    I have a 2020 Honda Pioneer 1000-5 that I run around on when we want to cruise. And yes, with extras I probably have $23k or more in it. Gear driven, no belts! I love it and wouldn’t think of getting anything else for back road/trail cruising.
    A friend runs a Can-Am which is a nice ride but that’s belt driven too.

    Attachments:
    1. Ranger-1-scaled.jpg

    Jeremy
    Participant
    Richland County, WI
    Posts: 575
    #2145608

    I plowed snow with my old 2006 Mule 610 with a box full of firewood for likely 10 seasons and never had to replace a belt and I usually plowed in high gear.
    I do wonder how long the belts will last on the newer Mules as they do have engine braking and that may cause some extra wear

    bigstorm
    Participant
    Southern WI
    Posts: 982
    #2145622

    As mentioned, be ready to jump on one quickly if you see one that interests you. Be able to go look at it quickly and ask the owner if he would hold it for you for a down payment while you secure the funding (unless you have the ability to take full cash amount with you at that moment)

    My wife and I went thru this earlier this year.

    Just to add to this, we ended up with a 2013 Can Am Commander XT1000, found it with under 3K miles, new tires/rims/brakes, with a winch and windshield. We were happy with the price, so far it has worked just fine over the spring and summer although not a ton of use. It is a bit warm inside but that is a known thing and if I wanted, there is a heat shield blanket for the center console. Its also a bit loud, but I think that is due to the back of the engine and exhaust being under the dump box. No big deal to me. The machine is plenty capable of more than I would put it thru

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