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Hida Rancher 400 4x4 or Yamaha Big Bear 400? Owners please help!!!

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I have to get another ATV for hunting this year. I am working on some leftover deals at my local dealer. I have narrowed my search to 2. I am having a difficult time deciding between these two machines and here's why.

Honda Rancher 400 4x4 (manual shift)

Good stuff:

*Fuel-Injection

*1-Year factory warranty

*Looks like it belongs in this century.

*420cc engine

*liquid cooled

Bad Stuff:

*Std. swingarm/monoshock rear setup

*Because of the shock/swingarm setup, only has 6.5" of ground clearance

*Racks are whimpy, actually more like an afterthought. I need more rack!

*Has run-of-the-mill ATV tires.

*Rear drum brake

Yamaha Big Bear 400 4x4 IRS (also manual shift):

Good Stuff:

*IRS means independent rear suspension. My current ride has it and there is absolutely no arguing that it's better.

*IRS allows for a whopping 10.5" of ground clearance.

*Comes stock with ITP MudLites.

*Anniversary addition comes with a winch for about $300 more.

*Huge racks front and back.

*Sealed wet, rear brake

Bad Stuff:

*6-month warranty

*Looks like it is the next generation in design after Yamaha's fist quads, the YFM-225 series. Really, this thing is sooo 1988.

*NOT F.I.!!!

*Engine is only 386cc!!! (not that it's bad. My current mount is a 250

4x4), but it still isn't a 420cc!!!

After having a F.I. dual sport (WR-250R), I am VERY hesitant to purchase a carbed ATV. That F.I. makes things so much easier!

PLEASE HELP. They are about the same price. I wish one was $1K more so it wouldn't be an issue, but they are just too close to declare a clear victor. I'm almost down to flipping a coin!

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Honda Rancher 400 4x4 (manual shift)

Be careful not to call it a "400"...it is a "Rancher 420"! The Rancher 400AT is an automatic, and you will want to avoid it along with the swine flu....

Honda aimed this machine more at the recreational trail rider who wants a stable sporty SRA ride, rather than the work quad set (hunting in my book is a "work quad" application!). Agile handling and snappy FI power that rips right off the bottom. Engine mounted sideways so not to rob power from a change in rotational direction, and an ultra low 1st gear so no sub-transmission is necessary. One of the magazine reviews said it is really in the "500" class, more than the "400" class. My only complaint is that they need to lighten it up, with things like alloy wheels, etc. (There is also an IRS Rancher 420AT, for those craving a cush ride.)

Is the Yamaha rubber band drive??? That would be a total deal killer for me.

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The Yamaha is shaft drive. Also, since your mentioned it, I forgot to add that the Yamaha is 64 lbs. heavier than the Honda! That was one of my other qualms with it. As for the 400vs.420, I do not see a differential on the Honda website. At least not for 2010. They call it a 400 and say that its displacement is 420cc. Also, I did not see that they offered an IRS option on the Honda.

Sounds like you're like me. You want something substantial. I don't like the rubber bands either and I want my machine to stay in the gear I tell it to stay in until I tell it otherwise. I was just wondering if someone out there had owned either of these and had some advise. Thanks for yours. It was helpful.

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Pretty confusing where you are getting the "400" thing from!!! It's all 420 there on the website....nothing at all is called a "400" anywhere I can see. Be sure they aren't trying to stick you with a leftover Rancher 400AT! Personally, I would avoid the ES models, and powersteering seems unnecessary.

http://powersports.honda.com/offroad/atv-utility/rancher-line.aspx

http://powersports.honda.com/2010/fourtrax-rancher/options.aspx

The Rancher 420AT is the IRS model, and it also has a totally unique gear-on-gear "dual-clutch" transmission, that can be shifted either by pushbutton or left to shift automatically by itself. Probably going to be the Honda transmission of the future! Trouble is, the AT gained a fair bit of weight over the standard Rancher, and got way more expensive.

http://powersports.honda.com/2010/fourtrax-rancher-at/options.aspx

Edited by reconranger

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Just doulbe checked the Honda site. it actually DOES NOT say anything about a 400 or IRS. Go see for yourselves. The 400 is an older version. The 420 is now the only offering.

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Just doulbe checked the Honda site. it actually DOES NOT say anything about a 400 or IRS. Go see for yourselves. The 400 is an older version. The 420 is now the only offering.

Yet, your title says "Hida Rancher 400 4X4"....so naturally we assume you might be a little confused!!!

Edited by reconranger

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The Big Bear would be my 1st choice for a new hunting quad. As the saying goes "When the going gets tough, the tough get going" The Big Bear is the ideal hunting quad with it's ITP mud lites, big racks, IRS(your back will thank you), sealed rear brake , super reliable engine and drive system.

It beats the Honda hands down.

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Just dug a little deeper. Followed your link. It does say IRS on AT model only, but I want a shifter. Also, talked to my dealer today and he says he didn't know about getting IRS on a shifter model. He said that he does have an AT model with IRS, but had not seen the option on a shifter.

Also, when following this link, click on "specifications". It still lists single shock/swingarm type suspension for the AT model even though the page you navigate from says IRS on the AT model. At any rate, I want the shifter and the AT model is almost $1,000 more. I'm sure their website is wrong when listing swingarm rear suspension for the AT model because he confirmed that today, but whether or not I can get IRS on a shifter model for under $6,200 remains a question. The website is ambiguous to say the least.

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Yet, your title says "Hida Rancher 400 4X4"....so naturally we assume you might be a little confused!!!

I am. I was agreeing about the 400 thing and disagreeing about the IRS, but like I said, they only show IRS on the AT model, in which I am not interested.

Also, I'm typing on a lap top and I hate, so please excuse my spelling.

I'm going up there Friday to meet a guy who is buying my TE-450. I'm going to do some real tire kicking while I'm there. I've bought 4 bikes from this dealer and he is a huge dealer. He has all of these models and variations in stock-Yamaha, Honda, Suzuki, Kawi, Arctic Cat and Polaris. I'll be able to get my hands on them all.

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The AT specs do indeed list it as having a swingarm, which is a mistake! From the picture ( http://powersports.honda.com/2010/fourtrax-rancher-at/innovations/suspension.aspx ), one can clearly see it is IRS and has two shocks.

The AT transmission is actually a gear-on-gear, dual-clutch manual transmission (similar to that found on some VW's), that can be shifted by pushbutton or left to shift for itself on automatic if one wishes, so I wouldn't shy away from it if you are a manual trans type guy. It is totally unuque....compared to absolutely anything other transmission out there!!! I will bet that it will be the transmission for the entire high end Honda lineup, in the future. It makes Hondas other needlessly complex automatic transmissions, look silly.

I am actually looking to replace my old Rancher 350 at some point in the future. I took a good look at the AT, and decided it probably will not be worth the extra money to have IRS. I ride with guys who have the high-end top-of-the-line big bore "feature laden" IRS monsters from all the different manufacturers. In yard deep snow, they don't get any farther up the trail than I do on my lowly little Ranchers, so my conclusion has to be that IRS and all these "features" is pretty much just marketing hype! In addition, in highly technical terrain my SRA machines are way more stable, so I ride circles around their big heavy tall sloppy suspended machines.....

Edited by reconranger

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And.....just for the record, I think the best Honda for your applicaton (hunting) would be the manual trans Foreman 500. It is a simple carburated air/oil cooled design, that has a reputation for being tough and dead solid reliable. In my mind, an ultra-stable SRA machine makes the most sense when you have an elk strapped to your racks or are loaded down with camping gear.

http://powersports.honda.com/2009/fourtrax-foreman-4x4.aspx (I think again, the web site is messed up, because this page talks about the Rubicon automatic, which it is not!)

http://powersports.honda.com/2009/fourtrax-foreman-4x4/specifications.aspx

For me, I am biased because much of my utility riding is on tight technical woods trails, where anything that is bigger or heavier than a Rancher and doesn't have razor sharp sport quad handling....is pretty much just a lumbering turd!

Edited by reconranger

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they do make a rancher 400.... 04 - 07 not sure if its irs or not but it has the esp on it

This machine is an automatic and plagued with transmission issues! To be avoided!!!

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The AT specs do indeed list it as having a swingarm, which is a mistake! From the picture ( http://powersports.honda.com/2010/fourtrax-rancher-at/innovations/suspension.aspx ), one can clearly see it is IRS and has two shocks.

The AT transmission is actually a gear-on-gear, dual-clutch manual transmission (similar to that found on some VW's), that can be shifted by pushbutton or left to shift for itself on automatic if one wishes, so I wouldn't shy away from it if you are a manual trans type guy. It is totally unuque....compared to absolutely anything other transmission out there!!! I will bet that it will be the transmission for the entire high end Honda lineup, in the future. It makes Hondas other needlessly complex automatic transmissions, look silly.

I am actually looking to replace my old Rancher 350 at some point in the future. I took a good look at the AT, and decided it probably will not be worth the extra money to have IRS. I ride with guys who have the high-end top-of-the-line big bore "feature laden" IRS monsters from all the different manufacturers. In yard deep snow, they don't get any farther up the trail than I do on my lowly little Ranchers, so my conclusion has to be that IRS and all these "features" is pretty much just marketing hype! In addition, in highly technical terrain my SRA machines are way more stable, so I ride circles around their big heavy tall sloppy suspended machines.....

I'll second that. The quad we are currently using is a 2003 Suzuki King Quad 250 4X4. It's perfect for hualing out whitetails or hualing in stands. Only grip is that I need a bigger rear rack. As my skills improve my deer are getting bigger. I shot one this year and literally had to hold him by the antlers to keep his head off the ground.

I like this small, powerful quad. It has always had carb issues from the day it was new, but they don't show up unless you're doing lots of tight technical stuff in August and it gets steaming hot. Also, because of its small size, it will go anywere easily. If it ever did get stuck, I could pick it up and move it over, unlike the much heaver 700cc and up machines. However, this little bugger has plenty of power. it has super low with differential lock. I once pulled out my Suburban with it while my wife was sitting in it giving it gas! It was sitting right on the chassis an the little 250 in super low crawled right off with it, front wheels about 8" off the ground.

I like the Suzuki a lot, but they don't make them anymore. Besides, the carb issues when hot are enough that I wouldn't buy another one with my money (my hunting buddy bought this one). Although, any other time, it does a mighty fine job.

That's why I've been looking at mid-sized units. i know I know I don't need an 800-lb, $10K ATV to hual deer with. I like the size and the power is more than enough.

As for that IRS, I want it mainly for gournd-clearance purposes. We have lots of black swamp mud aound these parts and 4" more clearance would do wonders in some cases. As for the ride, I feel it is much better overall in slow 4x4 type situations, but I do completely agree, that in higher speed situations, a swingarm and rigid axle are much better, especially in corners. i think IRS is what rolls a lot of the big ATVs that are much more top heavy than the mid-sized class anyway. That IRS makes them tuck and roll in the back end in a curve at higher speeds. When you're smoking down a trail, you want a rigid axle. It helps the back end drift, which allows a rider to steer with the back end, and prevents the quad from tucking and rolling in that direction. Rigid axles are definitley better at higher speeds. I think IRS at high speed on a top-heavy 800cc ATV that weighs 850 lbs is probably why some people have been rolled over on. These big quads are stable in a straightline, but they are not designed for railing berms and I think the IRS makes it worse. IRS really designed more for slow, 4x4 rock-crawling type stuff anyway. I'll stick to rigid axles for railing berms.

I did get my Husky sold, but the jackass that bought it caused me a lot of traouble, brought some off-the wall certified bank check, instead of one from my bank and we spent the rest of the afternoon messing around with that, so eventhough I met him at that dealership, I didn't even get to go in and kick any tires. Going to try to get back up there in th next couple of weeks.

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