Friday, November 30, 2007

Rubber track conversion systems for ATVs

Note - I have an updated post on rubber track conversion systems here.

As winter sets in here in the States, I've been wanting to look at all the ways you can put tracks on your ATVs and side-by-sides to enjoy a little fun in the snow, and yesterdays post on the custom Polaris Ranger reminded me to do so...

The real interest for me would be in exploring snowy back country without having to invest the time and money in another machine like a snowmobile. And in Northern Arizona where I live, the snow is unpredictable to begin with, and even when we do have deep snow in the woods, you will often come across sections fully exposed to our strong sun that are down to the dirt.

So without further ado...the main rubber track systems available:

There is a ton of information to explore on those sites, but some key things to know right away.

  • Will make your quad sit solidly on top of snow or sand, no carving through stuff or sliding machine around
  • All include some type of gear reducers to protect your ATV drive train
  • So top speed is typically around 25mph (but with machines like the ThunderCat coming out?)
  • Will be like driving a truck without power-steering, especially when going slow
  • Throw roost everywhere, will be covered in snow, mud, sand or wherever you are riding
  • Which also makes the point, not just about snow. They truly will help you go anywhere you want...snow, mud, sand

But be careful, combine the heavy weight of a utility ATV or other big bore quad to power these things and the 400 pounds of tracks, and you have a handful. Might be more like a tank than a snowmobile I suppose. Actually, the perfect "tank quad" might be a set of these matted to the Arctic Cat Diesel 700!

More Ranger RZR options from Polaris?

Polaris is rumored to be working on even more new ATV models. An expansion of the highly successful RZR side-by-side line is apparently in the works, and we do know Daryl Rath is back helping with the development of new and improved Outlaw sport quads as well.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Kawasaki increases their ATV Contingency Program!

There has never been a better time to race a Kawasaki ATV. That’s because Kawasaki has added two more series, the ITP Quadcross® and New England MX Series, to its ATV contingency program and increased the ante to over $800,000 in possible earnings for 2008! The two series join the ATVA National MX Series, ATVA Regionals, GNCC, White Brothers 4-Stroke National, WORCS and the WPSA series for a total of 75 opportunities to win.

I also like Kawasaki’s hassle free Contingency Card, which allows racers to focus on winning instead of dealing with bothersome paperwork.

Unfortunately I'm currently aboard a Suzuki LT-R450 and Suzuki doesn't even have a contingency program for ATVs that I can find. But for those of you aboard an eligible Kawasaki, checkout the details here.

Polaris promoting Custom RANGER at Snocross

While aimed at WPSA snocross fans and not us ATVers, wanted to do a quick post on the Polaris Hot Seats promotion as it involves a very cool Polaris Ranger side-by-side with a Pure Polaris Prospector II Track System. It reminded me of how fun, useful and versatile our ATVs are regardless of the season, and that I need to do a roundup post of the different track systems available. Look for that in a post tomorrow.

The winner at each WPSA National event will get to watch the finals from the infield of the race track while seated comfortably on heated seats in the back of a highly customized Polaris Polaris is offering snocross racing fans the best seats in the house for Pro finals at WPSA National events through its “Hot Seats RANGER” promotion. The Hot Seats RANGER.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

ATV TraderOnline launches new web site

After seeing the beta and "new site coming" message for many months, Cycle Trader has launched their new websites, including ATV TraderOnline. Much welcome improvements in terms of finding things, and overall making the site easier to use.

I must say, however, there is still a lot of missing or misleading information. For example, they have a lot of advertisements passed off as helpful resources. Additionally, I was curious what their buyers guide was all about. Don't get too excited, it is really just another form of navigation on the listings they already have. You would be better served to pick up a copy of the January 2008 issue of Dirt Wheels magazine where they cover all the new quads. Or better yet, stay tuned to for a true beginners buyer guide and complete comparison guides for sport, utility, mini and side-by-side ATVs in the coming weeks.

Polaris Delivers First MVRS800 ATV to the Army

Polaris has announced the delivery of a military version of their Polaris Ranger side-by-side to the U.S. Army at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

The MVRS800, is the newest addition to the Polaris family of Ultra Light Tactical Vehicles and while based on the Ranger, it has a 40hp Patriot Engine™ that operates on JP8, the U.S. military's standard fuel. This breakthrough engine was first introduced by Polaris earlier this year on the militarized all terrain vehicle (ATV), the MV800.

Not much other information, although, ATV Rider magazine and have all regurgitated the press release from what I can tell.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Vehicle liquidation sale at Alba Action Sports

Wanted to point out a few of the amazing deals I saw over at Alba.

  • '06 Honda TRX450R for $4,999!
  • '07 Suzuki LTZ400 for $4,799
  • '07 Yamaha YFZ450 for $5,999

And many more

Further evaluation of Polaris Sportsman 800 Touring edition

ATV Rider had already been impressed with the Polaris 800 two-up machine from earlier testing in the Southwest, calling it a...

"a huge two-up unit that was able to compete with the smaller and lighter utility models on the test course and yet was designed for two riders or to haul a load up to 400 pounds"

Now they took one back east for further testing in the trails and mud, coming away equally impressed.

"offers features for most any season and any reason, from solo play riding to two-up exploring to gardening work around the house"

So checkout page 80 of ATV Rider, January 2008 for all the goods.

Dialing in the KFX450 with ATV Rider

Already received my January 2008 issue of ATV Rider, in which they recap some extensive testing done on the new KFX 450 at Hungry Valley SVRA near Los Angeles, California
and also in the dunes of Glamis.

The main issues addressed relate to ergonomics and comfort. An IMS/Roll Design +1-inch steering stem was added to improve riding stance and eliminate frame feedback at the same time. Quad-Tech ATV provided 1-inch thicker seat foam to address a seat that felt like a "concrete starting pad". Helping with the twitchy front-end that has been reported elsewhere, a GPR steering damper was added, and a set of Spider grips finished off things in the handling department.

Yoshimura provided a full RS2 exhaust system and fuel-injection control system that in turn provided just enough power increase to overcome power-robing soft sand and the STI Sand Track paddle tires mounted on A5 aluminum wheels from DWT.

What did it all add up to?

"for being a machine that didn't meet my expectations from the way it was talked up, these simple modifications quickly restored faith in its potential"

Check out the details on page 32 of the issue.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

2008 Hyosung TE450 ATV specs

Noticed on the new Hyosung website an image with the price and specs for the TE450. A basic performance 450 for $5,999. Starting to hear about US dealers getting this quad, or the United Motors version of the same quad.

Get your Kawasaki from Cabela's

My wife pointed out that Cabela's is an authorized dealer of Kawasaki ATVs. So I checked it out and noticed they happen to have a model year closeout deal going on now as well.

Perhaps more important is the reason she would point that out in the first place. She is helping us launch - your shopping guide to ATV and Side-by-Side gear. She will be the primary editor, as she is an expert shopper if I have ever seen one. An official announcement will be coming soon once we get the full site online.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

ASK Powersports ATV Dealer reaches settlement in Ohio

At issue was ASK Powersports practice of slipping "freight" and "dealer" charges - sometimes totaling more than $600 - into sales contracts with its customers in violation of Ohio consumer protection laws.

The laws say a motor vehicle dealer may not “advertise any price for a motor vehicle unless such price includes all costs to the consumer except tax, title and registration fees, and a documentary service charge.

The main point I wanted to make here is not the details of this case, but rather how one should approach the purchase price of an ATV. Additional charges such as freight and setup have nothing to do with the ATV or manufacturer, but allow dealers to start at a higher profit. Then a discount can be offered while still maintaining a desired profit level. So always focus on the total price before sales tax and title fees. Realizing that dealers need to make some amount of profit to stay in business and offer their services to you, don't waste time arguing about whether they should charge for freight and setup. If the total price is acceptable, then it really doesn't matter how it is broken down.

Baja Motorsports youth ATV product safety recall

Due to the lack of a tire pressure gauge and flag pole mounting bracket, Baja Motorsports is recalling about 16,000 Baja 90, Baja Wilderness 90 and Baja Wilderness 90u mini ATVs.

Owners should contact Baja Motorsports to receive a free tire pressure gauge and flag pole mounting bracket. Registered owners will be notified directly about this recall by mail. See the full alert on CPSC's website.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Kudos to Polaris on success of their sport models with Doug Eicher

While we cover the sport and racing scene over on, saw a pretty neat press release from Polaris tonight that I thought deserved a post for Polaris here on Polaris factory racer Doug Eichner won three races on three different Polaris sport models at the final round of the 2007 WORCS series. Eichner’s first victory was in the Pro Production class aboard the Polaris 525 IRS, while he rode the Outlaw 525 S for the Pro Main win, and smoked the Rhino-Mod. SxS class in a stock RANGER RZR! Polaris is starting to change perceptions with these new Outlaws.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Yamaha Epic ATVs

As part of a new History section on their outdoor website, Yamaha has put together a very cool Epic ATVs page. It features a timeline of all the key releases in Yamaha's history of ATVs back to 1980 with the Tri-Moto. The list includes the first Yamaha quad (the Moto-4) in 1985 all the way up to the 2006 Raptor 700R which was the first quad with electronic fuel injection (EFI).

Polaris adds "Meet Your Model" feature to site

Don't get too excited however. I just played with the new tool, which launched sometime yesterday, and it doesn't seem to provide much actual help even for those unfamiliar with ATVs. You need to put in your zipcode to do any comparisons, which are then only the most basic such as price and engine size that could easily be determined from a basic list or even the names themselves. And in the case of a category like hunting, you essentially get the full lineup of Sportsman Utility ATVs.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Outlander 400 H.O. now with EFI

Just when you thought all the announcements were over, Can-Am releases the new 2008 Outlander 400 H.O. EFI, adding electronic fuel injection to the most powerful 400cc quad already made.

Other new features

  • Redesigned rear fascia, taillight and regulator cover
  • Restyled painted steel rims (on base models)
  • More comfortable handgrips
  • New BRP XL3000 winch with roller fairlead as well as handlebar and wired remote controls (for XT models)

For some cool details, including a power comparison chart with other models in the class, see the Outlander 400 microsite.

Faster and more powerful GG Quadster now available

That is the word from GG Quad North America's website, although I don't see any additional details at this time. There is however a new note that you can see the GG Quad and the GG Quadster at their home base in Dallas, Texas by appointment.

You can also catch a glimpse of one in this video from SEMA last week.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Kawasaki increases ATV warranty to 12 months

Kawasaki has increased the basic limited warranty on Kawasaki ATVs from 6 months to 12 months. The new warranty will apply to all 2008 units, plus all prior year NEW Kawasaki ATVs retailed after November 1, 2007.

Registered owners of 2008 ATVs will get a letter from Kawasaki informing them of the change, and you can read all the details here, along with their additional Good Times™ Protection Plan (GTPP).

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

KTM Returns to Cycle World International Motorcycle Shows

After five years away, KTM was back on the floor of the Cycle World International Motorcycle Show in Phoenix, Arizona (which happens to be the closest show to us). I like to think it was due in large part to their two new XC sport quads, but obviously they have a lot going on in the dirt bike world.

In any event, the International Motorcycle Show is kind of like that dealership on steroids, with neearly 600 vehicles. There are a record 19 manufacturers exhibiting this year, most of them featuring every unit in their lineup.

New utility models from Tomberlin

I noticed a "new models" link was added to the Tomberlin web page recently. Looks like they are adding three new utility models, the SDX-150, SDX-200 and SDX-300 to go with the few minis and other entrly level quads currently in their lineup. Tomberlin was formerly known as AlphaSports Motors, and also recently joined the SVIA.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Honda's big year end promotion for all ATVs

Wanted to make sure anyone considering a new Honda was aware of their Good To Go Sales Event. Through the end of the year (12/31/07) you can get 3.99% Fixed APR on all Honda ATV models if you have good credit. Or you can choose to get low monthly payments of $39 at higher APRs depending on the amount financed. Finally, I noticed most of the 07's have $500 bonus bucks attached to them if you are looking for a deal on a previous years model. As always, check with your local Honda dealers for complete details. You can also visit for the small print, and options to print certificates to bring to your dealer.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Rhino rollovers and doors

I've started seeing more sites like this and this. While I'm firmly in the camp of people being responsible for their own actions, I do understand that an obvious reaction to a rollover on a quad is sticking your leg out. Not a good idea on these machines obviously, and even if you don't do it yourself, how can you be certain about keeping any passengers safe. So it is a very good thing that Yamaha now offers doors on all new Rhinos and FREE retrofitting for all previous year owners as we reported in the announcement of the Yamaha Rhino 700.

I think Yamaha should be commended for taking these steps to address the issue and creating a lot of helpful information including a Guide to Genuine Yamaha Doors/Handholds and Rhino Occupant Protection and an updated owners manual at this web page.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Yamaha lets press play with Raptor 250

Yamaha setup a backyard-style motocross track right next to the harbor in Long Beach, California to give members of the media their first chance to ride the all new 2008 Raptor 250. According to those on hand, it was a whole lot of fun...the track and especially the quad itself.

While not a high-performance quad like the 450s, it impressed nonetheless with its ability as a true sport quad. Furthermore, its smaller size and controllability are just what the sport needs for newer and younger riders.

Check out some of the accolades on page 67 of the December 2007 issue of Quad Magazine or page 74 in ATV Rider for the same month.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

All the ATV magazines get their hands on KTM's new sport quads

KTM invited the press from both Europe and the United States to ride the new KTM 450 XC and 525 XC in the cross-country terrain of the northeastern United States earlier this year. You will likely be reading about this in depth very soon, as the December 2007 issues of all the major magazines have extensive features covering the two race-ready quads.

In addition to the expected raving over the power from the KTM motors, you'd be hard pressed to find the same amount of praise for any other new quad release to date. From class exclusive features like steering stem/handlebar adjustment and pre-wired kill switch to industry leading brakes and clutch system, these KTM ATVs really seemed to have an aftermarket quality to them.

There are too many good quotes and bits to share, but here are a few...

"They may have actually created quads with potential to get on the Pro GNCC podium with the only addition being a set of tireballs!" - Quad Magazine

"It's absolutely amazing to view all the attention to detail and craftsmanship that KTM has put into these two amazing quads." ATV Rider Magazine

In fairness, it seems a common complaint in the articles related to harsh or troublesome handling with the stock settings. That said, the components involved are first rate and adjustment levels unmatched. So given more time an experienced person could really dial this quad in.

Okay, enough for'll find all the reviews on page 56 of Quad Magazine, ATV Rider page 32 and last but not least Dirt Wheels on page 62.

Factory Can-Am Epic Racing DS 450 profiled

So Can-Am paired with Epic Racing to develop their first venture into ATV racing along with riders Jeremey Schell and Josh Frederick, and one of their quads was featured in the Mod Quad section of my recently arrived December 2007 Quad Magazine.

A few of the many modifications highlighted:

  • Epic Racing Products A-arms
  • Blingstar Notorious Nerf Bars
  • PWR Radiator (has become somewhat commonplace on all the top MX ATVs)
  • Precision Steering Stablizer
  • Epic Racing Adjustable axle
  • Factory KYB big body shocks (looks like modified rear KYB unit and are not available to the public)
  • Epic Racing Products Linkage
  • ITP QuadCross Tires
  • Curtis Sparks Racing X-6 Exhaust
  • Tag Metals Steering Stem with anti-vibe

So what did it all add up too? A price tag of $5,176 (for publicly available accessories anyway) and the following quote...

"I thought the engine felt really similar in the low-end grunt and over rev to the built MX quads I have ridden before. Then I remembered that this engine was stock with nothing more than a pipe, which quickly changed my overall feeling of the powerplant from mediocre to very impressive."

Be sure to check it out on page 126 of the issue. You can also check out the aftermarket companies involved - Epic Racing Products, Tag, Blingstar, QuadTech, Precision, Sparks Racing, DWT, PWR.