Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Another new side-by-side coming


This sweet looking side-by-side will be on display at the Dealer Expo next month in Indianapolis. I have discovered the manufacturer, but am not allowed to say until after the show. It will be an import by a company already selling powersports vehicles in the US. Expect a release in the spring of 2008, and the production model will be at Indy!


Here are some basic specs now that I have your attention...

  • 45+ MPH
  • DOHC water cooled
  • Hi/lo-Locking differential
  • MSRP $5995

Probably really have your attention with that last one. Stay tuned.

Thanks to Jim Anderson of The Motorcycle Finance Company for tipping me on this one. (And a reminder to others to do the same, we have lots of radars out there but can't keep on top of everything)

Monday, January 28, 2008

Research indicates growth in electric ATVs and Side-by-Sides

While not specifically stated in this new research from International Market Solutions, LLC (IMS), the data does lead me to make some connections with trends in the quad world. Mainly, the extreme versatility of ATVS and side-by-side machines, and the perfect fit with battery applications. I've already blogged about the work Barefoot Motors is doing to lead the way here.

The study focused on what they call small, task-oriented vehicles (STOV) which include golf-car type machines and neighborhood electric vehicles (NEVs for those in the know). I think there is overlap with what I consider to be the quad industry. Highlights include:

  • Key new product entries and innovative technologies that boost performance and comfort, including the first adaptation of AC electric power to a major golf car-type vehicle manufacturer's product line
  • A major concentration of sales efforts and capacity expansion in off-road vehicles
  • Substantial gains for new, privately-owned vehicle (including neighborhood electric vehicles) and utility vehicle segments, where double-digit growth is forecast

Also found this video of Michael Lock of Ducati North America (and Barefoot advisor) riding the Model One and talking about the opportunity they have in this space. No helmet this time either! (just because it has zero emissions doesn't mean you don't need a helmet when play riding)



So I think several factors are driving this trend. Obviously increases in fuel costs are one, and according to Barefoot the Model One could actually cost 50-75% of the gas equivalent over the course of its life. Combined with more environmental awareness and stringent regulation of emissions, I agree we will see major opportunities for small electric vehicle manufacturers across all segments.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Details emerge on the Kymco UXV 500 Side-by-Side

Perhaps my recent post prompting this ;) but ATV Source has the first detailed review of the all new Kymco side-by-side quad that will be coming to the US this summer.

The article appears to be translated from a foreign writer and can be funny to read. In fact, the video link is in German. Nonetheless, some goodies in there. As I assumed, the adopted MXU 500 power plant is no rocketship in this heavy thing - they note it takes awhile to get it up to its top speed of 45mph.

And while others have compared its looks to the Rhino, the writer here points out that there are similarities more with the Prowler in the chassis department, as part of the cooperation with Arctic Cat on some ATV models like the MXU 400/Arctic Cat 366cc.

To be expected on a first year model in a new category, the Kymco has some fit and finish issues as well. But given the growth in the side-by-side segment, I will be interested to see the price point on this model and how it will open up even more doors to new quad enthusiasts.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Reviews of the popular Honda Foreman and Rincon

Already have my March issue of ATV Rider, and on page 60 you'll find a nice review of the 2008 Honda Rincon 680. Although virtually unchanged since 2006, they had this to say..

"A complete package with the ability to conquer just about anything...climbs up and crawls back down the steep ridges time and time again...Superb handling in a nimble 4x4 chassis"


At about the same time, read a review in February Dirt Wheels magazine on the power steering with foot shift configured model of the 2008 Honda 500 Foreman where they...

"have come to love the ease of use of Honda's power steering option, and feel this feature will be standard equipment on most larger size sport utility quads in the future"


Flip to page 92 for the details there. But one quick side note - maybe it is just me but the reviews in ATV Rider seem to be more in depth and more fun to read than Dirt Wheels despite (or maybe because of) the volume of coverage in Dirt Wheels.

Anyway, one thing I was personally surprised about with the Rincon, were the things missing in order to turn it into more of a workhorse. I've always had this perception of Honda utility quads being a good fit around the farm or ranch. But before you can do any towing, you'll need to purchase an accessory tow-hitch. While a low-cost, simple install - I'm not sure why they make you mess with this. More troublesome is the fact that the 2008 Rincon still has no "low range gear" like most others. First gear does have lots of torque, but might not be enough for extreme work.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Arctic Cat quietly rolls out two new 50s


New for 2008, Arctic Cat 50 and 50 DVX mini ATVs were recently posted on the Arctic Cat website. Haven't seen this anywhere else, but I guess that is one of the reasons we started this blog!

Arctic Cat did have a sporty 2-stroke 50cc machine back in 2005 and upgraded to a 4-stroke in 2006 that looked a bit like the bigger utility Cats. It is that 4-stroke machine that is base for the two new 50s this year. While the standard 50 and 50 DVX are the same basic machine for 2008, the standard is made into a utility quad and adds front and rear racks. While the 10 and 15 pound ratings won't carry heavy loads, I bet they will carry a lot of weight with your little tike being able to be just like mom or dad!

By comparing specifications with the other 50s on the market, these don't appear to be a shared model wrapped in Arctic Cat plastic, but their own offerings. In fact, they have a very Arctic Cat-like weight (read heavy) at 260 pounds for the DVX and 265 for the utility 50.

The DVX is currently offered in black only, but with red or green graphics kits. According to some dealers, a pink version is coming soon, which is also the case for the 90 DVX.

Saving and protecting lives...with ATVs

One of the points I'll try to repeatedly make on this blog is that ATVs offer potential. Nothing more and nothing less. Despite all the negative press, a quad can not harm anyone or anything by itself, or even when operated properly.

More to the point, here is a small story showing the very good "potential" of ATVs. North Andover, Massachusetts's police will now be using two new ATVs (which appear to be Polaris X2's from the picture) to help in patrolling as well as search and rescue. Maybe not big news, as it is becoming more common, but actually saw two other news stories in the last week where police and rescue teams were using ATVs for assistance, so had to mention this.

Some of the very things blamed on ATVs are flipped on their head in this story. Instead of destroying the environment and peoples lives...“Kids like to hang out and have small fires, these ATVs would be great for getting up there and preventing the preserved land from being burned up” Officer Scott Whittaker said. In addition, police will be able to reach people having medical emergencies outdoors, especially in winter.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Polaris - the sport ATV company?


Known for making "the world's toughest ATVs", primarily heavy and rugged utility quads including those being used by the United States military, Polaris has rolled out perhaps the most complete line-up of high performance sport quads in the market, seemingly overnight.

Obviously, the thing that got me thinking about this has been the release of the two new Outlaw models this year, which I'll dig more into the Outlaw 525 IRS vs 525 S below.

To further my point, also consider the Polaris Ranger RZR side-by-side in the sport category, with Polaris continuing to distribute media releases on the racing accolades in the RZR. And while dated, one must not forget the Scrambler 4x4, which was the fastest 4x4 sport ATV on the market until the Can-Am Renegades showed up.

An Outlaw for every occasion!
Polaris has now purpose-built three distinct Outlaw models to perform in the big three terrains for 2008.

  • Outlaw 450MXR for the track

  • Outlaw 525 IRS for the trail

  • Outlaw 525 S for the dunes

Background - The Outlaw IRS was first released as a 500 in 2006 using the same Fuji-based motor and chassis as the existing Predator (more info on that machine below) at the time. While weight and gearing issues ended up being that machines handicap, it was the first independently rear suspended sport ATV in the world. And actually still is, since the brand new Honda TRX700 with IRS is not expected for a few more months anyway. Then last year, the Outlaw became a 525 with a new partnership with KTM bringing the race-proven 510cc KTM engine to the Polaris, and with it not only power gains but lower weight as well. It was the best choice Polaris could have made.


So we already know some things about the IRS-equipped Outlaw, and Polaris demos show the obvious difference between the Raptor 700 with 4 inches of ground clearance and the 525 IRS with 11 inches when trying to ride lengthwise over a log! The Outlaw 525 IRS does have more ground clearance than any other sport ATV currently offered and as such line selection will not be as crucial and the rear end will stay planted and not spin as much.


The more interesting question is which is better, the Outlaw 525 IRS or 525S? The Dirt Wheels crew tackled that very question in their February 2008 issue on page 52, riding both 525 quads in the dunes, through the woods and on the track . The biggest takeaway, and perhaps surprise...


"we came away from this comparison less impressed with the 525S and more impressed with the abilities of the IRS-equipped Outlaw"

This was the case even in the dunes, the 525S's supposed playground. Even though the lighter straight-axle machine was better in carving bowls and jumping razorbacks, its Maxxis Razr tires were not the best choice for floatation and is also more of a struggle to get the power to the ground, losing to the IRS version in drags up the hills. Go figure. But I guess others saw this dune potential in the Outlaw IRS, remember the Alba Outlaw project sand quad?


So suspension is the big difference in the two models, but there is one area where they had the same results...


"neither machine works very well on consistent whooped-out trails. The S model's rear shock tends to pack up quickly so the rider has to back off the gas. The extra weight of the IRS is also a hindrance in the deeper evenly spaced whoops"

As noted previously on the blog, the Outlaws come stock with a smaller airbox (due to chassis design), that in most cases will limit airflow and horsepower. Go to a WORCS race and you might see Doug Eichner's Outlaw 525 race quad has a completely modified intake system that accepts a standard and larger clamp-on air filter.


Regarding the Outlaw 450MXR, we know several shootouts are being conducted with the full class of 450 race quads, now eight strong not counting the non-traditional brands! We'll be bringing that to you. In the meantime, I can say that Polaris had .8 mile drag tests done by Environ Laboratories LLC with the following order of finish:



  1. Outlaw 450MXR

  2. Honda TRX450

  3. Yamaha YFZ450

  4. Kawasaki KFX450R

  5. Suzuki LT-R450

Take that for what its worth. The Outlaw does have some nice details, like Magura hydraulic clutch , stainless steel brake lines (don't expand so more braking power, also more reliable), Maxxis Rarz tires, Fox shock and more in addition to great power and performance potential.

Coming to a track near you
Then this announcement just the other day, that Polaris will triple their race team for 2008 in the company’s biggest effort in factory racing sponsorships, adds testament to their sport ATV focus. Polaris will have racers competing in the Grand National Cross Country series (GNCC), World Off Road Championship series (WORCS), World PowerSports Association (WPSA) and ITP QuadCross. “The addition of two new race quads, the Outlaw 525 S and Outlaw 450 MXR, and the existing Outlaw 525 IRS, gives our racers the advantage in the varying terrain of each series” said Justin Burke, race team coordinator for the ATV Division at Polaris.

I bet Polaris is hoping for different results than ATV Sport magazine had recently. They had been building an Outlaw IRS to race a couple GNCC and WORCS rounds for the Polaris Editors Cup. I guess the "toughest ATVs" might not carry over to the sport models? You can read about the 2 DNFs in 3 races and draw your own conclusions.

And don't forget the Predator just yet
Despite not being a big success due to tranny issues and handling woes, ATV Scene felt the Polaris Predator 500 was a very dependable and quite capable machine for the aggressive trail rider. So they figured it would make a great quad for their latest project (includes a newly posted video).

ATV Scene worked primarily with Rath Racing on several fixes (Daryl Rath raced a Predator for several seasons) including what I calculated to be around $2300 worth of bolt ons. The biggest complaint in the handling department was the rear shock where the “Anti Squat Rear Suspension” system - designed to prevent unwanted wheelies - did more harm than good elsewhere. The Predator’s stock rear shock would not let the rear end settle for acceleration out of turns, making the machine feel tippy. With Rath Racing's zero preload revalve kit installed, the rear end of the Predator stayed planted whether it was sliding or hooked up hard as well as allowing the rear end to squat in turns offering much improved stability.

The Predator is plagued by airbox issues much like the Outlaws above, in addition to using a cheap paper filter. In this case, ATV Scene used an adapter to integrate a foam air filter, which greatly improved air flow but makes it impossible to keep the airbox lid on, a potential problem for extremely wet conditions and water crossings.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Kymco side-by-side quad is on its way


People have started asking about it, so thought I would dig up what I could on the Kymco 500 UXV side-by-side.

Recently seen at the Milan, Italy motorcycle show, it looked nearly identical to a Yamaha Rhino. The Taiwanese and Chinese (like so many other industries) have essentially built a core competency in reverse-engineering US designed and engineered products and importing them to the US at much cheaper costs.

Originally expected in the first quarter, sources are now indicating a summer release as more likely for the Kymco 500 side-by-side. In fact, not sure what to read into it, but pages I found for both an "on road" and "off road" version of the 500 UXV on the main Kymco site are no longer there this morning! That link is just a blank page now, and they were never on the Kymco USA site.

So I'll hold off on publishing the final specs, but will be nearly 1200 pounds, pretty heavy for the 500cc powerplant being adapted from their MXU 500 utility ATV. But a more juicy rumor is surfacing as well. Kymco is said to be doing tests of a 700cc motor through joint work with BMW that will be put in this same side-by-side frame at a later date.

Kymco?
I wanted to say in fairness, Kymco is not simply exporting knock-off products to the United States market like some companies. A recent joint venture between Kymco USA (the exclusive distributor in the United States for KYMCO brand ATVs) and Kwang Yang Motor Company, Ltd. (KYMCO - the actual Taiwanese manufactuer) is bringing greater levels of support for a growing dealer network that already includes over 600 locations in the United States and Puerto Rico as well as more engineering focus on specific needs of the US market.

Further, KYMCO USA was the 11th and newest all-terrain vehicle manufacturer to join the
Specialty Vehicle Institute of America (SVIA) this past summer. The SVIA is the not-for-profit trade association founded and funded by the leading manufacturers and distributors of ATVs in the United States to support the longstanding programs and efforts to make ATV riding safer and more enjoyable for all riders and advocating for state legislation to regulate known problematic behaviors. SVIA also is an accredited standards developer by the American National Standards Institute for the four-wheel ATV in the United States.

And finally, there are also rumors of a Kymco-backed racing effort for the new year!

Quads of the week...mini snow cats

Tracked-machines and side-by-sides (aka UTVs, XUVs, RUVs, UXVs) are generating much interest lately, so my auction finds of the week include a couple SxSs with rubber-track systems already setup for you!


Even dubbed a "mini snow cat", a 2008 Arctic Cat Prowler with tracks. This one is ending soon so here is your chance to jump on it.


See previous write-ups I did on the different track systems available and their considerations here and here.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

GG Quad update


After traveling in Europe, I have a growing interest in street-legal quads in the United States that I'll share over time. For now, an update on the most exotic quad in the world, the GG Quad.

GG Quad North America has just put up several new pages on their website and announced they will be showing off the quad in Southern California next month. New information includes complete specifications and paint options, and also a build your own price breakdown. For most of us, this is only useful in justifying the purchase of a much more affordable quad to our significant other! ;)

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

40,000 Honda Foreman ATVs recalled

According to a recall alert from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, around 40,000 model year 2007 Honda TRX 500 ATVs (better known as the Honda Foreman and Foreman Rubicon) suffer from a potential problem with the throttle position sensor. Water can enter the throttle position sensor and freeze, causing permanent damage and causing the throttle to stick open if the rider forces the throttle lever.

Kawasaki KFX 450R Video


Some great video of the Kawasaki KFX 450R just put up on ATVTV.com. This is not a test evaluation by Doug Meyer, rather more of a chance for Kawasaki to market their cool work. We know from comparisons, all these advantages on paper don't seem to stack up.

Warning - a very large video including lengthy ads in front. But like I said, some great footage.

Cross-Continent "Quadtrek" on Polaris ATVs completed!

Hadn't heard anything about this since initial announcement of their plan, but ATVNation.com has a report on the Canadian couple completing their trip from Canada to Mexico in six months on Polaris Sportsman 800 X2s.

Evidently heading to Kingman, Arizona now, which is only a couple hours from me. I should try and track down a contact to interview them.

American ATV manufacturers struggling in current economy

Had mentioned some numbers for Honda and Kawasaki, and now a whole slew of news regarding Arctic Cat and Polaris woes.

During a recent conference call, Arctic Cat widened its third quarter loss forecast and said it would cut ATV production by about 10 percent during the current quarter. Now, shares of Arctic Cat Inc. have skidded to new 52-week lows, the latest slide triggered by less than optimistic comments from analysts.

Similarly, a national Polaris dealer survey focusing on the fourth quarter found Polaris Industries’ ATV sales were down 6-8 percent compared to a year ago. The survey, conducted by Wachovia Capital Markets, also reported it expects entire ATV industry sales to be down in the low double digits percentage-wise for the fourth quarter.

However, indications from the Arctic Cat call and the Polaris survey indicate side-by-sides have continued double-digit percentage growth.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Kawasaki Teryx 750 SxS Update


Based on previous information from Kawasaki, I thought I'd check the forums to see if any of the new Kawasaki side-by-sides had made it to dealers around the country. Looks like folks might have to wait a little longer...the only thing I found were a couple references to March being a new target date.

However, with more specs released and even a few spottings of prototype units around the country, we can put together a better picture of what to expect in coming months...

1) The 2008 Kawasaki Teryx 750 will NOT be fuel injected, which has people on the forums wondering if they should wait for a later year model, or even how hard it would be to switch out themselves since the Brute Force's now have fuel injection. Which I think is good to see, as regardless of your opinion on the current level of EFI technology in quads, it is where we need to be going. For usability reasons, capability improvements including fuel economy and tuning, and even performance.

2) But those looking for power will be happy. The existing V-Twin powerplant produces great power, and there will be plenty of hop-up parts available when released. Four Stroke Tech has kits up to 900cc tested and ready to go and I know Dragonfire Racing will have several bolt-on products as well. Dirt Wheels claims the Teryx V-Twin will be easier to hop up than any Rhino, Ranger or Prowler engine.

3) Based on Brute Force mileage, expected to get around 75 miles on the 8 gallon tank. For comparison, the Yamaha Rhino has a 7 gallon tank and reportedly gets 100 mile runs

4) Is slightly larger than the Yamaha Rhino and slightly smaller than the Polaris Ranger XP. Could be a little interesting trying to get this thing into the back up a pickup. Its wider stance and longer wheelbase could also be a concern with getting high centered over larger rocks and ledges. Additionally, the plastic bodywork on the Teryx wraps under the frame on the sides similar to the Polaris RZR, and will most certainly not hold up to the punishment to be expected when truly going offroad. On the other hand, the Teryx comes with steel-lined floorboards, something that no other side-by-side offers.

5) Will not come stock with the half doors like the Yamaha Rhino. Bad idea given their marketing description, "able to tackle corners in either a drift or grip style and operate beyond the limits of its rival". Hmmmm.

Bonus) I'm not sure if this is official, or just what is being adopted on the forums, but I learned that the Teryx should be pronounced "T-Rex". Am I the only one that was out of the loop on that?

I think Kawasaki will have a winner with those folks wanting extra power, in a wider more stable ride than current side-by-sides. And the expectation is for the Teryx to deliver more performance and offroad capability than the future Big Red SxS from Honda, and do so while requiring less aftermarket parts than current models on the market.

Friday, January 4, 2008

A refined Yamaha Rhino 700FI


I reported the announcement of the new Rhino 700 back in October. It has since been officially released, with a lot of reviews popping up from a press introduction ride in Tennessee.

The word that keeps coming to mind for me - "refined". In fact, the Yamaha product manager is fond of the phrase "smoother, quieter, more refined" when describing the new 700FI. While the machine looks identical to the older models, a whole slew of things have been addressed and improved. The primary changes and basics were covered in my previous post. Here I want to address this refined aspect...

Creature comforts

  • The airbox is now located under the hood, reducing cabin noise and making filter service hassle free. This makes a big difference when trying to talk with your passenger or even just driving by your self on long rides.
  • Claimed 70% reduction in vibration from rubber mounts for the engine and exhaust
  • A barrier was added behind cab (between the dump bed) that will keep noise, dust and heat from entering the cab.
  • A smooth tailgate plate that prevents dirt and water from being held there
  • Softer seat and a larger, softer steering wheel with palm grips
  • And similar to the Polaris RZR, cup holders and storage
  • New passenger grip with attached handle in addition to existing grab bars have been added.
  • Side doors that feature a latch system similar to that of Jeep

Normally I don't think much of these little details myself, but a funny story to make a point - I'm driving to my practice track yesterday, and as I'm passing the local motorsports dealer, an SUV pulls out the parking lot pulling a trailer with a shiny new Yamaha Rhino 700, with boxes of accessories piled around it. As the car goes by, I'm checking the ride out and notice a feeble looking 75-80 year old at the steering wheel! So the thing with side-by-sides in general, and especially the "refined Rhino" is that we have whole new categories of people in general being introduced to the quad sport overall. I've heard this same thing regarding the farming and ranching folks.

Quad Magazine and Dirt Wheels both have articles in February 2008 issues. Some online articles of the same press introduction that also include videos are at ATV Riders and King's Outdoor World blog.


Thursday, January 3, 2008

Kymco MXU 500 ATVs recalled for suspension failure


1,350 2006-2008 model year Kymco MXU 500 quads are being recalled because the pivot bolts holding the rear suspension onto the frame can become loose, causing the rear swing arm to detach from the chassis.

Sold by KYMCO dealers nationwide from November 2006 through December 2007, the ATVs can be identified by a label located on each side of the fuel tank as MXU 500.

Honda ATV Planet


I saw this commercial on TV the other day, thought it was amusing. Apparently Honda is into it, launching a mini web site all around the campaign. There is not much depth to the ATV information, but some very cool wallpaper images to be had!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

2008 Suzuki KingQuad 750AXi first ride


A first ride report on the new KingQuad was done in the latest Quad Magazine by Lance Schwartz, who won the 2006 12 Hours of ATV America aboard a Suzuki KingQuad 700 and has spent a lot of time with them in recent years.

Background
First off, Suzuki has adopted a new letter designation system for its expanding line of KingQuads as follows:

  • A = QuadMatic automatic continuously variable transmission (CVT)
  • F = Semi-automatic (five-speed transmission and automatic clutch)
  • X = independent rear suspension (IRS)
  • S = swingarm-type rear suspension
  • i = fuel injection (EFI)


While it bugs me when people introduce more labels and acronyms for terms that already exist, the KingQuad CVT IRS EFI would be a bit long! (and not nearly as cool sounding).

Suzuki did increase the displacement to 722cc through a slight increase in cylinder bore size, so while renamed as such, is still 38cc short of a 750. Previous KingQuads came with a high-flow paper air filter. While designed to provide much higher filtration capability than a traditional foam filter, it required more frequent maintenance that many riders neglect, resulting in dirt being pulled from under the lower seal into the engine. For 2008 Suzuki has combined the high-flow paper design with a foam cover.

With that out of the way, there have been reports of a relatively significant low-RPM lag, and very light, but annoyingly twitchy steering in the otherwise excellent 2005-07 model KingQuads. I've extracted the relevant quotes from Lance's tests in these two areas...

Power

"I can attest to the fact that it [low RPM lag] is better on the 750AXi, but not totally gone. There are some replacement ECUe out there from companies like Velocity Devices International that will eliminate the low-end lag if it bothers you that much."

Throttle response is much more crisp than the previous model and...

"The 750AXi certainly doesn't accelerate violently like a Can-Am 800, but there is a noticeable increase in power throughout the whole RPM range"



Handling

"Apparently unchanged on the 750AXI is the front steering geometry. The light steering that makes low speed maneuverability so fantastic is, unfortunately, the same Achilles heel that has plagued the KingQuads since 2005. The steering tends to be really twitchy when ridden aggressively. Since this has been one of the biggest complaints you'll hear from current KingQuad owners, I was really disappointed to not see a remedy for 2008."

It was also noted that if you push the KingQuad too hard, the front shocks will hit their limit before the rears. I can make a personal comment on this as well - which isn't often for utility quads. During last years attempt at being a ride guide, I was allowed to show off my motocross skills...on a KingQuad 700! Nobody thought I could jump the stock Suzuki more than 25ft. To their amazement, I launched the "flying refrigerator" well beyond that mark, with the only issue being the front shocks bottoming metal-to-metal hard enough to bring a gear back attached to the front rack flying loose. I don't expect the intended audience for the KingQuad to have such problems ;).

Summary

I agree with Lance that Suzuki took the conservative approach in refining their flagship model, and not getting distracted by other big announcements. However, a fix to the handling, especially the addition of power steering might put the KingQuad on the throne.

The full story can be found on page 89 of February 2008 Quad Magazine.

2008 Polaris Browning reviews


Off-Road.com just put up a basic review of the 2008 Polaris Ranger Browning XP, Ranger Crew and Sportsman Browning 500 done at Coal Creek OHV area in Oliver Springs, Tennessee. Tennessee seems to be the popular place for side-by-side tests these days.

The Browning models add a cool black and gold look and familiar Browning logo of course. Aside from the exterior cosmetics, the Browning edition Ranger XP also comes with a factory installed Warn 4.0 winch, Lock & Ride dual gun scabbard, and exclusive 26” PXT radial tires on matte black rims for an additional $1800 over the standard model. The Sportsman 500 EFI Browning is a standard Sportsman 500 EFI with a few accessories. The body work and wheels are coated in a Mossy Oak Breakup camouflage pattern and exclusive to the Browning Sportsman is a set of grip heaters, gun scabbard, rear rack, and a Warn winch.

Some comments from the review...

It [crew model] was only slightly less capable than the Ranger XP, which is very impressive considering it has enough seating space for most families


The only complaint about both Ranger models is the steering wheel. It is plastic, flimsy and gives the vehicle a cheap feel.

New Yamaha offers for the new year, and My Yamaha page


Yamaha has updated their promotions for the new year. You can get as low as 4.99% APR financing or up to $400 Customer Cash on Sport models, and cash back links have been added to the Outdoor offers page (for utility ATVs and Side-by-Sides). Offers are available through February 29, 2008.

Also noticed a "My Yamaha" feature you can setup to get access to exclusive information, Build-Your-Own, Maintenance Schedules, Service Specifications, Parts Catalog and other stuff. These things never impress me but thought I would mention it. Probably better off to just stay tuned to the ATV and Side-by-Side blog here at QuadExperts.com ;)