The old saying is, “It’s not the size of dog in the fight, but the size of fight in the dog.” That can now go for ATVs as well. Kawasaki’s new Brute Force 300 doesn’t know it’s an easy to ride, 300cc machine perfectly suited to work around the yard or go for weekend trail rides. It thinks it’s the leader of the pack, and it may be right!
Ever had that feeling your ATV or Side x Side didn’t know where it wanted to be on the trail, darting from one side to the other like a beagle chasing a rabbit and you were just along for the ride? You’ve most likely got a front end alignment problem, but luckily a quick and easy adjustment can keep you on the straight and narrow.
John Deere’s Gator is one of the original UTVs and they’ve made their way to every farm, campus, and parks department in the country. Competitors had left the Gator in the dust for most trail loving recreational riders, however, that is changing. With their 825i XUV, the Gator has evolved.
When the CAN-AM Commander was released, it offered a level of performance, refinement, and handling that set a new standard for Side x Side excellence. That has not changed, but the Commander is also a “crossover model” because it has the ability to perform work tasks extremely well thanks to a rear dump box and a sturdy hitch. All five Commander models share a common chassis with dual A-arms at the front and CAN-AM’s TTI trailing arms in the rear, the difference being how each model is outfitted. Engine choices are an 800cc or 1000cc liquid cooled, SOHC Rotax V-Twin EFI engine.
We’ve called the Polaris Ranger XP 800 your best dog, best shotgun, best pickup, and best hunting camp all rolled into one. Out of all the Side x Sides on the market today, it would be the one that fits the needs of the average hunter, homeowner, and hard working recreational rider perfectly. It’s not the fastest, lightest, or most powerful, but it is certainly one of the absolute best and we count on one every day.
Arctic Cat is known for building vehicles with incredible performance, but with their Prowler HDX 700, they showed their skill at designing for the hard working, utility crowd as well. The HDX 700 comes equipped with an extremely smooth running, 695cc, liquid cooled, SOHC, 4-stroke, 4-valve engine. Electronic Fuel Injection insures excellent starts and crisp throttle response at any temperature or elevation and the engine is both quick and powerful. Cat designed the HDX to appeal to sportsman and work crews.
Polaris started the year off with a bang when they released the new RZR XP 900. It was a high performance Side x Side that had only been the stuff of aftermarket dreams and after one ride we were hooked. Visually it’s got the looks of a RZR on steroids with the same styling as other members of the RZR family, and most of the bodywork is the same with the exception of the long skirt that partially hides the lower chassis members and long travel suspension. It’s really the suspension and motor that makes the RZR XP 900 something special though.
In baseball terms it’s called “small ball.” It means playing for the base hit and excelling at the basics rather than swinging for the fences. With their new RZR 570, Polaris is playing the off-road version of small ball, and they’ve got a new all-star.
Every so often a model comes along that just does everything right. Yamaha’s Raptor 250 is one such model and without a doubt, it is the best ATV there has ever been for budding sport riders. It’s comfortable and the ergonomics are perfect for younger, smaller riders, it’s got a great, sporty look, the motor has enough zip to keep things exciting, it’s super reliable, and it’s easy to ride.