We always get the question, “Which model is best?”  Each year we put in thousands of miles riding, wrenching on, and learning everything we can in search of the answer.  While there are many great machines we enjoy, there are always a few that stand out and deserve recognition as being the best of the best.  We look for ride performance, build quality, ease of maintenance, overall value, and perhaps most of all, innovation.  After another year in the saddle, here are our picks for the best models of 2020.


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Automotive manufacturers coined the term “crossover” to describe adaptive vehicles that perform many different tasks extremely well.  That describes Yamaha’s WOLVERINE RMAX2 1000 and RMAX4 1000 perfectly.  Yamaha’s Wolverine has always been a great machine.  The new RMAX2 1000 and RMAX4 1000 shift it up a gear!   Highlights on the two new models are:

  • New 999cc engine with multiple drive modes, Trail, Sport, or Crawl, spinning Yamaha’s Ultramatic CVT transmission, and backed by a 10-year belt warranty.
  • All new, high-strength steel chassis optimized for rigidity over uneven, rough terrain, but also designed for excellent handling. 
  • Long travel suspension with complete adjustability for a smooth ride.
  • Impressive hauling and towing capability, with 600 lbs. hauling, and 2000 lbs. towing thanks to a 2” receiver hitch.
  • New styling inside and out, with automotive inspired features and build quality.


We love the edgy, aggressive look of the Wolverine RMAX 1000.  LED lights, sturdy, steel front bumpers, and tight bodywork seams show Yamaha’s mastery of styling.  Inside the cabin, the styling is equally impressive and highly functional.  Door interiors are nicely finished, interior contact points where your knees or body may touch are sculpted or padded for comfort, and the dash has all the switches, controls, and a good-sized digital display exactly where the driver needs them.  In the dash is a media center, and the Adventure Pro housing is lockable yet can easily be removed to carry on foot.


The eight valve, parallel twin cylinder RMAX 1000 power plant is based on the ultra-reliable Wolverine 850cc engine, but with larger displacement giving it 108 hp.  Top speed is north of 65 mph.  Yamaha’s Ultramatic CVT transmission drives the RMAX and comes with an incredible 10-Year belt warranty.  It’s the power delivery options that really set the RMAX apart though. 

Yamaha’s D-mode, three position, selectable drive system is an innovative feature that really works!  “Crawl Mode” is perfect for technical riding, “Trail Mode” is for ordinary trail riding, and “Sport Mode” is ready for leaving your buddies in the dust.  All three modes are highly intuitive, and it’s almost like the RMAX knows what you want to do, and it gives the perfect response to the terrain ahead.  Sport mode is eye-opening!  Best of all, the D-Mode system is a very reasonably priced option on models where it is not standard equipment.  Before adding anything else, spend a couple hundred bucks and add the D-mode system.  It’s worth owning!

All RMAX models come with sway bars to limit body roll and FOX shocks to tame the terrain.  RMAX LE models come equipped with FOX IQS on the fly electronic adjustable shocks, and with the push of a button you can choose between a soft, firm or stiff setting.  Every RMAX2 comes with 30-inch tires on 14” wheels, and OEM tires are either Dirt Commanders or Maxxis Carnivores.

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It’s the sum of all parts and how well they work together that creates a great machine.  The Yamaha Wolverine RMAX2 1000 and RMAX4 1000 are all about versatility and they impress us in every way.  The creativity, excellent build quality, and the performance it provides make it our pick for the best Side x Side of 2020.  It’s a winner!

Yamaha Wolverine RMAX 1000 Quick Specs

Engine                                 999cc in-line twin, 4-stroke, DOHC, 4-valve, 108 hp

Drive System                     Ultramatic CVT transmission with L, H, N, R – 2WD,  4WD,  full diff-lock 4WD.  XT-R/LE models:  Yamaha D-Mode throttle response system with Crawl, Trail, and Sport modes

Suspension                        Independent A-arms front & rear.  Base/XT-R model shocks – FOX 2.0 QS3.  LE model – FOX 2.0 QS3 with iQS Intelligent Quick Switch control 

Travel                                  All:  14.2 front    2 Seat: 16.9 rear    4  Seat: 13.3 rear

Ground Clearance            2-Seat: 13.8,  4-Seat: 13.4

Brakes                                Dual hydraulic disc front & rear

Wheels & Tires                  2-Seat Base:  30x10r14 GBC® Dirt Commander 2.0®
                                             4-Seat Base:  29x9r14/29x11r14 (front/rear) GBC® Dirt Commander®

                                             2-Seat XT-R:  30x10r14 Maxxis® Carnivore™
                                             4-Seat XT-R:  29x9r14/29x11r14 (front/rear) Maxxis® Carnage™
                                             2-Seat LE:  30x10r14 Maxxis® Carnivore™
                                             4-Seat LE:  29x9r14/29x11r14 (front/rear) Maxxis® Carnage™

Bed & Towing                    600 lbs. bed,  2000 lbs. towing

Warranty                           6-month Limited Factory, 10-year belt

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We love the innovation of CFMoto’s CFORCE 1000 OVERLAND package.  They’ve embraced the whole adventure riding concept with the Overland 1000, and if you’re planning on a little riding jaunt from Minnesota to Idaho, the Overland 1000 is your best choice.  It’s ready to carry you and your gear way into the wild areas.  Details of the new CForce 1000 Overland are:

  • 79 horsepower, 963cc V-twin engine driving a CVTECH® Automatic transmission
  • Huge, removable cargo boxes for carrying all your gear, and composite over steel racks front and rear
  • 14” cast aluminum bead-lock wheels, and 27” CST Clincher off-road tires
  • Dual A-arm front suspension, a trailing arm rear suspension, and fully adjustable shocks for a smooth ride
  • Handlebar fairing and a half windshield for rider comfort
  • LED lights front and rear for excellent night riding capability
  • 3000 lb. winch for pulling out your buddies!
  • Heavy duty, steel front and rear bumpers, extra front-end protection thanks to an aluminum bash plate, and tough, full length HDPE skid plates
  • Electronic Power Steering for easy riding all day! 

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True to its name, the CForce 1000 Overland is very well equipped for long trails and overnight camping trips, but it’s not a one-trick pony.  It’s also a transformer!   The rear cargo containers can be removed and a second seat can be added, making it an extremely capable two-seat machine.  It easily accommodates a passenger comfortably, and CFMoto engineers gave it a second set of pegs for their feet.  When not equipped for the backcountry or hauling a passenger, neither the cargo bins nor the passenger seat has to be installed, and the CForce 1000 becomes an extremely capable single seat machine.  We love the versatility.

From the driver’s seat the Overland is extremely comfortable.  All controls are within easy reach, and a handlebar fairing and half windshield will be very welcome features on cool, wet rides.  Down below, aggressive aluminum pegs will anchor your feet very well when the footboards become covered in snow or mud.  Fender flares keep the rider and passenger mostly mud free, and wrap-around steel bumpers protect both the front and rear.  We’re especially fond of the bead lock-style wheels, and the overall styling presentation is rugged and ready for adventure.  It definitely gives the feel of a full sized, 1000cc machine, and there’s no doubt it’s big and beefy, but the 79hp engine easily carries it over any terrain.  It’s also got the power to blast through corners and rail berms as fast as you can handle it.  It’s got more than you do! 

We really can’t say enough about CFMotos attention to maintenance tasks.  Rather than a single dip stick and a “hope and pray” approach to the transmission oil, CFMoto includes a second dip stick for quick checks of that vital fluid, and the engine oil filter is behind a small cover.  The entire area is super easy to access on the side of the engine.  It doesn’t get any easier. 

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The CForce 1000 Overland gets right to the heart of what adventure riding is all about.  It’s tough, powerful, well equipped, highly versatile, and the implementation of the Overland package brings innovation.  For those reasons the CFMoto CForce 1000 Overland is our 2020 ATV of the Year.

CFMoto CFORCE 1000 OVERLAND Quick Specs

Engine                                 963cc V-twin, 4-stroke, SOHC, 8-valve, 79 hp

Drive System                     CVTECH® Automatic with P/R/N/H/L.  2WD,  4WD,  full diff-lock 4WD. 

Suspension                        Independent A-arms front, trailing arms rear.  High pressure gas, rebound adjustable shocks.       

Ground Clearance            11 inch

Brakes                                Dual hydraulic disc front & rear

Wheels & Tires                  14” Cast Aluminum wheels, 27×9-R14 Front,  27×11-R14 Rear
Rack Cap. & Towing         100 rear, 75 front.  875 lbs. towing,  3000lb Winch

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January 1, 2021

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