What kind of ATV should I look for?

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Old 02-22-17, 06:57 AM
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What kind of ATV should I look for?

OK guys. This may be one of those post that I might refer to on and off again as time goes by for advice and opinions.


I am now the proud but dubious owner of a tract of land located atop a small mountain in the southern tier of New York.


I say dubious because it would not be my choice of a country land purchase. This was suppose to be my son's land purchase. But due to his stroke this past Thanksgiving (reference post dated 12-20-16, titled The bad and the good!) his wife backed out of the deal (and rightly so). We stepped in and bought it instead with the understanding that he has final say so on whatever is done to the land. Note that his heart was set on getting this land and it took many years for him to find the "perfect" plot. Wish you could've seen his reaction when we presented the fact that we secured his dream for him. But that is another story. BTW... he is recovering nicely, can walk with a cane and has all his faculties, but speech is the biggest problem. He will recover over the next several years but it's a long road ahead. Hence part of the reason we bought the land for him. Something to work for!


Anyway, getting to this tract of land (it's only just under 9 acres) is a trip in its self. Dirt back roads and all. From the roadside the entrance is very steep and an ordinary vehicle cannot drive up it. Maybe in perfectly dry summer weather. So an ATV is perhaps our first item of concern and a necessary item. I know nothing about this type of vehicle. So many brands. A local dealer carries Polaris. We are targeting a cost of between $6000 and $9000. We need a two seater with a cargo ability and a winch attachment. I believe they are referred to as side by side units or a utility type. It must be a standard steering wheel, not handle bars and be automatic. Eventually my son will drive it. Does anybody have any opinions as to what brand is good or perhaps what brand to stay away from? What to look for? Suspension? Engine type? Are used vehicles worth the look see? I'm I asking the right questions?


BTW...this pic might give you an idea of why this piece of land is special. It's totally off the grid, but is ready for full power if a line is ever brought in (which he does not want to do). All supplies, including water must be hauled up the mountain side. The inside of the cabin is very modern with all built in cupboards. No bathroom facilities. You use an outhouse! There are a few other structures that are in need of repair.
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  #2  
Old 02-22-17, 07:15 AM
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Not the question asked but would the money be better spent regrading/cutting the driveway so it is accessible by truck?
 
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Old 02-22-17, 08:21 AM
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No! The cost to do that is not reasonable. It would need to be twisted around, not straight up and cost would be in the tens of thousands. Plus an ATV is still necessary. Also, he wants to keep this as natural as possible. So no paved or even crushed stone will be used.

I have not had the opportunity to walk the land. I only saw it from the roadside and that was this winter. Might not be as bad as I think. But driving a car or even a 4 wheel drive to the cabin is not possible. Possibly in mid-summer a 4 wheel tuck can make it.
 
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Old 02-22-17, 10:09 AM
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I have used almost every type of off road vehicle from air boats, swamp buggies to six and eight wheeled amphibious vehicles. I currently own a golf cart tricked out for mild off road use and have a John Deere Gator side by side XUV so I can attest to their usefulness and versatility. My neighbor got Polaris side by side last year. I also have a Artic Cat four wheeler.

So, what questions do you have?

How will you transport and store/secure your off road vehicle?

It sounds like you have to park somewhere not on the property and then drive in. Do you have a place to park your tow vehicle and trailer when on the land?

What do you intend or want to do with the vehicle?
 
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Old 02-22-17, 10:35 AM
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Are you sure cutting in a road would cost that much? Obviously I've not seen or walked the land but a dozer can usually cut a road in a timely manner. My driveway is just over a 1/4 mile long, on the side of a short mountain and it took a dozer less than 2 days to build although I have spent more over the years tweaking it. The top of my driveway is 300' or so higher in elevation than the bottom.
 
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Old 02-22-17, 12:27 PM
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PD, Yes the area at the roadside does have a pull off section that a car or truck can be parked. It does need a bit of cleaning up, but it's usable. Storage can be done one of of two things. Leave it there in the off season , secured and covered possibly in a shed or just tarp covered. Or we tow it back to our or his home (has lots of room to store it). Buying a trailer is a strong possibility. We might have one in the family already, but we need to check the capacity of it. The main use of the ATV is just to carry supplies to and from cabin and some recreational use.

Marksr, Maybe it would not cost as much as I think, but remember, he does not want to change the layout of the land or make any major changes. At least not now.
 
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Old 02-22-17, 02:42 PM
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UTV's SXS have really gotten out of sight as far as price IMO. Brand new UTV can be $10K - $20K. Looking for a used one will take some time but I am sure you can find something that will work in your price range. Start looking at Craig's list and see whats out there.

I would think if you stick with a name brand (Polaris, Arctic Cat, Kawasaki, Can-Am, Honda) you will do fine. It is really hard to tell you what to buy. I am personally bias to Polaris (and Arctic Cat) as they are both made in Minnesota. I own Polaris snowmobile and ATV's and have never had a lick of issues with them that was not self inflicted. All of them are around 2000 years so the don't have much for bells a whistles which might be a good thing. Newer ones can have power steering and EFI as options which I have seen people have trouble with the computers.

One other option would be a Jeep Wrangler. Not much for off roading but should get you up a hill.

Also, check your state laws. ATV trails around me you can only drive UTV's if they are 50" wide or less.
 
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Old 02-22-17, 03:59 PM
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If you need to transport the machine keep it's overall size in mind. Small to mid size four wheelers that you straddle can fit in a full size pickup bed between the wheel wells and will fit even the smallest trailer. A mid size side by side can be squeezed into the bed of a full size pickup with difficulty but really needs a 5 x 10' trailer while a full sized side by side will likely need a 6 x 12' trailer.

The overall machine size also affects the type of trails you can take it on. Obviously smaller machines can go on narrower trails and make sharper turns but that small size also means less room and carrying capacity.

If leaving your machine at the land be prepared for possible theft or vandalism. Better would be to make friends with someone close by and keep the machine at their place where it can be at least somewhat watched.

Any machine in your price range will have the power you need. Don't be lead astray by more expensive machines. Most offer larger, more powerful engines that do little more than offer increased acceleration and a higher top speed, something you really don't need when doing "work" or moderate recreational riding. Even a 20+ hp machine can tote a good load up a hill at a reasonable 15-20 mph and could carry you down the road at 30mph. These are typically the lower/base models for most manufacturers and give you the benefit of the frame and suspension that the more expensive machines have but just with a smaller engine. If you want a "thrill ride" with tire spinning acceleration and speeds that let you get air then you'll probably need to consider a used machine or up your budget.
 

Last edited by Pilot Dane; 02-23-17 at 04:36 AM. Reason: cleaned up editing
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Old 02-22-17, 05:26 PM
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The overall machine size also affects the type of trails you can take it on.
That is why I mentioned to check the state rules. The Polaris RZR (Razor) is only 50" wide 2 seat SxS and could, in theory, fit in the back of a pickup, although that might be a bit of a stretch.
It does also have a receiver hitch for a trailer. You could trailer the RZR up to the land and then use the trailer to bring your gear to the cabin.

BTW - That is a cool looking cabin!
 
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Old 02-22-17, 05:40 PM
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Thanks guys. Good food for thought. That's the kind of info I was looking for. I'll pass this along to my son and between both of us we can make an informed decision.
 
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Old 02-23-17, 07:11 AM
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Be certain the vehicle you buy is four-wheel drive. Some are not.
 
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Old 02-23-17, 08:57 AM
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The 50" limitation is in place in some states, on some public trails but does not apply to private land.
A Rzr has almost no cargo space--it's intended to be a sporty machine. The Polaris Ranger has a sizeable cargo bed and lots of passenger space. That's a consideration if passenger(s) have mobility issues. The Ranger also has plenty of OEM & aftermarket options for things like a fully enclosed cab, winch, etc. A brand new one may be just over your budget limit however used ones are plentiful and typically the larger "utility" machines aren't beat on like the sport models and appeal more to the grey-haired set.

You should inquire at local well drillers if the water table might be shallow enough to reach with a hand pump. Hauling water for a long stay is the worst part of the picture for an off-grid get-away like that.
My SIL has a hunting property with a small generator and solar and is quite comfortable. The solar & batteries have enough capacity to periodically run a submersible well pump which fills an above-ground tank. A 12V pump then pushes it to the kitchen and a black plastic tank above the outside shower.
 
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