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ATV Purchasing and Price Getting ready to purchase your first ATV? Discussions concerning ATV comparisons, models, prices, and all purchasing related questions.

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Old 02-25-2012, 07:33 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Rancher or Honda 300?

I am new to the forums and welcome your opinions. I have a polaris sport quad that I love and my son has an Suzuki LT80. I would like to get a utility ATV for camping with me son and was looking at the older ranchers 350's and 300's.

I need something that is very reliable. Speed isn't a real need but want it to be able to haul light loads, and maybe a deer or two each year.

First of all, I am in no rush to buy anything. I am looking at the old honda 300's which I hear a lot of good things about. I am also looking at the older rancher 350's say 2000- 2006. I have considered a newer rancher 420.

All of these will be 2wd for me. I don't like the way four wheel drives handle and my son will be growing into this machine over the years. I have decided on the honda because of my love of the 250R from the 80's.

Does the ES on the ranchers give cause of concern? Which is more reliable, the 330's or the 300's? Which will ride better? I am 250 pounds at 6 feet tall.

What do you think?
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Old 02-25-2012, 08:10 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Stay away from the ES imo, they aren't very reliable in my parts...

The 300 is an excellent machine, tough as nails, if you keep oil in them the engine will last forever (exaggerating, but they last a long long time).
Plenty of torque to pull or haul what ever you need. I love my 4wd and the way it handles, if you have the cash I would try for a 4wd, and get a wide open disconnect so you can switch in and out of 2/4wd, then you have the best of both worlds...

The newer machines will ride nicer, but the 300 with stock tires and running the low air pressure isn't half bad.
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Old 02-25-2012, 08:16 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I have found people on the net saying similar things about the ES. I guess they are problematic? Or at least more so than the foot shifter? It is just hard to find the rancher without the ES in Utah.

Are the 2007's with the 420's worth the upgrade? I tend to keep my machines for 15-20 years so I want to have a good parts supply available down the road.
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Old 02-25-2012, 08:44 AM   #4 (permalink)
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The ES system is just one more than that can go wrong and keep you from hauling a deer out of the woods and bringing in some firewood. I wouldn't want to deal with the hassle if something did go wrong with it.
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Old 02-25-2012, 10:19 AM   #5 (permalink)
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people bash the ES models. but in reality, if something ever did happen to the ES. you still have an emergency shifter. (on most models) to get you back to the truck. i wouldnt base your purchasing decision off of a forum. get out and RIDE them. i have yet to have problems with ES models and i have put a combined 4k miles on 2 different machines. call me crazy, but im a fan of the ES.
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Old 02-25-2012, 11:42 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Flip a coin They are both great machines just stick with the manual shift and 02 or newer on the rancher because the 2000 and 01 have issues with the shift drums breaking and it was fixed in the 02 model.You may also think about 4wd with a disconnect system so you can take it out of 4wd which make them easier to steer but you still have the 4wd when you need it.
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Old 02-25-2012, 01:19 PM   #7 (permalink)
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if i had a choice between the trx300..and the trx350 rancher ?..i'd have to go with the trx300...they were..and still are in my book...the best utility atv honda has ever made !!! engine wise..they are the best..i'm not crazy about the rear end set up..as they tend to have bad brakes and rear differental problems if they are not maintained ??..other than that ????..the trx300 is still the best atv ever made and sold by honda.
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Old 02-25-2012, 02:23 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Thanks for all the responses. I won't be using this machine a ton. Maybe 500 miles per year. Mostly easy dirt roads. I also plan on putting a rear seat on whatever quad I get.

I have heard of the poor rear ends in the 300's. That is why I ask about the Rancher 350's. I just want something that won't break or leave me stranded.

I almost don't want the 4wd just because I don't ever want to be in a situation where I would need it. I don't like mud or ultra steep hills.
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Old 02-25-2012, 05:27 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Babyhead View Post
I almost don't want the 4wd just because I don't ever want to be in a situation where I would need it. I don't like mud or ultra steep hills.
Yeah, but if you ever do get into on of those situations and you don't have it, ya might change your mind. lol

The 300 rear end won't leave you stranded as long as you keep an eye on it and keep it maintained. Keep the fluid fresh, check to make sure its not leaking. If you jack up the rear end ever few hundred miles and it has no play and those nuts aren't backed off your good to go.

I personally like the ohc engine better than the newer style push rod engine...
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Old 02-25-2012, 09:07 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Having only 2wd really takes a lot of the utility out of a utility quad IMO. I have a creek behind my house that is a real pain to cross without 4wd but simple with it.

I have a 300fw and my neighbor has a 350fm, both 4wd manual shift. I like the steering on the 350 because you don't feel the 4wd like you do on the 300. The 350 does have a little more power but the 300 has the really short first gear that is very handy. Since the 300 is a little lower it handles tight trails better. You can't go wrong with either but I suspect you will like the 350 more because of the extra power and lighter steering.
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