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I've been reading through the site for the past week and am beside myself trying to figure out what the best model and trans is for me. The main reason for buying one is for snow plowing along with some light spring, summer & fall use around the yard and easy trail riding. My driveway is paved and is roughly 300 feet long modestly uphill to a large asphalt pad that is 25' X 75'.

I'm not new to ATV's per se but new to Honda and have never plowed with an ATV before. I'm located in Minnesota and we get a variety of wet heavy snow to the light fluffy stuff during the season. I keep going between the Rancher manual or ES model as well as the Foreman with a little more HP.

1) Will the Rancher be enough to move the heavy wet stuff?

2) Is it cumbersome to be manually shifting in boots or is the ES options a better fit? I like the simplicity of manual and seems to be time tested.

3) I like the idea of EPS but it seems like you have to go to a model with ES or DCT in order to get it.

4) The last question is IRS versus straight axel. I know the advantage for trails and clearance but is one better than the other for plowing?

I'm sure these have been discussed before but my search and comprehend process has reached it limits. I'm also welcome to any other ideas or things I've not thought of.

Thanks in advance for your comments!
 

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I have a plow mounted to my new rubicon, works good, lots of power for everything I need around the yard, I went with the foot shift as I prefer it over an auto, as far as power the rancher would do just fine, a set of tire chains do an amazing job for me when plowing the wet heavy snow. As far as straight or irs, depends on your trail riding style and how much you want to spend.
 
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1, get the foreman, its geared lower and will not be having to work as hard to move snow, plus its heavier, weight is your friend when plowing
2, me and many here will say all day long, GET THE FOOT SHIFT< ES have way more parts to fail and most sooner or later have issues with them
3 ESP< I have never needed it, but those that get it all seem to love it,
4 straight axle IMO is a better work atv, its sort of splitting hairs at this point in advancement in them
but when plowing SNOW IF you have to add weight (in DEEP heavy snow adding weight helps a bunch) IMO adding weight to a solid axle, just plants tires better with consistent weight on them, think about how many HD trucks(construction vehicles) you see with IRS? ZERO ever wonder why?

NOW something maybe you have in mind or ?? NOT
get a 60 inch plow blade NOTHING smaller IMO< the 60 is the ideal size for most atv's
main reason is, it allows MORE plow blade at full angle, so your tires are never driving in any snow, and allows you to get snow farther off the sides while tires stay on solid ground
20+ yrs of plowing snow with atv experience here
and plenty more with other machines from big to small!

also when plowing snow its a SKILL< you have to keep in mind NEXT snow falls and push snow as far back as possible with the first snow fall and keep pushing back as far as you can, , as once a slight warm up happens and snow piles freeze, you AIN"T moving them with the atv any more, unless they melt and get soft! and even then might not move them

and last, DON"T wait till snow is DEEP to plow, its an atv not a bulldozer, heavy wet snow can very easily out weight an atv,
so name if game is, plow often and NOT wait for things to STOP and be plowing deep snow, you will save yourself a lot of added work and wear and tear on your atv!
 

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A couple years ago, I outfitted my ES Rancher for plowing just to play around with it vs. my compact tractor. I placed two tractor suitcase weights on the rear rack and it walked through everything just fine and I never experienced an issue. I do agree the foot shift is time tested, but I personally never experienced an ES issue, but my unit doesn't go swimming nor stored outside and sits on a battery tender everyday, so I'm sure that adds to the lack of issues. The only reason I went back to a tractor is my need to move larger piles from time to time, so no need to get both out on the driveway and not the Rancher is just set up to do some trail riding on my property.
 

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IF you are doing a lot of shifting, the ES will use more charging power & if you are using a winch, with heated grips & Lights on, the battery will wear down faster. If its a small area, i wouldnt worry about either one.
 

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I wear muck boots with my manual shifts no problem and I have ‘uge feet!
Agree with all above although I don’t have the longer plows—48” plows I bought used.
 

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IF you are doing a lot of shifting, the ES will use more charging power & if you are using a winch, with heated grips & Lights on, the battery will wear down faster. If its a small area, i wouldnt worry about either one.
I concur, and another reason why I keep mine on a tender while not in operation, especially during snow season when energy use such as lights, etc., are high....
 
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