25 September 1998

Quad bikes are Go!

New models with more

powerful engines and more

sophisticated suspension

mark the latest quad bike

introductions. Peter Hill

reviews what is currently on

offer

Power, power and more power. Thats what farmers and other quad bike users seem to want from their atvs. And thats what manufacturers are giving them.

Yamaha has gone furthest, so far; the 595cc motor in its YFM600 Grizzly pumps out 37hp to knock the 32hp Polaris Sportsman 500 off the top of the power league.

But it matches the Polaris in having a belt transmission instead of conventional gearbox, giving infinitely variable speed control and no manual shifting.

Yamaha has developed the concept, though, by adding centrifugal and one-way clutches for initial take-off and to provide effective engine braking for more reassuring control down-hill.

A two-speed transfer gearbox also allows the rider to select maximum pulling power or acceleration, and front drive is also selectable, providing either maximum traction with four-wheel drive or reduced steering weight in two-wheel drive.

Rear suspension spring rate is also adjustable, allowing for different rider weights and ride quality preferences.

Honda has also joined the power race, its Foreman TRX450 packing a 432cc motor delivering very nearly 24hp. It uses the same in-line engine installation that remains unique to Honda, as well as a motor with power and torque that peak further down the rev range than on most quad bikes for quieter, more economical and less frenetic performance.

This newest model also offers – for an extra £200 – the added refinement of push-button gear changes. Apart from making life that little bit easier, Honda reckons the system has safety benefits in that riders can maintain a secure footing when a gear change is needed in the middle of a difficult manoeuvre. Also, since full length foot boards can be fitted, there is better protection from stones and other debris thrown up by the front wheels.

US quad manufacturer Polaris, meanwhile, has extended the shaft-drive and independent rear suspension concept of the Sportsman 500 in two different directions.

The Sportsman 335 offers lower-cost access to this sophisticated design in return for a little less performance. Chassis structure and suspension of the 335 is similar to the more powerful model – including the long stroke front struts – but its 334cc four-stroke fan-assisted air cooled engine is less powerful.

The other derivative of the Sportsman 500 is the Ranger, a two-seater utility truck with steering wheel rather than handlebars, full roll-over cage and tipping dump box.

Back among the regular atvs, GHL has thoroughly revamped its diesel-powered Diablo to turn the creditable first-effort machine into a more professionally-turned out device. There is just one engine size – a 611cc motor developing 16hp – and no four-wheel drive; GHL reckons front drive is of genuine value only occasionally and seeks to optimise rear axle traction through weight distribution and big tyres.

Yamaha has also revamped its mid-range line-up, dropping the 4 x 4 Timberwolf and short-lived Wolverine, and replacing the established Big Bear 4 x 4 with an FWB version that is lighter and packs a simpler five-speed (instead of 10-speed) transmission. The YFM350FWB Big Bear also has a little more ground clearance – yet the carrying capacity of the former model has been retained at up to 40kg on the front rack, 80kg on the rear rack. &#42

KEY TOQUADS& CARRIERS

Quad Bike ATVs

* electric shift option increases weight by 4kg, price by £200; ** braked trailer 1260kg

CC – centrifugal clutch and manual gear change; VB – infinitely variable speed control; TC – torque converter, P-Petrol, D-Diesel.

ATVLoad Carriers

ñ payloads: Hillcat 775-350kg + two persons or six persons; Hillcat 1100-500kg – two persons or six persons; Hillcat 1700-750kg + three persons or nine persons; 1100 and 1700 model weights include tracks.

Euro braked trailer 1720kg.

# wrap-around tracks optional

CVT-continuously variable (belt) transmission; TC-torque converter; HYD-hydrostatic

Cooling: A-Air; L-Liquid, FAF-Fan assisted air, F-Fan

ATVSPECIAL

QUADBIKEATVs

Model Engine size, Cool Driven Gears Drive Ground Weight Front Rear Towing List List

fuel, power wheels clearance load load capacity 2wd 4/6/8wd

(cc/P,D/hp) (wd) (f/r) (mm) (kg) (kg) (Kg) (kg) (£) (£)

Arctic Cat – Suzuki GB (01293-518000)

Bearcat 300 4×2 280/P A 2 10/1 CC 203 250 34 68 381 3495 na

Bearcat 300 4×4 280/P A 2/4 15/1 CC 203 265 34 68 381 – 4150

Bearcat 454 4×2 454/P L 2 5/1 CC 234 266 41 82 477 3995 –

Bearcat 454 4×4 454/P L 2/4 10/1 CC 234 284 45 91 375 – 4995

GHL Diablo – GHL Products (01270-811671)

Diablo 611 611/D/16 L 2 2/1 CVT 170 380 30 75 1000 5495 –

Honda – Honda UK (0181-746 9751)

Fourtrax 250 229/P/15 A 2 5/1 CC 152 183 30 60 225 3199 –

Fourtrax 300 282/P/17.8 A 2/4 5/1 CC 160 220/244 30 60 385 3799 4695

Foreman TRX450 432/P/24 FAF 4 5/1* CC 190 253* 30 60 386 – 5399*

Kawasaki – Kawasaki Motors (01628-851000)

KLF220A 215/P/17 A 2 5/1 CC 155 183 20 30 204 3050 –

KLF300B 290/P/19.2 FAF 2 5/1 CC 195 229 32 63 317 3650 –

KLF300C 290/P/19.7 A 4 10/2 CC 225 263 32 63 317 – 4550

KLF400B6 391/P/24.7 L 4 5/1 CC 185 274 40 70 500 – 4950

KVF400D1 / C1 391/P/28.6 L 2/4 1/1 CVT 163 275 40 70 500 3750 4650

Polaris – E P Barrus (01869-363636)

Trail Blazer 250/P A 2 1/1 CVT 152 191 – – – 2895 –

300 300/P A 2 2/1 CVT 165 232 41 82 386 3495 –

D-Bat Stockman 406/D A 2/4 2/1 CVT 165 315 41 82 630** – 5395

Sportsman 335 334/P FAF 2/4 2/1 CVT 260 303 41 82 386 – 4695

Sportsman 500 499/P/32 L 2/4 2/1 CVT 280 299 41 82 386 – 5495

Yamaha – Yamaha Motors (01932-358000)

YFA1 Breeze 124/P/ A 2 1/1 CVT 145 144 – – – 2395 –

YFB250 Timberwolf 230/P/18.2 A 2 5/1 CC 205 198 30 45 330 3250 –

YFM350U Big Bear 348/P/22.6 A 2 10/1 CC 215 248 40 80 360 3695 –

YFM350FWB Big Bear 348/P/20.5 A 4 5/1 CC 245 246 40 80 330 – 4495

YFM400 Kodiak 386/P/24 FAF 4 10/1 CC 180 273 40 80 410 – 4745

YFM600 Grizzly 595/P/37 FAF 2/4 2/1 CVT 245 290 45 85 550 – 5495

ATVLOADCARRIERS

Argo – Crayford Special Vehicles (01727-851222)

Vanguard 2 480/P/16 FAF 6# 2/1 CVT 200 348 – 317 750 – 6000

Bigfoot 570/P/18 FAF 6# 2/1 CVT 200 414 – 317 750 – 7000

Response 570/P/18 FAF 8# 2/1 CVT 200 436 – 454 1000 – 8000

Conquest 617/P/20 L 8# 2/1 CVT 200 465 – 454 1000 – 10000

Diesel D/18 L 8# 2/1 CVT 200 465 – 454 1000 – 11000

John Deere – John Deere (01949-860491)

Gator 4×2 286/P/8 A 2 2/2 CVT 170 360 – 408 408 4634 –

Gator 6×4 617/P/14 L 4 2/2 CVT 170 453 – 544 544 – 6258

Gator 6×4 Diesel 658/D/14.3 L 4 2/2 CVT 170 508 – 636 636 – 7350

Kawasaki – Kawasaki Motors (01628-851000)

Mule 550 286/P/10 L 2 1/1 TC 160 351 – 400 410 4050 –

Mule 2500 / 2510 616/P/20 L 2or4 á TC 170 501/537 – 603 545 5250 655

á-gears: 1fF,1r/2f,2r

Polaris – E P Barrus (01869-363636)

D-Bat 6×6 406/D/12 F 4/6# 2/1 CVT 165 430 41 363 860Euro – 6095

Magnum 425 6×6 425/P/28 L 4/6# 2/1 CVT 152 386 34 363 386 – 5995

Ranger 499/P/32 L 4/6# 2/1 CVT 190 690 – 686 686 – 8995

Scot-Track – Scot-Track (01667-455592)

Hillcat 775 614/P/20 FAF 8# 2/2 TC 210 600 – 350ñ 350 – 9541

Hillcat 1100 1498/D/46 L 8# 1/1 HYD 195 1360 – 500ñ 500 – 18221

Hillcat 1700 1498/D/ L 8# 1/1 HYD 220 1880 – 750ñ 750 – 27896