• First, consider how you will use your ATV. Recreational riding? Then a two-wheel drive sport ATV might be your ride. High-performance models combine fuel injection, hybrid aluminum frames and race-ready suspension. Or you can find value buys, especially for entry or step-up-level riders.
Working the land or hunting large acreage? A utility ATV is what you need. Something that can handle towing and hauling, crawl through mud and over rocks. Top-line models feature full four-wheel drive systems, but there are also lower-priced two-wheel drive utility options.
Whatever your priority, work or fun, look to a reputable manufacturer. Companies like Yamaha, which assembles many of its ATVs in its Newnan, Georgia, factory, will stand behind their product with warranties, parts, and dealers with service departments. Buying from a lesser-known manufacturer can get you a cheap price up front, but low quality and no dealer support will almost surely have you paying more in the long run.
• Next, think about what size engine you need. Are you going to be hauling big loads or pulling light chores and riding around your property? Many ATVs can do both, and some of today’s machines boast engines up to 1,000 cc, but if you are a cost-conscious shopper with a lighter workload, then you can probably find a smaller-cc engine that will get you around just fine. Still, look for the models with automatic, dual-range transmissions. The high- and low-range options will help you tour and tow better no matter the engine size.
• Then, read customer reviews online, talk to friends who ride ATVs and look for third-party endorsements. For example, a company that works with motorsports dealerships across the country, ADP Lightspeed, recently released a study showing that Yamaha’s CVT, or Continuously Variable Transmission, was more durable than similar systems in competitive models. A specific third-party finding like this goes a long way in backing up a company’s own claims, and a lasting transmission means more time working or playing on the trails.
• Finally, there’s price. And as mentioned before, each of the different categories—sport, utility, four-by-four or two-wheel drive—will come with a variety of pricing options. Balance your needs with your budget and you should be able to find a model that matches both.
For more information, visit www.yamaha-motor.com/outdoor.