Most anticipated quad of 2009

September 06, 2008 at 9:09 am

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2009 has been an awesome year for ATV's. Just about every major manufacturer has come out with something new and exciting. Can-am came out with true race ready versions of the DS-450 and they seem spectacular. Polaris released all new Sportsman's with Dual A-Arms all around and power steering. They also redesigned their outlaws and they look great. KTM released it's MX versions it's quad. Suzuki redesigned the z400 and added EFI. And there's more and more.

You may ask then why I think the Rancher is the coolest quad of them all? Well what's different in 2009? Here's an excerpt from Honda's press release.

bq. Meet the all-new 2009 Rancher AT. With a powerful liquid-cooled, fuel-injected 420cc longitudinally mounted engine, automatic/ESP five-speed transmission, Electric Power Steering, independent rear suspension-plus Honda's selectable 4WD/2WD TraxLok and rugged torque-sensitive front differential-there's no better choice for reliable and rewarding ATV recreation.

Lets dig right in.

  • First of all the Rancher AT gets a power increase to match it up with the regular Rancher. It also gets a new transmission that is supposed to reduce power draw (the old AT sucked a lot more power than a traditional belt transmission).

  • Next we have independent rear suspension. That's right, the long running complaint about the Rancher has been it's solid straight axle. A solid axle has some benefits especially for fire roads, but for 90% of you're riding situations IRS is better. Its good to see it finally in the Rancher.

  • Last and certainly not least. Power Steering. I own a 2007 Grizzly 700 and I have to tell you power steering is awesome. Not only has it made riding nicer for me, but every time I've let a girl ride the quad she's expressed how much easier it is to steer than my brother's Brute Force. I predict in the next 3 years every utility quad will have power steering.

Now all of these features can be found on other quads, so why am I so excited about the Rancher? Take that list and add one more item, mid-sized. At the time of this writing the Rancher is the only mid-sized quad with power steering. That my friend is what for me makes it the most anticipated quad of 2009.

I've been dying to see a mid-sized quad with EPS. As easy is my Grizzly is to steer, it is still a huge quad. My wife just isn't very comfortable riding it. Since the Grizzly came out i've been thinking that the best market for EPS was not enthusiast but the casual rider. I can now get my wife a quad with all the bells and whistles in a size she can handle. With power steering and IRS on a quad her size she should be able to ride all day and not be too tired to ride again tomorrow.

Posted by Mike |
tags: honda