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I have been riding dirt bikes and four wheelers for forty years. I consider my self educated on these items, but not so much on the side by sides. For the last 15 years or so mainly riding four wheelers. Done my time on trails, tracks, racing and promo shows. Now I just put around on a 4x4 ATV.

We moved a few years ago to a decent size property. The seller had an old Kawasaki Mule 550 that was negotiated into the deal. It is basically a golf cart with a 250-300cc engine on it, but it is tuff as a boat anchor and always cranks when I turn the key. I find that I use it a lot, and would use it more if it was more capable. I need an upgrade, a serious upgrade. I don't consider myself "cheap" but just haven't been able to bring myself to spend the money on a new side by side. I fixed up an old Jeep XJ and use it some, but it isn't the right tool for the job either... So, I think I am going to sell of a few old toys that I can really do without to help offset the sticker shock of a new side by side.

First thing is there is no inventory right now, and I am not quite ready to buy yet, so I have some time to sort things out.

Here are some quick highlights from what I know now;
Polaris Ranger - I will for sure be looking at least a XP1000 model, and probably more like a Northstar Edition. Polaris pretty much owns this part of the SxS market and all others are compared to it. Huge accessory market available.
Can-Am Defender - HD10 model. I have yet to look closely at one, but from memory, appear to be well made. Seats maybe a little more comfortable than the Ranger. Accessory market is okay and growing.
John Deere - I am a huge green and yellow fan (mine would be camo), but to be brutally honest... the JD flagship models just don't compete.
Kubota - a little different animal, but they do make good stuff and that warrants at least a serious look.
Honda, Kawasaki and Yamaha - I'll look at what they have, but dont think they directly compete in the full size utility/sport market.
What about the little Japanese cab over trucks?
So... all that, just to ask this;


What do you have? And if you were buying today, what would you buy and why?

Thanks for any input.
 

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I traded a 2014 Ranger XP900 on a 2020 Pioneer 1000-3 Deluxe. The Ranger served us well but decided I either needed to invest in a Duraclutch or upgrade to a new machine. Our use includes a lot of stop/starts working around the property. I prefer the Pioneer for what we do but based upon our experience with the XP900, an XP1000 would have been a good choice as well. If I did go with the XP1000 I was considering a Duraclutch for it.

dsb
 

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I have been on the fence on buying a new atv or sxs. I though made up my mind and went to buy / order a Grizzly xtr 2 weeks a go. Well it seems theres none to be had, the local dealership told me to come back in mid September. I was kinda shocked I couldnt even order one.

I have been looking at sxs’s. The Yamaha R max is on the top of my short list. My main use would be trail riding. I want something somewhat sporty, but still capable of pulling small trailers and being able to plow light snow .

I don’t see the point of getting a sxs with a fully inclosed cab with heat and ac to go trail riding, may as well get a jeep .
 

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Second mention to take a look at the Honda, or the Kubota RTV with the hydrostatic transmission.

Most of the market uses snowmobile-style clutches, and while good enough in a four wheeler these really don't cut in a UTV. Esp. if you have hills or plan to pull stuff.

My family has a Kubota RTV 900. Although loud and slow, it's excellent on hills and more of a subcompact tractor than utility vehicle.

And of course always consider local support. Don't drive past three brands on a day's drive to look at a fourth. :)
 

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And if you were buying today, what would you buy and why?
We have the XUV 560 I looked at a few others before buying but the others that were of interest had a full time locked rear, deal breaker for me.
 
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Now that I’ve owned a SxS for a year I am getting a feel for at least the small Gator. Prior to that I had not even ridden in one.

If it ever comes time to replace or upgrade the transmission type will be the most important thing for me to consider for my usage. I only have 6 acres with no other place to ride whatsoever. So most of my driving is 10mph and under.

While the CVT transmission does its job I feel it isn’t the best for how I use it. Very short trips and a lot of stop and go. I will look hard at a Honda with the “real” transmission and the Kubota with hydro trans. I am thinking a hydro trans would work well for me.
 

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Most of the market uses snowmobile-style clutches, and while good enough in a four wheeler these really don't cut in a UTV. Esp. if you have hills or plan to pull stuff.
I've done MANY hours on a snowmobile pulling a 4ft x 10ft groomer full of snow. Never ever had a clutch issue.
I will say the clutch in our XUV 560 does NOT impress me at all. I haven't had any major issues with it, YET.
 
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may as well get a jeep .
At some point that is where my thoughts go. Some of those SxS's get pretty pricey and it is pretty easy to take the top off a Jeep.

Can't offer much on the higher end of the SxS market. I just have a Pinto Gator (560) to putt around in. Does a good job for that. If I was wanting to haul or tow heavy stuff, I wouldn't want to do that with the Pinto Gator.

We had a cabbed diesel Kubota model where I last worked. First though was LOUD. You had to get used to the throttle because it did not have any run out when you took your foot off the pedal. If you did too quickly you would end up against the steering wheel. Never really needed to use the brakes on that thing.
 

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For a work utv it would be pretty hard to beat the Kubota. We had a few dozen utvs rented on a big construction job I was on a year ago. The cat was pretty nice too. The Polaris rangers seemed to break a lot. One of the rangers actually broke in 2. Welds Failed .
 
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I don’t see the point of getting a sxs with a fully inclosed cab with heat and ac to go trail riding, may as well get a jeep .
My employer used to use Gators heavily on jobsites. Then it got to the point where they needed lighting, roll bar, seat belts, cab, heat etc... while all good finally defeated the purpose. We now use "tired but usable" pickup trucks.
 

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We got 2 4x6's and a 4x4 gator on the farm, uncomfortable, slow and wish they would burn. Friend has a Kubota fully loaded, had to take it back for a turbo so he could climb his driveway. Know a few with Can am and seem decent. Got to love the Honda guy's, had one 30years ago that was bullet proof, not that way today. Polaris has around 50% of the market, just for perspective if you add sales of the next 6 competitors together they won't make Polaris numbers, now that really doesn't mean **** other then aftermarket support is second to none. The CVT trans dominates this market, my best advice, get use to it, some people expect these to drive like trucks and they don't. I've got 2 Polaris's, use them for right of way spraying, lots of stop and go along with high speed road travel loaded to the max, with a combined mileage total around 14,000 and I've seen nothing else I'd rather buy. Honestly it's a Ford/Chevy thing, whatever you got is the best just make sure you have a good dealer.
 

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I had a 1996 Kawasaki Mule 2510 4x4. Never put a clutch or even a new belt on it. But I wanted EFI, BETTER ride, Power steering, and room to sit 3 across. I did not want a "Hot Rod" SxS ( wish they made them 40 years ago) So I bought another Kawasaki, a Mule Pro FXR. Very happy with it, night and day better than my old Mule. It cost twice as much, but considering inflation a better deal.
 

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When this economy fails there will be some nice late model machines at very attractive pricing.
Trail riding with sxs’s has gotten extremely popular in NE Wisconsin. Hundreds of machines go past the cabin on Saturdays. Most have no clue how to maintain them. Run the through deep water and mud . Many used the free money they got for a down payment on these things. I think there’s going to be a lot of junk on the market soon.

Because i trail ride myself with atvs, I would never buy used unless I got a hell of a deal. chances are the wheel bearings and cv joints are going to need to be replaced.
 

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I had a 1996 Kawasaki Mule 2510 4x4.
They replaced a Kawasaki Mule with the Kubota where I last worked.

IMO, the Mule was a better machine.
 
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