q We are more than a little surprised
that the redesign of the 2014 Honda
FourTrax Rancher actually happened.
To begin with, Honda has sold 1.5 million Ranchers, and it is the best-selling
machine in the category. There’s not
much motivation for change there.
Then Honda approached Rancher
owners to see what they thought
should be changed on the Rancher.
The most widely repeated answer?
Nothing. Further motivation to leave
well-enough alone for most, but not
Honda essentially created the ATV
market, and they’re serious about it.
In the end, Honda came up with a
plan to improve the 2014 Rancher’s
work capability (848 pounds of tow-
ing capacity and 199-pound capacity
for the two racks) where possible, but
made a serious effort to make the
Rancher more fun for recreational
riding. To prove the fun factor, Honda
brought along every Rancher model
Honda makes and let us bomb the
Ohio woods on every one of them.
For those who don’t know, all the
Ranchers share a chassis, bodywork
and an EFI 420cc engine, so they
basically look identical. But, there is
the base Rancher with 2WD, manual
shift, auto clutch and five-speed; the
ES, which is the base-model 2WD
with five-speed, push-button electric
shifting; the Rancher 4x4 that is a five-speed manual shift; the 4x4 EPS that
is manual shift and electric power
steering; the 4x4 ES, which is the base
4x4 with push-button shifting; and the
high-end models are the Rancher
Automatic dual clutch transmission
and the Automatic DCT EPS. The DCT
models have a switch on the handlebar that allows toggling between
push-button shifting and riding in
fully automatic mode. Talk about sibling rivalry! But after riding them, we
got the family tree sorted out.
A new Rancher that adds fun to the job
By the staff of Dirt Wheels