CAN-AM DS250 ($4049)
You don’t have to be an expert for Can-Am’s 250 sport
quad, but you can become one on it. It has automatic
clutching and shifting with its CV transmission. It also has
electric start with a back-up kickstart lever, reverse and
full floorboards. The throttle has an adjustable throttle
stop to allow a safe learning period. The front suspension
has double A-arms and shocks with adjustable preload.
CAN-AM DS450 ($7799)
If you want to go fast in the dirt but don’t especially want to
line up with a bunch of questionable yahoos in an officially
sanctioned race, the base-model Can-Am DS450 might be
what you’re after. It has the same electric-start DOHC EFI
motor as the two more race-oriented DS versions, but without
all of the extra parts and the extra price. It comes in trail-width
( 46 inches), spun-aluminum wheels and ITP tires.
HONDA TRX450R ($7799)
Some time ago we reported on a new, fuel-injected
TRX450R that was right around the corner. Honda has such
a machine in the back room but doesn’t see the need for it
yet. The carbureted TRX is still winning races and selling
reasonably well. The best part is that the price is holding at
the same level, and a new machine would cost considerably
more. The bottom line is that the existing 450 is still great.
HONDA TRX250X (TBA)
Before the TRX250X came on the scene in 2001, virtually
all sport quads were based on some sort of motorcycle-type
engine. The X (then called the EX), on the other hand, was
based on a pure ATV concept with a longitudinal crankshaft
and driveshaft. After all this time, the 250X (actually 229cc) is
still unique. It has a five-speed gearbox with reverse and a
clutch that can be used manually or automatically.
HONDA TRX400X (TBA)
This ATV gets a lot of credit for changing the landscape
of our sport 15 years ago and deserves it. The X is a general-purpose sport ATV that is just as good today as it was
in 1999—better, in fact, now that it has reverse and the
results of gradual evolution. The X isn’t a racer, but it
makes enough power and handles well enough to play
one on television.
KAWASAKI KFX450R ($8299)
Kawasaki continues to offer the only high-performance
sport 450 with reverse. The KFX450R is based loosely on the
KX450F that Ryan Villopoto used to win virtually everything
in the motorcycle world in 2013, and it comes in an aluminum
chassis that, in stock form, is set up in a narrow configuration
that’ suitable for cross-country. The widening process for MX
is fairly easy but requires help from the aftermarket.