HONDA TRX250X (TBA)
This Honda is actually a kind of intermediate-level
machine, good for transitioning to high-performance
ATVs or just as a final destination. It has a mild, 229cc,
air-cooled motor, which is mounted longitudinally in the
chassis and connects to a driveshaft. The manual five-speed gearbox has reverse, but the Honda SportClutch
allows your choice of manual operation or automatic use.
HONDA TRX400X (TBA)
This is the descendent of the ATV that breathed life back
into sport quads about 15 years ago. The 400X has the
same basic formula for success as always. It’s a reliable,
air-cooled machine with a carb and decent suspension in
stock form. It has a manual clutch and a five-speed gearbox with reverse. Electric start is standard, and it’s narrow
enough for most trails.
KAWASAKI KFX450R (2014 model, $8299)
Kawasaki’s take on the 450 sport quad is a little different. The KFX450R has reverse. Otherwise, the motor is
very similar to that of the Kawasaki KX450F motorcycle
that Ryan Villopoto rides in Supercross. It has electric start
and comes in an aluminum frame with swingarm suspension in the rear and double A-arms in front. In stock form,
it’s 46.1inches wide, which is trail-appropriate.
POLARIS PHOENIX 200 ($3599)
The Phoenix is a secret success in the Polaris line
because it’s so simple and basic. It’s aimed at the beginner who doesn’t want to worry about a manual clutch or
gearbox. Power comes from a simple air-cooled motor
hooked up to a CV transmission. It has reverse and shaft
drive. The Phoenix is designed for riders who are 14
years old and have the supervision of an adult, or for solo
operation of 16-year-olds.
KYMCO MONGOOSE 300
This is a sport quad that’s very undemanding. It doesn’t
ask that you shift or operate a manual clutch—all that is
done for you. It also has reverse, so you’ll never have to get
off and push it backwards (that’s just plain embarrassing!)
The motor is a liquid-cooled four-stroke with a displacement of 270cc. It has a chain final drive, electric start and
triple hydraulic disc brakes. The warranty is one full year.
SUZUKI QUADSPORT Z400 (2014 price, $7149)
The Suzuki 400 was the first four-stroke to win a GNCC
motocross championship in the hands of Doug Gust, and it
hasn’t changed much, aside from the addition of EFI. The
400 endures because it’s not only a performance quad, but
it’s unintimidating and easy to ride. Its width is appropriate
for trail riding, and it has good suspension. The 400 isn’t
officially a 2015 model, but commonly available.