You can see Go Pro Helmet Cam
footage of this shootout at
Sportsman is the highest priced
machine in the group and unfortunately, this newly redesigned quad
doesn’t come with our favorite
Sportsman feature—the large under
rack storage up front. We never had
any problems with the old chassis or
engine, so in this hard economy, having power steering on the old chassis
is a choice we wish we had.
Suzuki’s new King Quad 500 is a
great addition to their packed lineup.
The geometry of the front end pro-
vides a stable ride and the power
steering gives just enough feel, so
end would push under slow speed
acceleration. On the positive side the
fenders provided excellent protec-
tion and held up to our abusive test-
Suzuki’s King Quad has great low-end torque and comfortable feedback
through the handlebars, which we
liked best. We also liked Suzuki’s tall
aggressive footpegs. On the down
side, the mechanical rear brakes did
not work as well as the others. Also,
by the end of our testing, the bodywork on the Suzuki had separated
slightly had had to be re-secured in a
Yamaha’s Grizzly excelled in the
tight terrain. It would carve the cor-
ners perfectly, clear the rocks with
ease and power through the mud
better than the others without slip-
ping. Comfort and the ergonomics
were also first-rate on the Grizzly. The
bodywork held up great as we
scraped through the trees. Our only
complaint on the Grizzly all day is
that the footpegs are too tame for
aggressive riding or muddy condi-
tions. We had this same complaint
with the Grizzly 700 in the past.
At $6999, Honda’s Rancher AT is a
great work machine and performs
well on all trails. But, the smaller
motor keeps it from winning any
races. However, for a work machine,
we wish it had more storage capability other than the racks and one small
compartment. Plus, if you’re only
going to use a machine like this for
work chores and the occasional trail
ride, the solid axle Foreman 475
might be a better choice.
The Polaris Sportsman 550 is an
awesome ATV. It works as well as it
plays. The on-command power steering is a great feature. On the down
side, this system doesn’t provide as
much obstacle kickback protection as
the Suzuki or the Yamaha. The
We liked Suzuki’s new 500 King Quad engine and transmission settings more than we liked their 700. It has more torque
for hill climbs and is plenty fast on the open dirt trails.
Honda’s 420cc, EFI, equipped Rancher had the smallest powerplant of the bunch. We never had any complaints about it
being slow or under powered. Most of our test riders preferred
to ride the machine in the manual, push-button shift mode.
Yamaha’s Grizzly 550 won all of our drag races and did as good
through the mud in 2WD than the others did in 4WD. On the down
side, the air-filter is not very easy to access and requires tools.
Polaris totally redesigned the Sportsman engines for 2009.
They are now installed with the CVT cover toward the rear of
the machine. This change made the saddle area narrower but
it also made the CVT belt more difficult to change.