Monday, May 25, 2015

2013 Honda Rancher Review

My love affair with Honda goes back to the early 90's when I rode my first Honda Foreman 400 around the farm in southern Arkansas. One of the things that stoodHonda Rancher 420 AT.
out to me was the quality of the machine, how day in and day out these machines were used as work horses around the farm from pulling water tanks to spray herbicide along the rice field levees, to pulling trailers around chicken farm houses, these ATV's worked without ever missing a beat. Fast forward 20 years later and I finally bought myself a

The feeling I had when I brought home my Honda Rancher 420 AT, it took me back to that very first time I rode a Honda. Grabbing the handlebars, pressing the throttle and hearing that unmistakable Honda sound, it was as if, I was reliving my boyhood all over again.

What are the best features on a Honda Rancher 420

Although, at the time when I bought the Honda Rancher it was to help me relieve some stress when I came home from work. It allowed me to go explore the area around my neighborhood and find trails that I otherwise wouldn't have found with out the help of the Honda Rancher 420. Today, we are using it as one of our daily drivers for our tour company Texas Border Tours.

The particular model that I bought came with independent rear suspension (IRS) which I prefer over a single rear axle (SRA). Both types of suspension are good, it just depends what the intended use will be. For example, a SRA works better for pulling trailers and working around the job site. A IRS works better for trails where the terrain is uneven, you will notice it more when you go over obstacles, even though the articulation of each rear tire may not have the travel distance of a rock climber it still makes a difference when you are out in the trail.

This particular model also came with a dual option to chose between electric manual shift or "automatic" shift. I say automatic in parenthesis because it is not truly an automatic transmission. When the automatic mode is selected, you have the ATV's computer shifting for you. Although it is not the ideal way it still works as an automatic because all the rider has to do is give it gas and it goes. When I ride it, I use the manual shift mode option all the time because I decide when it is best to shift and I generally operate it on the high rpm band. When my daughters ride it, they use the automatic mode and it works flawlessly. However, one drawback of this automatic option is when going up steep hills, the computer can never get the right gear to make the climb, what you get is loss of power when it shifts on you at the top of the hill and you give it some gas, it downshifts and almost causes you to tip over. One way to correct this, is to change it to manual mode before making any climbs and have the correct power output evenly through out your climb.

Why get an ATV if it is not going to be 4x4? It was a must for me to have a 4x4 ATV and I wouldn't have it any other way. Honda made this simple and easy to use, by simply moving a lever up or down you can engage or disengage the 4x4 on the Rancher. Having 4x4 available just allows you to go a lot more places that a regular 4x2 ATV just couldn't go. Don't get me wrong, you will go places within reason, as I quickly discovered even though I had a 4x4 ATV I was not immune to getting stuck. I would say that after about four (4) or five (5) times of getting stuck, I opted to get a warn winch installed. Now you can really go places and if you get stuck all you have to do is winch yourself out. Well, that even gets old, after about four (4) or five (5) times, you don't really look forward to getting stuck anymore. Needless to say, although having a 4x4 is awesome, the drawbacks are getting stuck and then having to clean the Rancher, that is a chore I'd rather skip.

Is adding bigger tires to an ATV a good idea

The Honda Rancher is a mid-size ATV that is both strong and agile.Superior Traction Tires because I wanted to take my Honda Rancher places where other ATV's would have to sit on the sidelines. I am sad to report that going with bigger tires was not a good idea. The Honda Rancher just doesn't have the power to turn those tires in the mud. What I got was a bogged down ATV that couldn't push through the muck. One piece of advice that I would give anyone trying to go to a bigger tire on a small size engine ATV is save your money, you won't go places you think you can go and you will be greatly disappointed. After I got the tires I researched trying to change the gear ratio on the transmission, anything that would give me more torque but I quickly realized I was stuck with my mistake. I remember going through a plowed field just after a heavy down pour, in first gear throttle wide open, the mud was so bad that it locked all my wheels. It got to a point where neither forward or reverse would move the tires. The motor just didn't have the power required to turn the tires. Capable of reaching max speeds of 52 mph, you can sure get from one side of the farm to the other in no time, all while pulling a trailer. Don't get me wrong it has its limitations but you really have to push the one piston motor to find that limit. One of the things that I did last year was to upgrade tires. I went with a set of

What's the down side of owning a Honda Rancher 420

When you look at the whole picture, there is nothing anyone can really say about the Honda Rancher, it does what it was designed to do. Within the boundaries of reason you can not expect the performance of a big bore ATV, it just simply doesn't have the power, but when you compare it to a similar size ATV, there is no other brand that can compare to the Rancher. Sure, Can-am has the Outlander L model, and Yamaha has the Grizzly, but those are CVT run atv's and can not match to the durability and longevity of a true gear transmission as found on the Honda Rancher 420. Overall there are no real down sides to owning a quality made machine. After 2 years of heavy use, it still runs as the day it came out of the dealership with very low maintenance required.

Why buy a Honda?

Simply put, Honda is the best on earth, it has a reputation of quality deep in their core values. Ask anyone that owns a Honda and they will tell you the same thing, Honda's just outlast any ATV's out on the market today. After years of serious use, you will discover that your Honda will work the same as the day you brought it home. It will withstand any punishment you can possibly throw at it and will be dependable until the day you decide to get rid of it. Which is something the new comers like Can-am and Polaris just cant get right just yet. Honda has been in the game of making ATV's for a long time and this isn't their first rodeo. I'm sure that anyone can probably argue this point, but I am speaking of first hand experience and knowledge of what a Honda truly is.









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