How To Buy Your First Quad – Everything That You Need To Know
Buying your first quad is like buying your first car: a wonderful and blissful experience, no matter the age or state of the vehicle in question. then we over time get attached to it because of all the trips and all the adventures lived in it.
The same thing happens when it comes to quads. like I mentioned in this article a while ago, the first quad that I bought for myself was a used 1986 Honda 3 wheeler, which is a quad with 3 wheels (they used to be 3 wheeled vehicles for a long time). I don’t remember if it was family or friends, but I remember that somebody had an ATV and he let me ride it. he quickly taught me how you operate it and off I went!
That quad was very fast and surprisingly balanced. I didn’t need to worry as much about being straight when compared to a dirtbike. in short, I had a great time. and that continued for a few days. I asked him if I could use it more and so I bought gas from it. in short, I loved the little machine and decided to buy one for myself.
Thankfully, I made a great first purchase. it was a 3wheeler which I think helped me learn the intricacies of cornering and going fast on a straight line. anyways, I bought it for 1000$ from an old couple and I then proceeded to ride it hard over the following months. over time I learned some things and started buying more powerful models. I also bought my first 4 wheeled quad. I have also been swindled and made poor buys! so I have some experience.
I decided to make this article as a small continuation of 14 Things I Wish I Knew Before Buying An ATV, but with more detail to the buying process. I know that its easy to make a mistake in the process, like overpaying for a quad, errors that I unfortunately did. anyways, I hope you enjoy this guide!
What are you looking for?
The first thing that you should ask yourself is what type of quad are you looking for. there are several types of ATVs depending on what you are going to use the quad for. keep in mind that even if it’s a sports model or a more utility-based quad, modern ATVs are very versatile, so they all have some offroading performance.
Sports ATVs are the quads with the most “racing” performance. big 4 stroke engines with a lot of horsepower, sharp and precise cornering, performance suspension setups, and aggressive or sporty styling are some of the characteristics of sports ATVs
These little monsters are capable of reaching speeds of over 75 MPH in under 7 seconds, so calling them fast would be an understatement if you are looking to buy an ATV to go to a dirtbike trail or just generally going fast in a straight line, then this is the type of quad for you! these quads are also the most plentiful in the used market, so they definitely aren’t hard to find. some Sports ATVs include the Yamaha Raptor, Honda TRX250X, Polaris Scrambler 850.
Offroading ATVs are also considered a “sport” model but their strengths are more suited to mud, sand, and offroading in general. offroaders usually have less horsepower, a raised suspension which is more forgiving and has more ground clearance, all wrapped up in a package similar to a normal “sports” quad, with pretty much identical styling.
They are also usually a bit bigger than their more nimble counterparts. these quads are the best choice for people who are going to primarily use the quad for offroading but also want something that isn’t sluggish or heavy. consider them a blend of sport and utility quads. some offroading quads include the Polaris Sportsman High Lifter, Can-Am Renegade X MR 570, and Kawasaki Brute Force 750 4X4.
Utility ATVs are more oriented towards carrying stuff and being more of a transportation tool in general. they are a bit bigger than both Offroading and Sports ATVs and so they are more comfortable when sitting in them. the suspension is also tweaked for comfort.
Utility ATVs have several applications. the first one is for farm work. ATVs have always been popular with people working on fields or with animals. they let you pick up stuff over the field so that you don’t have to go and pick it up yourself or even carry it.
Another way people use utility ATVs is to hunt. using an ATV to hunt is perfect because not only the quad is maneuverable, but it also allows you to bring more than 1 tool and several pounds of gear with you.
In short, utility quads are more for people that are buying an ATV because they actually need it for work, but they also want to have fun with it once in a while. Examples include the Suzuki king quad, Yamaha grizzly, Honda Fourtrax Rubicon.
UTVs/Side by Sides
UTVs are considered the ATVs older brother. also called side by sides, these machines are mostly made with utility in mind. their primary use is in work conditions, like farms, and forests, or any place that needs a nimble machine with a lot of cargo space. they are also more expensive than the other type of ATVs because of their work acumen.
I honestly haven’t owned a UTV yet but some people have let me ride in them and where they really excel is the versatility that they give you. also, it was the first time that I rode with somebody on my side because they have 2 seats. examples include Honda Pioneer 1000, and Polaris RZR XP
If you aren’t exactly sure what you are looking for or are just looking for a quad to ride for recreation, I would personally recommend getting an offroading quad. they are the most balanced of the bunch, combining plenty of horsepower with nice offroading performance.
New or Used?
After you know which type of ATV you want, you are going to have to decide to go for a new or a used quad. and choosing is certainly a personal choice. it depends a lot on each person, their budget, what they are looking for etc… so I decided to make a pros and cons of both new and used quads!
- Buying new has the benefit of getting a new off the factory quad with 0KM. there will be no scratches or any signs of wear and you will be the first one to sit and ride it
- Buying a new quad in 2018 has the added benefit of getting an awesome warranty that will cover any failures that the quad might have. everything from engine malfunctions to defective suspension, shocks are usually covered.
- Buying new means that you are buying the most advanced quad at the time. this means the most performance, comfort, and technology available at the moment. ideal for enthusiasts who are demanding the very best
- Buying new is expensive. depending on the model that you want, you could pay between 6000$ up to 15000$ for a new quad. this is especially apparent in special edition model
- Not only it is expensive, but after you buy it, the quad depreciates rather quickly. so the 10000$ that you paid become 6000$ as soon as 6 months after you buy it. after that, you can calculate the gas and maintenance costs and you are looking at a 5000$ loss in a small frame of time.
- Buying used means that you getting much more value for your money. if you buy the quad from a person that bought it new, then they are the ones that suffered the most depreciation, even if they didn’t use the quad that much. as little as 25 hours riding the quad can seriously reduce the resale price of it. other things that you will avoid are dealer fees and sales tax.
- you will also avoid extra charges like dealer fees and sales tax, which can really jack up the prices of a new quad.
- Buying used means that there will be some obvious signs of wear in the quad! so if you decide to purchase a used ATV on craigslist keep in mind that you are going to have to deal with things like dings, scratches, and scrapes, especially if the quad was used for offroading.
- Depending on the model that you might buy, buying used means that you will get a quad with reduced reliability because of use, especially if the owner didn’t do maintenance of the quad or he mistreated it.
So as you can see, buying new or used is something that will depend a lot from person to person. if you are looking for the craziest new ATV with lots of comfort, technology, and reliability and in general just want the best thing available, go with the new quad. but if you are on a budget and do not want to spend as much money on a quad, then the best choice is buying used.
What brand should I get?
After knowing what type of quad you want and if you are going to buy it new or used, then you need to set your eyes on a particular brand. however, before I talk to you about them, let me tell you that as of 2018, all brands are making excellent products.
It’s really hard to buy a mediocre quad these days. choosing a particular brand is something that will most often depend on personal preference or individual deals in a particular dealer. but here I make an overview of several ATV brands!
A favorite of many over the country! Polaris is an established ATV & Snowmobile make founded in 1954, so calling them experienced in ATVs would be an understatement. Polaris created the first American made ATV back in 1985 and since then they have gained a reputation for quality quads.
Polaris quads are usually more technologically advanced from the competition, with automatic transmissions, premium brake setups, and comfortable suspensions. they are super comfortable and easy to use because of these tech features. they also look fantastic! the only drawback of them is that because of all the more advanced features found in some of their quads, reliability suffers in the long term.
- Solid brand with established products. quads feature a lot of features for the money.
- Very comfortable ride and easy to use as well.
- Beautiful styling will definitely turn heads.
- Reliability suffers a bit in the long-term, especially if buying their more premium rides.
Another powerhouse of the ATV game, Honda starting building ATVs in 1970 and their first one was a 3 wheeled ride with 7 horsepower! just like their cars, the quads eventually developed a reputation of reliability and dependability, being able to endure a ridiculous amount of neglect. because of this, many consider this brand ideal for newbies looking to get into the world of ATVs. their quads are very rugged and follow an “if it’s not broken don’t fix it” approach. some people like this and some don’t.
Some detractors point out to their outdated tech and antiquated lineup. but some purists appreciate the simplicity and ease of use of these quads. they are also easily found in a manual transmission.
- Excellent reliability, often considered the best in the ATV business. these little machines simply won’t die!
- A very common ATV, which means a lot of part availability for most models.
- Very affordable when compared to other brands.
- lacking a bit when it comes to tech.
- the brand is a little bit limited when it comes to models. there is only 2 models available currently
Yamaha ATVs are very torquey. this means that they have a lot of power. depending of the quad in question, they tend to have fast 0-60 times. this coupled with affordable pricing makes this a popular choice among enthusiasts. yamaha quads are also great for offroading. the Yamaha Grizzly is an excellent quad for offroading, mudding, and utility situations. they are considered cult favorites in the offroading enthusiast community in particular. the only negative about this brand is the pricing of the parts.
If you are buying new then that wouldn’t be a problem, but folks who prefer going the used route should be a little more careful and do your due diligence on the quads status. also, other people say that they aren’t the same as they used to make them but those people are in the minority.
- smooth, torquey engine with a lot of power. fast 0-60 times
- most Yamaha quads are excellent offroaders. the Yamaha grizzly is a cult favorite
- Very affordable when compared to other brands.
- expensive maintenance and parts, in general, makes buying new the safer bet.
- people report that quality has fallen over the years
Can-Am quads are excellent work machines. founded in 1942, Can-Am didn’t make an ATV until 1992 when they decided to make a Utility ATV for the farm markets. it was widely acclaimed when it was launched and won the “best ATV of the year” award on its first year on the market.
It was revered because a combination of utility and offroading performance, and subsequently other Can-Am ATVs were developed with these strengths.
So, when you talk about Can-Am, you are talking about one of the best brands for offroading and utility use. they also have wicked styling which is another thing that I love about this brand.
- very strong utility/offroading performance. these quads have great ground clearance and comfort.
- affordable pricing for new models
- one of the most beautiful ATVs in the market
- reliability could use an improvement
- resale value is a weak point
Suzuki is a brand with a lot of history with ATVs. one of Suzuki’s first quads, the KingQuad was an instant success and cementedSuzuki’ss reputation for excellent performance in the trail. they achieved many firsts in the ATV industry, including several top speed titles.
Suzuki was also the first manufacturer to make a 4 wheeled quad in 1983. before that, they were 3 wheeled machines. their Kingquad and Quadsport ATVs are excellent buys in the utility/sport and sports categories, respectively. so you can thank Suzuki for giving us 4-wheelers and several other innovations!
- easy to work on and repair
- parts can be expensive
- suzuki suffers from a spottier dealership network
What are the best quads of 2018?
I have spent several hours reviewing quads and investigating about which are the best quads for your needs. remember that I mentioned 4 Quadbike classes: Sport, Offroading, Utility, and UTV. So in my spare time, I researched a lot and I found the quads widely considering the best for your money so that you can make the best choice based on the category that you are looking for!
The Yamaha YFZ450R is a 450cc sports-focused quad that is heavily focused on torque and cornering. the quad has several technology goodies and includes a 449cc liquid-cooled DOHC 4-stroke engine, a Yamaha Fuel Injection (YFI) System, all mated to a 5-speed manual transmission. I consider this the very best when it comes to motocross. the quad smooth, progressive power delivery and firm and responsive suspension have got praise from consumers and ATV magazines alike. highly recommended!
A smaller Sports quad with an established following, the Honda TRX250X is a 250cc racing quad with solid performance on the trails. many ATV enthusiasts have started with one of these and no wonder why. these quads are super reliable and are definitely a ride that you can count on. it’s very affordable, resale values are great, and it’s a blast to drive.
Yamaha Grizzly EPS
I Have considered the Yamaha Grizzly the very best for offroading for years. and for this year its still the same story. the Grizzly has the classic 700cc engine found in other Yamahas that provides tons of torque when it’s needed. the 4X4 transmission also does a great job of crunching its way out of a muddy situation, and it also puts the power to the ground very well. you certainly can’t go wrong with the Grizzly.
Outlander X MR 570
A more affordable option for offroading, the Outlander X MR 570 comes mud-ready from the factory and it certainly excels in the trails too. the quad comes with The 28-in (71 cm) ITP Mega Mayhem† 6-ply tires, assisting the quad with the ground clearance and the traction on all surfaces. the Outlander (Can-Am in general) also has a very elegant aesthetic to them. I would recommend this options if the Grizzly is too big for you or you are looking for a more stylish quad.
Polaris Sportsman Touring 570
The Sportsman line has always been revered by enthusiasts because of its comfortable ride and value. now, Polaris has made a more utility based sportsman called the touring. an excellent work and hunting machine, the touring has a very plush ride associated with Polaris. you could ride this all day long. it also features 2 passenger seating so if you are looking to ride with somebody in comfort this is the quad for you.
Honda FourTrax Rubicon
Another quad that has won accolades is the FourTrax Rubicon. being a Honda, ruggedness, and reliability is number 1 in this ride. this is something that many people are looking for when looking for a utility quad. people have blasted honda in the past for making rough ATVs, but this one wasn’t the case, with electric power steering and a damped suspension setup. you really can’t go wrong with this!
Polaris RZR 570
The RZR 570 is one of the most common UTVs used by the general population. it’s easy to see these in farms and rodeos all around America. this means that there are lots of parts availability for this UTV. it has tons of space and comfort and is also a sizable cargo hauler. the base model is also quite affordable for a side by side. usually, UTVs are more expensive than normal ATVs but this UTV can be bought at under 10 grand.
How to negotiate with a dealership
After you know the type and brand of quad that you want to buy, now its time to make the actual purchase! if you choose to go to a dealership then I have some more tips and tricks for you! it’s very easy to pay much more than you thought if you come unprepared but with a full wallet, so knowing a few things is going to help you a lot!
- Before even entering the dealership, it’s important to have a set budget. doing this allows you to have more or less of an idea of what you are going to pay when you leave. I would recommend having a price range rather than a single number in case you are only missing a few dollars to get your new quad.
- Know the market price of the ATV. this is crucial to have a chance to lower the price of the ATV. it also will prevent you from lowballing the dealership! there’s a lot of websites that you can enter that you the market price of a particular model, like nadaguides.com so it might be wise to enter those webpages to know if you are getting a good or a bad deal!
- Do some research on the dealership that you are visiting. are they helpful to customers? are they a little more shady? is their stock moving well or not? this is helpful because you will know as soon as you enter the dealer that they will be willing you wiggle the prices for you.
- Another good tactic is to avoid negotiating. the premise of this is just going to the dealer and telling them that you want to buy the quad at (insert reasonable price) or else there won’t be a deal. this works best on dealerships that are desperate to move stock. it’s very important to follow through and maintain the price that you originally gave, or you will lose some credibility!
- If you find that the pricing is too expensive or they aren’t helping you get a good deal, leave the place! it’s important to value yourself as a customer and make them fight for your business. you can always just return in a few weeks if you find that you guys are not getting anywhere. they might ask for your phone number or your email, so provide them that if they do. they will probably call again in a few days to see if they can get you a lower price!
- Ask for the OOD(out of door) pricing. after some time haggling with the dealer, you guys find a middle ground. “great!” you might say, but remember that there will probably be some extra charges, like dealer fees and sales tax. so when negotiating, ask for the out of door pricing. that way you can know exactly what you are going to pay with fees and everything.
How to inspect a used ATV
Maybe you don’t want to buy the quad new and are looking for a good deal on a used quad. if so, then its imperative that you do a thorough inspection of the quad to know what you are getting into! if you are seriously considering a used ATV then ask the seller to let you do a quick check up! things that you should check with a mechanic include:
First of all, check the exterior components of the quad because it’s obviously the easiest to check. check for any scrapes or dings that the quad might have. if you find a lot of imperfections on the fenders then you should pay a little bit less than the advertised price. you should use them to haggle for a better price.
I would then check the major components of the quad like the engine and the transmission. it’s better if you have a mechanic with you that can help you check for any problems that those parts might have. but if you don’t have one, then riding the quad for a while is your best choice.
Like I said on the other tip, ask for a test ride. any serious seller will allow you to do this if you ask nicely. so the things that you should check when riding it include the throttle response and the gear shifts. irregular throttle and clunky shifts respectively indicate that there might be problems with those components! and they are generally very expensive to replace!
Last but not least, check the tires! this is so important because many owners will neglect to change the tires. check the thread depth to see the state of the tires. if you see that the tires are worn and used, you should ask for a price reduction because of that.
I hope that you enjoyed this guide on how to buy your first ATV! after speaking with a lot of people about their first experience with buying a 4wheeler and of course my own experience I decided to make this guide to help people on their first purchase. the main thing that you must know is what do you want to do with the quad.
Do you want a sport, offroading, or utility quad? after that, you need to know about the different brands available, and then you just need to go to the dealer or contact a private seller in order to buy it. negotiating the price of the ATV can shave off thousands off MSRP, especially if the dealer is desperate to move old stock.
Also, if you are going to buy a used quad, it’s important to do your due diligence and perform an inspection of the quad, preferably with a mechanic.