2015 Sport Quad Buyer’s Guide!

While the sport quad market has taken an unfortunate hit on sales and machines becoming discontinued, there are still a lot of great sport ATVs to choose from! Sand slingers, trail racers and track riders alike can feel comfort in knowing that the sport market is not dead and a lot of manufacturers still offer great quads to choose from.

APEX 450MX/250MX (TBA)
Apex blends U.S. ingenuity with Asian value to come up with limited-production racing quads. The motors are five-valve Yamahas from the pre-EFI motocross bikes. Around that, Apex builds a turn-key racing quad, ready for the track. The wheels, suspension and even the exhaust are uncompromised competition parts, built to a level that major manufacturers can’t attain.

ARCTIC CAT DVX 300 ($4399)
This is a kinder, gentler idea of what a sport quad should be. The DVX300 has a CV transmission and a driveshaft, just like most utility quads. On the other hand, it uses a single shock in the rear, double A-arms in front and aggressive tires on spun-aluminum wheels. The DVX has many parts in common with the ‘Cat utility 300, but uses a chain final drive instead of a shaft.

CAN-AM DS450X mx ($9799)
Can-Am has intense enthusiasm for racing at the highest level. The DS450X mx is a dedicated race quad with a sophisticated Rotax motor. It has an adjustable rear axle and extra-wide A-arms, plus nerf bars, bumpers, and competition wheels and tires. The motor is still fully compliant with EPA and CARB, so it’s eligible for OHV stickers in states that have such things.

CAN-AM DS450X xc ($9099)
This is Can-Am’s cross-country racer, designed for GNCC-type events. It comes standard with competitionready features like Kayaba HPG piggyback shocks, nerf bars, bumpers, skid plates, ITP Holeshot tires, handguards and beadlock wheels. Underneath it all is the DOHC, fuel-injected Rotax motor that is said to produce 45.3 horsepower.

CAN-AM DS250 ($4149)
Can-Am’s 250 straddles the gap between entry-level machines and hard-core sport quads. On one hand it has a liquid-cooled SOHC motor and double-A-arm front suspension with adjustable shocks. On the other it has an automatic CV transmission and full floorboards. The DS is rated Y-14 for 14-year-old kids and has an adjustable throttle stop for those who are just getting started.

Honda’s 450R is the most basic 450cc sport quad available. It doesn’t have EFI and hasn’t changed much in almost 10 years. But it continues to be one of the most successful ATVs in professional racing, with riders like John Natalie, David Haagsma and Beau Baron winning on both sides of the country last year. The Honda has a steel frame without reverse, but it has excellent suspension and handling.

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.

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 fivespeed gearbox has reverse, but the Honda SportClutch allows your choice of manual operation or automatic use.

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.

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.

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.

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.

YAMAHA RAPTOR 700R/700 ($8199/$7699)
There’s no mystery to the Raptor’s success. It’s still the top dog in the sport quad world because of the incredible torque and peak power from its SOHC four-valve motor. The new R model has upgraded piggyback shocks offering over 9 inches of wheel travel on all four corners. There’s also a special edition with GYTR parts for $8799.

YAMAHA YFZ450R ($8799)
This is the ATV that propelled Chad Wienen to three AMA ATV national motocross championships in a row. It has Yamaha’s five-valve 450 motor with Mikuni EFI in an aluminum chassis. Yamaha is one of few ATV-makers to offer a model in race-ready form. The R model is 48.8 inches wide thanks to oversize A-arms and a wide rear axle. It comes with piggyback shocks and is available in blue or white.

YAMAHA RAPTOR 250 (2013 model $4599)
Fun is serious business, and Yamaha put very serious effort into having the best production 250 sport quad. The Raptor 250 is king of its class, outside of a few custom-built and low-quantity machines like the Apex. It offers a modern chassis with a mild, air-cooled motor without reverse. The little Raptor is not a 2015 model, but it’s still available at many dealers.

YAMAHA RAPTOR 125 (2013 model, $3499)
If the sensation of “fun” were to take physical shape, it would look just like this. The Raptor 125 has a tiny, aircooled, two-valve motor similar to that of the TT-R125 in a modern sport chassis, similar to that of the Raptor 250. The result is a blast for any rider of any experience. The Raptor might seem like overkill, but not to anyone who has ridden it. No reverse. Not a current model.