2011 ARCTIC CAT 90 UTILITY ($2699)Okay, if he’s 12 years old, he’s old enough to work for his quad. What better way than allow him to use the quad while he works? The 90 Utility is a youth model that comes complete with racks and 4x4 styling, but there’s a sporty little quad under all that. The air-cooled motor has an automatic transmission and reverse.
PITSTER PRO (TBA)Pitster Pro designs quads and motorcycles in Utah and has them built in Asia. The result is good performance and a decent price. The company offers several models, including the FXR150, 125 and 90. They come with Honda-like motors that can be had with automatic or manual clutches.
2011 KYMCO MXU 500 ($6299)Kymco is a Taiwanese company that manufactures parts and motors for many companies, most notably BMW. The firm’s own line of ATVs is just as good, and the value is exceptional. The MXU 500 4x4 has four-wheel independent suspension and push-button 4WD. The motor is liquid-cooled and has double-overhead cams.
2011 ARCTIC CAT 90 DVX ($2699)The littlest Cat is designed for riders 12 and older. It has single A-arm front suspension and swingarm rear suspension with just under 3 inches of travel at each end. The motor is an 89cc, air-cooled two-valver with a continuously variable transmission and reverse.
2011 ARCTIC CAT 150 4x2 ($3999)Arctic Cat calls this a “transitional” model for riders 14 and older. It’s basically a scaled-down version of a utility quad, but with a straight rear axle and without four-wheel drive. It has a CV transmission with reverse, drum front brakes, a disc rear brake and a two-valve, air-cooled motor.
2011 ARCTIC CAT 300 DVXIn order to offer better value, Arctic Cat manufactures some products in Asia. The 300 DVX is a good example. It’s similar to the 300 Utility with a liquid-cooled, SOHC motor that has a CV transmission and reverse. But it comes with much sportier styling. It has dual-A-arm front suspension, triple disc brakes, reverse and costs hundreds less than Japanese 250s.
2011 POLARIS SPORTSMAN 800 H.O. ($7499)Polaris updated the original Sportsman models for 2011. These are slightly less expensive alternatives to the XP models. They offer on-demand 4WD, 1500 pounds of towing capacity and 300 pounds of combined rack capacity. The 800 has a twin-cylinder motor and still uses MacPherson strut front suspension. Notable 2011 updates include less bulky styling, Lock N Ride front and rear racks, a higher radiator location and XP-styled headlights.
2011 HONDA TRX700XX (2009 model, $8499)Honda dominates Baja with the big 700XX. It has a motor based on that of the XR650R, but with reverse and electric start. The chassis features fully independent A-arm suspension on all four corners. Overall, the Honda is a big machine, which limits the appeal for the sport purest. But it makes for a comfortable way to cover ground fast.2011 HONDA TRX700XX SPECS: Engine type Displacement Fuel delivery Starting Transmission Final drive Fuel capacity…
2011 KYMCO MONGOOSE 90 ($2399)Again, Kymco offers excellent value in all its models. Don’t let the fact that it’s made in Taiwan throw you off, either. Most of the youth models come from Taiwan, even if the parent company is Japanese or Canadian. The Mongoose 90 has a CV transmission with reverse, a rear disc brake and Maxxis tires.
2011 POLARIS OUTLAW 525 IRS Of all large-displacement sport quads, this model stands out because of its independent rear suspension. That makes it a coveted prize that’s usually in short supply. For power, it uses a KTM 510cc motor that has reverse and a history of performance and reliability. The shocks, tires and wheels all are high-quality aftermarket components.($7699)
2011 POLARIS SCRAMBLER 500 4X4The Scrambler 500 is a sport 4x4. It competes with Yamaha’s Wolverine 450, Can-Am’s Renegade series and the Kymco Maxxer 375. It uses a 498cc liquid-cooled motor that drives the rear wheels with a chain and the front wheels with a shaft. It features a steady and reliable design, and styling changes were made in 2010.
2011 POLARIS SPORTSMAN 850 XP/850 EPS ($8799/$9999)The 70 claimed horsepower pulled from its twin-cylinder motor puts the Polaris 850 XP toward the top of the class. It’s matched with a comfortable ride thanks to independent front and rear suspension, and an option of electronic power steering. New for 2011 are a digital gauge, improved splash protection, a 12-pound weight reduction and a tougher/grippier STX seat. The EPS model now features a larger tank.