— Big power in a compact package, By the staff of Dirt Wheels —
You might ask why a company would have a 900 and a 1000 in the same model. We rate it as a good question, since we had the same one in mind. The question gains weight when you consider that the 900 is actually 924cc and the 1000 is a 976cc engine. Hisun even has Strike 800s, though they are 2016 models. The 900 also shares the typical Hisun high level of standard features, as well as an atypical two-year manufacturer warranty. Among the standard features are a 924cc V-twin EFI engine, an effective CVTech Trailbloc IBC clutch, nitrogen-charged adjustable shocks, a roof, winch, folding windshield, side mirrors and a locking differential. Those features appeal to pretty much anyone, but the Hisun also has automotive-appearing headlights, a horn, turn signals and even emergency flashers. For most of us those features make no difference, but if you live in a state where the Hisun can have limited licensing, it saves a good deal of hassle.
This level of standard equipment is impressive for a machine that retails for a tick under 11 grand. For a base-price machine, it has a quality look to it, ample comfort, aggressive tires on cast-aluminum wheels and fully adjustable shocks. While the 900/1000 question is real, the two machines are not as closely related as you think. The 1000 is nearly 10 inches longer and has 27- instead of 26-inch tires. Most likely as a result of the tires, the ground clearance is an inch greater as well.
There are some truly impressive single-cylinder UTV engines out there, but in most cases the switch to a twin cylinder makes an impressive jump in smoothness, overall performance and power delivery. That is certainly the case here. We have experience with the Hisun 750 single, and the 924cc V-twin is smoother and more willing. It is still smooth enough to handle subtle traction conditions, but has enough snap to throw you back in the seat when you mash the throttle.
Despite the more expensive V-twin engine, the 900 is $500 cheaper than it was in 2016! We used the 900 for work around a ranch, and the winch proved to be vital at times. Not often, but when we needed it, that feature saved the day. We had a longer machine with a winch, but it physically wouldn’t fit where we needed it.
We also employed the 900 for playing on desert trails. Hisun doesn’t have exact suspension figures, but 10 inches is pretty close. Obviously, even with the nitrogen-charged, adjustable piggyback reservoir shocks, looking for smooth lines is the most fun. To drive the Strike, you start it with an automotive key positioned on the steering column. You only have reverse, neutral, high and low on the shifter. Instead of park, you use a handbrake between the seats. We know it works. We used the brake to hold the Strike on hills, and we tried to drive off with the brake on. That doesn’t really work.
Engine braking is enthusiastic, but if you stay off the throttle too long, the engine braking releases and the Strike starts to almost freewheel. The brakes are powerful, and the traction from the radial tires is good, so we didn’t mind that. In fact, some of our testers prefer the braking release over having no choice to overcome the engine braking. With some budget machines, we have spent an unusual amount of time in low range. The performance of the 900 is quite good by utility standards if mild by sport standards. Nevertheless, it has ample boost for high range. Low range is effective, and we used it in tight-going.
Some of the times we used low range were to change the throttle control for more precise modulation rather than any true need for low range. In low-range four-wheel drive, the Strike climbs very well with little fuss. If the conditions do get a little iffy, there is always differential lock that keeps the front wheels driving at all times no matter the conditions.
Hisun hasn’t gone crazy with styling; in fact, its visual cues result in a somewhat unique look. The fit and finish of the machine is nice with durable graphics, glossy plastic and even A-arm guards. The seats have an opening in the back suitable for four- or five-point competition-style seat belts. There are no doors, but the door nets and a shoulder bolster give a secure feeling and are easy to use. The dash is clean with car-type stalks on the steering column to engage the lights, high and low beams, hazard lights, turn signals and horn. A single multi-control in the center of the dash selects 2WD, 4WD and diff-lock. You remove the winch control and cable from the glove box and plug it in under the dash to use the winch.
The bucket seats are nicely shaped and padded well enough to be comfortable and supportive. There is no dump bed, and, honestly, we only missed it as a way to gain access to the engine compartment. The bed does carry 350 pounds, and there is a standard 2-inch receiver hitch.
TRAILS AND WORK
For the small price difference over the 750 or 800, we would certainly spend the money for the 900. Having the willing and spunky 924cc V-twin is a highlight of the machine. Power that allows Hisun to rate the 900 to tow over 1500 pounds is welcome for mud, deep sand or climbs.
We tackled some steep but loose and rough climbs filled with rock steps. The steps were irregular and abrupt. Keeping to a speed that let the tires follow the ground was the key to confident climbing. Smoother climbs were handled effortlessly. We adjusted the suspension damping to full soft as we put break-in time on the machine. The damping clickers do have a clear effect on ride quality. We carried a fairly heavy tool bag with a jack and other heavy items, and the tie-down loops in the bed let us fully secure the bag.
While driving the Strike, with its standard mirrors, we wondered a few times why all machines don’t come with mirrors. They are very handy. Despite sticking out from the cage uprights, they are still in good shape after the test.
Despite being considered a sport model, the Strike isn’t wild about being thrown sideways. It is much happier on trails and roads. It was happier still during slow, technical driving. Without a lot of flex in the suspension, it did well crossing jumbled rocks that have defeated machines with more active suspension. The track is just under 60 inches wide, so you want to use care picking lines that straddle ruts, but when we were out crawling technical trails, we were having the most fun. This is, after all, a machine with a wheelbase only 76 inches long, which is 19 inches longer than a Hisun two-up quad and a mere 8.5 inches longer than the diminutive and nimble Polaris Ace 900 XC. It will fit in places that will surprise you. Our least fun was hammering sand washes or trails littered with sharp and abrupt rock impacts that taxed the suspension action.
For work, the Hisun Strike is an able companion despite the lack of a dump bed. It does have a bed, and it is outfitted to do work. Add in a substantial towing capacity, and you should find the Strike helpful around the homestead. We know that we did, and we found the winch easy and effective to use. No doors is a factor in the cold, but the folding windshield is a big help there, and so is the standard roof. It is easy to remove the windshield completely as we did for unseasonably hot weather. The light controls, signals and horn don’t help us in California, but they do in some neighboring states. The horn was fun at times. With the two-year warranty and a fine price for a machine so equipped, the Hisun is a good value. It is rare that we have needed parts or tech information, but Hisun has always impressed us there as well. If you are looking for a value machine, the Strike is a nimble and powerful unit to look hard at.
HISUN STRIKE 900:
Engine 924cc, OHV, four-stroke V-twin
Bore x stroke 91mm x 71mm
Fuel system Delphi EFI
Fuel capacity 7.3 gal.
Starting system Electric
Final drive Shaft
Front Independent double wishbone
Rear Independent double wishbone
Front 26×9-14 radial
Rear 26×11-14 radial
Front Dual hydraulic disc
Rear Dual hydraulic disc
Ground clearance 12.0”
Cargo capacity 350 lb.
Towing capacity 1764 lb.
Curb weight 1367 lb.
Color Red, white, Bahama Blue, Sunrise Orange