Quad bike / mule purchase - what to look for?

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9 years 5 months ago #38582 by hilldweller
Hello all
I need advice on what to look for in a quad bike and how to find a good one. I'll be using it on hills (pasture and grassy tracks, plus a bit of gravel boundary road) to transport me, probably a bit of miscellaneous lightweight stuff (salt blocks, hammer and staples, spade etc), and on occasion a small trailer with heavier/bulkier stuff like waratahs or a couple of hay bales or dead sheep[:(!]

I want something that's beginner-friendly and has good safety features.

Budget up to $8k. Less would be good!

Also can someone tell me who offers bike safety courses? TIA

hilldweller

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9 years 5 months ago #496910 by Ruth
We went down that track years ago and ended up with a bike, on the basis that it's less likely to kill one of us. The day before I was due to make my final purchase decision, a friend (in her 70s, years of experience) was killed when her quad bounced onto her when going about her normal business.

I carry all your lightweight list on the back of my bike. My eventual plan is to get a mule of some sort, so I have better options for transporting bigger stuff around. We still think we could do with a quad-like vehicle for occasions we don't need to use something as large as the tractor, but we're both also still alive. When I buy something with more than two wheels, it'll be a machine built for the purpose, not a quad, which is a machine adapted to farming, rather than designed for it. Budget is an issue, naturally, but how much would you pay for not being squashed?

Could you look around for a good finance option on a better sort of machine? Bearing in mind how many years' use you'll give it, it could be a sensible option. As we approach the last three payments on the tractor I wondered if we could ever afford, I'm so glad we took that leap! Some time, I'll do the same for a mule.

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9 years 5 months ago #496911 by hilldweller
Just looked at pics of mules on TM. The ones that look like golf carts, right? The wheels look tiny, as if they're built for paved roads, not paddocks. Is that case? I really know nothing about these things.

hilldweller

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9 years 5 months ago #496912 by hilldweller
PS That's awesome that you're so close to paying off the tractor :) Well done!

hilldweller

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9 years 5 months ago #496913 by Kilmoon
We have a Kawasaki Mule 610.....and would never touch a quad as we don't deem them safe for our hilly property. Our Mule came with a roll bar, two seater with seat belts, a tipable tray at the back, a large storage bin in the front. We added the tow bar, a rubber mat to protect the tray with side protectors (drainage pipe split on one side) and a rigid plastic cover over where we sit (dur to rain). Yes the tyres are smallish compared to a quad, but the centre of gravity is much lower. Its built to plod and haul, not hoon. The price for new (around $14,000 from memory back in 2005) was no different to the new price of a quad, yet we got so much more with it as standard. There are a few versions by different manufacturers out there, so have a look and get a test drive, we were able to have the demo Mule bought out for a test drive on our property to see how it (we) would cope. Pretty sure that other manufacturers would do the same as I don't think there is a Kawasaki franchise in Dunedin any more (I may be wrong).

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9 years 5 months ago #496914 by Kilmoon
Here are some more photos to give you a better idea. Though I can't find one of the plastic cover attached to the roll cage. As you can see, we used to have some real frosts on the property....haven't had it that bad in years :( :( . There is just something really nice about using the Mule in heavy frosts/snow.

Attached files [IMG]http://app.lifestyleblock.co.nz/images/converted_files/502296=14847-frosty mule 3.jpg[/img] [IMG]http://app.lifestyleblock.co.nz/images/converted_files/502296=14846-mule tray.jpg[/img]

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9 years 5 months ago #496918 by EV
My father now uses a gator, similar to the mule pictured, on his very steep sheep and beef farm, after rolling/destroying multiple quads (over many decades). His driving is ... brave ... and the places that thing will go is not for the faint of heart :). Regardless of the smaller wheels.

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9 years 5 months ago #496919 by hilldweller
Hmmm interesting. How do mules/gators go on rough ground though? That track of yours KM looks good enough for an ordinary 2wd car! Great pics though and I do like the fact that the cab is partly enclosed and it looks safe for carrying young 'assistants' which I wouldn't do on a quad. And the tray on the back looks awesome.

hilldweller

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9 years 5 months ago #496923 by katieb
Im on my 3rd quad....1st was a 2002 2wd suzuki that liked to break brake cables, apart from being 2wd it was actually quite good until I needed to tow calf feeders or a trailer through mud...eventually it broke a part which stopped it going forward(murphys law 1 week after a $110 new battery)
We bought a polaris which was great around the place, used it on small hills but wouldnt reccommend it as its quite high up & felt like it could roll or run away...great for around our huge garden and for carting calf meal bags and stuff as it had turf mode for the lawn(didnt ruin it) & a little tip tray above back wheels....I failed to check oil enough so blew it up....we have had it reapired now so just used it for moving bags of calf meal & my 500L milk tanker to the calf barn as well as hay to my other animals

Replacement was a suzuki eiger 4wd, its good apart for the number of times we have had to have the gear changing thing fixed(its an auto so changes from low high reverse & park & someone was a little rough on it I think)

I have a life guard roll bar which I havnt had to use(apart from lying on it like superman for a photo) but would definatly be worth it
Heres a link to a reccommendation letter on the site...my parents have bought 2 of them....the first one possibly saved my brothers life...as well as the lives of his workers
atvlifeguard.co.nz/lifeguard-roll-bar-possibly-saves-a-life/

Animals rule our place... cows, calves, sheep, goats, pigs, horses, donkeys, chickens, ducks... the list goes on
...."lifestyle block like" 25 or so acres around the house attached to a rather large farm with dairy drystock & a 600 cow dairy conversion :)....1500 acres to call home

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9 years 5 months ago #496926 by Kilmoon
HD - those first two photos are on our driveway! But the last two are on our track that we had put in right to the back of the property, just so we weren't driving on a tilt across the hillsides all the time. Though there was no chance of rolling sideways (as its got a really low centre of gravity), we did tend to slip on the seat. We then turn off it up or down depending on which part of the paddocks we're heading to. We gravelled it when we put it in years ago just so we weren't driving in a mud bog all the time as our track follows the contours of our hills. It has a diff lock which we only occasionally have to engage, and a high and low gear, reverse as well. On our hills we tend to drive in low all the time, and high along the driveway. That tray on the back is really awesome, it can easily carry 4 hay bales (we use a bungy around the top two to stop any sliding). Its got a locking pin to stop it tilting when not in use, but weighed down it tips easily by hand. There are some other brands on the market which have powered tippers.

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9 years 5 months ago #496928 by kate
We have a Polaris Ranger, which is similar to the Mule and Gator. It's much safer than a quad, particularly when carrying hay, feed, building materials etc. Also ideal for passengers and the tipping tray is very handy and you can make a stock crate for it to move animals around. I wouldn't have a quad again, these side-by-sides are much better on our very steep property. S ee here for some general info :D

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9 years 5 months ago #496929 by hilldweller
Thanks Kate. Useful article :) and someone had actually mentioned Polaris as something I should check out, but I'd thought it was a quad. What sort of ground do you use yours on? I need something that can handle bumpy rutted tracks which I had thought would mean big wheels and high ground clearance. The various manufacturers' websites mostly picture them on lawns and gravel driveways, and even Kilmoon's farm track looks pretty flash (track envy here!).

hilldweller

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9 years 5 months ago #496931 by LongRidge
I'm on our 5th ATV. The 200cc Kawasaki has never been used. Being on steep country with no 4 WD and not enough power to tow anything makes it useless.
The first Yamaha 250 was 2 WD and I got over-enthusiastic towing a load of sheep in a trailer. Always turn the engine off and leave it in gear when stopping with loads on slopes.
The second Yamaha 350 Big Bear was great until I tried to fertilise a steep slope with long dry grass on it. Always watch out for long dry grass on slopes.
The third Yamaha 400 Big Bear was ideal except I didn't change the oil often enough..
The new one bought 6 weeks ago is a Yamaha 400 Grizzly. This is automatic, but it has lots of engine braking. No foot gear changing is great. Cost about $13500.
I like Yamahas because I am high enough to see. They can be started in gear. They can move at a good speed. This new one has to be put into 4WD which takes some remembering, and also can be differential locked, which when towing on a slope is very handy.

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9 years 5 months ago #496934 by hilldweller
I hope they're giving you some sort of loyalty bonus LR! Had a look on TM and they're nice looking machines. Also had a look at Polaris Rangers and there are a few older 500cc models that would be within my budget. Struggling a bit with the golf cart look though LOL! I'll have to find a dealer and go and have a look at the options.

hilldweller

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9 years 5 months ago #496935 by kate
We use ours on very rough and steep terrain. I've had a look though my photos but the very few that aren't of goats ([:I][:I]) don't show the rough tracks... But the wheels aren't that small, we have mud tyres fitted and they're this big compared with a goat [8D]

Here's what we had on one of the tracks and you can see that the ranger went through easily. Just beyond that was a track made of huge boulders in clay and rotten rock with crevices where the water ran down but I have no photos to show that.

Why not test drive one?

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