Quad bike / mule purchase - what to look for?

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9 years 5 months ago #496936 by keppelk
You definately want something with low range and a diff lock if you have challenging ground. We occasionally borrow our neighbours Suzuki 300cc quad and trailer for moving firewood or post places where our old ute won't go. I constantly forget about selecting 4wd low with diff lock after loading up the trailer. The low range + diff lock combo make the little 300cc beast a very capable machine. In high range it can be a bit anemic, but low range is near unstopable.

Safety wise I think the smaller engined machines are safer. They are lighter weight, which means the rider changing their weight/body position has more effect. Generally small quads are closer to the ground so have a lower/better centre of gravity. On the odd occassion I've ended up on a new large engined (more than about 400cc) quad I've found the amount of power excessive and generally end up going faster than I need to just because it's easy. More power = more fuel usage too.

I know of a few businesses that have retired all their quad bikes and replaced them with mule/gator type machines. They are much safer but just as capable as a quad for most work.

Ask about an on-farm demo hilldweller. Real world testing is always much more revealing than the salesperson's speil.

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9 years 5 months ago #496941 by spark
Hi,

I agree that for moving small light items in hill country, a two wheeler with a carrier rack is hard to beat, and if you end up under it, chances are that you will be able to get yourself out from under it without assistance (though you may be burned by a hot exhaust pipe). If you go with a two-wheeler, buy a crash helmet and wear it!

If you want to move heavy bulky objects, tow trailers, etc but your budget does not extend to a mule, gator, etc then I'd suggest that if you are handy with tools, that you buy a road-going 4wd and modify it for off-road use.
eg buy a station wagon with 4wd and hi-lo ratio eg
www.trademe.co.nz/motors/used-cars/subaru/auction-796816086.htm
www.trademe.co.nz/motors/used-cars/isuzu/auction-798334940.htm

Then you deregister it, cut the rear of the roof and rear pillars, tail gate etc off, add a roll-bar (the motorsport people have design guide rules for this) and then knock together a ute tray in the back of it. You get two seats, with seat belts, roll over protection (from your roll bar), and replacement parts are widely available.

A vehicle which is already de-registered, or crash damaged but still driveable (though not economic to repair panel damage) will be much cheaper.

Tyre chains provide awesome traction on soft ground, and those motorsport people can be a good source of second hand rally tyres (better traction on grass and mud than ordinary road tyres)

Cheers

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9 years 5 months ago #496947 by katieb
ring around a few dealerships & see what they have. I wouldnt bother with new but often there a very good near new bikes around with a warrenty & a lot cheaper. When we were looking for a 2 wheel bike one dealership said they have a client who trades in every year or 2 & is basically retired so doesnt do many kms either

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 #496955 by LAOnorth
We bought a year old Polaris Ranger off TM a few months back for just over 9K. They use these things almost exclusively for off-road hunting vehicles in the States so pretty hard going. Ours has upgraded tires with bigger tread for extra stick - always an option if you think you need it. I would think they would handle most ground, but obviously if you are on steep terrain there is always an issue with any vehicle tipping. Worse on a quad from my understanding and I have seen some nasty injuries from quad exhausts/crashes.
We use ours for trucking all sorts of stuff around our block, a bit noisy but plenty of grunt.

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9 years 5 months ago #496991 by Geba
Speaking from 30 years plus experience with motorbikes etc - quads are dangerous. I've seen plenty roll and break peoples' legs etc. YMMV, but I wouldn't have one.

On the farm we have a Gator (John Deere, motor by Kawasaki). Six wheels, low ratio, very low to the ground, tray which holds heaps and tips up to unload, can't be beat. There are second hand ones around. The Kawasaki Mule is very similar and there are more of them to choose from.
You can go a long way and shift a lot with an AG100 bike. They are low to the ground, weigh nothing, haul lots of lightweight stuff, and bounce if they fall over. They have stands on both sides so it doesn't matter where you stop on the hill or track. And they won't break your legs or your neck if they land on you.

The Transpower guys who work on our place use a Polaris and they love it.

Plenty to choose from :)

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9 years 5 months ago #497002 by Hawkspur
We also have a Gator. Bought 3rd-hand, it has had some obviously rough treatment in the past and needed minor repairs so was at a price we could just afford. Our land is very steep, and the Gator is used on tracks. Off tracks we have bush and scrub, so are limited to our feet.[;)]
We have been told by someone who worked in forestry in Canada that Gators are very commonly used in that industry and that they are worked hard on very rough ground.

That Lifeguard flexi-rollbar for quads looks very good. Very clever.

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9 years 5 months ago #497011 by katieb

Hawkspur;502392 wrote:
That Lifeguard flexi-rollbar for quads looks very good. Very clever.


Found a pic of mine lol

btw the person who wrote the reccommendation letter on the lifeguard site definatly didnt get paid to write it or a freebie...infact his parents bought a second one this year (pictured below).

Attached files
File Attachment:

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 #497047 by mrelshauno
There are alot of good dealerships around Otago and Southland HD. Dwains in Tapanui is particularly good with a good range of second hand machines.
If purchasing second hand it is preferable not to get one that has come off a dairy farm.
With the amount of written off Quads I see come through work I would be leaning towards a Mule type of machine too for your terrain.

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9 years 5 months ago #497062 by Ronney
I'm another one who wouldn't have a quad unless I had a death wish - which I don't just yet.

Like Kilmoon, we have a Kawasaki Mule 610, our second in 12 years, and wouldn't be without it to the point where we are discussing having two of them. Kevin wants to do one thing, I want to do another in a different direction, the ute won't do and we can't cut the Mule in half. It deals with the hills and mud on it's ear.

The tray is invaluable - it carts pig food, hay, dead sheep, live sheep, calves, fencing gear, firewood, spray tank, dogs, hay etc. It has towed our boat up the drive and pulled out a Mitsi Canter bogged in the paddock. I've towed sheep out of drains and the river. It is easy to slide in and out of (no having to throw a leg over).

HD, I would strongly recommend you look at something like the Kawasaki Mule or Polaris and Kubota. I've not heard bad things about these brands. I suspect this type of vehicle would be better suited to your farming and be a much safer option. I realise that finance could be the deciding factor but if you could see your way clear........

Cheers,
Ronnie

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9 years 5 months ago #497183 by hilldweller
You Mule/Gator/Polaris users really are converts! You've convinced me I'll have to take a look.

hilldweller

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9 years 4 months ago #497996 by hilldweller
So, I did take a look, at a Polaris Ranger, yesterday, and was impressed. That particular one was brand new so well beyond my price range but it was good to see one up close. To my non-mechanical eye it looked like a good practical no-frills type of vehicle. Also have been thinking more about the need to transport rellies, particularly the very young and the elderly, around the new property, and about doing farm jobs at quite a distance from house and sheds in nasty winter weather, and have decided a Polaris/Mule etc is definitely the way to go rather than a quad.

So having narrowed it down that much, can anyone suggest how to choose between the different makes and models? There are various permutations of engine size, transmission, fuel type, suspension etc. I envisage doing some towing and carting of stuff but not a lot and not terribly heavy loads, don't want to go fast, but also don't want to get stuck on steep bits and wet grass and crossing bumpy watercourses etc. All further advice greatly appreciated :)

hilldweller

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9 years 4 months ago #498007 by keppelk

hilldweller;503514 wrote:
So having narrowed it down that much, can anyone suggest how to choose between the different makes and models? There are various permutations of engine size, transmission, fuel type, suspension etc.:)


Your budget will narrow your choice a lot, so there will be less selection off the bat. Generally the cheaper models will be petrol rather than diesel. Won't make much difference unless regularly towing big loads (diesel would be better for regular severe usage). Engine size - I don't think matters too much - smaller engine will mean changing gear more often, but most of these are auto/continuously variable trans anyway. Bigger will use for fuel, but will go faster up hills. From the terrain your talking about using it on, the gearing will be far more important than engine size. I'd tend towards the smaller engined models because of the running costs.

Now that I've written that - there is a good looking John Deere 2006 HPX (high performance) diesel 4x4 model on TradeMe in Blenheim for $8,500. Looks very tidy.

Polaris Ranger in Southland - www.trademe.co.nz/motors/motorbikes/moto...uction-783585807.htm

Polaris Ranger in Ashburton - www.trademe.co.nz/motors/motorbikes/moto...uction-806799533.htm

Kioti Mechron (Korean made, no idea if they are any good or not. Diesel and not expensive) in Rakaia - www.trademe.co.nz/motors/motorbikes/moto...uction-804434425.htm

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