Around my house, when someone is rambling through the rooms looking for another family member, we often use a quote from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, calling, "Bueller? Bueller?"
So staying in character with Ben Stein, Bueller’s Economics teacher, I ask if there are any ATV manufacturers out there still making new models? Anyone? Anyone?
You know how much I sing the praises of Suzuki King Quads – I love them. I would love to seem some new changes like Special Edition models with better shocks and tires. I’d love to see better racks. Or how about a 650 model? Or maybe most important, a side by side to compete with the RZR. I have heard inside rumors that they have a RZR fighter but don’t want to release it at this time. So I (unfortunately) can only imagine what these models would be like, or how great they’d be, simply because there are no new Suzukis. Bueller? Bueller?
And then there’s Kawasaki. My history with Kawasaki goes way, way back. I know them well and respect them in many ways. I know too that they had something they called a Super Mule – a Prairie-based side by side in testing well before the RZR was released. What’d they do? Fired the guy that was responsible. Hmmm. They still refined the Brute Force until it was formidable competition with anything on the market – at least until power steering became an issue. Bueller? The there was the Teryx, a better Rhino, but that’s all the farther it went. Bueller? And then there’s the most popular class of ATVs, the 400cc class. Could Kawasaki come out with a 400cc Brute Force? 450cc Prairie? Bueller?
Yamaha. The first Side by Side! The first ATV with power steering! The first ATV to really get that mass centralization perfected. Many, many great machines. Of course I even had spy photos of a new 950cc V-Twin, short wheelbase 4-seat Rhino that was due to be released in February of 2010. Bueller? Yes, Yamaha does have a good, solid line up of ATVs but they do lack a twin. And in spite of the inside rumors I’ve heard about spreading out Rhino line to include more sport machines and more recreational machines, what we really got was new colors and graphics. Bueller?
Honda? Same-o same-o. Their new and incredible UTV is the size of a Toyota pick up, and almost the same price! Although they’ve entered the realm of power steering and IRS, their most incredible ATV, the Rubicon continues on almost identical to the day it was introduced. Wasn’t it Honda that introduced the ATC? The 250R? The hydrostatic transmission. The Pilot! The Pilot? Can you imagine what the same Honda that introduced those machines would do now? Bueller?
Okay, Arctic Cat just came out with some new machines. Fairly good ones too if you are not looking for anything new - and if you’re looking for another ATV made in China. For a great company filled with American pride they’ve gone awol. Bueller?
Hey, what about Can Am? They’ve come out with some great new stuff! The Commander, Can Am’s first entry into the UTV market is a good machine. They put power steering on their ATVs! They also have those special editions with nice wheels and better tires, winches, and other niceties. They have a good, full line of machines but seem to continue to develop using the ‘Bigger is better” mentality rather than “Better is better.”
And of course there’s Polaris, seemingly the only company that continues to introduce new models at a rapid pace. An alarmingly rapid pace actually. It’s as if they intend to be the only ATV company still in business when this is all said and done. And considering their line-up of models I doubt we’d lack much – except maybe two-lever braking to 4 wheel discs. And engine braking that goes to all 4 wheels without having to push a switch. And a true 4wd system with a locker. And perhaps most importantly, a design team that spends a little more time making their products with a little more quality rather than a little more profit!
And that brings us back to one of the biggest advantages of competition in the marketplace.