News in 2012 ATVs
- Arctic Cat expanded its GT package from two machines to 10 spread across all of its big-bore models, as well as its 450 and 550. What does that get you? Electronic power steering to start with, plus aluminum rims and painted bodywork. You also get a few more colour options to choose from.
- Argo has introduced a high-torque-ratio transmission for its flagship eight-wheel-drive 750 line this year. Developed by Argo’s parent company, Ontario Drive and Gear, it provides 30 per cent more torque to the wheels than the 750’s standard tranny. It’s specifically intended for problem situations such as using tracks on muskeg. The good news is there’s no additional charge for this option; the bad news is, it needs to be installed when the vehicle is assembled and, at this stage, can’t be retrofitted.
- Club Car’s top-of-the-line 1550 series of side-by-sides just got even better with the switch to an automotive-style, four-link semi-independent suspension system. That’s similar to the suspension used on Land Rovers and Jeeps, and it takes the worst bumps out of the rough terrain without sacrificing ground clearance. For the XRT1550 4×4, it means you can tote a full half-ton with no worry of bottoming out. With that kind of capacity, camp chores and backwoods outings just got easier.
- Honda has upgraded two of its three remaining 500-class quads—the TRX 500FM and TRX 500FPM—by replacing the carburetor with its own programmed fuel-injection system. Dubbed PGM FI, the technology originated on the race car circuit and proved itself in Honda’s motorcycles with better fuel efficiencies and lower emissions. The TRX 500PG Canadian Trail Edition, which is a 499 bore, continues to receive its gas via the tried-and-true 36-millimetre variable Venturi carb made by Keihin Corporation, of which Honda is a major shareholder.
- Kawasaki’s top-of-the-line Brute Force 750 4×4 quad stepped up to new levels of performance with the addition of electronic power steering. Engineers also tweaked the engine to provide a 9:3:1 compression ratio for more power, and reinforced the double cradle frame. Downhill engine braking is also a welcome improvement.
- Polaris upgraded its top-of-the-line 2012 quads to High-Output, twin fuel-injected motors, upped the horsepower—from 70 to 77 horses at the crank for the 850—and provided 20 per cent faster acceleration, with cleaner fuel burn.
- Suzuki: With this year’s King Quad 400, Suzuki has now converted all of its quads to electronic fuel injection.