Wednesday, June 29, 2016

What's in your bag?

Over the years we've gone from not bringing anything along with us on a ride, to bringing a snack and a drink to carrying tools and supplies just in case. Part of the reason for this change is how long we go riding but also the ATV itself and it's ability to carry more items.

How you carry your items is for another article, see our upcoming ATV Bags & Boxes review coming soon. For today we will talk about whats in it.

Here is a list of things that I find I like to have with me on the trail:

  • BRP tool kit - This is the tool kit that came with the ATV when I bought it. It includes all of the basics you need including secondary clutch spreading tool
  • Knife - I mostly use mine to trim branches to make roasting sticks
  • Saw - This is a small compact, portable saw but it give me the ability to cut down small trees that may be laying across the trail
  • Screwdrivers
  • Pliers
  • Vice grip
  • Sockets - Make sure you know if your ATV requires standard or metric
  • Hay wire - One of the best ways to connect two pieces together and stronger than cable ties
  • Electrical tape
  • First aid kit - If you don't carry one with you, you should
  • Complete change of clothes - Shirt, pants, underwear & socks in case you get wet when its cold
  • Cable ties
  • Water - one of the most essential parts of your kit, not only for drinking but also cleaning and topping off low coolant in a pinch
  • Extra CVT belt - You should carry a spare if you ride an ATV with a CVT
  • Tree saver - Wrap this around the tree and connect your winch to it so you don't damage the tree
  • Tow strap - In case you need to tow your buddy or be towed yourself
  • Snatch block - If you don't know what it is and you use your winch regularly you need to research this
  • Shackles - Best way to safely connect two ropes\straps to each other
Not pictured 

  • Tire repair kit
  • Air compressor or air supply
  • ATV Booster cables

A couple things I have remembered that are not as necessary but nice to have are 
  • rags
  • toilet paper or baby wipes
  • lighter

Over kill? Maybe. You can't be prepared for everything. Some people I know go even further and carry full tool kits with them including a battery operated impact wrench. What's right for you is what you need to bring but hopefully this list will help give you some ideas.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Maxxis Bighorn vs Maxxis Zillas - Tire Review

Spring is almost here and it is tire buying season. I found this article while trying to get ideas for new tires for my RZR. This comes from somebody who has had both and therefore qualified to give an opinion.

Original article located here:

Maxxis Bighorn

Maxxis Zilla
 *Edited forum post:

After approximately 5500kms on my 28" Zillas and now about 600km on my 26" bighorns there is no doubt in my mind that the bighorns are a Tire that will last longer...but that is it...the Zillas IMO are a FAR superior tire...

Better in Snow for handling and traction
Better in Mud (of course)
Better on Dirt Trails
Better on Paved (but wear faster)

There is not one thing better for the Big Horns other than that they will last longer...

The Zillas with hard riding should still last a good 10,000km.


One word SLOPPY. I’m spinning all the time...never any traction and just all over the place.

Spin some still but they dig. The handling is crazy they dig around corners, traction is unbelievable for snow riding


They are fine and smooth riding but traction is lacking in dry grass. I have trouble wheeling my machine (with a rear seat). Handling is still good but when going fast around corners the front slide more than they should and it's hard to drift around corners when the fronts are sliding.

Smooth and traction is incredible. In wet grass I can wheelie my machine sitting on the air box. Handling is good even for a 28" tire. I can drift and the fronts stick to the ground.


These tires actually perform really well in the mud, you do get a sloppy feel, and they spin like crazy but very seldom will you get stuck. Water wheelies are a lot harder but can still be done

Hands down perform a lot better than horns in every aspect.


This is where the radial of the Big Horns come in. The Big Horns are a tough tire. I have seen some with holes in the sidewalls and tread but they are all around a tough tire. They do grip better on rocks than any other situation but that is obvious.

Not as tough as Bighorns but still pretty tough. I have put a sharp rock through the tread in one of my Zillas but nothing a plug couldn’t fix. Again the Zillas do grip better but Big Horns are the tougher tire.


On paved, the only good thing about the BHs is that they will last a long time. They have a slight wobble at a higher speeds (80km/h plus) but if you look at the big horns there is a little yellow dot with a black dot in the middle on the white lettering side because theycome balanced from factory and those little dots are supposed to be lined up with the valve stem. If you don't line them up you may get a bit of a wobble. Mine are not lined up so that is most likely where the wobble is coming from. With this in mind the BHs are probably as smooth as the Zillas.

Again traction is awesome, they are extremely smooth at high speeds and even smoother than the big horns. But they will wear fast if doing a lot of paved riding. I don’t mean just being on paved the odd time...I mean paved all the time.


The 28" Zillas weight in at a total of 98.6lbs for all four tires. The 26" Bighorns weight a total of 103.4lbs. Other than the bigger diameter the 26" Big Horns are on a 14" rim.

So I was able to gain two inches in tire size and still shed some weight.


There is no doubt in my mind that the bighorns will last longer, but that is the only advantage I can see. The Zillas are a far superior tire and even with hard riding they should still last a good 10,000km.

After buying the bighorns and retiring the Zillas I plan to switch back and the Big Horns will be up for sale. I hope this helps someone else with their purchase decision.

Friday, November 6, 2015

All of my ATV's

As you can tell, I have had a lot of ATVs and done a lot of buying and selling. I put together a photo album on Facebook with all of the various machines and some of my favorite memories.

You can see them here

Thursday, October 22, 2015

How to Make Money Buying & Selling ATV's

Make money buying and selling ATV's? Most people don't think it's possible. Normally ATVing costs you money. But what if you could enjoy riding as much as ever AND have it make you a buck or two? Sounds too good to be true.

2015 was a good year for me buying and selling. Its not all bubbles and sparkles, I had some misfortunes. But your going to have that no matter what. Plan for those misfortunes and if you buy right you'll make money in the end.

But you've got to buy smart, here is how:
  •  If possible, buy off season - For many here in Canada, the ATV season ends when the snow flies. As such people are more likely to sell in the middle of winter if they run into financial problems. But buyers are sparse and the prices come down.
  • Choose one particular brand\model ATV and learn it - Get to know all the good and the bad. Research common mechanical failures and what to look for when you see the machine in person. Get to know the local selling prices on your classified site, this may take some time but will pay off.
  • Look for the ones that are poorly advertised - Bad pics, bad description, no asking price. All of these can be to your advantage when buying because the other, less educated buyers may have looked past them because they were not advertised well.
  • Look for the ones out of town - Driving 60 miles may be the difference between a deal and just market price. Many buyers are not willing to drive out of town at all and therefore the out of town prices are often lower.
  • Don't buy new...ever - You'll always lose your shirt if you think you can flip it. No matter how good a deal the dealer gave you, once it leaves the dealer it is a used machine and will never carry the value of new. 
  • Clean or accessorize to change the look - New wheels and tires can go a long way to change the look of an ATV and a good cleaning is vital for increasing resale.
  • Get the seller to add items in - If the seller isn't willing to negotiate price you may be able to increase the value with add ins. Loading ramps, storage boxes, factory wheels & tires are examples of various addons I've been able to get sellers to include which I have been able to sell.  
Don't forget that getting use out of an ATV factors into the value to you. Say for example that you bought in spring and sold in fall and got the same price you bought it for. But you got to ride it all season, you've made a profit!

Here are some of the ATV's I have purchase this year (2015):

2012 Outlander 800XT - Purchased for $8500

2012 Outlander 800XT as purchased from local dealer
I was not happy with the wheels\tires, the rad relocate or the footwells. So I sold the wheels\tires & rad relocate and bought used ones I did like from our local classifieds site. I ended up making $400 on the the this swap. I also had the footwells powder coated black at a cost of $50 because the yellow looked bad.

How I made my money: Two things, bought in the dead of winter from a dealer that had it in inventory for too long and I recognized that it didn't have much eye appeal and that by making a couple small changes I could increased the value. 

2012 Outlander 800XT as sold
I owned it for a total of 4 months and had multiple rides on it.

The final tally:

$8500 Purchase
$-400 Parts Swap
$   50 Powdercoating
$8150 Total Investment
$8800 Selling Price
$650 Profit

2008 Polaris RZR 800

2008 Polaris RZR 800 as purchased
Wheels and tires were the only thing I changed on this machine. It was crazy clean, but looked very plain. I figured a quick dress up would increase the value and I was right.

How I made my money: The seller wanted to get rid of it fast and priced it low, which scared away many potential buyers. He also posted dark pictures with very little detail. It was located 10 miles out of the city so there was some driving time. I didn't have to haggle much on price because it was already priced right. I found some aluminum wheels\tires and took some detailed pictures in the sun. It sold quickly.

2008 Polaris RZR 800 as sold

Only rode it once and then sold it. It was too nicely cleaned and detailed to get it messed up.

The final tally:

$5600 Purchase
$ 200Wheels\Tires

$5800 Total Investment
$6600 Selling Price
$800 Profit

2013 Can Am Maverick 1000XRS

2013 Can Am Maverick 1000XRS as purchased
This was by far my most profitable transaction of 2015 and I really wanted to keep it. I was able to find a desperate seller in a small town 60 miles from where I live. The owner included both the aftermarket wheels\tires in the picture above as well as the factory wheels\tires. One more opportunity to increase my profit.

How I made my money: It was advertised for $12,000 which was the cheapest Maverick for sale, this made the seller look desperate. It was out of town, pictures were poor and the machine was dirty. I took a risk by driving an hour to look at it but it but this also kept other buyers away. The seller volunteered to drop the price by $2000 in our conversation without any negotiating, and he also offered the factory wheels and tires with it.

2013 Can Am Maverick 1000XRS as sold
I got a couple of really great rides on this machine and some great footage for my videos.

The final tally:

$10,000 Purchase
$-800 Sold Aftermarket Wheels\Tires
$ 200 Dealer inspection
$9400 Total Investment
$12,500 Selling Price
$3100 Profit

Buy right and you can make money too. The key is to be educated and ready, but not impulsive. Good luck!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Foxford SK ATV Rally Review - 2015

In 2014 I headed out to Foxford for my first experience at an ATV rally. It was overwhelming to say the least, you can read up on that here.

Quick Walmart stop on the way for snacks and McDonalds
In 2015 I headed back, but where as last time I rode the extreme trails this year I took the dry trail.
Last year they had three options, dry, wet and extreme. This year it was only wet and dry. The two people accompanying me were my son and friend Jonathan both with stock machines so I decided I would leave the mud behind this year.

The staging area was changed this year and as such it seemed like there were less machines even though I think the official count was the same. In 2014 you staged and the main meeting area were in the same place, and it was very lively. Seemed like a big parking lot party where as this year with the two separate areas it seemed more empty.

The Trail
We left the staging area and hit the dry trail which consisted of riding down an old rail line minus the tracks. Eventually we turned and drove down a gravel grid rode until we finally hit the forest, now the trail got good. As soon as we entered the forest area we hit a very muddy area and I was all in my glory. Even though it was deep there were work arounds so that my son and Jonathan could go around. We hit a couple smaller mud holes but the further we went in the dryer it got. Of course I was hitting every bit of water and mud I could find.

Rest stop area

Before long we found ourselves at a beautiful rest stop beside a lake. We chatted with a few of the other riders, grabbed some grub and continued on our way not knowing how long the trail was. We continued down some more tighter twisty forest trail which eventually hit a section of the stickiest, gummiest clay mud I have ever seen....which of course I had to head straight into and get myself stuck real good.

My Outlander clogged full of the stickiest gumbo I have ever seen on a trail
Once I got myself winched out we hit a grid road which took us back to the staging area. It seemed way too short, had we not stopped along the way we could have made the round trip in an hour. So if I had a complaint it would be that it was too short.

It didn't feel like we were done yet, we had some food at the concession and headed back out to the trail. Unfortunately my son's 650 died on grid road just before getting into the forest and our day was over.

I appreciate the wash area they set up each year, this is just a waterpump in a slough with a hose attached but it is very much appreciated leaving some of the mud behind.

Winching out of the ruts I should have known I would hang up on

That sticky clay we encountered stains the black plastics of your machine pretty bad and it even has the ability to resist a direct spray from a pressure washer for short periods of time. Nasty stuff.

So it wasn't the crazy mind blowing\numbing experience that it was the first year but I heard the wet trails were as deep as ever. I think I'd like to go back to the extreme trails next year, and have the full Foxford experience. After all that's what this rally is famous for.

Monday, August 24, 2015

How to sell a used ATV

It's time to move on to a bigger, faster machine but you want to get every dollar you can out your old one. Here are my tips and tricks to help you get the most out of your old ride.

Clean it!!
You'd be surprised how many sellers don't clean their machine before putting it on the market? My Dad's Yamaha Rhino was covered with cow manure when he went to see it. Buyers know you can hide things beneath a later (or clump) of dirt. A clean machine shows the buyer you aren't hiding anything. If I come to look at your machine and it is dirty, I will offer you less.
When cleaning my ATV's for sale I use a four stage clean

  1. Rough clean - Get all the clumps of dirt and mud out of the chassis, tires and suspension. Use a pressure washer and soap. Spray from multiple angles and don't be scared to get on your knees to get a better view.
  2. Fine clean - Your rough clean looks good until it dries and then you see everything you missed. Use your garden hose, a bucket of soapy water and sponge. I usually use dish soap.
  3. Dry clean - Ok, now your done with the water. Wait until its dry and now you get our your Spray Nine or Castrol Superclean and go at it with a cloth on your seats and racks. Spray with your cleaner and wipe it off with the cloth. This is your best bet for getting those mud stains.
  4. Tire shine - Ok now it's clean but it looks dull, no shine at all. Buy yourself some good "no touch" foaming tire shine and go to town. Cover the entire machine, no need to wipe off other than the drips. Remember this will make the seat shine like a diamond but will also make it slippery as heck.
This is the brand of tire foam I use but most will work

*Cheat* If you want to bypass all of the work of the previous four steps for taking pictures, take your pictures after you've completed your rough and fine clean while the machine is still wet. The water will give the effect as the tire foam until it dries.

If you work hard and do all four steps your buyer will subconsciously think that this is how you always keep your machine when it is not in use. Mud stains and sun faded plastics look like crap, the tire shine will do a long way to hide both. 

Pictures Count
Make sure it's clean first! Then take a bare minimum of 5 pictures (the more the better), take one from every angle and of the interior (sxs) or of the handlebars\gauges of a quad.
Many people show the mileage on the gauges and I think this is a good idea.
Remember, even though you've seen it from every angle, your buyer hasn't. Think from their point of view.
If it's in a garage, take it out. A cramped picture of just the front corner of the ATV does nothing for the buyer.
If you can, get some greenery in the background, nothing makes a picture of an ATV pop like it sitting on nicely cut grass with bushes or trees in the background.
Use a decent camera that can take pictures with enough detail and not something from an old flip phone.

Market your ATV wherever you can
You local online classified site is your best bet. In my city the most poplar site it Kijiji, in many other areas it is Craigslist. Talk to your friends and find out where they are posting items for sale, it doesn't pay to post on a site nobody uses. Watch the hit counter so that you know how many people have actually viewed your machine. Lots of hits without any contact means that buyers think there may be something wrong. Check your pictures or wording.After posting your ad click on it, try and put yourself in the buyers shoes and see if you have properly represented your machine. Click on the pictures and make sure that when the buyer clicks on them that they are a decent resolution and not just a small thumbnail.
Other placed to advertise are:
-Bulletin boards at your parts dealer
-Facebook groups
-Tell your friends

Be prepared to negotiate your price. Don't ever ask the exact price you want. Yeah I hate price negotiations too but it is part of selling a used ATV. The buyer wants to feel like they have gotten a great deal. They also want to feel that if something goes wrong with the used ATV they are purchasing that they have some extra money that could be put towards those repairs. The bare minimum I recommend is $200 more than what you want to get out of it for machines $10,000 and under. On machines $10,000 and over I would say to have at least $500 of negotiating room.

Don't try to sell your machine for more than it's worth. Do your research, find three other comparable machines and their price ranges and average them out to figure out your asking price.

Accessories increase the value of your machine, but not dollar for dollar. If you spent $1000 on accessories you can't expect that they will increase the value any more than $500 at best. And some accessories can actually devalue the price.

Grow a thick skin
Trolls hiding behind a keyboard will lowball you, it's just the name of the game and be prepared. It doesn't mean they are insulting the value of their machine, they just want a deal. Sometimes if you manage to keep your cool you can turn a lowball into a reasonable offer if you are patient.

Be patient
I have had it happen to me a number of times where when the machine I am selling is first posted it gets lots of attention....and then completely dies in a couple days. Be prepared for a minimum of two weeks when marketing a machine under $10,000 and up to 8 weeks for $10,000 and over. There is a huge mental barrier for many people when you add that next zero onto the price.

Try to get them to see the machine
Many people want to do most of the price negotiations either by text or email, it sucks and I don't really understand it but it is a new reality enabled by technology. I don't understand how people feel they can properly negotiate a price of something that they have only seen pictures of, but they do. Roll with it. Do what you can just to get the buyer to your house to see it. In my experience 9 times out of 10 when somebody actually makes the time and effort to come over to view the machine they are planning to buy.

Hopefully these tips will help you in selling your ATV, if you feel there is something I have left out or there is a good negotiating tip you've figured out please tell me in the comments section.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Newst Spy Photo of Yamaha YXZ1000

If you haven't had your ear to the ground you may not have heard that Yamaha looks to finally be stepping up to the plate and bringing out the big guns to the pure sport sxs wars.

The Polaris RZR held the "King of the hill" title in this market segment for a long time until Can Am released the Maverick to compete head to head. Arctic Cat has also made a name for themselves with their contender the Wild Cat.

Here is what we know about this machine thus far:

•    It will be called the Yamaha YXZ
•    998cc (safe to assume it will be called the YXZ1000)
•    5 Speed Manual Transmission
•    111 Horse Power

Well the rumors keep swirling and each day a new spy photo is release. Here is today's:

Just leaked today is the latest picture of the new machine, this one appears to still be in the factory getting ready for shipping. The roll bar is missing in this picture as they are typically shipped separately.

Click here if you haven't yet seen the YouTube video