We’ve talked to various readers who will argue the best ATV is the lightest one.
Makes sense to us, and our own experience would indicate, when you’re bogged down in muck, it’s nice to have a super-lightweight to winch out, or if necessary, get off and push onto dry ground.
However, there are certain merits to a vehicle that may not win the weight sweepstakes but does have a finely tuned 4-wheel drive system and even features like excessive ground clearance, aggressive tires or a lot of suspension travel.
You may have noticed; if you own an ATV with 4WD, you don’t need to engage 4×4 as often as you’d expect.
This is kinda nuts, but we actually see it as a challenge on some of our DT staff rides and tests to see how long we can go without flipping the 4×4 switch.
It’s pretty amazing how long you can stay in 2WD, even in the slimiest guck, without getting stuck, providing you have a good set of tires and decent ground clearance.
The other argument is durability. Usually, when an ATV tips the scales as heavier, it’s because the OEM has built in extra brackets, bosses and supports to increase the strength and rigidity of the chassis and even the bodywork.
Durability is a major deal with ATVs because of the kinds of use they’re subjected to. Even the driveline components can be compromised because of too much weight shaving at the OEM level.
Hey, don’t get us wrong. We believe every manufacturer should strive to produce the lightest, most durable ATV possible. However, we’re also convinced a few extra pounds isn’t always a bad thing.