The new 2001 ATVs are as varied as the work (or recreation) they are meant to do. Here are the latest introductions.

New Prairie 650. Kawasaki breaks down the uses for its ATV into five categories: hunting, exploring, farming, casual recreation and high performance.

The company was very shy about giving out information about its new Prairie 650 (the largest ATV in the industry) and what it can do. The machine is due to dealers next month, and most of its specs won't be announced until the end of this month. But according to company spokesman Ron Nordyke, it is extremely torqued and very refined. The ATV's torque is not compromised; it has a low end but revs at high rpms. Nordyke says it will be a good machine to use for towing and hauling.

The beefed-up machine offers 633-cc displacement. Suspension travel is high at 7 in. in front, made possible with a MacPherson strut, and 7.3 in. in back, thanks to a single shock swing arm. Circle 212.

Players can check out Kawasaki's new line of Lakota Sport vehicles. The sleek-bodied machines don't have any cargo racks or a front grille to get in the way. However, with an optional hitch, you can haul up to 650 lbs.

Dual A-arm front suspension with adjustable shocks soak up bumps and bruises and provide almost 7 in. of travel. Swing-arm rear suspension with adjustable shock provides more than 8 in. of travel. An efficient O-ring chain, protected by a steel guard, drives the rear wheels. Contact Kawasaki Motors Corp., 9950 Jeronimo Rd., Irvine, CA 92618, 949/770-0400 or circle 213.

Power in a small ride. Arctic Cat claims its 250 4 4 will give you the ride and hauling power of a full-sized machine with the price of a compact.

The machine tows up to 850 lbs., carries up to 225 lbs. and boasts 23 8-12 front tires and 24 10-12 rear tires, both with 5 psi, to give you traction in rough or muddy fields. An automatic clutch eliminates lever pulling when you use the heel/toe rocker shifter.

Use a variety of accessories and power tools with the equipped 75-amp alternator; a 12v accessory plug is positioned at the rear of the machine.

The 250 offers a 59-in. turning radius for maneuvering in tight spots. The air intake is located between the seat and fuel tank to help keep mud and debris out of the engine. Contact Arctic Cat Sales Inc., Dept. FIN, Box 810, Thief River Falls, MN 56701, 218/681-8558 or circle 214.

New diesel. Polaris now offers its Sportsman model 500 in a diesel with Polaris Automatic Transmission (PVT), dual-sensing-engine braking system (EBS) and independent rear suspension. These features give a powerful, smooth ride even in rough traveling conditions. A 300W alternator powers accessories. Contact Polaris, Dept. FIN, 1225 Hwy. 169 N., Minneapolis, MN 55441, 763/542-2314 or circle 215.

Easy to maintain. Suzuki's 2001 offering is the Quadmaster 500 4 4. It features a fully automatic QuadMatic transmission with a hand-operated gear range selector on top of the fuel tank. Choose from high, low, neutral or reverse.

Kawasaki
Prairie
650
Polaris
diesel
500
Suzuki
Quadmaster
500
Kawasaki
Lakota Sport
300
Arctic Cat
4 4
250
Honda
Sportrax
250EX
Engine
type
liq. cooled,
4 stroke,
90 v-twin
liq. cooled,
4 stroke
diesel
liq. cooled,
4 stroke
SOHC
air cooled,
4 stroke
SOHC
air&oil cooled,
4 stroke
OHC
air cooled,
4 stroke
OHV, mntd.
longitudinally
Displacement
Transmission
633 cc
auto power-
drive, hi/low,
reverse
455 cc
PVT, e-z shift
drive, hi/low,
reverse
493 cc
5-speed,
hi/low,
reverse
290 cc
5-speed
w/reverse
246 cc
5-speed
w/reverse,
constant mesh
229 cc
5-speed
w/reverse
Suspension
travel
f: 7 in.
r: 7.3 in.
f: 6.7 in.
r: 9 in.
f: 5 in.
r: 5 in.
f: 6 in.
r: 8 in.
f: 6 in.
r: 6 in.
f: 5 in.
r: 5.7 in.
Brake type f: dual discs
r: sealed
multi-disc
f: hyd. disc
r: hyd. fixed
disc
f: dual hyd.
disc
r: mech. drum
f: dual disc
r: disc
f: hyd. disc
r: hyd. &
mech. disc
f: dual hyd.
disc
r: sealed drum
Ground
clearance
Fuel capacity
n/a
4.8 gal.
n/a
3.7 gal.
9 in.
3.3 gal.
7.7 in.
2.2 gal.
8 in.
4 gal.
5 in.
2.7 plus 7.7
gal. reserve
Towing
Rack cap.
n/a
n/a
n/a
1,225 lbs.
f: 90 lbs.
r: 180 lbs.
904 lbs.
f: 66 lbs.
r: 132 lbs.
459 lbs.
n/a
n/a
850 lbs.
f: 75 lbs.
r: 150 lbs.
n/a
n/a
n/a
Warranty
MSR price
Web site
6-month ltd.
n/a
kawasaki
.com
n/a
$7,599
polarisindustries
.com
6 months
$6,599
suzuki
.com
90-day ltd.
$4,099
kawasaki
.com
n/a
n/a
arctic-cat
.com
6-month ltd.
$3,899
hondamotor
cycle.com

Reduce free wheeling while moving forward with the braking system; it helps you maintain a consistent speed while hauling heavy payload.

Recoil starting is easy with the machine's maintenance-free digital CDI ignition system. The front differential is more compact than in conventional designs and allows lighter steering in tight places. A new automotive-style 12v/60W electrical outlet mounts to the front rack to power a variety of tools. Contact American Suzuki Motor Corp., Dept. FIN, 3251 E. Imperial Hwy., Brea, CA 92822, 714/427-3137 or circle 216.

Just for the fun of it.

The new Sportrax 250EX is Honda's sporty little playboy. It is perfect for utility-type ATV users who want to do more trail and recreation riding.

The new machine shows off a lot of chrome and looks built to move. It has lightweight, aluminum wheels that reduce weight for better handling. The 250EX has the convenience of an electric start, and a 123W alternator offers abundant electric power. A high-performance cylinder head features a 9.2:1 compression, and the 229-cc 4-stroke engine is derived from the company's FourTrax Recon.

The engine is mounted longitudinally for a compact engine and transmission assembly package. Our company source says that, because the engine is mounted sideways, it takes one less 90 turn to get power to the rear wheels of the vehicle. This updated engine, coupled with the compression ratio, produces almost 10% more power than the Recon design. Contact American Honda, Dept. FIN, 1919 Torrence Blvd., Torrence, CA 90501, 310/532-9811 or circle 217.