The decision to acquire an ATV evolved over the past couple of years. It started a few years ago when my daughter had a one-year position with Park-to-Park Trail (P2P), helping organize their website and events, as well as working with the Trail Manager on trail maintenance. She thought highly of the Trail Manager, the Board and the organization. A year later I decided to join the board of P2P as a non-motorized board member, representing the people who walked, hiked and cycled along the trail.
That led me to spend some time in a CF Moto Force 800 with the Trail Manager doing a bit of maintenance and getting familiar with the more distant reaches of the trail. And last year, 2015, I rode in the P2P Do It For Dads rally with a rookie driver in a brand new CF Moto UForce 800. I was taking photos and didn't drive. The machine was provided by Rosseau Road Powersports. A good time was had by all and I was convinced I really didn't want to go motorized. At the same time I was getting out on the P2P Trail and exploring it with my bicycle and taking photos of the trail and the area. I quickly realized that it was no simple thing to walk in with a kayak or rig up a trailer for my bicycle. I still had to get the whole operation to a trailhead and then bike, or hike, in a few km. That started me thinking about an ATV.
My first thoughts were to get a traditional ATV with handlebars and head out with my camera and a few essentials for a full day trip. At that point I went out to visit a couple local shops to get some sense of pricing.
My first stop was a local Arctic Cat dealer. The discussion revealed that I would be looking at about $7K CDN and up (all prices quoted are Canadian Dollars, without the usual 13% HST on top), for a lower end unit. What turned me off in the discussion was the very quick mention that if I decided to get a bike from the US and import it that the warranty would be void. Hmm, an interesting way to sell the merits of Arctic Cat - it's cheaper in the US on an exchange weighted basis. I didn't go back.
At that point I headed out to see Rousseau Road Powersports and looked at their ATVs. The basic bike, a one-person short wheelbase machine went for about $5K, plus, plus. That wasn't recommended and the longer two-person bike went for about $7K stripped down.
Shortly thereafter I spoke with Peter the P2P Trail Manager and he wondered why I wasn't looking at a side-by-side. That rang a bell. I was originally trying to save money by looking at an ATV rather than a SxS, but the logistics of a SxS made sense. There was a steering wheel and pedals, a consideration as I had hurt my right hand in a youthful misadventure. And there was the possibility of loading up a little more equipment than a traditional ATV, and carrying a kayak on top. There was also the possibility of comfortably taking a passenger. It started to make sense. But what would it cost.
The price for a basic SxS at Rousseau Road Powersports was $10K, plus, plus. That was for a 2016 Force 500 HO without power steering or winch. It included a one-year bumper-to-bumper warranty. The previous year models had a five-year warranty. I wonder why they shortened it?
I then went and took a look at the basic Yamaha Wolverine which started at $13K, plus, plus. It was a very nice machine but quite a bit bigger with a 60" width and 700cc, versus 50" width and 500cc for the CF Moto. In addition the Yamaha did not come with a number of what I considered to be important accessories, including mirrors that I figured would add in an additional $500+. The dealer was willing to knock a little bit off the price and offered a second year warranty for service at their shop. This was a very reputable dealer and I was very interested.
Back to Rousseau Road Powersports and a discussion about the smaller CF Moto. In the end I decided on the smaller CF Moto ZForce 500 HO for three reasons. 1. I wanted to support CF Moto, they have been generous in supporting P2P Trail with equipment. Without their help it would be much more difficult to manage the trail and keep it open. 2. I liked the size of the CF Moto more than the Yamaha. The smaller Honda SxS was not recommended by a few people in the area. 3. I wanted to support Rousseau Road Powersports and felt they would provide great service.
When it came to pricing I paid list, $10K, plus $500 for a winch, $500 for freight, and $500 for assembly, a total of about $11,500 before taxes.
Why not negotiate a better price? I certainly have done this in the past but I wanted to be in a position to demand top notch service. If I pay full price I expected to receive great service.
So how has the bike been? I'll keep a running list of issues as they arise under the CF Moto Reliability Experience tab.