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Short story:

I need to buy an ATV, about 400 cc or so, to go up and down a STEEP hill with several tight switchbacks.

What do people suggest?

Longer story:

I'm an old man who lives at the top of a very very steep hill; think "ladder" and you're close.

At the bottom of that hill is my boat, which I love to work on as much as I like to sail.

That hill is so high and so steep that I can make the trip once a day, and once only. So if I forget a tool at the top, the job doesn't get done that day.

My "fix" was to buy an ATV, my first, a 2003 Yamaha Kodiak 400. Sadly, this machine was rode HARD and put to bed wet; it was thrashed, but it ran and it was available. (I live in the middle of nowhere; there was exactly one used ATV for sale anywhere within a day's drive.)

So I rebuilt the brakes and suspension and steering and I've been using it for the past year. And it's been really nice to be able to forget things and still get the work done that day.

But it's time for something new, something that doesn't feel like it's going to fall apart at any moment.

So, I need a low center of gravity. The Yamaha might just flip or roll if I don't lean way back on the way down and push my nose over the front on the way up. Any higher a CoG and I'm not sure I'd make it.

I need a tight turning radius; a couple of the switchbacks are too tight for the Yamaha to make without a bit of forward and back, which is a bit unnerving on the edge of a cliff covered in loose rock.

4WD is obvious, but everything is 4WD these days, near as I can tell.

Power .. not much required, as 2MPH is about my top speed.

An engine/transmission combination that provides engine braking would be a very good thing. Much of the surface is slippery; locking the wheels and just sliding (and sliding and sliding) is easy to do.

So, suggestions?
 

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Check the old suzuki kingquads, they have high, low, and superlow ratios and front diff lock..
You'll love the superlow, which works in forwards and reverse, unlike some makes that have one superlow forward gear only. They just crawl along.. at very low speeds.
 

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I had some more thoughts about comparisons..
The king quads have independent rear suspension, and rather limited travel because of it, they sit low and don't rise and fall as the throttle goes on as some models do.. they feel really solid.

They can be used in the low ratios without engaging the four wheel drive, which means you can crawl along without the bad cornering that four wheel drive causes.

They do have engine braking (I think all quads do if they are in good condition), and will slow right to almost stopped without brakes. A tiny amount of throttle stops sliding without really increasing the speed at all.

Kingquads really are the tractors of the quad bike world.. if fact, they are more like forestry skidders with center steer, than tractors even.. They go/crawl up slopes you can hardly stand on.. seriously !!
 
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