We arrived at our destination in Richfield,
Utah, the home of the Rocky Mountain ATV Jamboree.
Honda chose the location because of the vast
trail system and varied terrain, which would
prove to be the perfect setting to show the
all around capabilities of the Honda Rancher.
The timing of the ride could not have been more
perfect as the fall foliage was at its peak.
We were greeted by an amazing array of colors,
with burning oranges, golden yellows and flaming
reds all around. The weather was beautiful,
with sunny skies and mild temperatures that
had been present for quite some time in the
area, which dried things out maybe a little
too much as we did run into some dusty conditions,
but nothing so bad as to ruin our fun.
For our first day of riding, we would be hitting
over 80 miles of wide open trails on the Electric
Power Steering (EPS) equipped Rancher ES and
ER models, and for day two, we would ride half
as many miles, but over a much more technical
terrain with the AT models to truly test out
Honda new automatic five-speed transmission,
EPS, and IRS benefits.
On day one, all the machines were all lined up
and ready to roll with several Rancher ES models
equipped with Honda’s thumb operated electronic
power shifting system, and one Rancher ER, which
was the only model that was a manual foot shift
unit. Both models featured the standard straight
axles, and all had Electric Power Steering (EPS).
We started our ride on the ER model for the first
half of our journey and then switched to the ES
model on the ride back in order to compare difference
between the shifting options
One thing that we really stood out on first
day of riding was the maneuverability of the
Rancher. Their smaller size, compared to the
big bore utility quads, enables them to be more
nimble in tighter areas and the addition of
power steering allows then to turn on a dime.
We also liked the thumb shifting on the ES model.
We had our doubts at first, but after giving
it a try, it was easy to use and worked well,
and only on a few occasion, we did lose track
of which button to push without looking, but
we feel that this would be something that one
would grow accustomed to with more time spent
on the machine and it would become second nature.
the Rancher ES & AT feature Honda's
Electric Shift, which is thumb operated
and very easy to use, but the Rancher
AT model also has a lever on the thumb
throttle for switching from Auto to ESP
As we were riding some of the more wide open trails,
we decided to see just how fast the ES’s
top speed was. As we worked our way through the
gears, we noticed each gear besides fifth gear
had an individual 10mph rev limiter, so second
gear would max out at 20 mph, third gear maxed
out at 30mph, and etc. As we burned through the
gears, we found that the Rancher ES would top
out at about 55 MPH in fifth gear, which is not
to shabby for a mid sized 420cc utility ATV in