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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I've got an 06 Foreman ES that has served me well (and I'll keep it around). I use my ATV(s) for working around my property (including pulling a small trailer), trail rides and mud also. I'm considering a 18 or 19 Rubicon.

My motivations: First, I have recently moved to the country and when I have guests, I don't have anything with an auto for them to ride. (I recently caught one of them riding the Foreman and just hitting the up & down arrows without letting off the gas!). Another motivation is while I know my solid rear axle is durable, I'm getting really tired of getting hung up in the ruts that IRS people leave behind. And, I'm getting old and I'm ready for power steering :)

So, my questions are:
1) Is the DCT proving to be durable? Even in mud?
2) Is there any difference between a 2018 and 2019?
3) The painted body work on the Deluxe, while Honda touts it as more scratch resistant than the other models, seems to me the paint would scrape off?
4) And, I'm sure this is a common question, what size tires can I fit with little to no mods (as far as rubbing)? And, should I be concerned about stock axles?
 

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DCT on the wife's Rancher has held up fine. I was skeptical after seeing the 14 (IIRC) electrical plugs on the motor, but so far it's been good to go.


I wouldn't go over light 27's on a stock bike.


Don't know about differences from 18-19, and paint is never going to adhere well to plastics in the long run.
 

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The only difference in the 18 & 19 deluxe Rubicon I know of is the color of wheels, springs & emblems the 19's have little round reflectors on the front & rear racks where the 18 doesn't but both yrs are grey metallic paint as far as performance there is no difference but on that note the dct is fine as Jeep said but if you try to ride aggressive like little hilly whoops or so the auto kind of goes crazy it doesn't really know whether to up shift or down shift right lol but I like it other than that I usually just put it in manual mode but I discovered if you slow down enough it will automatically down shift to the next lower gear but will not up shift which was kind of interesting
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks. I wasn't asking about the difference between 18 and 19 Deluxe specfiically, but Rubicon across the board, but doesn't sound like any real difference. I've found some left over 18's for about $500 less, seems like no real reason not to grab one of those if everything else is right. I think I'll avoid the Deluxe, because I don't really want to scrape the fancy flat paint off, and not sure I need the aluminum wheels as I'll probably get aftermarket ones with bigger tires anyway.
 

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I have a 2017 Rubicon Deluxe I bought new in Jan, 2018. I use it to plow snow and to take me to one of several tree stands during bow, gun, and muzzleloader hunting seasons. I have had no issues with the automotive paint despite going through the thickest of snot. The DCT has been great.
 

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I have a ‘16 Rubi with power steering and I love it...can’t speak for the DCT as I have always liked footshift. I put 27” Maxxis Zillas on my bike...they fit great and turn surprisingly easy...(no speed lost on top end)
 

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I have a 2017 footshift Rubi with 27 zillas on it. Ive had my fair share of problems with the machine, and openely voiced my opinion of the build quality of these machines on this forum. Bottom line people buy Honda for one reason only, the name and reliability. The Rubicon is the poorest performing 500 off them all. In fact it performs so poorly in all aspects, its often grouped with the competitions 400 class ATVs. Theres a youtube comparison against the polaris 570 thats worth watching. Lots of people claim Can ams and Polaris are always breaking axles, diffs and clutchs, its easy to say Hondas never break, when they dont make enough power to break anything in the first place. The sad reality is these new hondas are breaking alot now, just have a look through the forum here.The tolerances and casting flaws in the engines are a joke, and honda only recently got their dcts to shift properly.

In summary, these new Hondas are overpriced, underpowered and poorly built. You can get much more bang for your buck from pretty much anyone else in the competition.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I have a ‘16 Rubi with power steering and I love it...can’t speak for the DCT as I have always liked footshift. I put 27” Maxxis Zillas on my bike...they fit great and turn surprisingly easy...(no speed lost on top end)
So, 27's fit with no rubbing?
 

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In summary, these new Hondas are overpriced, underpowered and poorly built. You can get much more bang for your buck from pretty much anyone else in the competition.
Sorry to hear. My 06 has been a tank. It's had some recurring issues recently with front hubs and rear axle seal, but it's getting old and has a lot of hours & miles. I love the simplicity of the air/oil cooled machines, so not crazy about the change to water cooled. I mostly considering Honda because while you say they are overpriced, they are MUCH cheaper than the competition. I mean, the new ones are only a few hundred more than what I paid for my 06! I know my 06 is not fast by any means, and the radiator and cooling probably added some pounds.

I bought my 06 mostly because I did not want a CVT and there aren't many (any?) options to avoid that, all the competition has that.
 

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The aircooled were probably the last great Hondas, a guy a ride with has one and its incredible how much punishment it can take.

Unfortunately Honda is the only one selling manual footshifts new that I know of.

Id source an older aircooled machine before ever considering buying a new watercooled Honda again.
 

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I agree that they aren't what they used to be.


As you can see from my signature, I'm a big fan of the air cooled, footshifts. I have rebuilt these down to the crank, and other than a weak first gear in the 05-08 Foremans, that generation holds up pretty well.


That said, even that generation isn't, IMO, as good as the older machines. When one looks at the old 350 Foremans, the 400 Foremans, the 300's, those things could take insane amounts of abuse and still hold up. I've replaced two cranks in the 05-11 Foremans, and after a long talk with Vince at Mr Crankshaft, he agreed that the newer models simply don't hold up to the abuse that the older models could.


The wife has a DCT Rancher. I bought it trashed (and cheap) and completely went through it. It has been a good machine thus far, but she putters around on it so I would completely expect it to not have issues.


I've rebuilt a couple of OBS 420 footshifts. They always need a crank, the transmissions are iffy, and for some reason Honda went back to that garbage open rear design that the 300's had. Fuel pumps lock up if you try to use ethanol gas too (I don't, but it's a common problem I see).


The guys I ride with mostly have Rubicons and we have one Rincon. The thing I notice is they have to stop fairly often to let their machines cool down, even after washing out their radiators before we leave the trailhead. I have NEVER had one of my air cooled machines overheat. Haven't ever even seen the light come on other than upon initially turning the key on.


People are more concerned now with creature comforts than they are long-term reliability. Let's face it, we've become a throw away society and people don't care if the machine lasts more than 5 years as long as it's comfortable and hopefully cheap.


The price on the footshift Foreman hasn't changed in 10 years. I saw 2019's early this week for the same price as the 2009's. I imagine Honda is spending less to make them than they were 10 years ago, which allows them to keep the MSRP the same or close to it.


That's the direction of everything now. Cheaper, lower quality, shorter lifespan. It's what our society demands and the manufacturers are giving people what they want.
 

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I have the Rubicon Deluxe with about 2300 miles on it. Put 27" Zilla's on it and love them. Use mine hunting, trail riding, plowing, getting firewood etc. VERY happy with it. We had to build a bridge at the hunting shack and I could drag 2-35' power poles at a time going 20mph for 1 1/2 miles no problem. When in technical terrain (hills, mud etc.) I shift manually. Power steering is fantastic.
 

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I have a 2017 footshift Rubi with 27 zillas on it. Ive had my fair share of problems with the machine, and openely voiced my opinion of the build quality of these machines on this forum. Bottom line people buy Honda for one reason only, the name and reliability. The Rubicon is the poorest performing 500 off them all. In fact it performs so poorly in all aspects, its often grouped with the competitions 400 class ATVs. Theres a youtube comparison against the polaris 570 thats worth watching. Lots of people claim Can ams and Polaris are always breaking axles, diffs and clutchs, its easy to say Hondas never break, when they dont make enough power to break anything in the first place. The sad reality is these new hondas are breaking alot now, just have a look through the forum here.The tolerances and casting flaws in the engines are a joke, and honda only recently got their dcts to shift properly.

In summary, these new Hondas are overpriced, underpowered and poorly built. You can get much more bang for your buck from pretty much anyone else in the competition.
This is a total crock! The Rubicon is a utility machine, if you want top end speed you bought the wrong machine! The Rubicon is geared to work. We use them for hunting, fishing, and getting back into inaccessible off-road areas. The Rubicon has all the power/traction you need in a utility machine. You should have bought a sport quad, so you can go fast...
 

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I bought Honda not because I wanted to go fast, I wanted reliability. When I mentioned power, I wasnt talking about hp, I was focused on TQ. Again Honda has the lowest TQ power value of all its competition. This means as a utility machine they are being beat by all the other 500 utility ATVs on the market.
 

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Torque is only good if it can get to the ground. I prefer having solid gears to shift through instead of a belt drive. My brother has had issues with his Grizzly 600 and 660 with the clutches getting wet and the belt slipping. My little 500 has had to drag him out of many mud holes due to that slipping and he has had the dealership replace and rebuild the trans a few times. Also by having set gears you get to use the full RPM band at different speeds to take advantage of the torque more.
 

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If you put a honda and then a can am on a dyno, I guarantee you the Can am puts down more power and it will have more area under the power curve than the honda because theyre cvt driven.Most of the guys I ride with have CVTs and none of them have had any problems putting the power to the mud(water included).

The main purpose of my statement was to illustrate that the new hondas are not more reliable than their competetion, and that given how underpowered overall poor performance when compared to their competition(apples to apples) utility atvs, they are overpriced and outdated.
 

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I have a ‘16 Rubi with power steering and I love it...can’t speak for the DCT as I have always liked footshift. I put 27” Maxxis Zillas on my bike...they fit great and turn surprisingly easy...(no speed lost on top end)
So, 27's fit with no rubbing?
No rubbing at full lock either direction...I was surprised myself when I couldn’t get it to rub..
 

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The main purpose of my statement was to illustrate that the new hondas are not more reliable than their competetion, and that given how underpowered overall poor performance when compared to their competition(apples to apples) utility atvs, they are overpriced and outdated.
I'll disagree with you there. Honda isn't what it used to be, and Cam Am has started making better machines compared to the garbage they made a few years ago, but "not more reliable than their competition" I don't agree with at all.


One of the biggest Cam Am dealerships in the country is just North of me, and they also sell Honda. Cam Am is much more popular now, because everyone is recreationally riding vs 20 years ago when they were sold mostly as farm tools around here. Take a stock Can Am and a stock Honda and use them on the farm and the Honda is a MUCH more reliable bike.


Hondas are boring. They are underpowered, and the newer machines are not as reliable as the older machines, but if you want to compare them to the pack they are still the most reliable.


The market now wants creature comfort and power over reliability and I think Honda's attempt to do that in tiny baby steps is not a good strategy. Honda should have stuck with the "Our machines are basic, uncomfortable, and last forever" Instead they're half assing it trying to compete with other brands on the comfort, power, and price (the 2019 Foreman is the same price as the 2009 Foreman I bought new), and they're not in the same ballpark as some of the others in power, comfort, and price, but they've sacrificed reliability in the attempt to compete.


Any of them are going to mess up if you use them as a boat, and mod the crap out of them.


But you take a stock bike and use it for work, Honda is still unmatched. I wish they'd design new machines for the recreational crowd and leave things alone with the work bikes. Their attempts to make something that does it all leaves nobody happy.
 

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Trust me I used to believe everything youre saying. I believed in Honda because they built my lawn mower/tractor/ outboard so well, how could they go wrong on an ATV. But the parts and build on the machine doesnt compare at all to the above. My honda HT3810 has 4000hrs, has been punished 10 fold to the ATV and Ive had less problems with it.

I live in one of the largest farming communities in Ontario Canada, and no ones running new Hondas out here. Lots of Yamaha/Suzuki/Polaris, few Can am, but no Honda.

Our local Honda dealer is also a Can am/Honda dealer, the service advisor will openly tell you they had more warranty claims on the rubicon 500 than they did on the Can am 570, and you can probably guess which they sold more of. They will also tell you Honda is one of the most difficult companies to get warranty approval from. He said they used to keep quite a few honda units on site, but the decline in build quality has snuffed the sales and the just dont sell as well anymore.

Anyone who does any work with the newer ATV engines will tell you how poor the quality is in the new Honda engines. The Rotax pistons look much nicer than the Honda, **** as I mentioned in another post when I built my engine we compared the piston from an R18A1 civic engine beside the Rubicon 500 and there was a noticable difference is casting quality.

Die hard Honda lovers seem to fiercely defend the brand quality no matter what, but facts are facts, there is no longer any tangable proof Honda builds the better machine anymore.
 
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