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I got an '06 and a '07 Foreman 500ES. Do similar riding as to what you have in mind but also do a lot of riding in the mountains. Absolutely love the ES and haven't had no problems other than a weak battery on the '06 which was warranted. These atv's in my opinion have more than enough power for your needs. The hondamatic is a pricey beast to fix should it go south on you, hence the reason for choosing the ES models. To answer your question ES I believe stands for electric shift, ( push button shift vs foot pedal shift with the manual )
 

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I think it comes down to whether or not you want the automatic transmission. I have an ES and the machine is great. But the older I get, the lazier I get, and just about everytime I ride now, I wish that I didn't have to mess with shifting. I think Honda's ability to switch between Auto and shiftable is the best of both worlds. If they ever make a fuel injected Rubicon, I'm switching.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Im confused Are you saying that you have no choice but to shift gears (electro-manually) with the Foreman ES?

I guess that's what the "matic" part of hondamatic is supposed to tell my dumb arse ....it is THE only automatic tranny Honda makes. Please someone correct me where I am wrong. Sorry I am such a newb and if I'm bothering you all with these dumb questions.

Tall
 
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Tall Pine,

IMHO hand's down get the Foreman with EPS!!! It is truly amazing!! It is literally like the difference between a car without Power Steering and one with Power Steering. When you select 4WD it gets even easier (it has 2 Program MAPs, 1 for 2WD and 1 for 4WD). When using a Plow you don't even notice the steering. I can literally turn the wheel with one or two fingers sitting still!!

Concerning the auto vs ES, I still prefer "real" gear selection that I can control and pressing a button to change gears is a pleasure and actually fun. Plus I did the simple Reverse Mod so I don't have to mess with using the hand brake and Reverse button to select reverse. All you do is tighten the Reverse switch cable until it selects reverse without pressing the Reverse button and holding the brake. Took 30 seconds to do.
 

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If you want power streering, then the Foreman is the only way to go as the Foreman is the only model that has it. The only automatic transmission models are the Rincon, the Rubicon, and the Rancher AT. All 3 have the option to switch to the ESP shifting mode. If want an automatic transmission, you have to choose one of those 3. The Foreman ES just allows you to shift with your thumb, instead of the foot shift (Foreman S).
 
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