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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, great site. I was lead here by someone on atvconnection to get some straight answers from Honda guys. I am coming off an 03 Suzuki Vinson 500 auto, which has been trouble free. My problem with it is I use it for hunting mostly and it is way too loud. Engine rattles under load and cvt tranny is always clanking around. It is normal, but annoys the crap out od me and I've been told I can be heard coming 10 minutes away. I like riding an auto, because it's comfortable and I'm lazy I guess, but I'm thinking I should go back to a manual shift for quietness and effieciency.
What are the major differences between the rubi and foreman? So far all I see is auto and liquid cooling on the rubi. Am I missing something else? Reliability is huge to me, and I will use it for some rockcrawling type stuff in the sierra's as well as hunting. Is there a downside to air cooled over liquid in slow speed operation? I will rarely go over 25 mph and mostly be in the 5-10 range. I don't do mud ever and rarely see water over the floorboards. Finally, I read somewhere about a guy running a manual foot shift foreman who said he could coast by simply pressing the shift down all the way and holding it, is this correct? Pretty cool feature if its true. I know I asked a lot, thaks for reading and responding. Most important question is what is the quietest rubi or foreman? Thank you
 

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Hey SF welcome. I can't answer all questions about the Rubi, but I do own a Foreman 500. So far I really enjoy it for what I do, which is quite similar to your type of use. To and from hunting spots, hauling game and hauling firewood off our 360 acre lot, and some occasional riding in ungroomed trails. I don't use it for hardcore mudding or crawling, it's really a utility machine for me and serves me well. I own the footshift, which is what I've always had and to me appears to be the most reasonable choice, taking cost and reliability into account. Most of the Electric Shift guys haven't had any trouble, but I've seen more posts on here about ES problems than manual shift ones. The "coasting" feature you talk about is not really a feature, it's more of a technique that slips your tranny in between gears, almost like a neutral, but I can't see it being good for the tranny in the long run.

As for engines, the Rubi sports a 499cc liquid cooled, and the Foreman is a 475cc air cooled with two oil coolers for protection. Again, I can't speak about the Rubi, but air cooled is what I've always had, and anyone will tell you that an air cooled Honda engine is virtually trouble free. Noise is minimal, but I'm tempted to say that if it wasn't for the frequent hard hauling that I do, a 400 or even 350 would be plenty machine for me. My family have run Big Reds both 200 and 250ccs, Foreman 400s and 450s, TRX 250 fourtrax, basically the gamut of Honda machines built in the past 25 years, and never, ever has any one of them let us down. Proper maintenance and reasonable driving will allow you to keep your machine for decades, if you so desire. Happy riding, and GO HONDA!
 

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Welcome sfjakey, I hope this site answers all your questions on the Rubicon and 500 Foreman. To answer your question about holding the shift lever all the way down and free wheeling, yes the S model Foreman will do that. But it will down shift when you release the shifter. I don't think it's good for the clutch either. You will not find a more stable ATV than the 500 Foreman or Rubicon. Both carry their weight low in the frame. Off camber trails seem easy on either. As for pulling power, I don't think you would be dissapointed, the 500 Foreman has a lot of low in torque. But then so does the Rubicon. It's a hard choice between the two. My choice was the 500 Foreman ES. Because it a simple hard working, easy riding machine. And it cost a lot less than the Rubicon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks, guys. I really don't need the pulling power per se, just hauling my 200lbs, a 70 lb lab and a dead deer all on the bike. My main concern is reliability, QUIET (I can't stress that enough, Suzuki was lots of clatter noise), and comfortable ride. It seems the 2 are the same basic bike, just auto or manual. I actually would like to hear more about the power steering option. Like I said, I want a lazy cruiser. MY inclination is toward a Foreman manual right now, but ES would make cruising in flip flops a lot easier. Is the lack of a low range any hindrance on the foreman, or is 1st more of a compound gear?
 

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I haven't compared both machines on the field, but I was told by several dealers when shopping that if I was looking for pulling power, Foreman was the way to go. The 1st is actually a superlow gear, I usually take off in 2nd, 1st is just too low for cruising. The 500 or even 400 would suit your needs perfectly, IMO. In tight tricky trails, I find the 500 to be a tad big, and sometimes wish I had a smaller bike. If you're used to a 500-sized bike then you're fine, in my case I went from a tiny 3 wheeler and 250 TRX Fourtrax to this beast.
 

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I got the Foreman ES model. Was a bit leary of the electric shift at first but after riding it for a day, I would never go back to a manual shift. Air cooled engines are the only way to go in atv's and motorcycles. Maybe I'm old school here but I've never had a problem on my previous bikes as far as over heating and they usually idle a lot on hot days.
 

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I like my foreman 500 ES, less to go wrong with it. I know the S has even less to go wrong with it but I did not grow up on a bike or quad so shifting with my thumb works better for me. I like simple so I say go with the simple S or ES.
 

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You won't be disappointed with the Rubicon.
 

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I have had both. For your type of riding there is no question which one you will like better: RUBICON. So smooooooth you'll be amazed with the tranny; engine braking is perfect too. If you like the auto than the Rubicon is the best in the business. My 05 was trouble free and I used it as a submarine
 

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I had a rubicon and hated it. Every ten minutes i had to stop so it would cool down. Around the house it was fine, but when i went riding i couldnt keep it from overheating. Other than that i liked it alright.
 

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Thats because mud was in the radiator. Relocate it and be done with it.
 

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My stock manual shift Foreman with the stock exhaust is much quiter than my 350 Rancher.
 
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