I like the standard shift way better then the ES for the simple fact that there is less stuff to go wrong. The standard shift has been around forever, go with what you know works. Dont know much about the auto shift machines, I like to control when the machine shifts, at least Honda's auto trannies dont use a belt unlike the other guys you see stuck in the mud and water with there belts slipping. LOL The one plus with the ES machines is that you dont have to get your feet wet if you have to shift to back up or something.
I have the es and I love it
I ride allot in the winter and with big boots on manual shifting is a pain with the floor boards the way they are
went to laurel Tuesday and had to back out of a few mud holes and I didn't get my feet wet a big plus.
People say that S is more reliable and less to go wrong, but Honda's ESP system has been around a good 5 years now. Other than the occasional angle sensor I haven't heard of any problems with them. I owned a 2001 Foreman 450ES and I had to replace the angle sensor once in over 600hrs of use. It still worked great when I sold it.
My new Foreman seems to work just as well and will most likely provide me many many hours of reliable service true to Honda's reputation.
S and ES both have pros and cons, it's more of what you prefer rather than what is better.
I like my ES easy to work 500 plus miles with no problems but I did dielectric all conections I could find and opened the es box and filled that also. But I rode a belt machine and just pressing the gas and going was really nice.
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