2016 Pioneer 700-4 review
OK, folks. Some of you might have chimed in when I was asking for feedback in the 700 general discussion. But here is my initial, one trail riding day, review of a bone stock pioneer 700-4 (plus a roof). I would like to preface this by saying I have rode in arctic cats, a ranger, and most recently I owned a 2012 polaris rzr 900 xp (that I traded for a tractor) before I was ready to purchase another one.
Yesterday I had the chance to get out and spend the majority of a day in the woods and on the trails with my new rig. I had just about hit the specified break in marks before we unloaded for the day, so after she got good and warmed up I was going to ride it like planned to for the rest of the time I own it. Our terrain was trails with some moderate hills, a creek bed that was sandy in spots with steep exits, some rock faces, and a decent amount of mud holes; and a pretty long tow (more on that later). They were not overly deep or thick mud holes but just fun enough to actually want to try when you are more of a trail riding kinda guy like I am. I am gonna break it up in a pros and cons kinda way.
Engine and Trans
Wowzers was I impressed with this thing. The motor had power all over the place and never once did I feel like there was not enough. Didnt matter if it was climbing a steep hill or tires buried in mud, if I wanted more power or to go faster it just took a bit more throttle and she delivered. The transmission was epically good too, after the ride my brother asked me about its shifting pattern. After I thought for a minute I had to respond with 'I dont know'. It was soooo good and so spot on I never really noticed a difference vs. a cvt trans in technical terrain. Hammering it down a straight away is the only time I really noticed it shifting, the rest of the time I was taking in the scenery or concentrating on the trail. How quick power is delivered to the rear wheels is also noticeable better than a cvt, as soon as you touch the throttle it begins to move. I am overwhelmed with the difference this makes, and the peace of mind that your not gonna slip a belt. Also should noted that never once did I feel like it needed a low range, and this includes towing a dead brute force with a 275lb rider back to the truck. A tow that was probably about a mile and included pulling all that dead weight up a moderately steep hill, the temp gauge never rose at all during this process.
Where you are seated is optimal in this thing, it gives you visibility all over and could not be better. You can easily see over the 'hood' for obstacles you are coming up on, the drivers side tires when you hit a specific spot, and the view behind you is really good when backing up. I felt that the steering wheel location was really good and did not find myself wanting a tilt wheel. Steering was very light and responded extremely well. No matter the terrain or position the lack of power steering did not feel like it mattered. Aside from the one time I did get some wheel lash that caught my thumb I wouldnt have even known it wasnt there.
Boy do these tires hook up! I was riding with a couple quads, some running 27in kendra executioneers and one running 25in mud lites, and one with big outlaws. I dont think I hit every mud hole they did but I made it through everything on the trails that they did just as easy if not easier. My rig also climbed the creek exits better than any other machine, and also climbed the rock faces better. These tires are absolutely fantastic and I would say they have near excellent grip in all situations, very very impressed with these.
Soaked up the bumps at all speeds with ease. Very comfortable ride all day long, and a portion of that was also with a spare rider. Its not a rzr but its not meant to compare to that. For what it is I was impressed.
To me it felt that it took too long to kick in, and did not assist enough for downhill use. Yes it was there but not as aggressive as I would have hoped for.
Pedal Position/Floorboard area
The shin area of my right leg was overworked and while it wasnt terrible it was an irritating pain at some points. You are basically straight up and down meaning you have to keep you foot flexed upward when not at full throttle. I am sure the more I ride the more my muscles will get use to this, and I do understand its not a laid back rzr. But if Honda could find a way to move that out a little bit it would be a big improvement. While I never felt like I needed more floorboard space for my left foot, I did find the narrow entry point to be a pain in the neck. My boot kept getting lodged in that area when getting in/out, if they could add an inch or two to that opening that would be a big improvement.
Yes I know I just got done bragging up the tires, but if your machine leaves the farm they just are not tall enough. I had 3 spots where I had tooth jarring bottom outs, and 2 places where I high centered that only took the nudge of a guy rocking the machine for me to grab and go on. I will be putting 27in bighorns on this machine in time for our big April ride. A taller tire is something I feel this machine could really benifit from.
This has been covered over and over and I still dont know how it made it past Honda's first R&D round. You cannot see anything from the standard driving position. You have to lean up or hunker down to view it, should absolutely be mounted where the big warning sign in. It could have also been a bit brighter as it wasnt easy to see in direct sunlight. It should be noted that I knew this before I bought it, and its just not a big deal to me; I dont care how fast I am going and I can lean in when I need to check fuel or temp. Why it gets the ugly category is because its something that every rider knows about, but something Honda didnt address. Stupid on their part IMO.
Overall there are not words to describe how good this machine actually is! Better than I expected in almost every area, and all of the flaws I had read about before buying it (except my boot getting caught up in the narrow passage when getting in and out); but it wasnt enough to sway me away from a Honda. My biggest concerns was lack of low end power and torque, and that auto trans when climbing hills or in technical spots. And it proved to shine in these areas. I do not for 1 second wish that I had purchased the 1000, or the delux model of the 700. The stock 700-4 is as close to a perfect machine for what I need it for. I hope this might help others who are looking into this rig and might be considering another brand, or even the P1000.