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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
First post, never owned a sxs before but do own a Honda Rubicon. I am looking for a sxs to use hunting, riding into remote lakes and streams to flyfish, and just cruise around the ranch I lease (9000 ac on Ca coast, steep!). I will be doing some fairly challenging rocky roads in the sierras, and going into some roadless areas to pick up downed elk on the ranch I hunt in Oregon. Again, lots of rocky terrain to traverse there also. The Oregon ranch has a Can Am commander, which I have used and let me say it is an impressive machine. I don't think there is anywhere I couldn't take that thing. That said, it is hot and noisy and the throttle is very jerky. Can anybody compare a Pioneer to a Commander as far as capability and stability goes when way off the beaten path. I also will be traveling very slow most of the time, so top end speed means nothing to me.Quietness is very important, as is comfort. I read about not needing a low range, but let me tell you, when you are climbing a steep off camber leave covered hill and you run out of steam, low range will literally save your life and machine. Backing down is not an option in these situations and I have had to use it a few times on the Rubicon. I have a hard time with the Pioneer not giving us this option for these type of situations. I have looked at them, sat in them and listened to them idle, but there is no way to get seat time so I have to rely on others experience. Sorry for the long post and thanks for your input.
 

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First gear is low on the pioneer. I mainly use mine for hunting and we have a lot of good long Hillclimbs in eastern Ky. They are very impressive for a 680cc engine. The commander is a awesome machine. I've had a little seat time in them.
 

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First post, never owned a sxs before but do own a Honda Rubicon. I am looking for a sxs to use hunting, riding into remote lakes and streams to flyfish, and just cruise around the ranch I lease (9000 ac on Ca coast, steep!). I will be doing some fairly challenging rocky roads in the sierras, and going into some roadless areas to pick up downed elk on the ranch I hunt in Oregon. Again, lots of rocky terrain to traverse there also. The Oregon ranch has a Can Am commander, which I have used and let me say it is an impressive machine. I don't think there is anywhere I couldn't take that thing. That said, it is hot and noisy and the throttle is very jerky. Can anybody compare a Pioneer to a Commander as far as capability and stability goes when way off the beaten path. I also will be traveling very slow most of the time, so top end speed means nothing to me.Quietness is very important, as is comfort. I read about not needing a low range, but let me tell you, when you are climbing a steep off camber leave covered hill and you run out of steam, low range will literally save your life and machine. Backing down is not an option in these situations and I have had to use it a few times on the Rubicon. I have a hard time with the Pioneer not giving us this option for these type of situations. I have looked at them, sat in them and listened to them idle, but there is no way to get seat time so I have to rely on others experience. Sorry for the long post and thanks for your input.
Here shortly i will post some vids on my days riding shot at high elevations. This was a make or break day for my Pioneer...and it didn't go well for it.

So my first question is what elevations will you be at? Below 5000 or maybe 6000', the Pioneer will likely do all you ask of it. Above that, the lack of a low range becomes a limitation to what it can do. I was at 9,300 feet today and had it bog down and stall in 6" of snow in 4wd diff lock several times. Luckily, reverse is lower geared, so you could back up something if forward didn't work out...but who really wants to do that all day. This is my only major complaint with the Pioneer, and unfortunately it is a deal breaker.

If you stay below those elevations, then go for it.
 

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I too looked very hard at that Commander but I bought the Honda. My main reason was you can putt around slow all day and noise level is low. Down here in Texas we really don't have many things it can't do. I own many off road vehicles and I would say Honda did it right with the Rubicon. Just today riding the Pioneer and Rubicon makes me wonder why Honda did not go all out and crush the competition with a low gear. I would say those that own a Rubicon will not be that impressed versus someone who had never had one.
 

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I too looked very hard at that Commander but I bought the Honda. My main reason was you can putt around slow all day and noise level is low. Down here in Texas we really don't have many things it can't do. I own many off road vehicles and I would say Honda did it right with the Rubicon. Just today riding the Pioneer and Rubicon makes me wonder why Honda did not go all out and crush the competition with a low gear. I would say those that own a Rubicon will not be that impressed versus someone who had never had one.
One of the great mysteries of the world is why Honda didn't use the Rubicon's tranny in the Pioneer. In fact, in some of the terrain i was in today, the Rubicon's complete drive train in a Pioneer would have done a better job at pulling it than the Pioneers's did...and its because of that low range.

I also owned a Rubicon as well. Best ATV i've ever had. Add IRS, diff-lock, and EFI and you'd have the perfect trail quad.

IMO, Can-am's seem to have a lot of problems. I've never owned or driven one. Plenty of power i am sure.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I was wondering more about capability vs can am. I really found the can am surefooted, stable and very low COG, allowing it to go anywhere, even off camber stuff. Disappointing results for the Pioneer, but mostly what I was expecting. No low range was a big mistake, even if it is rarely needed, when it is needed it is usually pretty critical.
 

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Most of the guys saying low range isn't needed are guys that haven't seen a need for it.

I would think the Honda is MORE capable at low speeds, just due to it having a throttle cable, and an automatic trans vs. the belt system and drive-by-wire on the commander. However, this is in the case where LOW range is not needed. In that case, the Honda will suffer, and the big V-twin will tow a house in low gear.

I would ride both for extended periods and decide. All machines have pro's and con's. To be honest, based on your needs, I think a Polaris Ranger fits right in between the Honda and the Can Am, and would likely do everything you need, and has low range.

Never hurts to look at all your options.
 

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So my first question is what elevations will you be at? Below 5000 or maybe 6000', the Pioneer will likely do all you ask of it. Above that, the lack of a low range becomes a limitation to what it can do. I was at 9,300 feet today and had it bog down and stall in 6" of snow in 4wd diff lock several times.
DG....Have you had the pioneer in snow, alone (less the altitude)? I'm wondering what your impression of it is, in just snow.

As for the community....

Honestly, when I hear guys try to pass some of these issues off on driver inabilities, I'm pretty much insulted.
 

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Riden both. It might be a way to simple way to look at it but here is it.

The commander is a toy. Fun to play with. Once the fun is over it goes in the garage. Second my children (5 & 3) are too young and the seating is not good for them.

The pioneer is fun in the trails but once the fun is over it comes home and goes to work. The pioneer's back seats are a game changer. The desigh although super simple ( automotive equivalent to stow & go) keeps my kids in a safe comfortable position.

Not to mention 1 is a honda and one is a CanAm. Trust me, and this is coming from a long time BRP/Canam fan, they are nowhere near as reliable as a Honda

Now if you are considering a 2p then go out and try them all but as far as 4p's go this one is a no brainer.

There will be a 4p Camo in my garage come april 15. Once it is here and bounced around my property a couple days I have 3 friends on maverick/commander that are eagerly awaiting a real trial as they all have the need for the two back seats for their kids and are tired of leaving their machine at the dealer for extended periods of time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I don't understand the low speed doesn't need low gear comment? To me that is exactly when its needed, low speed with heavy load or steep technical terrain? The can am comparison I am really hoping someone can give me is in regards to capability in technical, rocky, steep, off camber terrain. I found the can am design (suspension, center of gravity, balance etc) to be outstanding in these conditions. This is the type of terrain I would like to use a Pioneer in, if its capable. Polaris Ranger 900 was where I started my search. 2 things are keeping me from buying one, I don't like the belt drive and the way the 4wheeldrive system activates, and I don't think it would be very comfortable for extended periods. The Pioneer is great with the rear seat arrangements, but my 2 girls can ride up front in anything I'm considering, I also own a CJ7, and the kids are rarely which me on these excursions anyhow.
 

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I don't understand the low speed doesn't need low gear comment? To me that is exactly when its needed, low speed with heavy load or steep technical terrain?
I think the automatic transmission might be confusing people

You have to think about it like this.

In all belt driven machines your high gear takes you from 0 to 45 mph that is one gear. It is going to have its best efficiency at the 20-45 mph. But it is still ONE gear basically that goes the whole way. Then you have low and that goes from 0 to ? and that is a second gear.

Now the honda has an automatic transmission that has a 1st gear a 2nd gear and a 3rd gear.

So when you are going slow the machine is in 1st gear and will not upshift until you reach a certain ground speed. So when you are creepin slow in the woods it stays in 1st and is quiet.

So far in my short 40 mile experience the ONLY reason I could see needing 4low would be if I was going to be trying my hand at rock crawling. Now when I get to my farm and try to pull around 2000-3000 lbs trailers?? Who knows??

But the point is that 1st gear is a low gear.

And I am not trying to insult you DB but most of the time problems are operator error. Just do a google video search for "ATV fail" and you will see:D

sf jakey you really need to find someone that will take you out for a ride. Then you will understand. If you are ever in eastern Oregon after the middle of next month I would be happy to take you out for a ride.
 

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And I am not trying to insult you DB but most of the time problems are operator error. Just do a google video search for "ATV fail" and you will see:D
So, when I (and DG did in another thread) tell you we have years of experience driving all sorts of 4WD vehicles.....but ARE experiencing issues with this one, it would be nice if we just discussed the issues.

I will probably just bow out of a forum that has nothing but fanboys for a product, if ANY negativity towards the product is met with shooting the messenger.

And, I wasn't pointing only at your post. I posted a thread about the pioneer in the snow a few days ago. Same deal. On the hard snow, it was great. On the softer stuff, it slipped and slid like no other 4WD anything I've ever driven. Just a fact.

Do you think the Pioneer could benefit from a low range, say.....if you were snow plowing, uphill?
 

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I have found the 4 wheel drive with the diff lock, locked in, keeps the pioneer going without low range need. I have many years of four wheeling trucks and jeeps in AZ desert, midwest mud, and FL Swamp. I have only owned a couple of ATVs and the Pioneer is the first UTV I have owned and I am far from being a Honda fanboy. The first two ATVs I owned were Yamaha's and they were good machines. The only way I see the need for a low range in this machine would be rock crawling. The tranny has plenty of low end and good power in the motor for mud or plowing. I just plowed 2 ft of frozen snow for my parents to get the manure spreader out of the barn and it did a fine job, only having to back up and hit it a few time in the worst spots. I then had to drag a 1300lb round bale through the snow into the pasture. It was about 600 ft of a move and a few times I had to back up and get the momentum going again but that was not from lack of low end but a lack of traction in the icy snow.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Please don't let this become a Honda commercial. Real world feedback is so helpful to so many. What may be great on a relatively flat farm in the midwest is a far cry from what works in the steep rocky mountain situations or the wet, snotty forests of the Northwest. I'm hoping this thing will be able to do what a Jeep can do and then some. In all my searching, I'd like to have a Can Am commander with the Polaris 900 motor and the Pioneer transmission and seating arrangement all bolted to a 2 speed transfer case.
 

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So, when I (and DG did in another thread) tell you we have years of experience driving all sorts of 4WD vehicles.....but ARE experiencing issues with this one, it would be nice if we just discussed the issues.

I will probably just bow out of a forum that has nothing but fanboys for a product, if ANY negativity towards the product is met with shooting the messenger.

And, I wasn't pointing only at your post. I posted a thread about the pioneer in the snow a few days ago. Same deal. On the hard snow, it was great. On the softer stuff, it slipped and slid like no other 4WD anything I've ever driven. Just a fact.

Do you think the Pioneer could benefit from a low range, say.....if you were snow plowing, uphill?
Just remember it is hard to keep track of who is who and what their experiences are and how good they are at what they do. I know I can hardly keep track of myself sometimes.

Everybody does everything a little different. When I say things about "operator error and what not" it is in a general term to the general population not any one person specifically. I too have many years (35) experience off road with jeeps, atv.

So it is still my opinionated opinion that from my limited use of the machine so far that is does not need a low range. But that is just my opinion and everyone is entitled to one. And that is what these forums are really for is to seek out others opinions so you can formulate your own opinion.
 

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Comparing the Commander and the Pioneer is like comparing a Toyota Rav4 to a Ford F250. What do you want to do with your ride? Is your primary use going to be work, play, trail riding, rock climbing or a combination of all/some? Your purchase needs to mach your needs or you will not be happy with it, no matter what you purchase.

I primarily use my P2 for trail riding, a little muddin, a good bit of water crossing and a some work. I could have gone with a Polaris Ranger (which is what I was looking at before Honda release the Pioneer) but I have have had a 650 Rincon since 2005 that has been the most reliable AVT I have ever seen. The Pioneer caught my attention and I am glad that I waited. The group that I ride with has a combination of many vehicles. Stock Jeeps, super modded Jeeps, Suzuki Samari, SXS, ATV, Swamp buggies, strange hybrid golf carts, stock trucks, just about every type of vehicle you can imagine. The Hondas are always there. Every other vehicle has been in the shop or garage for repairs for extended periods of time.

As for speed... The Pioneer is not the fastest SXS on the market but do you need the fastest. The faster rides run off to side trails, the slower vehicles do their thing and we all still meet at the next ride/stop for a beer.

If the Pioneer is half as reliable as my Rincon, I will be spending more time riding it and less time fixing it.

Evaluate what your needs are, look around, keep in mind cost, reliability/repairs, speed, power and choose what fits you. There are many SXS out there to choose from. For me, my choice is the Pioneer.
 

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I bought the Pioneer because I need a utility vehicle to help me gather wood. I will also use it a LOT for hunting. We get 2-3 snowfalls/year, here. So, it's not like my issues make me wish I'd bought another unit. I don't.

What I do wish is....I could go out riding with friends in the snows and be able to keep up with them. I'm not talking about mach speeds, here. I'm talking about comfortable pace.

On most of the snow, it's really good. On the slushy stuff, it's horrible. Now, maybe ALL UTV's are horrible in that condition. I don't know. This is likely the only one I'll ever own (and, it's my first - having owned an ATV for nearly 10yrs).
 

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DG....Have you had the pioneer in snow, alone (less the altitude)? I'm wondering what your impression of it is, in just snow.

As for the community....

Honestly, when I hear guys try to pass some of these issues off on driver inabilities, I'm pretty much insulted.
Less the altitude, i believe the Pioneer is very capable in the snow. More so than the Foreman i traded in on it. As i stated in another forum, i believe that you are running entirely too much tire pressure. Will that fix your issues with its' snow performance? I dunno...but it is where i would start.

Re: Driver error?
When a machine is clawing its way through the snow at full throttle, and slowly looses RPM until the tires cease to turn, then what error has been made? Did i not scream a war cry and rally it on? Did i not think happy thoughts and sprinkle enough dust?

The lack of a low range or lower gearing is a major limitation at higher elevations, period! The torque converter in the Pioneer has the ability to replace lower gearing to some extent, but it can't work miracles.
The sad part is that i have found the Pioneer to be extraordinarily capable in extreme terrain...when it manages to turn the tires.

I would honestly think something might be amiss...but the machine actually runs stronger than its' HP would indicate down at 4500' ( where i live ) when running trails. I can put it in a situation where it will stall, but those could be considered "traps"...and maybe not realistic situations.

I posted a video a while back called "Hard rock Pioneer". Here it is again...
Hard rock Pioneer - YouTube

The climb to the left is about as steep as you could climb with just traction alone, and at one point, the front wheels lift slightly. Vid angle does a terrible job of conveying this. This is at 4800' at full throttle. Now take away a few horses for altitude and imagine what would happen, and that's the Pioneer.
 

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When a machine is clawing its way through the snow at full throttle, and slowly looses RPM until the tires cease to turn, then what error has been made?
You let off the gas?

i believe that you are running entirely too much tire pressure. Will that fix your issues with its' snow performance? I dunno...but it is where i would start.
I'm running 12#'s. I'll run it down to 8 and let you know what I think.
 
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