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Honda Rancher vs. Recon

1. Overview

The key difference between Rancher and Recon is the intended usage of the machine. Both machines have their individual characteristics and are designed to fulfill different requirements. Rancher is a heavy-duty machine designed for tough work and providing improved power and efficiency while Recon is a lightweight, economical machine designed for less demanding work and a comfortable riding experience. Both machines have been designed to provide maximum performance and durability.

Honda Recon, on the other hand, is a well-built, economical, and dependable machine which is designed to deliver a comfortable ride with unmatched reliability. Powered by a 229cc air-cooled OHV longitudinally mounted engine, Recon offers a smooth, quiet, and efficient power delivery. Like Rancher, Recon also features a shaft drive system which provides improved and efficient engine power transfer. Honda Recon is equipped with a five-speed transmission with an automatic clutch. The machine is lightweight with a semi-double cradle frame design supported by a dual A-arm in the front and a swing arm in the rear with adjustable spring preload. This provides Recon a decent off-road capability with a plush, comfortable ride. The machine is also available in an Electric Shift Program version which features Honda's TraxLok 2WD/4WD system. The sale price of Honda Recon ranges from $3500 to $4000.

Honda Rancher is a perfect example of what a Honda ATV is all about. Its solid design, superior power, and exceptional durability are what can be expected from a Honda machine. Rancher is a heavy-duty, well-built machine which is powered by a longitudinally mounted 420cc engine. The machine is coupled with an efficient five-speed TraxLok 2WD/4WD and a torque-sensitive front differential. Rancher is designed to provide a smooth power delivery which results in optimum engine performance and improved fuel efficiency. Honda Rancher is available with a swing-arm or Independent Rear Suspension (IRS). The sale price of Honda Rancher ranges from $4000 to $6000.

1.1. Introduction to Honda Rancher

The Honda Rancher is a utility all-terrain vehicle (ATV) that is also classified as a recreational ATV by Honda. The Rancher has all of the features of a utility ATV, but Honda also designed it to be as smooth riding and comfortable as a recreational ATV. The Rancher comes in many different configurations. In the suspension category, there are straight axle models, and there are also models that Honda designed with independent rear suspension (IRS). In the transmission category, there are fully automatic models or semi-automatic/manual shift models, which include the ES (Electric Shift) models. In the engine category, there is the base model, which is a 420cc, and there is the Rancher 450, which is no longer in production, but there are still ample parts and many used 450s on the market. Step up in categories, and there is the new Rubicon, which is 500cc. The Rancher 420, in Honda's opinion, is the best Honda ATV ever produced. It is lighter than its predecessors, has the best shifting transmission, is geared lower and has more torque, and has adequate power with a 420cc for any application. Step up in horsepower with Rancher 450s, although the engine is carbureted, the extra horsepower is perfect for trail riding or hunting. Rubicons are said to be Honda's most reliable and long-lasting model of ATV. Many Rubicon customers say that the Rubicon is the road Cadillac because of how smooth they ride and drive. Rubicons do come with labels of being high maintenance, but there have been many Rubicons that are still running strong with well over 10,000 miles with proper maintenance. Rubicons have the ability to be fully automatic or to change to a manual electric shift mode on the fly. Rubicons were produced in models with a 500cc engine, and Honda also did a good job in production of a lighter 420cc Rubicon that weighs the same as a Rancher 420 but has the IRS and all of the other features of a standard Rubicon. The Rubicon is a good choice for the buyer that wants to stick with the utility category but wants an ATV that's as close to a recreational ATV as possible.

1.2. Introduction to Honda Recon

Honda Recon is an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) with a 229cc, air-cooled, single-cylinder, four-stroke engine. It is longitudinally mounted with a swingarm rear suspension system. The Recon has a 5-speed manual transmission and an auto clutch. The Recon has sealed mechanical drum brakes and has a 7.2-inch ground clearance. With a wheelbase of 42.4 inches (front) and a 40.9-inch (rear), it has tires located on the front and rear of the machine. The Recon is equipped with a comfortable and well-sized seat, and large fenders allow for comfortable riding. Headlights are multi-reflector and 30 watts, and there is a taillight for riding at night. The Recon is available in red, olive, or the popular Kawasaki trademark color of lime green. This all-terrain vehicle has a width of 40.7 inches and a height of 42.5 inches. With an empty weight of 403 pounds and capable of carrying a total of 66 pounds on both front and rear racks, it makes for a convenient machine to store anything needed. With a fuel capacity of 2.4 gallons and a towing capacity of 850 pounds, the Recon will work for you.

1.3. Key Differences between Rancher and Recon

2 1.3. Key Differences between Rancher and Recon 1 First of all, one has an option between two-wheel and four-wheel drive transmission in Rancher, whereas Recon comes only in two-wheel drive transmission. Automatic clutch is used in Rancher which offers more efficient engine performance, whereas Recon does not have a clutch, it directly transfers the engine power to the transmission which drives the vehicle with a smaller, more simple engine. (Honda) This is seen when we compare the engines for Rancher and Recon. Rancher’s engine comes with either a 329cc or 475cc liquid-cooled single cylinder four-stroke engine which is mounted longitudinally allowing direct rear drive-shaft alignment to the wheels. (Honda) This type of engine is larger and more powerful than the transversely mounted 229cc air-cooled OHV single-cylinder four-stroke engine on Recon which offers a more front wheel drive biased vehicle. (Honda) Another difference between the two models is in the suspension systems. Rancher comes with Independent Rear Suspension (IRS) system which provides a smooth ride over rough terrain, whereas Recon has a more simple swing-arm rear suspension system. (Honda) IRS provides more responsive steering while reducing fatigue to the rider, it also reduces the weight on the vehicle, rear wheels and transmission which adds to better steering control and less wear and tear on drivetrain parts. (Bogged) On Recon, the lack of IRS is added to with a more limited slip front differential, and a smaller turning radius. (Honda) This makes Recon a bit more nimble in tight situations, but a more tiring ride over rough terrain.

2. Performance

The next category is handling and maneuverability. This particular category is more important to some riders than others, but it's still necessary that an ATV be easy to handle and maneuver if it's to be used in a utility or trail riding application. The Recon has a 40.5-inch width and weighs over 400 pounds. It's considered the most nimble and lightest feeling of all the larger utility ATVs available, however, it is still over 50 pounds heavier than a sport ATV. This gives the Recon a feeling of stability and predictability in its handling. Due to being the same width as a 2003-2005 Rancher, a Recon can easily navigate the same trails as its larger brother. Steering effort on the Recon is moderate for a utility ATV. Its steering is light and its center of gravity is low, and the turning radius is small. This is in contrast to other utility ATVs, which can often have heavy steering and a large turning radius. This steering and low center of gravity is due to the fact that the Recon was originally designed to be a sporty ATV. The main advantage the Rancher has in this category is that it's still very nimble and capable for a larger utility ATV weighing around 500 pounds. Its steering effort is light, and it has a small turning radius. However, it is wider than a Recon and will have to be more cautious on tight trails. The low center of gravity the Rancher has is also due to a design based on the FourTrax 350 and is only slightly higher than the Recon. While the Rancher has the worst light and nimble ATV available, it's still an edge on the other utility ATVs in handling and maneuverability.

The Rancher and Recon are both easily recognized by more experienced riders for their performance and features. We'll start with the Recon; this compact ATV features a 229cc air-cooled OHV longitudinally mounted single-cylinder four-stroke engine. This engine is known for its durability and toughness as it has been around for decades and is still being used in dirt bikes and go-karts. This engine is mounted to a 5-speed semi-automatic transmission with an automatic clutch. The advantage the tranny has over a full automatic is that the rider is given more control over the engine's RPM and power delivery through gear selection. Optionally, the rider can get automatic or manual clutch shifting versions of the Recon. The Rancher has the option of a 420cc engine in an automatic or manual shift transmission. The automatic version of the Rancher has a 420cc liquid-cooled OHV single-cylinder engine with a 5-speed automatic transmission and low-end torque. The manual shift Rancher also has a 420cc engine, but it has more top-end power with a range of 5 speeds and reverse. This places the Rancher torque-wise in between the semi-automatic and automatic versions of the Recon. Both engines of these ATVs are known for their reliability and durability. Although the smaller engine Recon is known for not if but when it's going to need a rebuild, so you can imagine how long the engine of the Rancher could last. More likely than not, the Recon will need a piston ring, valve, and timing chain replacement within 10 years, and that is with routine maintenance. The bottom end of the Rancher will typically last 20 years without a rebuild. Overall, the Rancher has the advantage in the engine and power category due to a stronger and more efficient engine, and the transmission options allow the engine to put its power to the ground and use.

2.1. Engine Power and Performance

The Honda Recon uses a 229 cubic centimeter, single cylinder, four-stroke engine for power. This engine provides 18 pounds per foot of torque and 22 horsepower. The performance of the engine is great for light work and playing, and is a good base to start with if you plan to add performance modifications. The Rancher line has five different engine choices. The first choice, available in the two-wheel drive Rancher, is a 194cc, air-cooled, five-speed, manual clutch with a centrifugal clutch for auto-shifting. This motor provides 11 pounds per foot of torque and 16 horsepower. The second motor is used in the four-wheel drive Rancher. It is a 350cc, air-cooled, longitudinal four-stroke with a five-speed, auto-clutch transmission. This motor provides 20 pounds per foot of torque and 18 horsepower. This motor is a good base for light work, and the auto transmission allows the rider to concentrate solely on riding since no manual shifting is required.

2.2. Handling and Maneuverability

Honda Recon comes with 118.7 cm in width and a wheelbase of 104.7 cm in length. As for the ground clearance, it is around 13.5 cm. It is powered by a 229cc air-cooled OHV longitudinally mounted four-stroke engine. Honda made this ATV to be used for smaller-built riders. It weighs about 361 pounds, and that is why Honda didn't put too big up to 500cc engine on it. One thing to note about is the full-time four-wheel drive that Honda put on it. It is a great plus when climbing a steep hill. Honda made it to be lightweight, and some rider weight reduction, they found it is too light that it lost traction on the front wheels when climbing a hill. So, you can add about 15 to 20 pounds extra on the front rack or change the front tires to slightly bigger ones so the ATV will have better climbing capability. For Recon's suspension, it features independent double wishbone suspension for all four wheels with 13 cm for the front and 13.5 cm for the rear suspension travel. With this kind of suspension, it provides very precise handling easy for a new rider and smaller rider to maneuver it around. Because it is light and has a shorter wheelbase compared to the Rancher, Recon is very agile and quick in making transitions between turning left and right. This ATV has no body roll, and it is very stable due to the size and weight. Even with small bumps and quick G-out, the suspension soaks up well, and it won't kick the rider off from the seat. It is a very soft ride for trail cruising.

2.3. Suspension and Off-Road Capabilities

The Recon and Rancher differ significantly in terms of suspension capabilities. Broadly speaking, the increased suspension travel on the Rancher allows for a softer, more comfortable ride than the Recon. A rear sway bar on the Rancher also contributes to ensuring a comfortable ride. Furthermore, the ability to adjust the spring preload on the Rancher's front suspension further enhances rider assurance and comfort. Implementing this feature makes it possible to adjust the front suspension firmness to match the terrain, and allows for easy compensation with increased preload should a heavy load be added to the front rack. This level of versatility or suspension performance adjustment is not available on the Recon. Finally, while the ground clearance on both vehicles is approximately equal, the Rancher has higher profile tires, thus increasing the effective clearance and decreasing the likelihood of bottoming out. Overall, the Rancher's suspension system is vastly superior to the Recon's and contributes to making it a more capable trail machine than the Recon, which is more aptly described as an entry level utility ATV. In regards to off-road capabilities, the Rancher is simply more capable in rough terrain than the Recon. Its increased power allows it to keep up momentum on hills and rough trails, while the combination of the aforementioned suspension capabilities and less twitchy handling make it a confident vehicle when the going gets rough. The increased comfort is also a factor, as riding over rough terrain will fatigue the rider less quickly. The Rancher's torque sensitive front differential gives it an advantage over the Recon allowing limited-slip to be employed when it is needed most. All Ranchers except the base two wheel drive model come with a locking front differential. Worthy of note is the lack of an automatic clutch option for the Rancher, the EPS and GPS models are available with that as an option. The Recon's automatic clutch is an advantage for some riders doing exceptionally technical riding; however the Rancher's manual foot-shift five speed transmission is generally a more positive option and the electric shift Rancher models shift the manual transmission with the ease of an automatic, all without the durability or maintenance penalties of a belt type automatic transmission.

2.4. Fuel Efficiency

Fuel economy is an important aspect to consider as poor fuel economy can quickly negate the benefit of a fuel-efficient machine. Despite the Recon being lighter and smaller, the Rancher is still quite fuel efficient. The Recon will typically return, on average, anywhere from 19-25 miles/gallon while the Rancher is only slightly less at 18-24 miles/gallon. With both machines having 3.8-gallon tanks, the range on both machines will be similar but the Recon will ultimately use less fuel due to its lower average miles per gallon range. So, if you plan to do quite a bit of trail riding and ultimately want to cover longer distances, the Rancher may cost you a little more in fuel.

The Rancher is definitely a step up from the Recon in terms of displacement and overall engine performance. The Rancher has a 420cc single cylinder, liquid cooled 4-stroke engine, while the Recon has a 250cc single cylinder, air-cooled, 4-stroke engine. The extra displacement and liquid cooling on the Rancher will definitely assist in prolonging the life of the engine when comparing it to the Recon. Also, since the Rancher is fuel injected, this will again provide smoother engine operation, better starting in cold weather, and less maintenance than a carbureted engine, which the Recon has. Overall, I would expect the Rancher to provide greater reliability, a longer engine life, and ultimately less maintenance over the Recon.

3. Features and Technology

As far as features are concerned, specifically pertaining to design and styling, the Honda Rancher and Recon are quite similar. Both models offer 229 and 250 pound weight capacities on the front and rear racks, and while the racks are slightly larger on the Rancher, both are sufficient for their vehicle. Both machines also offer resilient steel frames, as well as a skid plate to protect the engine. As previously mentioned, the Rancher can be purchased in an automatic, foot-shift, or electric shift version, while the Recon is only available in electric shift. Both vehicles offer a reserve fuel tank, but the Rancher tacks on an electronic fuel gauge and an oil temperature sensor. Other features found on both models include dual sealed hydraulic drum brakes on the front and a single on the rear, a five-speed transmission, and an automatic clutch. All of these features make the Rancher and Recon very similar in nature, but the higher-end Rancher features separate it from the Recon. As far as comfort and ergonomics are concerned, both the Rancher and the Recon offer a higher level of rider comfort than many of their competitors. Both models offer wide, comfortable seats, and a spacious rider's compartment. The Rancher's seat is adjustable for different-sized riders and the Recon's seat is a comfortable, plush seat. Both models also offer ample foot room and easy-to-use hand levers, as well as handlebars that provide easy maneuverability. The Rancher is slightly heavier than the Recon and sits a bit higher, but still provides a very smooth comfortable ride with its superb suspension. The Recon is a very light, nimble machine and also handles and rides quite well for an adult-sized ATV.

3.1. Design and Styling

The styling is typically what Honda has been producing for years, with some newer twists. All of the machines come with steel racks on the front and rear, adding durability and high-quality looking finish. Step-thru steel tube frame is also present on all machines, which just adds to the strength of the machine with added utility and style of using it on a farm or job site. This is especially useful for moving objects around with its light weight and compact size. All of the machines also come with an enclosed-AX type rear swing arm with adjustable spring preload and shocks in the front and rear, which makes them great for any kind of riding. All of these features will provide excellent comfort as well as a smooth ride and good durability and dependability on the machine. Last but not least, we come to the styling of the machines. All have large fenders to keep mud and debris from being thrown back onto the rider and feature sleek one-piece seamless tanks and covers for a nice profile with bold and rugged bodywork in the form of a new fuel tank cover for the Recon and a new grille and front bumper design for the Rancher.

With a bit more space and weight, the FourTrax Rancher definitely looks like the older sibling between the two Rancher options and Recon. The Rancher has a slightly more aggressive appearance and comes with a larger fuel tank and longer front and rear suspension, which makes it look bigger and more powerful than the Recon. The Rancher will also be a little taller, whereas the Recon is a more compact and lighter package to sometimes need to get new work completed. The Recon also fits in the bed of a full-size truck, making it extremely versatile for hunters. Both Rancher and Recon can come with an electric shift push button option, which is very appealing for 4X4 or 4X2 riders who might be into some trail riding. The electric shift is an add-on with Honda's automatic dual clutch transmission, which is always a plus when it comes to options for different riders. All of these features are a great way to enhance the typical work day on the farm, with the added bonus of being able to throw off the camo and go for a trail ride or go hunting with the same machine.

3.2. Comfort and Ergonomics

Utility of a vehicle is an important factor to decide how useful the vehicle is going to be. Both the ATVs have covered an extensive range in this factor. The new Rancher has a large full-length plastic skid plate covering the whole undercarriage, protecting the vehicle from direct impact in ruts and off-road trails. It also has two front headlights and a great new reverse light too. It offers different variants with different transmission systems. 2/4WD Manual-shift transmission and 2/4WD Electric-shift transmission have a 5-speed transmission with reverse and Direct front and rear driveshafts with Traxlok and torque-sensitive front differential. The 4/4PST/ESP model has a 6-speed fully automatic transmission with reverse and Direct front and rear driveshaft with Traxlok and torque-sensitive front differential. This model also features a switch with three modes, for additional feedback from the front wheels at a reduced speed. This is most likely an upgraded alternative of the Honda ESP system, which was reputed to be a fragile model. Lastly, there is a Rancher standard for off-road enthusiasts. This vehicle is for those who want something simple yet reliable. It has a 5-speed transmission with reverse and direct front and rear driveshaft with an all-new, improved Traxlok and torque-sensitive front differential. This is the most basic model of Rancher and will mostly be SMEs and outdoor sportsmen.

Recon has a light steering feeling. Earlier models of Recon had a smaller width making them a bit unsafe. But now it has a suitable width, which along with light steering makes it good for younger riders. The handlebars also have more bend, which gives a natural riding posture. Its seat height is suitable for smaller riders and has a very light and comfortable seat too. The overall dimensions of this ATV are (L×W×H) 2046mm × 1115mm × 1069mm, and the wheelbase is 1187mm. It is slightly longer, wider, and taller than the 2017 model. The comfort levels of both the ATVs are increased as compared to previous models, but because of its height, larger seat, and large handlebar, Rancher provides a more comfortable ride than Recon.

The number of features of both the ATVs are extensively different. Rancher has an all new and very appealing design. Comfort is enhanced by an all new thicker and wider seat design. The seat is now thickly padded and comfortable for longer rides. Also, Rancher has a 29mm taller and higher handlebar. The overall dimensions of this ATV are (L×W×H) 2040mm × 1170mm × 1160mm, and the wheelbase is 1228mm. The overall length is the same as what we have in the 2017 model, but the width is increased by 40mm and the height is increased by 15mm.

3.3. Utility and Storage Options

The Rancher's updated utility capabilities are also topped by its numerous convenience perks. A larger, sturdier front rack - up from 20 pounds carrying capacity to 66 pounds - and a new, larger rear rack boasting a massive 133 pounds vs. the old 88 pounds, offer increased carrying capacity and more tie-down locations. New, watertight storage area under the front rack is ideal for a small box of ammo, tools or other small items. Additionally, the Rancher now features a larger fuel tank that is more accessible, cleverly located under the seat for protection and an attractive, updated appearance, while still maintaining a solid metal/plastic composite build. All of these additions help to ensure maximum carrying capacity, practicality and extended range operation. The Recon too, benefits from improved utility. An overhead view of the machine quickly reveals the addition of a front utility rack, a feature that was missing on previous models. New dual, independent front double-wishbone suspension has helped to enhance ground clearance (6.9 inches) and overall durability and the addition of new steel front and rear cargo racks offer a larger functional carrying capacity - 33 pounds up front and 66 pounds at the rear. Finally, the Recon comes standard with a comprehensive trailer hitch. All of these changes and improvements for both models will undoubtedly have some big benefits for farmers, hunters and working recreational riders. It is clear that with an ever-changing market, Honda has recognized the necessity to make regular improvements on already successful models and the 2014 Rancher and Recon utility ATVs are a clear indication that Honda intends to keep them as mainstays in the industry.

3.4. Technology and Connectivity

The value of the Rancher is also further expanded when it lines up with the latest Honda Multipurpose Utility ATV, the Rubicon. As the Rubicon has more advanced features compared to the Rancher, getting the Rancher with the same value but with a different level of advanced technology and less complex system makes the Rancher the top pick as a daily workhorse ATV for those that do not require fancy features and are not ready to go full hardcore mode into the ATV world.

Just by looking at the Rancher's minimalist yet futuristic design, it could prove that this model is designed to be one of the most advanced models in Honda's ATV range. Incorporating that with the capabilities to have Power Steering and Fuel Injection system makes it a very technologically advanced ATV. Power steering systems are usually found in cars and fuel injection systems are usually found in motorcycles. Power steering system allows better control of the ATV and reduces fatigue on the rider. While fuel injection systems are superior to carburetion in almost every way, fuel-injected engines perform better at high altitudes, cold weather, and also it is easier to maintain with better fuel efficiency compared to carbureted engines.

The idea of pushing the boundaries of design and technology is what drove Honda to be the pace setter in the ATV field. Over the years, Honda has proven that their R&D departments are capable of producing some of the most advanced ATVs the world has ever seen. And the fruits of their labor are portrayed in both the Rancher and the Recon.

The world has truly entered the technological era where every single thing today is being affected by technology. Technology is widely used and also demands people to always have the advanced knowledge and capability in using the technology today. Even motorcycles today have their own technology and connectivity that could make the motorcycle become technologically advanced.

4. Pricing and Conclusion

The Honda Recon is cheaper than the Rancher, but both are affordable, with the price difference between the two, although not substantial, being commensurate with the difference in capabilities. At the bottom line, Recon is $190 down and $200 less if you finance for 36 months on the 400AT, which is nearly identical in power and way above the 250. What it comes down to is your budget and what you plan to do with it. If you can afford it and plan on doing a lot of utility work or aggressive trail riding in the future, the Rancher would be the better buy since the corresponding Recon model won't be running cheap. Even though these two quads excel in different areas, the price difference is minor enough to not be the deciding factor for most people. The most important thing to remember is what you plan to do with it and how long you want to keep it. For former 2WD utility quad riders who ride easy trails, the Recon is a great quad and will be satisfying. However, if you plan on having more fun and excitement on the trails and want more out of your quad, the price to upgrade to the Rancher may be well worth it. Both the Recon and the Rancher are quality machines, so you can't go wrong with either one.

4.1. Price Comparison between Rancher and Recon

When it comes to price, one must consider what the different machines are designed for. The Rancher is a mid-level utility ATV and the pricing reflects that. Ranchers can typically be bought between $3000 and $4000 new and $2000 to $3000 used. These machines hold their value very well and are considered a great investment. The longer wheelbase and large engine size give them a wider range of capabilities, so they are generally used for more tasks. The Recon is a smaller, entry-level machine that has the lowest price range of any Honda ATV. It can be bought between $2500 and $3500 new and $1500 and $2500 used. The price is very affordable, but that comes at the cost of CCs. Small engine size and lighter weight make the Recon very fuel-efficient, so if the difference in price is not much of a factor, it may even out in the long run. The Recon's design and capabilities make it more suitable for riders who are less experienced and do simpler tasks. Overall, the price is reasonable for each machine, and it should be an important factor depending on the buyer's needs.

4.2. Factors to Consider in Choosing between Rancher and Recon

Both four-wheelers each have positive and negative attributes regarding their build. It is important to recognize the individual's needs and how these needs pertain to the vehicle you are considering. The Rancher was built for those who are "lifestyle" riders and simply using the machine as a tool when the work is there. This is an extremely broad market, and so there is a broad range of sub-models to the Rancher. Either way, the buyer gets the Honda name and Honda quality, albeit at a relatively higher price than the Recon. Although the Recon may be marketed as a smaller, entry-level type of machine compared to other smaller utility machines, it is somewhat expensive. This leaves a price overlap between the Recon and various Rancher models; the Rubicon sells for only a few hundred dollars more than an electric-shift Recon. In this case, how much you are willing to spend can help narrow down between specific models. One commonly overlooked aspect in buying a machine is the storage and eventual transportation of it. The size and weight of the machine are two issues that can determine the overall comfort and practicality of the ATV for the individual. The Rancher is a full-sized machine and is relatively heavy, tipping the scales at around 600 lbs. The buyer needs to ensure that there is enough storage space for something of this size, and it must be taken into consideration that it is a difficult task to load such a heavy machine into the back of a pickup truck. Now this doesn't mean that the Recon cannot function for those who are using it for work; however, you won't be able to "work" it as hard. The size of the Recon compared to the Rancher is quite a bit smaller, and it is significantly lighter. The 250cc engine on the Recon is rather small for a utility type of ATV, and while the Recon can still pull its weight, it is not something that is ideal for heavy load over rough terrain.

4.3. Final Thoughts and Recommendation

Recon is the most affordable and suitable for those with a smaller budget. It has many features of the Rancher, yet it has less power. Rancher provides more options, more power, and more value. Although the initial cost of the Rancher is quite a bit more than the Recon, it gives the buyer the ability to choose between 2wd and 4wd models, automatic or manual shift transmissions, and IRS (Independent Rear Suspension) in all but the 2wd model. For long term value and reliability, the Rancher will outlast and outperform the Recon. Both of these models are a great option for farming and work. Those that intend to use it for trail riding or hunting might consider the smaller and lighter Recon, yet the Rancher is also a great option for those activities as well. The Recon is more of a mid-sized ATV designed to be a good all-around workhorse. It is small and agile, making it ideal for tight spots around the farm or field and it does great on the trail as well due to its lighter weight. The Rancher is a bit larger and has more power, but has an equal share of storage, racks, and fuel economy. With the added options of the Rancher, the choice depends on personal preference. For strict farm work, the ES Rancher is a great option due to the added benefit of the ESP with the push of a button, easier shifting, and no worry of a manual clutch getting gunked up with mud or snow. The choice between the Recon and the Rancher will be different for all people and depend on what they want out of their ATV.