your gonna get a million answers and about why one quad is better. there is no awesome quad out there that doesn't have problems. so I am gonna list the problems I know of from riding with a good many people
Honda=good reliability. good handling and ride caracteristics, good erganomics, and you can count on it every time. no belt. only ute without a belt. but it suffers because the trannys in these quads do not keep the motor in the power band like a belt driven quad does. but the downside is they are not speed demons and they are not gonna be the big torque monster everyone wants now a days.
polaris= american made. the bigger bores have tons of torque and if your getting the 850 XP you have the most horsepower out there of any quad. But they have been known to have little things wrong with them. my uncles has had a few problems but in polaris's defense he rides it hard. he has 1200 miles on it but shouldn't be having the problems he is having with it.
canam= what can I say these bikes with the rotax is the fastest probably best preforming quads out there. the weak link is their frame. if your doing rock running better have a better skid plate then what is out there. electronics in these quads seem to be fussy also.
Yamaha= If I didn't ride honda I would ride one of these puppies. I have several friends that have the grizzlys from the 450's to the 700's and they are by far one of the best single cylinder big bores out there. they have torque. their belt system has been great. no big problems at all with them. They do seem to be tippy from what I have heard from friends and the front end is light. this is what I have heard and observed. I know if I am trying to chase down an experienced rider on my rincon and he is on a 700 grizzly there aint no way I am catching them. they handle good and the power is there consistently.
suzuki. first on four wheels. they are dependable and well thought out. not the fastest big bore but competitive. a good bit of thought went into the king quads recently.
kawasaki. the brute force has a bunch of power but is big and bulky. allmost like driving a tank. again has a belt that keeps the motor in its power band.
now this is just my opinion on the above. if I would choose any right now it would be the grizzly 700 with power steering. they have tons of power take a beating the 4wd is awesome along with the locker option. don't get me wrong i love my honda to death because 1 I have 2600 hard miles on it in two years. rolled it twice and had it submerged allmost all last summer everytime out which is hard on parts to begin with and it has never left me sit at all. one time it gave me some fits on the trail but it still got me and the guy I was towing home that afternoon. and 2 I feel i sit lower in the quad compared to any other quad i have ever sat on. which makes it more comfortable. I can throw the quad around a good bit and have fun but still have a ute. the quad still feels sporty. I also have the option of shifting or full auto if wanted. something not many if any quads have.
Buy the one you like. You will know the right bike when you ride it. Every bike has pro's and con's. If you can ride a buddies do it. Read articles, but remember a lot of the magazines receive advertising costs. What bike I like you may not. In my years of ATVing I have had a lot of bikes and each had its good points. I will add that I have seen every brand break. If you sit on and ride a few you will know what is right for you.
If all out power and performance is foremost, the Can-Am Outlander 800 is king. But you have to deal with the chassis and brake problems. People who ride it hard and race it weld angle iron to the bottom of the steel 2x4 they call a frame. The inboard front brakes are so annoyingly noisy that they seem like they are going to fall of the quad at any moment. But the brakes never fail. It's just a noise issue. The fit and finish is below average. Things like the battery tend to dismount when ridden hard. The motor though is bullet proof and fast. It has as much acceleration if not a little more than my YFZ.
The Kawasaki Brute Force 750 is pretty up there in power and handling. Kawasaki made a big step forward when they redesigned it. They used to go through belts like crazy but I think they fixed that issue for 2009. Good quad if ultimate power and speed isn't first on you list.
The Yamaha Grizzly 700 EPS is, in my opinion, somewhat underpowered. It will still get up and go but it can't compete with it's big bore counterparts. Even with a pipe, K&N filter, airbox lid removed, and an EFI controller it can't keep up with a Can-Am Outlander 650 in a drag race. The handling is very near the top if not at it and the suspension is very plush for slow riding but bottoms when it shouldn't when ridden aggressively. Where the Griz really stands apart is it's 4x4 system and reliability. The 4x4 system is awesome. The on-the-fly diff lock works flawlessly. It allows you to engage the locker as you approach an obstacle, not after you hit it. The reliability is second to none. Even when the motor is built and the clutch is modded it still operates without a hitch. Always.
If I had to pick one right now it would be the Grizzly. If I wanted pure performance I would throw a leg over my YFZ. Unless you race GNCC or are a complete power hound, the Grizzly, in my opinion, is a great choice.
I went looking two years ago and checked out all of the manufacturers and finally narrowed my choice between the Yamaha Grizzly 700 and the Polaris Sportsman 800. While I liked the Grizz I bought the Polaris because it just seemed to be made better, definitely rides better....and is not Japanese. The only thing I do not like about it is the gas consumtion
well the grizz is a single bore machine along with my rincon. the polaris once you get above the 500 is a twin cylinder quad. and most people can't stay out of the throttle with a bike with power. I can run allmost 100 miles at snow shoe. not sure what pa birdman gets with his 700 but I tell ya straight line drag is great but not a (jmo) usefull thing. you need to have good handling because unless you plan on just running drags your gonna be left wanting if you do not have the handling to use the power. I would lay 100 bucks on the table so see if someone can beat pa birdman in a race on trails. i could keep up to him before when he had the 450. now I can't even catch him.
I have a 700 Grizzly. I bought it in 08 and have used it to tow logs down a mountain, trail riding, hunting, plowing snow, and it tows the 5ft by 9 ft trailer that hauls it with ease. I have had zero problems with it. I ride with KingQuads and Polaris' mostly and they are all fine machines and each has their own strengths and weaknesses, but IMHO the Yamaha offered the best all around unit for the money.
I love the ride and engine braking and the 4x4 system. I did not get the EPS because I really don't need it. I am only 60 and I don't do much slow technical rock climbing or mud holing or drag racing anymore, but I do a lot of differnt types of work with it that a utility quad is meant to do, and it has never let me down.
Back in 08 when I bought it I rode as many as I could and ended up with my Grizz and have not regretted it yet. It is not the fastest, nor the prettiest, but it has done all that I have asked it to do so far and what more does anyone buy a utility quad for?
I ripped and tore on a Sportsman 800 one day and I liked the power it had, but the handling was horrible compared to the Grizz, so it rendered the extra power useless for fast trail riding, plus I'm not a big fan of Polaris' one lever brake system.