Monday, October 07, 2013

Stealth Ranger Black River Falls, Spooner

After being more tied down than a retired Moose ought be caring for dogs this past week, I flew the coop for a whirlwind tour over to Black River Falls in WI on Friday to see what the Ranger could do on some more extensive trails. It was so much fun Marla and I headed N for a Bona Casa feed with Dad and some Cherry Nut Cake, followed by a day of riding the "long straight trails" up N of Spooner as far as Gordon.

Impressions Positive:

  1. It STILL rides like a dream
  2. The suspension takes out all that old "don't let me hit a hole with one wheel" fight that I remember from driving the Jeep CJ-7 off the road. Very independent independent suspension, hitting something nasty with one wheel is a real "ho-hum". 
  3. The Clark and Jackson County trail system in WI is INCREDIBLE. If you have UTV or an ATV, just get your butt over there! 
  4. Whatever the manual says about "low range is the primary range", it doesn't cut it on trails like those ... primary speed 15-25MPH. It is too much RPM and howl at anything over 20 in low, so unless I'm going to poke along, it's HIGH!
  5. AWD vs 2WD (turf mode) is a bit of a tough decision. Slightly more speed in 2WD and REALLY nice on blacktop since neither differential is locked. OTOH, in sandy banked corers where you want to be 
  6. It will go very close to 50, but 30 is "happy cruise", 40 is "high speed cruise". It is easy understand how people keep going for more power, speed, comfort, etc ... but I mostly want to run things that are more twisty, so 15-25 is more my standard speed range. 
  7. The Spooner and N area railroad bed trail system is like an interstate ... 3-400 mile days would be easy even in the 800, in a 900 or 1000 RZR, one could be screaming along at 80 and have a 500+ mile day ... providing you didn't hit anything or anyONE. 
  8. WI certainly caters to ATVers! Lots of accessible watering holes, fuel stops and dining. 
  9. Having a full cab and roll up windows + heat on cold rainy days tends to get a few "longing glances" from people on out in the open ATVs!
Impressions Neutral / Negative:

  1. It is easy to understand why people complain about the heat and the noise in the 800s. In our case, the heat is really not an issue since if it really nice out, we will be using the boat or the motorcycles. The noise is "relative" ... these things are where sleds were in '90. Torque converters work extremely well and are efficient, but they have belt noise. I'm sure moving the running gear under the back like the 900 definitely helps. If I was going to primarily use this thing every day on roads or be a long straight trail rider, then  reducing noise would be a big deal. As it is, I'm happy with it. 
  2. Turn signals are high on my list of things to add. Even if not required, I'm reaching for them all the time, and they ARE required in IA for road use, plus some other states, so I'll be going that way. 
  3. The fuel gauge is paranoid. I carry a 2.5gal flatpack for reserve. We went on "blinking empty" about 40 mi before we got gas. Put in 7.4 gal in the 9.0 gal tank. I fueled at "a little less than half" indicated in BRF, put in a little under 3 gal. 

It was a fun weekend ... something like 200mi of riding, no problems. Lots of rain and cool, but it "keeps the riff raff off the trail!".

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