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2009 Honda Rancher 420 AT & ES Utility ATV Test Ride Review
2009 Honda Rancher 420 AT & ES Utility ATV Test Ride Review

2009 Honda Rancher 420 AT ES Utility ATV
2009 Honda Rancher 420 AT & ES
Richfield, Utah – Over the past decade, Honda has sold over one million Rancher family utility ATVs, which is a true testament to its long running popularity, and to continue its popularity, Honda has continued to refine the Rancher model line-up. In 2007, the Honda Rancher was completely redesigned to keep up with current demands, and it received an all new more powerful water cooled 420cc OHV longitudinally mounted engine with electronic fuel injection.

Now for 2009, Honda has expanded their Rancher lineup to 8 available models with the return of the ever popular automatic transmission Rancher AT, which also is first ever Rancher model available with Independent Rear Suspension (IRS). Also, several Rancher models including the AT now come with Electric Power Steering (EPS), which was originally available only on the Honda Foreman ATV line-up.

2009 Honda Rancher 420 AT ES Utility ATV
The Honda Rancher AT new dual clutch gear transmission system replaces the Hondamatic transmission used on previous generation Rancher AT, which utilized motorized pumps and pistions for shifting, and the new dual clutch transmission technology has never been used before in an ATV
Honda’s new automatic five-speed transmission features two modes. The rider is given the choice of using either manual shifting with Honda’s Electric Shift Program (ESP), where you can shift into five forward gears, neutral and reverse, with just the push of a handlebar mounted button, or the Rancher can shift the forward gears automatically. The twin clutch design incorporates predictive shifting that was designed to anticipate the next gear. When the rider is accelerating or decelerating the dual clutch system pre-stages the next gear accordingly, which makes the transition from gear to gear incredibly smooth, minimizes the jerkiness of gear transitions and eliminates deceleration between gear changes. The smoothness of this new dual-clutch does a good job of helping to reduce rider fatigue and ensures that you are always in the right gear.

The all new Rancher AT now comes with Independent Rear Suspension (IRS), which is a first for the Rancher model line-up. The IRS maintains the 6.3” of suspension travel found on the other Rancher models with swing-arms, but the IRS provides 9.1” of ground clearance compared to 6.5” on the other Rancher models, which can make a big difference with riding over obstacles. Also, the IRS provides a much smoother and more comfortable ride while giving added stability on rough terrain.

2009 Honda Rancher 420 AT ES Utility ATV
2009 Honda Rancher 420 AT ES Utility ATV
Honda Rancher ES with a straight axle
Honda Rancer AT with IRS

The new Electric Power Steering (EPS) provides seemingly effortless steering and is a huge advantage in tight or technical terrain, so it takes much less physical effort from the rider, and makes for a much more enjoyable all-around riding experience.

Honda had anticipated everyone’s desire to hit some technical trails with the new Rancher AT to test out its capabilities, and to see how the new features of the Rancher AT compare to Rancher ES and ER, so Honda took the liberty of setting up a two day riding adventure, much to the delight of all in attendance.

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