After much research and waiting I decided to buy a true sport quad that has the power and agility to go just about anywhere in the desert while having the ability to carry extra loads with a reverse gear which comes in handy for backing out of tight situations without having to get off and push it backwards. As you may know I originally had the Suzuki 250 Ozark which was for its size a very capable quad. The only problems were that the Ozark 250 suspension was very short and non-adjustable and would very easily bottomed out when carrying any kind of a load and easily tipped over if hitting too deep a pot hole, and being air cooled had a tendency to overheat, while at the same time being heavier then the larger LTZ400 due to lighter more modern materials. My new 2007 LTZ400 model has been around for 5 years and has been refined each year with an almost perfect track record of reliability, low maintenance and all terrain capability from tight goat trails, sand-dunes, forest, open desert, hot and cold climate. There were a few other contenders but all of them were either too specialized like the Honda TRX450X designed primarily for track racing or obsolete designs like the air cooled Honda 400EX which overheats easily in hot weather or sand-dunes yet cost the same as the LTZ400 which is water cooled with 4 valves and DOHC. So the LTZ400 has proven itself to perform very well in the widest range of off road activities but not the best in any single category where the specialty ATVs dominate. This is fine with me as I need versatility and reverse gear. I was able to buy it brand new whole-sale directly from Suzuki at a warehouse broker in Santa Ana CA. $1200 less then any showroom dealer I could fined and $1000 below MSRP.
The first test ride today was allot of fun and the LTZ400 had much more power then I expected from this engine which was the same engine design I had in my DRZ400 dirt motorcycle before I sold it. The suspension needs to be tuned and set up for trail riding as it is currently set up for racing and jumping. I also need to replace the thumb throttle with a twist type motorcycle throttle as all the ATV thumb throttles are very hard on your thumb joint if you are over 40 years old, something else I wasn't able to get for my old Ozark 250 as no one made any accessories for it. The LTZ400 on the other hand has a huge selection of after market support items to customize this bike to your needs at minimal cost. Tomorrow I will get it street registered at the MVD which means I will be able to ride it off road as well as to the corner store to pick up eggs and beer.
The only question remaining is why since I already have a dirt bike do I need an ATV so here is my list.
(1) As an alternative fun experience especially when riding with groups that prefer ATVs only.
(2) As a back up vehicle when my dirt bike is being serviced and out of commission.
(3) A simple yet comfortable alternative for visiting family members and friends who want the off road motorcycle experience with no need to learn how as 4 wheels makes it easy and simple.
(4) As a tow vehicle to retrieve my dirt race motorcycle (CRF450x) should it brake down in the desert being less reliable then the LTZ400 which has the reputation for being bullet-proof, a nick name which describes how reliable it is.