My wife just bought an '05 Rancher AT. Here are some of her favorite features:
1.)The automatic transmission. She loves to ride without having to shift but also likes having the ability to change gears if she wants to.
(2.)The ability to switch between 2 and 4wd. The steering is much lighter in 2wd but the 4wd was one of the selling factors (she was tired of getting stuck on her Recon).
(3.) The size. She didn't want a Rincon because she said it is too much quad for her. The Rancher AT's size is perfect for her ergonomically. It is very stable and confidence inspiring.
(4.) The look. She loves the way the AT looks, and I do as well. It complements my Rincon as they share alot of the same styling features.
(5.) The power. Despite alot of negative press on the '04 models, my wife's '05 has PLENTY of power to do anything she asks of it.
The Rancher AT is a great Sport Utility quad. We do not own a Foreman, so I can't comment on the pros and cons. They're both Hondas so you have half the battle won as you cannot go wrong either way.
If you are still interested in a Foreman ES, I have an '02 up for sale and am only just down the road from you in Hudson WI.
I can't comment on the Rancher - I've never ridden one, but would disagree with some of the comments made about the Foreman ES. Yes, it is a good work horse, but is also a great fun ride with plenty of sporting ability. I ride with a friend who has a 500 Sportsman and my trusty Foreman can keep up with him on anything but long, open trails !
My only gripe with the Foreman is less than excellent ground clearance, but that is easily fixed with bigger tires and/or a lift kit !
Now that I have seen and read the features of the '05 models, I have reconsidered the Foreman. I have NEVER liked the Foreman until now because of it's lack of features and the fun factor. Honda turned that around for me. I would easily consider a Foreman ES now as well as a Rubicon. No more "boxy" quads!
I am looking at buying a new ATV. It will mostly be used for hunting. Occasional trail riding and down the road maybe plowing the driveway. I was looking at the Rubican but really think it is more machine than I really need. I was at a dealer this past weekend who was pushing a Susuki Eiger. Nice machine but it just didn't do it for me. Plus my buddy has a Vinson and it is ok but just that ok. I have driven the Rincon and love the handling of it and the AT on it. How does the AT on the Rancher compare to it.
They are no longer making the 450ES its a 500ES for 05. The weight on the new 500 is bumped up to almost 600 lbs. so you should consider that when buying. I agree that the rancher is the best choice.
I think the bike needs to fit your personal style of riding. I have two of the 400AT ranchers (05 and an 06). I am happy overall, except thick mud - I wish for more low end power. You can get a Foreman 500 manual shift for about the same price as the 400AT. These are our first ATV's...went in kind of blind on it. Didn't know how much fun the mud would be. I put 26" Mud lites on them and I would imagine that contributed to some loss of power. Still waiting on my HMF pipe and jet kit in the mail to fix that.
i have a rincon and a 2000 forman es MY forman will take my rincon in any mud hole!! it is modded , front loker 27" mudzillas ect. rincon has mods but can not keep up to the forman in mud. the better ride is the rincon. the mud bitch is the forman. the wife will drive the rincon, it has the power and ride.the forman is a good ride but needs input. the rincon is foolproof.the wife will like the good ride get the rincon the ride is that much gooooooder.
just bought a 06 rancher for the lady automatic 4x4 put rubicon wheels and some 25 inch vampires on it already used once to pull the rincon out of a deep mud hole it feels low geared as hell but it will get up and go she dont let me ride it much though due to the fact that i tend to ride a little on the aggresive side we got a black on with some diamond plate gaurds looks good and fits her to a T
I had a Foreman 450es before I sold it and bought my '06 Rincon. It is a work horse that is extremly reliable but it does not offer the ride and the fun factor of the Rincon or the Rancher for that matter. The Rancher is lighter and more nimble and it's quicker (not more powerful) then the Foreman. My wife did not like riding my Foreman. The steering was too heavy for her and the shifting was a pain.