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Automatic vs Semi-automatic Transmissions


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There are quite a few types of quad transmissions these days, manual shift box, electric shift box, Twin disc/clutch electric/automatic shift box, automatic/electric shift box, and belt drive CVT. 

I prefer the old manual shift myself, for simplicity of service and operation, and for the solid drive. Automatic are never as good at controlling the vehicle when the going gets really tough.. not in bikes or vehicles.

Edited by Mech
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The choice between automatic and semi-automatic transmissions in ATVs is largely a matter of personal preference. Automatic transmissions are generally considered to be easier to use and require less maintenance, while semi-automatic transmissions provide the rider with more control over the power delivery and can be more reliable.

However, it is worth noting that automatic transmissions have come a long way in terms of power and reliability in recent years, so they may now offer a good balance of both ease of use and performance. On the other hand, semi-automatic transmissions are still favored by more experienced riders who want greater control over their machine.

Ultimately, the best transmission for you will depend on your individual needs, riding style, and the type of terrain you will be riding on. It may be helpful to test ride different ATVs with both automatic and semi-automatic transmissions to get a feel for what you prefer.

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My first ATV was a Bayou 300 with a manual trans. It has been a work horse for over 20 years now. Pushing snow, pulling trailers and joy riding. Great machine. 

Couple years back I bought a suzuki twin peaks, which is the same as a Kawisaki Prairie. It is auto (cvt) trans. It also has the down hill braking. Gotta say, sure is nice riding and not shifting all the time. But I only joy ride with it. 

Since I have added a couple Kodiak 400s. Both machines are auto CVT. Very simple, light machines. Too light in some cases. But great for joy riding. 

Growing up with CVT on snowmobiles I am probably hyper sensitive. They have come a long way and seem to be holding up well, but when we are out riding I am constantly riding and thinking, What was that smell? Was that burnt belt? 

I put the high dollar belts on when I buy the machine and have not had to replace one since yet. 

If me and the kids go riding we are always waiting on the person with the Manual trans (usually me) not for lack of power or top speed, Just the added time it takes shifting up and down instead of just mashing the throttle. 

We don't normally do mud or deep water. So the belt always stays dry. 

And don't buy cheap belts. Over and Over I read of people burning up cheap belts in 100 miles or less. 

Last time we were riding there was some SxS guys at the park. We followed them through the obstacle course. First guy tries an obstacle and you could hear the engine screaming and SxS not moving. Started seeing smoke. He fried his belt, that was it, he was done for the day. Made it 100 yards from the trailer. LOL short day. 



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Ha..  funny story about the guy frying his belt.. There was a guy in here called Guy a while back bad mouthing the aftermarket belt/pulley system he'd bought and not been able to set up himself..  He reckoned he was frying belts one after another..  He though didn't know what he was doing..

Belt drives are generally pretty reliable it seems these days though. In the rough though, trying to get out of holes or over logs, they really aren't made for it, the owners manuals warn you against doing things like that to your bike.. Belt drives are really only good for cruising around recreationaly.

There are more variations of semi-auto or auto than just belt drive though. Some are fully mechanical systems that can take the hard treatment.

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