For anyone thinking of buying second hand farm quad bikes the first thing to ask yourself is what do you plan to use it for. If you just want something as a runaround farm vehicle for around the farm then you probably won’t need a very big machine. If you are traveling on flat dry land then you probably won’t need 4wd either and something around 250 and 350cc would suffice. For traveling on hilly ground I would recommend going 4wd possibly something like a Honda trx which has 4wd always engaged or even something with a switchable hi and low 4wd box.
That would be fine for light farm work like pulling a light trailer spot spraying or carrying fence posts and wire etc. Any heavier work like pulling a fertilizer spreader or towing heavier loads then I would recommend going for something with a bit more power like in the 400cc or 500cc bracket. It is worth noting that with larger size there will be higher fuel costs and I also would not recommend pulling a fertilizer spreader on steep hilly terrain because the wheel base on the quad and spreader are too narrow in my opinion and will turn over too early.
If you want to go down this route you could get an electric 12v spreader that bolts onto the backrack and spread up and down the hill. The problem with these type of electric spreaders is that they will hold around one bag of fertilizer max and can cause damage to the back rack of the quad if you are traveling over bumpy rough ground. If you have no other alternative of getting a tractor in to do the job then the quad and electric spreader will work on hilly ground but it will be more work as you will have to be stopping and refilling the spreader a lot more often.
What make of quad
Once you have decided on the size of quad you want to buy the next thing to decide on is the brand or make and that is probably the most important thing to decide on. Stay away from cheap unknown brands too much rubbish from mostly the Chinese market has been sold here over the past 20 years and a lot of it is just plain rubbish quality toys that is not fit for use on a farm or working set up.
Stick with a known brand and watch out for copies like something red with a Honda sticker or something similar stuck on the side of it and if you are someone who knows absolutely nothing about bikes or what they look like then it might be better to buy from a main dealer and although the price might be higher than buying private at least you can get some guarantee if something goes wrong after the purchase.
What is the best make for you
I am not going to go into which make I think is the best as its like horses for courses and all depends on what you will be using it for and the kind of work that you plan to do with it also everyone has their favorite type or make much like cars. Personally I would go with a brand that has proven itself for making quality quad bikes over many years. Japanese brands like Honda Yamaha Suzuki and Kawasaki are known worldwide or American brands like Polaris or Arctic cat are also known for making quality quads.
The two American brands Polaris and arctic cat also made some diesel models the Arctic cat 700 diesel was often sold in this side of the world re branded under Massey Ferguson and came in Massey red instead of Arctic cat green. I have heard that you would want to be doing a lot of driving to make up for the extra cost in purchase price of a diesel.
There are also some electric quad bikes coming onto the market now and I have no doubt that with the advancement in battery technology and range they will be the quad bike of choice in the future. The only problem with them being so new at the moment someone has to be the guinea pig to buy one and see how good they really are. If you are buying it for work then I would say buy a proper work quad with front and back racks and a tow hitch. Racing quads are going to be too fast and geared wrong to be any use for work around a farm.
There is too many options to just pick one and say that this is the best so you really need to sit down with a pen and paper and write down what you plan to do with it. For me I wanted something for going for cows or light work something light and nimble to get through tight gaps so I went for a Honda trx 350cc 4wd. It was light on fuel and suited most of my needs.
Should you buy one
I think a quad has a place on any farm as a run around or light work vehicle and after having one for a while you could be left wondering how you ever managed without one. They can also be the most dangerous vehicle on the farm and will flick over when you least expect them to so they should be treated with respect and not used as a toy for children. Anyone using them should take the time or get lessons on how to ride them properly. In the right hands and if they are properly maintained I would recommend anyone with a bit of land to buy one.