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Are Argo ATVs Good?

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Argo ATVs are a niche line of all-terrain vehicles that feature a unique fully-amphibious design. Rather than traditional two or four wheeled ATVs, Argos have six or eight low pressure tires that provide maximum traction and flotation in challenging terrain. This unique multi-wheeled configuration makes Argo ATVs especially adept at navigating swamps, deep snow, muskeg, and other areas that would leave normal ATVs stuck.

However, Argo’s innovative design comes with some tradeoffs compared to mainstream ATVs from brands like Polaris, Can-Am, Honda etc. Argo ATVs tend to be more expensive, harder to service, and have some reliability concerns. This article will dive into the various pros and cons of Argo ATVs to determine if they are a “good” option for buyers needing to traverse adverse terrain versus more conventional ATV designs.

We’ll examine Argo ATVs across a number of factors including reliability, capabilities, availability of parts/service, cost, owner satisfaction, ideal use cases, and more. By evaluating the unique advantages and disadvantages of the Argo ATV platform, we’ll provide a comprehensive assessment of whether these machines are a good choice for potential buyers needing unmatched traction and flotation.

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Reliability Concerns

One of the most common complaints about Argo ATVs is reliability issues stemming from the complex fully amphibious drivetrain design. Many owners report recalls and frequent breakdowns that leave their Argo ATVs stranded on the trail or in remote areas. This can be a major headache if you rely on your ATV for work or transportation.

The articulated and amphibious systems have more components that can fail compared to a standard ATV drivetrain. Parts like u-joints, axle seals, wheel bearings, and CV joints tend to wear out faster on Argo ATVs. Electrical issues are also common due to the added strain of operating in water. When breakdowns occur, the complex design makes Argos more difficult and expensive to service than a normal ATV.

Replacement parts are costly for Argo ATVs and can be difficult to source. Most parts need to be ordered directly from Argo dealers and can take days or weeks to arrive. Argo ATVs require specialized service knowledge as well, so finding a qualified mechanic can be challenging in some areas. The high cost and wait times for parts and service turn some potential buyers away from the brand.

Many owners say Argo ATVs can be just as reliable as other brands, but only with diligent maintenance and care. They recommend changing fluids and inspecting components frequently. Preventative maintenance is absolutely critical. However, some buyers don’t want the additional hassle and costs of upkeep compared to a standard ATV. For those expecting to service their Argo ATV infrequently or abuse it heavily, reliability will likely suffer.

 

Capabilities and Performance

When running properly, Argo ATVs excel at navigating adverse terrain:

 

  • Fully amphibious allows traversing swamps and ponds
  • Low pressure tires provide flotation in muskeg and snow
  • Equal power to all wheels provides excellent traction

 

Argo ATVs have slower top speeds but outstanding low-end torque for technical terrain. The unique design prioritizes capability over speed.

 

Availability of Parts and Service

Due to smaller production volumes, Argo ATV parts can be harder to source than major brands:

 

  • Parts often have to be ordered directly from Argo
  • Can mean longer downtimes waiting for parts
  • Third party parts and accessories are limited

 

There are also fewer Argo dealers, which makes finding service more difficult in some areas. With mainstream ATV brands like Polaris or Can-Am, parts and service are readily available through extensive dealer networks across North America. But the niche Argo brand does not have this same level of support in many regions.

Argo only has a handful of company-owned dealerships in Canada and parts of the United States. Most other dealers are independents that may stock minimal Argo parts inventory on-hand. This can mean long lead times when ordering parts directly from the factory in Ontario.

There is also limited aftermarket support from third party accessory and parts manufacturers. Items like windshields, plows, winches, tires, and other common accessories will be harder to source for Argo models compared to mainstream brands.

The lack of readily available parts and service support is an important consideration for Argo ATV buyers. Owners may experience longer downtimes when repairs are needed. Having to order parts and schedule service at independent dealers can be inconvenient compared to the extensive dealer network other major ATV brands provide.

 

Cost Considerations

Argo ATVs demand a premium price over other utility ATVs:

 

– Base models start around $12,000 USD

– Adding features pushes costs over $15,000

– Significantly more expensive than models from Can-Am, Polaris, etc.

 

The high purchase and maintenance costs turn some buyers away. However, fans feel the capabilities justify the price.

 

Owner Satisfaction

Despite some downsides, many Argo ATV owners report being extremely satisfied:

 

– Capabilities allow accessing extremely remote areas

– Reliability issues seem worst among non-maintenance and abuse

– Most technical issues occur early and are covered under warranty

 

When maintained properly and used as intended, most owners get years of reliable use out of their Argo ATVs. Many enthusiasts love the ability to reach areas that no other ATV can access. The amphibious design opens up endless possibilities for exploration and adventure. Technical issues that do occur mostly happen early on while the vehicle is still under warranty. With proper maintenance and care, Argos gain a reputation for reliability despite the added complexity of their design.

 

Comparison to Other ATV Brands

When comparing Argo ATVs to models from mainstream brands like Polaris, Can-Am, Honda, and Yamaha, there are some notable differences in capabilities, reliability, availability, and costs.

In terms of capabilities, Argo ATVs stand out for their amphibious design and traction systems that allow traversing swamps, deep snow, and muskeg that would stop most other ATVs. The six or eight wheel drive train with equal power delivery provides unparalleled traction. However, they have slower top speeds than sport ATV models. Argos prioritize traction over speed.

Reliability seems to be a mixed bag for Argo. Some owners praise their durability while others report frequent breakdowns. When maintained properly, Argos can operate reliably for years. But the complex drivetrain does require diligent maintenance that other ATVs may not. There are more points of potential failure on an Argo.

Due to smaller production volumes, Argos can be harder to find parts and service for than major brands with extensive dealer networks. There are fewer options for accessories and upgrades as well. Downtime waiting for parts may be longer with Argo compared to a mainstream brand.

The costs of entry and ownership over time are higher with Argo too. Base models start around $12,000 USD compared to $8,000-$10,000 for basic models from other brands. Ongoing maintenance is likely to be more expensive as well if issues arise.

For certain buyers that need to traverse challenging terrain, the extra costs and quirks of Argo ATVs may be worth it. But for general recreational riding, a Polaris, Can-Am or Honda may prove more affordable and convenient to own long-term.

 

Ideal Use Cases

Argo ATVs are uniquely suited for navigating terrain where most other ATVs would get stuck. Their six or eight wheel fully amphibious design provides excellent traction and flotation in challenging conditions like:

 

  • Deep snow – The large, low-pressure tires on Argo ATVs help them stay on top of deep snow where other ATVs would sink down.
  • Swamps and marshes – Being fully amphibious allows Argo ATVs to drive through water-filled areas that would stop most other ATVs.
  • Muskeg – The equal power distribution to all wheels lets Argo ATVs keep moving across unstable muskeg terrain.
  • Mud – Low gear ratios combined with aggressive tread gives Argo ATVs the traction needed to power through muddy conditions.

 

However, the unique capabilities of Argo ATVs come with some tradeoffs. Their slower top speeds and optimized low-end torque means they are not ideal for activities requiring high speeds or frequent wide open throttle operation like dune riding or racing. Argo ATVs shine when traction and flotation are the top priorities, not speed.

 

Maintenance Requirements

Argo ATVs have more intensive maintenance requirements compared to typical recreational ATV models from brands like Polaris, Can-Am, and Honda. The complex fully amphibious drivetrain with components like gearboxes, drive shafts to all wheels, and wet brakes mean there are more systems to inspect, lubricate, and replace wear items on.

Following the prescribed maintenance schedule in the owner’s manual is critical for reliability. Argo recommends changing fluids and lubricating components much more frequently than a standard ATV. Things like the gearbox oil, wheel bearings, propeller shaft splines, and wet brake pads need regular attention. Owners report that skipping maintenance leads to premature failures.

The heavy demands of commercial use or abuse also shorten maintenance intervals. Operators using Argo ATVs for intense daily use will need to stay on top of maintenance even more diligently. The costs of parts and labor for maintenance will be higher compared to a recreational ATV. But adhering to the maintenance schedule helps stave off expensive repairs from neglect down the road.

 

Resale Value

The unique design and niche appeal of Argo ATVs can make them more difficult to resell compared to mainstream ATV models from Can-Am, Polaris, Honda etc. There is lower demand in the used marketplace for Argo ATVs, which limits resale potential. Many prospective buyers are intimidated by the complex drivetrain design of Argo ATVs and prefer the simplicity of other brands. Dealers report that it can take longer to sell a used Argo ATV compared to other common utility quad models. With their focus on extreme capabilities over recreational trail use, Argo ATVs have a more limited audience of interested buyers. This niche appeal restricts the resale market. Owners report more difficulty finding buyers and getting top dollar when selling a used Argo ATV. The lower demand translates into steeper depreciation compared to mainstream ATV models. While an Argo ATV can hold value reasonably well for the first few years, resale prices tend to drop off quickly as the vehicles age. The higher original purchase price also amplifies the depreciation hit. So while Argo ATVs can make sense for buyers who plan to get many years of use out of them, they are less ideal for owners who like to trade ATVs frequently.

 

Safety Concerns

While Argo ATVs provide excellent capabilities for rough terrain, there have been some concerns around their safety. Argo recently issued a recall on certain model year ATVs due to a potential fire hazard. The recall affected over 2,000 units and was prompted after the company received reports of fires originating near the vehicle’s exhaust manifold. Argo has worked to notify owners and provide free repairs to address the issue. However, it highlights the importance of paying attention to recall notices and ensuring any needed service is performed.

There have also been some lawsuits filed over injuries sustained in Argo ATV accidents. The unique design and high clearance of Argo ATVs improves their off-road handling but also raises the center of gravity. This can increase the risk of rollovers, particularly for inexperienced operators. There are also many Argo ATVs still in operation that are aging and may not be properly maintained. Poor maintenance increases the likelihood of component failures that could result in accidents. It’s important for owners to be vigilant about upkeep and operate Argos at appropriate speeds for the conditions.

Overall, Argo ATVs still have an excellent safety record when operated responsibly. But the recent recall and injury lawsuits are a reminder to follow safe practices and maintain ATVs properly. For the most part, Argos remain a safe option in the hands of mature operators who respect their capabilities and limitations.

 

Environmental Impact

The unique design of Argo ATVs with 6 or 8 powered wheels can potentially cause more damage to terrain compared to standard 4-wheel ATVs. Having more wheels driving and distributing weight can dig deeper ruts into soft ground and trails. Argo’s fully amphibious capabilities also allow them to traverse sensitive wetland areas that other ATVs can’t access, increasing the potential for habitat disruption.

In addition, the larger engines required to power 6-8 wheels produce more noise and emissions. Argos run very quiet compared to other ATVs on land due to their gear-reduced drivetrain design. However, when submerged and churning through water, they generate significant noise that can disturb wildlife. The emissions from running a V-twin or even V-8 engine to drive 6-8 wheels are also higher than a single or twin powering just 2 or 4.

Overall, the environmental impact depends greatly on how and where the Argo ATV is operated. With responsible use by staying on designated trails and avoiding sensitive areas, the impact can be minimized. But the potential for increased terrain damage and emissions exists due to their unique design.

 

Future Outlook

Argo appears poised for growth in the years ahead based on increasing recreational ATV sales and some of their new innovations coming to market. The ATV industry as a whole has experienced strong sales in recent years as more people seek outdoor adventures and remote destinations. Major players like Polaris and Can-Am have benefited, but niche brands like Argo also see opportunity to expand their market share. Argo has plans to release upgraded models of their Xplorer series in 2023. These new ATVs will feature increased power, comfort, and technology. Argo is also exploring introducing side-by-side UTV models to complement their ATV lineup.

While Argo will continue facing stiff competition from entrenched brands, they see room in the market for high-capability specialty vehicles optimized for swamps, snow, and muskeg. Other niche ATV manufacturers like Sherp are also introducing radical designs to serve extreme terrain needs. But Argo’s decades of experience give them an edge. With the recreational ATV market growing and their unique design, Argo is well-positioned to increase sales and release innovative new machines in the coming years.

 

Conclusion

Argo ATVs have their pros and cons. On the plus side, they offer best-in-class capabilities for navigating adverse terrain like deep snow, muskeg, and swamps. Their fully amphibious design allows accessing extremely remote areas that other ATVs can’t reach. However, the complex drivetrain also leads to some downsides – higher cost, more maintenance, and challenges finding service compared to major ATV brands.

For buyers who prioritize go-anywhere traction and flotation over speed, cost, and ease of maintenance, Argo ATVs can be an excellent choice. They excel at traversing swamps, deep snow, and thick mud where normal wheels would get stuck. But they do require careful maintenance and operation to keep things running smoothly.

Casual recreational riders looking for a normal utility ATV experience may want to consider other brands that are simpler and more affordable. However, for those needing to access remote areas across extremely adverse terrain, the capabilities of the Argo ATVs justify their higher cost and maintenance needs.

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Are Argo ATVs Good Q&A

Argo ATVs are very capable machines for Canadian terrain due to their excellent traction system and high ground clearance. Their full-time 6 wheel drive train allows them to tackle mud, snow, hills, and rough trails. The independent suspension soaks up bumps well. They are narrower than side-by-sides so they can fit down narrow trails. Maintenance can be more difficult and expensive than other brands though.

Reliability of Argo ATVs tends to be mixed, according to owner experiences. On the positive side, the simple drivetrain design tends to be quite durable. However some models have had issues with electrical components and sensors failing prematurely. Parts can be difficult to source as well since Argo is a smaller company. Overall they can be a good option if you don’t mind occasional repairs.

Fuel efficiency of Argo ATVs tends to be lower than competitors. Real world mileage is usually in the 10-15 mpg (23-31 l/100 km) range depending on the model and conditions. The heavy weight and unique drivetrain mean they use more fuel to get moving and work harder on hills. But the torquey engines provide excellent low end pulling power for work tasks.

Argo ATVs are generally priced at a premium over other utility ATV brands like Polaris, Can-Am, Honda, and Yamaha when comparing models with similar engine sizes and features. You typically pay an extra $1000+ for the Argo name and unique capabilities. However, some buyers feel the benefits are worth the additional cost for their needs.

For Canadian hunting, fishing, and outdoor recreation, a midsize Argo ATV in the 500-700cc range generally makes the most sense. Models like the Xplorer XR 550 provide good power and cargo capacity while still being nimble on trails. The narrower size can fit down tighter paths to remote areas better than a full size unit. Fuel efficiency is also slightly better.

Argo ATVs excel when it comes to mud riding and swamp terrain thanks to their full-time 6 wheel drive system and good ground clearance. The independent suspension allows each wheel to maintain traction by moving up and down to keep constant contact with the ground. Combined with aggressive mud tires, they can power through sticky mud pits very effectively.

Yes, Argo ATVs make excellent snow plow machines in Canada. Models like the Xplorer XR 800 have plenty of torque to push large plows through heavy snow with ease. Combined with their stability and traction, you can plow driveway and trails efficiently. Just be mindful of the increased rollover risk with a plow installed and avoid steep slopes.

While very adept at mud and snow, Argo ATVs do have some limitations when it comes to climbing steep hills and gradients. Their heavy weight works against them, and the drivetrain design focuses more on low end torque over high RPM power. Most models top out around 45-50 km/hr. So they can lack speed to maintain momentum up very steep pitches.

Yes, aftermarket track kits are available to install on certain Argo ATV models to transform them into snow machines for winter. This gives them incredible flotation and traction in deep snow. Just keep in mind that tracks put more strain on the drivetrain and suspension, so reinforcements and beefed up components may be needed depending on use.

Argo ATVs make excellent towing machines thanks to their robust drivetrains and abundance of low end torque. Most models have standard front and rear tow hooks integrated into the frame. Large bore disk brakes provide good stopping power even with a loaded trailer. Just be mindful of the decreased stability when towing heavy loads around turns or side hills.

There are lots of options when it comes to customizing or modifying an Argo ATV. Typical upgrades include installing aluminum wheels, mud tires, brush guards, winches, plow mounts, and track kits. While aftermarket support isn’t as extensive as mainstream brands, there are still plenty of ways to set your Argo apart to suit your unique needs.

Argo ATVs have very tight turning radiuses thanks to their 3 section frame design which allows each portion to pivot independently. This gives them unmatched maneuverability compared to longer wheelbase side-by-sides. Even large models can spin within their own length. So they work great in confined spaces around trees or buildings.

Sourcing replacement parts can be tricky with Argo since they are a smaller company. Local dealers may not stock many components on hand, so getting parts shipped from the factory could involve longer wait times. Aftermarket parts availability is also limited. So best practice is to have critical spare parts on hand before issues arise.

Accessing the engine for maintenance on Argo ATVs is more challenging than a conventional quad design. Typically the cargo box needs to be partially disassembled to access key components. So jobs like changing oil, filters, and belts ends up being more time consuming. This complexity turns some owners off.

Yes, most major insurance providers in Canada offer ATV insurance policies that will cover Argo models. Rates are calculated based on engine size, intended usage, driver’s age and experience etc. It’s a good idea to ask your provider about any restrictions around modifying or customizing your Argo from stock form as well.

No, Argo ATVs cannot be made street legal in Canada even if equipped with signals mirrors etc. They lack key criteria like headlights, brake lights, emissions controls, and speed capabilities. So they are designated only for off-road use. Towing them to trails or transporting in a trailer is required. Some provinces have additional ATV trail regulations as well.

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