700cc UTV By now you are familiar with the Linhai range. Over that last few years, they have churned out some very well prices ATV’s that have proved to be practical and very reliable. This is new turf for them. With the introduction of their new 700cc Side By Side, they enter a whole new market in the leisure and utility market. We took the newcomer for a good long spin.
You’d be forgiven for mistaking this one for a baby Can Am. It is a fact
that the Chinese are famous for copying designs that are appealing to the general public. Take all of the Raptor lookalikes that ran around for so many years, and currently, there are discussions around a Chinese road bike that looks just like one of the main brand models on the market. But in saying that – were the Chinese to use their own, conservative designs, maybe they would not look so cool.
The new Linhai 700 is a fine looking beasty – it would appear that the guys have done their homework on what appeals to the general public. It also goes really well. We took it for a good spin through the bushveld and tried everything we could to get the yellow marauder unsettled. It’s a fun side by side to play with and it is nice and strong and pretty versatile.
It goes everywhere – we tackled a few steep hills, deep-ish rivers and muddy crossings – and we never felt it coming unstuck. The standard 14 inch Batt tyres find traction everywhere.
700cc single cylinder water-cooled engine. We expected a V-Twin, but we are impressed with the 700’s performance. The power is cool – good grunt for low down stuff and a top speed at just on the 70-KPH mark. This is mated to an automatic gearbox with a traditional CVT belt supplying the final drive. Low, high, reverse with 4WD and diff locks at the flip of a button. The overall feel is one of refinement – gear selection is smooth, actuation of the 4wd and diff locks is simple and seamless.
The independent suspension is a feature that really stands out, it is as good as any main line machine – no body roll, pretty firm – and the ground clearance is excellent. Just when we’ve become accustomed to left hand drive Side by sides, along comes Linhai with a conventional right hand drive.
This means that this one can made to be roadworthy – so for nipping to your favourite track, or heading from farmland to farmland without worrying about the Law bothering you. Makes sense. Passengers are held in place in the roomy compartment by single seats with a conventional seatbelt. The foot well for the driver is quite small so – if you have big feet, you’ll need to get used to it. Headrests are mounted into the roll frame – and boppa’d into the ceiling are some pretty mean looking speakers so you can tune in to RSG while you take Lucerne out to the sheep.
We like the fact that the Linhai has a roof as standard equipment – prevents sunburn. Loading the lucerne is easy with a large load bed out back that tilts to reveal the air Practical and easy to access. Well thought out.
35 litres of fuel means that you can go quite a long way between refuels – The gauge showed half full when we took off and our ride was around 100 kilometre mixup of fast and technical crawling terrain before we started to get nervous. The digital display in the dash is easy to read – but we figure that, like most digital gauges, this one lies a little bit. It jumps from 1 bar to 3 bars between rides. Anyway – once it shows low, go and get some more petrol – or simply strap an extra litre or two onto the load bed.
From a passenger point of view, there are a few bits that we would like to see – the importers tell us that they are looking at a few local options –but you do feel a bit exposed without doors. Webbing should do the trick – inexpensive and it would be a great safety feature. The second thing we would like are a few grab rails – both
for the passenger and the driver. There will be times when you’ll get off camber, or you’ll rail through a corner – it is comforting when you have something to hold on to.
Great fun. Very practical. Feels robust. Great Suspension. Good looking, ticks all the boxes. Add in a few extra safety features and this will be one of the best alternative side by sides that we’ve driven
to date. It’s available in this striking Yellow – or in Camo design. It also has a diesel cousin. More on that soon.
Imported by linhai SA: www.linhaisa.co.za or call 011 284 2000
Article was published in the Dirt and Trail – Nov 2014