2002 Bombardier Quest 650 - Off-Road.com's SportQuad.com

Nov. 01, 2005 By ORC STAFF
With great anticipation, Bombardier's latest entry into the sport-utility quad market arrived at our door. Eager dealers and potential customers nationwide have been clamoring to get a look at one, and we are very happy to provide a first look at it, up close and personal. Features All the goodies and gadgets!   With racks front and rear, a storage

Large racks front and rear, front storage compartment, and a modified step-through design are all features we liked.

compartment that conveniently has a  drain plug (looks to fit a case of your favorite beverage just fine, plus the ice!) and automatic transmission, this was looking to be much more than our motley crew deserved under the Christmas Tree, especially in October!  Bombardier pulled some strings and got it out to us with days to spare before the Rocky Mountain ATV Jamboree in Richfield Utah, and we couldn't pass up that opportunity to take it where we'd find some objective observers. Those that recognized it (as I said, it is so new to market that many didn't even know it was out there yet, and certainly no vendor or rider we met had had the  chance to get their hands on one), crawled over and under, and several vendors did so with camera and tape measure in hand - look for some cool after-market goodies to be ready by the time dealers have the Quest on the showroom floor.  First Ride

We promissed to thoroughly "test" the Quest, so we couldn't pass up a chance to hook it up to the Sled for a pull...

 The most descriptive thing I am left with is the impression that you don't "ride" the Quest so much as "drive" it.  Instead of straddling it like a 2WD sport quad, you find yourself sitting up high and wide - feet planted firmly, at an angle more like your easy chair than tucked under like a racing jockey.  Relax.    Once you're on and settled, you have to adjust to the riding itself.   This is not a sport quad and you better not try to ride it like one. 

...and the Quest promptly answered and gave it a 71' pull!

It's a few hundred pounds too heavy to throw it around a corner, and as long as you remember that, it makes for an amazingly comfortable, confident travelling partner. Taking it on portions of the Paiute Trail that included well-travelled gravel roads, it was much more comfortable at speeds of 35 - 40 mph than the 2WD Honda's we generally prefer for sport riding.  It is very stable and gives the sensation that speed is nothing, much like driving your aunt's Cadillac in cruise control. The dual shock suspension was also very different from a performance quad.  While we sometimes seek speed just to even out those bumps in the trail, the Quest is much happier crawling over the trail at it's own pace.  One test rider found the lack of suspension very tiring after long riding periods - perhaps trying to ride at the pace of the 2WD's?  Another test rider, however, found the suspension more than adequate and felt that the seating provided ample comfort for long trips, much more so than the stock seating on a 2WD.

Any off road test wouldn't be much of a test, if we didn't actually take it off-road -

Where the Quest excels of course is on the trail - the rougher, the better.  It crawls up steep slabs with a yawn, steps over rocks of varying size without missing a beat.   With the true "all-wheel drive" system, our test riders were not able to break the wheels free like the limited slip design of some of the competitors' quads. Even our 11-year-old test rider took it through one of the more technical sections of the trail, and though apprehensive at first (he was outweighed by 600

The Quest semed equally at home on slick rock slabs and smaller rocky obstacles.

pounds), soon adjusted and learned to let the quad do the work.  After 30 minutes of rugged trail, he wasn't ready to give it up!  The Quest CVT provides incredible engine braking. So much so, that we found the hydraulic disc brakes were not needed much of the time. The quad reacts much like a snowmobile, and speed can be controlled by the thumb throttle even when decending steep hills.

Even our youth rider had no problem with the Quest, riding it through some of the toughest sections of the trail.

By the end of the day, after every imaginable trail test, we found ourselves fighting over who would get to take the controls on the final leg home. Anything we'd change?   While an automatic transmission is convenient and secure for trail riding, the manner of shifting tends to differ widely among manufacturers, and even among specific models.  We found the shift lever on the Quest took some getting used to - you pull it out away from the quad to slide between gears, and it always felt like it was going to break it off in my hand.  Shifting between Park, Neutral and Reverse was fairly smooth, but going from Park directly into a Drive Gear (either High or Low) was difficult for all that tested the Quest.  Either we're doing something wrong, or it may just be tight. 

Rocks aside, sometimes all you need is pure TRACTION. The Quest outperforms a 2WD quad on loose climbs, hands down.

It's also not real easy to tell what gear you're in at a glance.  There is a lighted indicator on the dash, if you remember to look there instead of down at the shifter, but it doesn't light anything to indicate which Drive speed you are in.  And Reverse is a very "high" Reverse, from the feel of it.  Backing down the ramps to unload the first time was almost a photo event of it's own!  Overall Impressions For a first-timer or a seasoned Pro, this ride provides the confidence and security that you are going to be able to get home, no matter where you go.  And it allows you to take enough gear with you that you'll enjoy the journey too.  Bombardier has built the Quest 650 with the quality, comfort, features and power to make it an incredible all-around machine.  

After a full day, the Quest carried three people's gear back to camp - including raffle prizes, new purchases, chairs, coats, camera equip...

We see a long future for it on the trails, as well as in many working applications.   What else is in this Bombardier's future?  The frame twisting grind of rock crawling, the harsh elements and hard driving of desert race pre-running, the pack-it-in, pack-it-out necessities of wilderness camping, maybe we'll even find some snow to plow... Come back in December 2001 for Part II of the Quest Long-Term Torture Test!  

Quest 650 Technical Specifications



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