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P500 Pioneer 500 - The good, the bad, and the ugly

Linebacker55

New Member
Jan 4, 2020
5
3
3
NL, Canada
Ownership

500,
Do not currently own
I apologize for the length of this review upfront!

Pioneer 500 with Honda roof, Honda rear soft panel, Honda front Hard tip out windshield, rear view mirror, side rear mirrors, Honda soft doors, windshield bag, 27" tires, 2500 pound winch, skid plate, LED front bar, LED rear cubes, spare rim, and plow. About $16 400 Canadian out the door. Looking at the Polaris Ranger 500 and the Honda Pioneer. Ranger was about $2000 more.

Purchased a 2020 Honda Pioneer 500 about 3 weeks ago. Although I'm very satisfied with the machine, here are a few things prospective buyer should be aware of:

1. NO Storage. And I mean NO storage. I purchased the Honda roof bag (went across the rear roll bar) for $100 CAN. It's enough to store the registration, insurance and a few snacks. Funny thing is, there seems to be a cut out for a glove box but I guess Honda was too cheap to put it in. There are also under seat and under hood storage options, but they are extremely expensive.

2. 1.5" receiver. Didn't really notice this until a purchased the bike. No big problem, but I had a 2" bar I was planning to use!

3. No dump box. Again, I was quite aware of this as I plan to build a storage box for the rear. But my buddy and a Ranger with a dump box...does come in handy.

4. Suspension. It is stiff and will bounce you around even when on packed dirt roads and you hit a pothole. Not sure about buying new shocks...might just slow down. BTW - top speed seems to be 63 km/h.

5. Seat belt. I've hit a few bumps and man this thing just about decapitates you. Be aware.

6. Doors. While the doors are fantastic, be aware that when you load it in the back of a truck, you have a 50/50 chance of getting out of the side by side! I had to remove the netting on the drivers side.

7. Reverse. There is no shift lever for reverse...it's a handle you have to pull with your right hand while shifting down on the paddle shifter with your left. Again, no big thing as after a while it become second nature...I just hope its not an issue in the winter time when plowing.

8. Fit and finish of the Honda accessories are a little underwhelming...Front windshield not sealing along the bonnet...when i move it then it don't seal along the top. I purchased the HARD windshield as it was suppose to resist scratches. It does not. A glass windshield like the polaris ranger would be great.

9. Pretty loud "clunking" when shifting in automatic mode.

10. No front lock...but haven't need it yet so probably not going to be an issue.

11. Clearance. Get bigger tires. Otherwise you'll be hearing a lot of scraping.

12. Overall fit and finish. Polaris is a much nicer looking machine...nice dash, lots of storage, LOTS of accessories, place for more switches (knockouts) and their accessories seem to fit the machine.

13. Service reminder came on after 10 hours (100 km's?) I'm going to wait for at least 500 kms before servicing.

14. Original tires were noticeably worn down. Again, I purchased 27" trail tires. Hoping they will make a difference...just waiting for the dealer to get them.

I realize it seems like I crapping on my Honda, but I'm not! I'm quite satisfied with my purchase? Why? Because its a very narrow 50 inches and lets me get into places larger machines wouldn't fit. It's more like a quad with side seating! I like the manual mode..shifting is much quieter and allows me to control when shifting. The lack of storage is annoying, but the rear windshield bag does make a difference. I like that there are no belts. Steering is great! I was a little worried I might have to purchase a power steering unit for my daughter, but she is enjoying it! The "missing luxuries" don't really impact me as the machine does what it does and I'm looking for reliability. I think I have it. I'll update once I've used the plow and doors in the winter time.
 
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JeremieBaker

President of #NTC
Lifetime Member
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Jan 30, 2018
19,837
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113
Canton, OH
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500
14 - check your alignment. Seems a lot of unit come out with terrible alignments set.
 
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JeremieBaker

President of #NTC
Lifetime Member
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Jan 30, 2018
19,837
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113
Canton, OH
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500
Welcome to the forum from Canton, OH. The P500 definitely has its areas for improvement. There is a lot of great info here on the forum.

Look for the Choogbox and the TriggerShield for a couple of nice examples.

#NTC
 

JeremieBaker

President of #NTC
Lifetime Member
Supporting Member
Jan 30, 2018
19,837
104,683
113
Canton, OH
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500
Did a search on the forum...nothing...have a link?
I've struggled with searches as well even when I know exactly what I'm looking for.

I will do a little looking for you, but the basic deal is find the cable on the back of the "reverse lever" and ultimately the adjustment nuts on it. You can then "adjust" the lever out of its intended purpose (whatever that is). You can adjust the nuts so that the cable is pulled tight when the lever is in the "normal" position. Forum members have specifically tested. You can't shift the P500 to reverse without being at a full stop anyway.

Edit: This is a link to a video from a forum member that shows the process if we can't find the details on the forum...
 
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Mudwing

NTC’s “midnight rider”
Lifetime Member
Supporting Member
Jul 9, 2017
19,614
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The mud holes of WNY
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700-4
I got your six, JB. 😉
 

trigger

Old Ironsides
Vendor
Lifetime Member
Supporting Member
Feb 13, 2016
6,184
17,744
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Bay City, Michigan
Ownership

500
I apologize for the length of this review upfront!

Pioneer 500 with Honda roof, Honda rear soft panel, Honda front Hard tip out windshield, rear view mirror, side rear mirrors, Honda soft doors, windshield bag, 27" tires, 2500 pound winch, skid plate, LED front bar, LED rear cubes, spare rim, and plow. About $16 400 Canadian out the door. Looking at the Polaris Ranger 500 and the Honda Pioneer. Ranger was about $2000 more.

Purchased a 2020 Honda Pioneer 500 about 3 weeks ago. Although I'm very satisfied with the machine, here are a few things prospective buyer should be aware of:

1. NO Storage. And I mean NO storage. I purchased the Honda roof bag (went across the rear roll bar) for $100 CAN. It's enough to store the registration, insurance and a few snacks. Funny thing is, there seems to be a cut out for a glove box but I guess Honda was too cheap to put it in. There are also under seat and under hood storage options, but they are extremely expensive.

2. 1.5" receiver. Didn't really notice this until a purchased the bike. No big problem, but I had a 2" bar I was planning to use!

3. No dump box. Again, I was quite aware of this as I plan to build a storage box for the rear. But my buddy and a Ranger with a dump box...does come in handy.

4. Suspension. It is stiff and will bounce you around even when on packed dirt roads and you hit a pothole. Not sure about buying new shocks...might just slow down. BTW - top speed seems to be 63 km/h.

5. Seat belt. I've hit a few bumps and man this thing just about decapitates you. Be aware.

6. Doors. While the doors are fantastic, be aware that when you load it in the back of a truck, you have a 50/50 chance of getting out of the side by side! I had to remove the netting on the drivers side.

7. Reverse. There is no shift lever for reverse...it's a handle you have to pull with your right hand while shifting down on the paddle shifter with your left. Again, no big thing as after a while it become second nature...I just hope its not an issue in the winter time when plowing.

8. Fit and finish of the Honda accessories are a little underwhelming...Front windshield not sealing along the bonnet...when i move it then it don't seal along the top. I purchased the HARD windshield as it was suppose to resist scratches. It does not. A glass windshield like the polaris ranger would be great.

9. Pretty loud "clunking" when shifting in automatic mode.

10. No front lock...but haven't need it yet so probably not going to be an issue.

11. Clearance. Get bigger tires. Otherwise you'll be hearing a lot of scraping.

12. Overall fit and finish. Polaris is a much nicer looking machine...nice dash, lots of storage, LOTS of accessories, place for more switches (knockouts) and their accessories seem to fit the machine.

13. Service reminder came on after 10 hours (100 km's?) I'm going to wait for at least 500 kms before servicing.

14. Original tires were noticeably worn down. Again, I purchased 27" trail tires. Hoping they will make a difference...just waiting for the dealer to get them.

I realize it seems like I crapping on my Honda, but I'm not! I'm quite satisfied with my purchase? Why? Because its a very narrow 50 inches and lets me get into places larger machines wouldn't fit. It's more like a quad with side seating! I like the manual mode..shifting is much quieter and allows me to control when shifting. The lack of storage is annoying, but the rear windshield bag does make a difference. I like that there are no belts. Steering is great! I was a little worried I might have to purchase a power steering unit for my daughter, but she is enjoying it! The "missing luxuries" don't really impact me as the machine does what it does and I'm looking for reliability. I think I have it. I'll update once I've used the plow and doors in the winter time.
Sorry for the lengthy response but it sounds like you did no research, lol! All of these have been known issues for years, you just need to set it up.
1. Get a Choogbox, expanded metal rear cage and a side rail toolbox...storage solved.
2. Moose 2" receiver.
3. If you really want one of those, they're available. @Todd627 has one for sale now.
4. Honda had to make some sacrifices for a machine this small, bigger, better tires and WE shocks.
5. Get a shoulder pad for the seat belt, makes it more comfortable. Not using the seat belt will break your neck.
6. Truck works in a pinch or when hauling a travel trailer as well but you need a trailer.
7. Reverse lever bypass, everyone does it and I wouldn't plow any other way.
8. No plastic is scratch proof. There are after market glass ones available. As for sealing, the cab will never be fully sealed regardless.
9. The noise gets better with time, oil changes and break in. You also need a Shield to assist with that and the heat issue that you haven't discovered yet.
10. TorqLocker is available.
11. Even with bigger tires you're going to bottom out occasionally, it's a small machine. Get an aftermarket skid, you won't regret it.
12. I can send you some pics of a P5 that'll put a Ranger to shame.
13. 100 mile first service for break in, do it, it'll calm the noise down, then it'll be a while before the next one.
14. Took the stockers off when I got home from the dealer, almost everyone changes the tires out of the gate.
The Ranger is a nice machine but it's not a Honda. The one you chose is bullet proof, no rubber bands to change, gear down a hill without touching the brakes and go where no other sxs can. As for capabilities, I watched a Ranger try to climb a sand hill multiple times without making it, made it to the top the first time with a properly set up P5. You'll have to spend that extra 2 grand and then some but you'll have a much better machine in the end.
 
box4

Fischer

Member
Dec 22, 2019
62
79
18
Montana
Ownership

500
I apologize for the length of this review upfront!

Pioneer 500 with Honda roof, Honda rear soft panel, Honda front Hard tip out windshield, rear view mirror, side rear mirrors, Honda soft doors, windshield bag, 27" tires, 2500 pound winch, skid plate, LED front bar, LED rear cubes, spare rim, and plow. About $16 400 Canadian out the door. Looking at the Polaris Ranger 500 and the Honda Pioneer. Ranger was about $2000 more.

Purchased a 2020 Honda Pioneer 500 about 3 weeks ago. Although I'm very satisfied with the machine, here are a few things prospective buyer should be aware of:

1. NO Storage. And I mean NO storage. I purchased the Honda roof bag (went across the rear roll bar) for $100 CAN. It's enough to store the registration, insurance and a few snacks. Funny thing is, there seems to be a cut out for a glove box but I guess Honda was too cheap to put it in. There are also under seat and under hood storage options, but they are extremely expensive.

2. 1.5" receiver. Didn't really notice this until a purchased the bike. No big problem, but I had a 2" bar I was planning to use!

3. No dump box. Again, I was quite aware of this as I plan to build a storage box for the rear. But my buddy and a Ranger with a dump box...does come in handy.

4. Suspension. It is stiff and will bounce you around even when on packed dirt roads and you hit a pothole. Not sure about buying new shocks...might just slow down. BTW - top speed seems to be 63 km/h.

5. Seat belt. I've hit a few bumps and man this thing just about decapitates you. Be aware.

6. Doors. While the doors are fantastic, be aware that when you load it in the back of a truck, you have a 50/50 chance of getting out of the side by side! I had to remove the netting on the drivers side.

7. Reverse. There is no shift lever for reverse...it's a handle you have to pull with your right hand while shifting down on the paddle shifter with your left. Again, no big thing as after a while it become second nature...I just hope its not an issue in the winter time when plowing.

8. Fit and finish of the Honda accessories are a little underwhelming...Front windshield not sealing along the bonnet...when i move it then it don't seal along the top. I purchased the HARD windshield as it was suppose to resist scratches. It does not. A glass windshield like the polaris ranger would be great.

9. Pretty loud "clunking" when shifting in automatic mode.

10. No front lock...but haven't need it yet so probably not going to be an issue.

11. Clearance. Get bigger tires. Otherwise you'll be hearing a lot of scraping.

12. Overall fit and finish. Polaris is a much nicer looking machine...nice dash, lots of storage, LOTS of accessories, place for more switches (knockouts) and their accessories seem to fit the machine.

13. Service reminder came on after 10 hours (100 km's?) I'm going to wait for at least 500 kms before servicing.

14. Original tires were noticeably worn down. Again, I purchased 27" trail tires. Hoping they will make a difference...just waiting for the dealer to get them.

I realize it seems like I crapping on my Honda, but I'm not! I'm quite satisfied with my purchase? Why? Because its a very narrow 50 inches and lets me get into places larger machines wouldn't fit. It's more like a quad with side seating! I like the manual mode..shifting is much quieter and allows me to control when shifting. The lack of storage is annoying, but the rear windshield bag does make a difference. I like that there are no belts. Steering is great! I was a little worried I might have to purchase a power steering unit for my daughter, but she is enjoying it! The "missing luxuries" don't really impact me as the machine does what it does and I'm looking for reliability. I think I have it. I'll update once I've used the plow and doors in the winter time.
I guess I may be weird,however, I like the rack better than a box cuz I can add a boxed in rack on top or take it off and use the factory rack. Lots of them on this site have built or bought all different kinds of ways to store things on the factory rack. At the same time I've heard lots say the pioneer 500 is ugly, I disagree with that as well, yeah it looks different than the others but uniquely cool in it's own way.
 
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oldfortyfive

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
Dec 6, 2015
406
668
93
Illinois
Ownership

500
As a happy 2015 owner I have no regrets. No, they are a ways from perfect, but they are an interesting piece of canvas to paint. For the things that I'm using mine for I've yet to see a better alternative. My only two real beefs are the battery compartment sucks and it should have a spin on oil filter.
 
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Mudder

Mud Slinger
Lifetime Member
Oct 1, 2016
4,961
20,137
113
Georgia
Ownership

500,
Other Brand
@trigger got it covered well with his post. The Search feature on this forum is a great thing as so many issues have been addressed. As for the bed, love it.

AE942CD8-21C0-4F59-A33F-4F5D213C8565.jpeg CFD9C00B-9F6B-419F-957E-BD81864E686E.jpeg
 
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Montecresto

Montecresto el segundo
Lifetime Member
Supporting Member
Club Contributor
Jan 17, 2016
16,030
24,950
113
Eastern oklahoma
Ownership

500,
1000-3,
1000-5,
Other Brand,
Talon x4
Sorry for the lengthy response but it sounds like you did no research, lol! All of these have been known issues for years, you just need to set it up.
1. Get a Choogbox, expanded metal rear cage and a side rail toolbox...storage solved.
2. Moose 2" receiver.
3. If you really want one of those, they're available. @Todd627 has one for sale now.
4. Honda had to make some sacrifices for a machine this small, bigger, better tires and WE shocks.
5. Get a shoulder pad for the seat belt, makes it more comfortable. Not using the seat belt will break your neck.
6. Truck works in a pinch or when hauling a travel trailer as well but you need a trailer.
7. Reverse lever bypass, everyone does it and I wouldn't plow any other way.
8. No plastic is scratch proof. There are after market glass ones available. As for sealing, the cab will never be fully sealed regardless.
9. The noise gets better with time, oil changes and break in. You also need a Shield to assist with that and the heat issue that you haven't discovered yet.
10. TorqLocker is available.
11. Even with bigger tires you're going to bottom out occasionally, it's a small machine. Get an aftermarket skid, you won't regret it.
12. I can send you some pics of a P5 that'll put a Ranger to shame.
13. 100 mile first service for break in, do it, it'll calm the noise down, then it'll be a while before the next one.
14. Took the stockers off when I got home from the dealer, almost everyone changes the tires out of the gate.
The Ranger is a nice machine but it's not a Honda. The one you chose is bullet proof, no rubber bands to change, gear down a hill without touching the brakes and go where no other sxs can. As for capabilities, I watched a Ranger try to climb a sand hill multiple times without making it, made it to the top the first time with a properly set up P5. You'll have to spend that extra 2 grand and then some but you'll have a much better machine in the end.
Well you certainly set that one straight.....Except for the 2K mods and accessories expense, that’s chump change. 🤣🤣🤣
 
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