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Nowadays, big-name brands aren’t the only trail-worthy four-wheelers around. Many new players have entered the UTV scene, showcasing similar features present in pricier Can-Am, Polaris, and Yamaha models. This guide will cover one of these vehicles – the Massimo MSU 500 UTV.
The Massimo MSU 500 is a rec/utility vehicle introduced to the market in 2012 by Hisun and Massimo Motors. Boasting a sleek design, an automatic V-belt transmission, rugged body styling, and selectable 2WD/4WD modes, the Massimo 500 is the go-to vehicle for many casual riders and hunters.
Many consumers who have given the Massimo 500 a shot at their approval were pleasantly surprised at just how impressive and dependable it was. So much so that the vehicle has grown more reputable and earned itself a solid following, even with former skeptics and disbelievers.
Continue reading this article, and satisfy your curiosity about this low-profile but remarkable four-wheeler.
The Poor Man’s Rhino
On the outside, the 471-cm3 quad may look like it. But according to Massimo MSU 500 reviews, it is not just any other clone – especially once you have experienced taking it out for a ride. Like many Chinese-made off-road vehicles, the Massimo MSU 500 is another one of those wheelers given less credit than due. At least, this statement is true for consumers who are unfamiliar with the brand.
But for its patrons, there are not enough good things to say about the four-wheeler. Beyond its affordable price point, what is impressive about the Massimo is its reliable and highly capable manners. It has a robust engine and powertrain, sleek, adventurous styling, and a do-it-all functionality that can compete with the best. These attributes not only set the Massimo 500 apart from the competition but also give it its own identity.
Massimo 500 UTV Specs & Features
One of the things that make the Massimo 500 stand out is its fuel-injected engine. While carburetors are equally powerful, EFI makes the Massimo engine more reliable, fuel-efficient, and easier to maintain. Not to mention it is mated to an ECU, making it somewhat easier to pinpoint probable causes of engine problems – thanks to fault codes. On the downside, repair expenses would be more expensive, and carbs generally last longer than fuel-injected engines.
|Engine Type||4-stroke SOHC|
|Cylinder Arrangement||Forward-inclined single-cylinder|
|Carburetion System||Electronic Fuel Injection, D46-5/1 throttle valve x 1|
|Engine Cooling||Liquid cooling|
|Engine Fuel||Unleaded gasoline w/ rating of at least PON 87 or RON 91, containing < 5% MTBE (Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether), < 10% ethanol, or < 5% methanol w/ appropriate cosolvents and corrosion inhibitor|
|Fuel Capacity||28 L/7.4 US gal (reserve – 4 L/1 US gal)|
|Bore x Stroke Ratio||84.5 × 84 mm (3.33 × 3.30 in)|
|Displacement||471 cm³ / 28.74 in³|
|Horsepower||22.5 hp/22.8 PS (16.8 kW)|
|Top Speed||45 – 50 mph (72 – 80 km/h) – advertised|
|Air Filtration||Wet element (engine); Dry element (intake duct)|
|Engine Oil & Quantity||W/out oil filter: 1.9 L (2.01 U S qt) / W/ oil filter: 2.1 L (2.22 US qt)|
SAE 10W-40, API grade SJ or higher, meeting JASO T903 MA, MB standards
Alternatives: 5W-30, 20W-40, “Energy Conserving II” or diesel oils w/ “CD” labels are prohibited
|Final Gear Case||SAE 15W-40 or 80W-90 GL-4, 0.25 L (0.26 US qt)|
|Differential Gear Case||SAE 80W-90 GL-5 Hypoid gear oil, 0.32 L (0.34 US qt)|
A belt-driven transmission and an automatic wet centrifugal clutch transfer power to the wheels for the Massimo UTV. Its rack-and-pinion steering setup provides better road feel and steering feedback compared to other systems. Plus, the absence of manual shifting makes for the vehicle’s ease of operation, enabling operators to accomplish chores much faster. Shift sequence initially had low/high, neutral, and reverse but included a cable-operated parking brake for succeeding models.
|Clutch||Wet hoof, centrifugal type, automatic|
|Transfer, Transmission Type||V-belt automatic (Right hand operation)|
|Steering||Rack & Pinion|
|Drive System||Shaft drive|
|Transfer Gear Ratio||High – 1.238; Low – 2.059; Reverse – 1.471|
Instead of the usual electronic CDI, an ECU controls the 4×4’s ignition system. An A.C. Magneto and a U1L-11 or GSU1-9 battery charge the vehicle and power up electronic accessories. The stock battery (with overall dimensions of 197 x 130 x 184 mm or 7.76 x 5.12 x 7.24 inches – L x W x H) can be tough to come by. Should you need to change it, the closest to its size is a Yuasa YIX30L or YIX30L-BS battery format – like the Energizer AGM Motorcycle and ATV 12V Battery (view on Amazon). You will need 30-mm spacers to offset the battery’s length.
|Ignition||ECU (Engine Control Unit)|
|Spark Plug||NGK DR8EA, 0.6-0.7 mm (0.023-0.027 in) gap|
Torque specs: 17.5 Nm (1.75 kgf-m, 12.7 ft-lbf)
|Fuse||30 Amp (main); 15 Amp (headlight, ECU); 10 Amp (auxiliary DC jack, signaling system, 2WD/4WD); 5 Amp (speedometer)|
|Battery||12V (32 Ah or 30 Ah)/10 HR, YIX30L/YIX30L-BS formats|
|Battery Dimensions (L x W x H)||166 x 126 x 175 mm (6.56 x 5.00 x 6.88 in)|
Tires & Brakes
The Massimo 500’s tire-and-wheel assembly provided ample grip and reduced rollover in slippery situations and was sufficient for riding around the farm or ranch. But for more technical or aggressive riding conditions, the stock tires required replacement. Hydraulic disc brakes on all fours lend to the UTV’s stopping power. Both front and rear had dual discs, with the latter changing to triple hydraulic discs for later-year models.
TIP: Proper tire care entails not going below 63 kPa (0.64 kgf/cm2, 9 psi) when airing down tires or beyond 250 kPa (2.50 kgf/cm2, 36 psi) when seating tire beads. In case of wear or damage, replacing stock rubber with aftermarket tires that are at least 6-ply is recommended to avoid any hazards.
|Front Tire, air pressure||Tubeless, AT25 × 8-12 (min); AT27 × 9-14 (max), 68.9 kPa (0.70 kgf/cm2, 10 psi)|
|Rear Tire, air pressure||Tubeless, AT25 × 10-12 (min); AT27 × 11-14 (max), 68.9 kPa (0.70 kgf/cm2, 10 psi)|
|Tire Tread Limit||3 mm (0.11811 in)|
|Front Brake Type||Dual hydraulic discs (Left foot operation)|
|Rear Brake Type|
A tubular steel frame encloses the Massimo 500 UTV’s long-travel suspension system. The quad’s generous ground clearance allows for traversing over rocky or bumpy surfaces, while its long wheelbase makes for improved stability and easy cornering. Veterans highly recommend changing the stock coilovers to performance shocks with at least 160 mm (6.2 inches) wheel travel for off-roading applications.
|Caster, Trail||5°, 26.0mm (1.02 in)|
|Turning Radius||3.9 m (12.8 ft)|
|Wheelbase||1,890 mm (74.4 in)|
|Ground Clearance||280 mm (11 in)|
|Front Suspension Type, Travel||Double wishbone w/ pre-load-adjustable oil-damped coilovers, 130 mm (5.12 in)|
|Rear Suspension Type, Travel||Double wishbone w/ preload-adjustable oil-damped coilovers, 150 mm (5.91 in)|
Dimensions & Capacities
The Massimo MSU-500 EFI side by side UTV overall dimensions rivals that of the Polaris Ranger 900 XP. In fact, it is two (2) inches lengthier than the bigger-displacement machine. Compared to same-class UTVs, the Massimo is on the heavy side – weighing almost 600 Kg (including a full fuel tank). The 1,200-lb trailer weight and 350-lb bed capacity not only support its work-oriented functionality but also makes the four-wheeler perfect for hunting, fishing, and other outdoor activities.
|Length||3,010 mm (118.5 in)|
|Width||1,460 mm (57.5 in)|
|Height||1,940 mm (76.4 in)|
|Seat Height||818 mm (32.2 in)|
|Curb Weight||590 Kg (1,301 lbs)|
|Tongue Weight||50 Kg (110 lbs)|
|Cargo Bed Capacity||159 Kg (350 lbs)|
|Vehicle Load Capacity Limit||400 Kg (882 lbs)|
|Maximum Trailer Weight||550 Kg (1,212 lbs)|
|GVWR||853 Kg (1,880 lbs)|
The Massimo MSU 500 has a rugged exterior that is both aesthetic and functional. It comes with a full lighting package, side view mirrors, a front brush guard with a winch-ready tab, bucket seats, seatbelts, and a tilting cargo bed. To make the quad more suitable for off-roading or hunting adventures, equip it with an Orange Cycle Parts Black Overhead Gun Rack (view on Amazon) and a recovery winch like a Superwinch 1145230 Terra 45 (view on Amazon).
|Headlight||12V 30/30 W × 2|
|Brake Light/Taillight||12V 21 W/5 W × 2|
|Indicator Lights||LED (neutral, reverse, coolant temp, parking brake indicator, On-Command 4WD/differential gear lock, high/low-range light)|
Cost of a Massimo MSU 500
Depending on the model, the list price of the Massimo MSU 500 would fall between $7,995 and $8,995. There is minimal movement in the price, except for the jump in cost from 2015 to 2016 models. On the other hand, auction listings show values between $2,270 and $5,000, with camouflage trims retaining their pricing better than the rest of the models released under the lineup.
Units worth below $1,000 are typically in bad shape or sold for parts. Meanwhile, pre-owned quads above $2,500 are mostly in good running condition, with minimal to no cosmetic damage, and have less than 250 hours. If you are lucky, you may chance upon a unit with a slew of aftermarket parts such as a recovery winch, a new set of tires, net doors, or a folding polycarbonate windshield (view on Amazon).
Massimo MSU 500 UTV Pros and Cons
Since its inception, the Massimo 500 UTV has been making waves due to its affordable price point and ride quality. Throughout production, it has slowly but surely gained a reputation good enough to be compared to utility vehicles from industry greats like Kawasaki, Polaris, and Can-Am. Let’s look at how the wheeler’s commendable characteristics outweigh its flaws, ultimately making the 4×4 a standout.
- The product’s cost-to-benefit ratio is more pleasing compared to its big-name counterparts.
- The cooling system is reliable and makes the Massimo less prone (if not at all) to engine overheating.
- Engine idling is not too loud.
- A winch, cockpit doors, and windshield come standard with the vehicle, unlike other UTVs, where buyers get these features at an additional cost.
- Electric start and selectable driveline modes are activated with push-button ease.
- High-clearance front and rear fenders allow for the installation of taller tires on the brute.
- Contrary to popular belief, replacement parts are easily available online.
- The stock battery – a Deka Outdoorsman 10U1L – is a lawnmower battery and does not perform well in bad weather. It discharges pretty fast, further aggravated by the more electronic accessories you attach to the vehicle.
- Service center availability is a bit of an issue for some customers. The nearest center approximately an hour and a half away from any residential area.
- Headlights are not bright enough and are better off replaced or a lightbar added to the front-drive for improved light distribution, especially at night.
- The clamp that holds the windshield in place is poorly designed and obstructed by the handgrip on both sides.
- How the light indicators for the 4WD and differential lock work are unspecified in the owner’s manual.
- The cabin is spacious but is lacking legroom for riders taller than 6’2″.
Out of all the drawbacks abovementioned, the proximity of service centers and the stock battery performance are the most impacting. Everything else is minor and easily fixed by a few adjustments on the quad. As for the last item, legroom has always been an issue for taller drivers. The way I see it, the manufacturer can always extend the cabin to accommodate taller operators and passengers, but at the expense of either the wheelbase or the rear dump bed.
Hisun Motors Corp. USA is a China-based manufacturer that currently ranks 6th on the list of largest UTV producers in North America. That is a remarkable feat for the maker of the Massimo MSU 500 UTV, given that it only penetrated the said market in 2011 – three years before it decided to set up company headquarters in Texas. Since then, Hisun has consistently brought in quality vehicles to U.S. soil and had done so under the brands Bennche and Coleman, along with the Massimo lineup.
Conclusion – Massimo MSU 500 UTV Review
The Massimo 500 is so much more than just being a Yamaha Rhino clone. It is its own vehicle – it has a sturdy frame and long-lasting parts and holds up pretty well even in rough situations. Yes, it does have a battery that easily drains and some minor design flaws. But it is a great entry-level utility vehicle and a perfect choice for the practical consumer. Overall, the Massimo MSU 500 is a very reliable quad that works hard yet does not compromise fun – one that you can enjoy outdoors.