Next up from me is about a bit of a passion of mine, and that is good old ATV (all terrain vehicle). Anyone who has ever ridden an ATV will know how much fun they are. I am fortunate enough to have ridden an ATV in terrains ranging from snow to desert and it doesn’t matter where you are, they are so much fun. A friend of mine has a 700cc ATV and it is seriously fast. You have to be very careful on it though because it is very dangerous if you don’t know what you are doing.
The first “ATV” to be built was a motorbike with four wheels, so that it could be used on roads instead of using horses. This was back in the early 1890s across the pond in the UK. The company was Royal Enfield. Who would have thought it would be the Brits who invented something this fun??? I surely wouldn’t have.
Who Makes ATVs….?
Production of ATVs is kind of spread between the Japanese companies, Kawasaki, Suzuki and Honda. The original four-wheel manufacturer was Suzuki and they sold the very first four-wheeler back in 1982. It wasn’t until 1986 that Honda got competitive with their own 250cc ATV. What Honda achieved with their TRX250R was quite incredible and even today the machine is still revered. Experts believe it is still one of the finest sport ATVs that has ever been produced.
Then the year after Yamaha got into the game and added another 100cc to the engine with their Banshee. You can’t get this machine anymore in the USA but I read it is great to ride in sandy conditions but not so good to ride on dirt. I’m a dirt rider so it wouldn’t be much use to me anyway.
Then Suzuki came along and said “don’t forget about us” with a 500cc beast of a machine, the LT500R. It came with five gears! It was called “Quadzilla” over time due to its huge size and speed. At the time it was the fastest ATV that had been made and reached nearly 80mph when it was tested in 1988. They stopped making Quadzilla after only four years. Shame! Would love to have a go on one!!
Today’s production is the USA is still dominated by the big three I have just mentioned. Take a look at Honda's offerings, the TRX450R is a very nice machine indeed. Now I mentioned my friend’s 700cc ATV at the beginning and that is a Yamaha Raptor. It is a very light ATV for the size of the engine and that makes it a very fast contraption indeed. If I had a spare $8000 I would snap one up for sure, but for now I think I’ll just keep on borrowing my buddy’s. If you are looking for something a bit ridiculous to have a go on then look out for a Can-Am Renegade 1000R X xc. Yep that is 1000cc! The Polaris Scrambler 850 also looks like a decent machine that packs a lot of power. It is quite heavy though. I would still go for the Raptor if I had the choice of any of the top models available at the moment.
Now here in the USA it is illegal to drive on a road, but in the UK I here it is legal! There are obviously safety concerns attached with the usage but to me I don’t see the difference between an ATV and a motorbike. They don’t have the best safety record here in the USA though so you can see where the legislation comes from. They do have a great use as a utility vehicle however and can be fitted with tracks so that they are usable in snowy conditions. They have a big usage in the agricultural industry as well, due to the rugged nature of terrains being easily navigated by an ATV.
Where to buy an ATV….
If you have a spare $8000 or so then you can go and buy yourself a brand new top of the range ATV, but if you have considerably less then you should try looking second-hand. Websites such as www.used.forsale are a very good place to start as you will find results from all across America and the Internet. Make sure you know what you are looking at if you are buying second-hand and if you don’t then ask a friend or even pay someone to have a look over it for you. If they are looked after then they generally last a long time but like anything, if they aren’t taken care of then they can be prone to problems.