All terrain vehicle

Filed under: — Mat on February 14, 2011

All terrain vehicles, ATVs or Quad Bikes, have the same basic function. They started out as fun vehicles within the off road recreation market and have developed into the work market with a wide use in agriculture around the world. But wherever there are wheels and engines there will sooner or later be petrol heads who want more power and speed, and the world of ATVs is no exception.

In the late 60s Honda developed the first 3 wheel off all terrain vehicle. They started with their bulletproof 70cc four stroke engine. However, this was quickly upgraded to the 90cc power unit and, shortly after that, to 110cc. This may have been enough for those who simply wanted a fun machine to amble along forest trails at weekends but was insufficient for those who wanted them for serious work or sport, thus things grew.

It was the 1980s that saw the biggest development in all terrain vehicles. Three wheels gave way to four and, after Honda had dominated the market, the other Japanese motorcycle manufacturers decided to get in on the act. Suzuki brought out what can be perhaps considered the first high machine in 1981 with a 248cc two stroke engine, full suspension, 5 speed gearbox and disc brakes.

An arms race then developed between the manufacturers with some very powerful machines indeed. Suzuki eventually brought out a 500cc liquid cooled engined beast which was reputed to achieve 100mph which, for an off road machine, is a lot.

The work machines also got more powerful and rugged with an ability to carry loads, and go anywhere on any terrain. But it was the sports machines that led the way.

Today’s sports machines are smaller, lighter and more powerful with a low centre of gravity and are used to race on all types of terrain from deserts to ice roads. But you can bet that somewhere there is someone planning an even faster, tougher, all terrain vehicle.

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