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An Introduction to ATV Vehicles

Aug 17, 2007
The first ATV (All Terrain Vehicle) had six wheels instead of four. It was developed sometime during 1950s in Japan primarily to combat its mountainous topography and isolated rugged regions. Particularly during spring when the ice thaws and rivers would gain intensity, mountain roads and non-maintained paths are often impassable with contemporary vehicles. In addition, these early ATVs became popular in rural areas where the means to go over rough terrain in the absence of roads is quite frequent and considered necessary.

When Honda exported the first ATV to the United States in 1970, the US90 was by large sold purely as a recreational ride. Though it is still a very popular use even to this day, the growing number of ATV users quickly found out that the supreme efficiency it has over rough terrain gave ATV a wide variety of uses.

Honda had a virtual monopoly on the market during ATVs early days, owing it to the smart patents on the ATVs design and engine placements. Its maiden release in the western market, the US90 was designed by engineers specifically for joy rides. Later that year, Honda employed smart tactics to trademark the name ATC and renamed the US90 model to ATC90. The ATC90 had 7 hp through dual-range 4-speed gearbox with automatic clutch and features large balloon tires that can soak rough terrain. Honda had released two more ATCs through the decade and all of them were revolutionary.

When ATVs moved onto the next decade, models were then distinctly divided into two usages, for sports and for utility. Sport models are built for performance; lightweight, high power, good suspension and low center of gravity became vital factors for ATV construction. These models accelerate quickly, have manual transmission and can run up to 120 km/hr. Since they allow travel in most kind of terrain; these models became popular with game hunter and thrill riders.

On the other hand, its usage as a utility vehicle is very understandable. Because of its construction, ATV generally boasts remarkable strength with regards to its body. With its structure able to withstand an amount of load and wheels, which allows passage over demanding terrain, it is virtually perfect for farm use and construction sites. All the more since ATVs requires only a fraction of fuel what typical heavy machine would consume.

When Suzuki, a dominant Japanese motor corporation, released the first high performance 4-wheel ATV in 1983, the Suzuki LT250R, it also became the leader in 4-wheel ATV developments. Later in 1987, Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a decree to shift 3-wheel ATV productions to 4-wheel productions. That resulted in Honda responding with its FourTrax TRX250R, which also became the most versatile and most popular in ATV history. But there were other entries as well, which did make a splash in the ATV market. Like Kawasakis Tecate-4 250 and Yamahas Banshee 350 which also became quite a popular machine.
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