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All Terrain Vehicle - ATVThe ATV has come a long way from it's humble beginnings over 40 years ago as a 7 HP 90cc powered 3 wheeler! These days, the word ATV primarily refers to 4 wheelers; however, in 1970 Honda released the predecessor to the modern ATV as the Honda ATC 90. ATC stands for All Terrain Cycle. This 3 wheeler had a small 90cc engine, dual range transmission (Hi/Lo) with 4 speeds, and an automatic clutch. Big balloon tires helped it "float" over surfaces and enable it to drive through areas that would normally stop conventional vehicles dead in their tracks. In part, inspired from vehicles in Japan that were used for farming, the all terrain vehicle has now grown into both work (Utility) and recreation (Sport) ATV models. In addition to increased traction and flotation on difficult terrain, 3 wheels on the ground also offered better stability for the person that didn't feel comfortable with the balance of a 2 wheel motorcycle. Unfortunately, people still managed to get injured or killed on ATCs if they did not ride safely. The 3 wheel All Terrain Cycle evolved into the current 4 wheel All Terrain Vehcile (ATV) configuration because of better stability and safety. The 3 wheel ATCs were less stable and sometimes more likely to roll in certain situations. Speaking of safety, the fact that ATVs have 4 wheels on the ground does not mean that they are 100% safe. Most ATV accidents are a result of rider error or poor judgment.
Yamaha Sport ATV
The pictures on this page show some examples of modern sport and utility ATV. The days of tiny 90cc engines are over - except on small children's ATV. Some of the latest models have large 700-800cc fuel injected engines! Actually, some manufacturers are now shoe horning huge 1000cc engines in their top of the line ATVs! When will the race to the top end? How far will they go in terms of engine size and power output? Big power and big suspension travel are the name of the game now in the sport ATV world! These high tech machines can come at a high price too. You can easily spend close to $10,000 on a fully equipped, top of the line ATV these days. In fact, at the time this is being written, you can pay close to $15,000 for a high tech ATV like the Can Am Outlander 1000 X MR. So, all this performance and all these features do come at a price. You would think that with prices that high, a person could get themselves a nice used 4x4 truck for some off road adventures. True, but it's hard to beat the compact size, the power to weight ratio, and the ability to go almost anywhere with these utility vehicles. Thankfully, there are other models of ATV available that are more affordable, and there is also always the used ATV market to help those that have less money to spend.
Honda Sport ATV
There are many great models of Sport ATV available to purchase, but for those whose purpose is not recreation (but work related), there are also many different models of utility ATV from which to choose. Around the farm, ranch, construction site, used as a hunting vehicle, and more... these utility models can offer some serious work capability in a compact package. Most of these utility ATVs now come with automatic transmission for convenient, seamless, and shift-free operation. The majority of the ATV have CVT belt driven transmissions like those found in snowmobiles; however, Honda is an exception with models that have a automotive style automatic transmission with a real torque converter. Once again, all these great features add to the cost of thes machines, but it also adds to the heft of these vehicles. Some of these fully equipped ATVs tip the scales at over 700 lbs. In part, that's why some models now come equipped with power steering to help assist in controlling these large machines.
Honda Utility ATV
These workhorses are built tough. As mentioned, most of these ATV have convenient automatic transmissions so you can keep your mind on what you are doing rather than thinking about shifting. They also have smooth riding independent suspensions (front and rear), and big engines with lots of torque for towing and other work. Many of them now offer fuel injection in their better models of ATV. Fuel injection can significantly improve the drivability - especially during cold starts in extreme low temperatures, or driving in high elevations where a carbureted ATV engine might run too rich. Fuel injection automatically adjusts for changes in weather and atmospheric conditions. If you've ever tried to start an older ATV engine in very cold weather, you'll appreciate the smooth start up and driving of these EFI machines. With fuel injection, gone are the days of having to mess with a manual choke and then letting the engine warm up for a while before driving. Gone are the days of driving a cold vehicle that sputters, coughs, and stalls because the carbureted engine is not warmed up enough. Fuel injection not only takes care of drivability problems, but it can also increase performance and fuel efficiency. There's a reason why almost every modern car sold today no longer has a carburetor but rather comes with fuel injection. It was only a matter of time before this technology trickled down into the motorcycle and powersports industry.
Yamaha Utility ATV
These big utility ATV are comfortable and can go places where other vehicles can not go. Some of these utility models have easy to engage push button 4WD. Some also have differential lock that gives true 4WD (all 4 wheels locked and putting power to the ground) for maximum traction. As mentioned earlier, some of the larger, top of the line ATV now even come with electric power steering. This power steering is not the same as what you'd find on an automobile. In the automotive world, power steering is almost always hydraulically operated and powered from a hydraulic pump running from an engine belt. In the world of ATVs, the power steering is powered by an electric motor and this electric power steering systems can be controlled to adjust to varying conditions. In other words, these electric power steering units can automatically adjust on the fly the amount of steering assist depending on the driving conditions. This means that the rider still gets important feedback through the handlebars, but at the same time the power assist takes a lot of the work out of steering these big, heavy ATV. In conclusion, whether you are looking for a vehicle for extreme off road recreational fun, or you are searching for a hard working machine to help get the job done, you might want to check out one of the many great ATV available on the market today. Just for fun, here's a video showing some ATV jumping. Again, this is not recommended if you want your ATV (and yourself) to live a long and happy (pain free) life. OUCH!