The ATV: How It All Began
Like all things popular with the general public, the All Terrain Vehicle, better known as the ATV or the quad bike, has a very fascinating past. The first ATVs were a far cry to their modern counterparts. Initially engineered to be a valuable farming equipment, the machine became the core of an extremely competitive sporting and racing industry.
Though Japanese motoring giant Honda Motors released the first modern ATV back in 1970, the first real ATVs rolled in the United States, though the exact date could not be confirmed. Various American motoring corporations have been working, sketching and tilling a concept vehicle that can go off the road and navigate unconventional driving surfaces with ease. These ATVs are fitted with six wheels, all driven, and could drive through swamps, ponds, and streams as well as dry land.
The general design of the old American ATVs was also a pole apart from the modern quad bike. Apart from six wheels, they were built for multiple passengers and were fitted with steering wheels or control sticks instead of the more familiar handlebar of a modern ATV. As for the materials, the main bulk of the ATV was made of hard plastic or fiberglass.
Like in the United States, Japans version of ATV was also designed to be a farming utility and was widely used in farming towns located in the mountains. When Honda released the US90, the popularity of the ATV soared and the demands grew exponentially. A lot of the US90’s fame came when the James Bond movie “Diamonds Are Forever” hit the big screen; the movie featured ATVs in some of its scenes.
With the worldwide reach of the James Bond movie, ATVs soon became the rave of the motoring world. The capability to cruise different terrains and trails was good news already. Such concept hit hard the Outdoors enthusiasts, specifically hunters from Canada and the United States.
But it was in the 1980s that the ATV really kicked into the cultural mainstream. It was during this time when the sporting version of the ATV was introduced. Big motor companies such as Yamaha, Kawasaki, Suzuki and Polaris joined the ATV bandwagon and began manufacturing their own lines of the said vehicle.
There, was a time when companies began building and marketing three-wheeled ATVs. However, concerns over the safety of handling such vehicle arose and soon enough, production was halted in 1987. Though the ban was lifted in 1997, only a few three-wheeled models were ever made and sold.
Today, ATVs are now categorized into two types – the sporting type and the utility type. As the name suggest, sporting ATVs are designed for high speeds and are made of lighter materials with an engine for rapid acceleration. Utility ATVs, on the contrary are heavier, bigger and slower but are equipped with engines that enable them to carry heavy loads.
Undeniably, the ATV is enjoying its status as a premier vehicle for racing enthusiasts and outdoor adventurers. With many motoring companies joining the ATV race, it only indicates the steadily rising popularity if the said vehicle. The All Terrain Vehicle is definitely here to stay.