The Japanese created the three wheeled ATV to help local farmers travel the muddy mountain roads that became almost impossible to drive over during the spring thaws with conventional vehicles or big machinery. The ATVs were less expensive than the larger farm vehicles and it proved to be an excellent little workhorse.
The Japanese Manufacturers realized that they could market the ATVs to the United States because Americans had nothing like it. The first ATV arrived on American Soil in the early 1970s.
It was Honda who had a proven track record with motorcycle sales in Americ who was the forerunner of the ATV. The successful marketing slogan ďYou meet the nicest people on a HondaĒ came at a time when bikers had a bad reputation and proved to people that the average Joe could enjoy motor sports as well.
Honda already had a reputation for building reliable, state of the art machines and their ATV proved to be no different. This time their marketing scheme would be to show people how thrilling recreational ATV riding could be.
The Honda US90 made its debut over 30 years ago and was called the ATC90. Oddly enough, the initial intent of the ATVs started out at the opposite end of the spectrum from Japanís working class ATV, but in the end the results were the same. After Americans began to realize exactly how versatile this little three-wheeled vehicle could be, it began gaining popularity as a recreational vehicle. It was no long after that the ATV also became popular as a working vehicle.
The ATV soon proved to have several advantages for the working class man. The ATV was cheaper to operate than a tractor or pickup truck. During the gas crunch of the 1970ís that was a big plus. It was also easier to maneuver in tight spots and could travel over practically any type of terrain.
The only problem people had with the early ATVs was the tires. They were low-pressure and while this worked fine on mud or sand, the tires punctured easily when going over sharper terrain, like a harvested field or sharp rocks and they were not repairable.
However, the ATV still did work that no other piece of heavy equipment could do.
In 1975, they replaced the hubless wheel design with steel hubs and a wheel lined with a tough fabric on the inside. More durable plastic fenders were added in brighter colors for better visibility out in the woods. As the ATVís popularity grew the Japanese engineers kept up their research and development. They had a good thing going and they were determined to make it better. The engineers went into the field to see how the ATVís performed and started gathering data to help with the next round of modifications.
By the 1980ís, the ATVís were being used as a utility vehicle and for racing. More and more people were buying ATVís, not only for riding off road on the trails but also to compete in races similar to motocross events.
In 1988, Honda made another groundbreaking leap with the design of the ATVs. They introduced the FourTrax 300 and a second model called the FourTrax 300 4x4. Up until this point the ATV only had the three wheels. Honda added an extra wheel. They also gave the ATV four wheel drive, which gave the ATV more stability and power. Honda fitted the FourTrax with a four stroke single cylinder engine which was air cooled and gave it a five speed transmission, automatic clutch and a maintenance free drive shaft. Honda also thought to give the FourTrax an extra low gear for hauling particularly heavy objects as big as 850 lbs.
ATVís are fully ingrained into today's way of living. You
can find ATVs on the dirt bike trails, on farms, on construction sites and a host of other places.
Countries all over the world are also discovering the same thing Americans have, that the ATV is a fun and efficient vehicle for handling a wide array of jobs in almost any environment.