The ATV, or all terrain vehicle, is also commonly called a three- or four-wheeler. The American National Standards Institute defines an ATV as "a vehicle that travels on low pressure tires, with a seat that is straddled by the operator, along with handlebars for steering control." ATVs were created in the mid-twentieth century to handle a variety of terrain and have evolved into a popular recreational vehicle.
In the mid-twentieth century, the Japanese created early ATVs to aid farmers. Japanese farmers used three-wheeled vehicles to pass over rough, hilly and muddy terrain to enable them to take goods into town.
ATVs in the USA
In 1967, Honda in America wanted a product to sell during winter months when sales of motorcycles lagged. Honda R&D decided the perfect product would be a vehicle similar to the one Japanese farmers had been using.
In 1970, Honda introduced its first all-terrain vehicle to the United States. The US90 was a three-wheeled vehicle with a 7-horsepower, 4-speed engine. The US90 was sold in the United States for $595.
In 1983, Suzuki produced the first four-wheeled ATV. Suzuki called this new vehicle the QuadRunner LT125. The QuadRunner LT125 had five speeds and an odometer, along with reverse.
In the mid-1980s the United States government raised safety concerned for riders of three-wheeled ATVs. In 1988, production of three-wheelers stopped. In response, the industry begins to set safety standards and programs for ATVs and riders.
In 1988, Honda began production of the FourTrax 300 and the FourTrax300 4x4. This became one of history's biggest selling ATVs with nearly 600,000 units sold.