The 8 Best Kids Four Wheelers
This wiki has been updated 23 times since it was first published in February of 2016. These kids' ATVs give tiny speed demons a taste of motorized independence, but are equipped with plenty of safety features to keep adventurers safe and comfortable, and parents feeling reassured, including speed governors and automatic braking. They come in a wide range of colors and styles to suit any preference. When users buy our independently chosen editorial choices, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. Skip to the best kids four wheeler on Amazon.
What Is A Four Wheeler?
Four wheelers are typically designed for use by a single rider who operates the vehicle much like a motorcycle.
Sport ATVs are designed for performance and competition, while utility ATVs have an enhanced suspension and storage.
A four-wheeled variant of the all terrain vehicle, the typical four wheeler features low-pressure tires, handlebar steering, and a straddle-style seat, which the rider sits on with his or her legs on either side of the chassis. In this conventional configuration, four wheelers are not street-legal vehicles in most of the United States, Australia, and Canada.
Four wheelers are typically designed for use by a single rider who operates the vehicle much like a motorcycle. Three-, four-, and six-wheel ATVs have been produced, although many manufacturers ceased production of three-wheel models in 1988 after reaching an agreement with the Consumer Product Safety Commission. While these agreements expired in 1997, there are still no three-wheeled ATVs on the market.
There are two main ATV classifications: sport and utility. Sport ATVs are designed for performance and competition, while utility ATVs have an enhanced suspension and storage. Many modern utility ATVs offer four wheel drive. A third category, the kids' four wheeler, is intended for those too young to handle a full-size ATV.
A Brief History Of Kids' Four Wheelers
The modern four wheeler descends from a powered quadricycle built and released in 1893 by Royal Enfield, a now-defunct British bicycle (and later motorcycle) manufacturer. While this ATV ancestor resembles a modern ATV, it was actually designed for road use as a carriage.
It wasn't until the mid-1960s that the term ATV was coined, first referring to a six-wheeled amphibious military vehicle produced by the Jiger Corporation. Graduate student John Plessinger designed the first three-wheeler in 1967 as a school project, known at the time as the Tricart. Sperry-Rand New Holland acquired the rights to Plessinger's Tricart and started commercial production in 1968. By 1969, they had competition from Honda.
Honda's first three-wheeler, known as the US90 or ATC90, was wildly popular, thanks in part to its presence in popular culture. These Honda ATVs appeared in the classic James Bond film Diamonds are Forever and in a number of other television programs and commercials.
While Honda was focused on three wheelers in the early 1980s, Suzuki was committed to the four-wheel variant, giving the company a leg-up after the three wheeler's downfall.
In 1982, Honda released what became an icon of the market, the ATC200E Big Red. The first ATV to feature both a suspension and utility racks, the Big Red remains one of the best-selling ATVs of all time. The added versatility of the suspension and storage made it a hit with North American hunters, and soon other companies entered the market.
After three-wheeled ATVs went out of production in the late 1980s, the four wheeler naturally grew in popularity, with Suzuki leading the way in production. While Honda was focused on three wheelers in the early 1980s, Suzuki was committed to the four-wheel variant, giving the company a leg-up after the three wheeler's downfall.
Both companies introduced a number of high-performance sport models in the mid and late 1980s, and in 1987, Kawasaki and Yamaha joined them in the high-performance market. The machines often raced in off-road competition, and looked like stripped-down versions of their utility oriented cousins.
Demand for utility ATVs grew in the late 80s, as Honda released the FourTrax TRX350, the first 4x4 all terrain vehicle. The Japanese industry titan's competitors quickly followed suit. Utility ATVs, particularly those with 4x4 capability, remain popular among ranchers and farmers thanks to their ability to both pull loads and operate in poor conditions.
Increased awareness about the dangers that adult ATVs posed to children spurred on demand for a youth-oriented alternative. Thanks to this demand, in the early 1980s, Suzuki produced a four wheeler for beginners, and later the kids' four wheeler was introduced. Targeted at young people, kids' four wheelers are lower powered, lighter variants of full-size ATVs. While they share some traits of sport and utility models, kids' four wheelers are a distinct design, lacking both the enhanced performance of sport ATVs, and the storage of a standard utility four wheeler.
The market remains mostly divided between sport and utility models, with kids' four wheelers representing a small but growing subset of ATV sales.
Important ATV Safety Information
When operated improperly, ATVs can be deadly. In America 97,200 people were injured while operating ATVs in 2015, with 638 fatalities.
Safe operation of a four wheeler starts with wearing a helmet and eye protection. Safety goggles are especially useful when traveling in the woods, where brush, branches, and debris from the trail can fly into the operator's face. Heavy footwear and gloves are also must-haves.
There are many ATV safety courses available in the United States, many of which cost nothing.
Never travel on paved roads, unless it is necessary to cross. About 33 percent of the ATV-related accidents in 2015 occurred on paved roads, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. And remember, nearly all ATVs were designed for a single rider. Never allow someone to ride along with you on an ATV unless it was designed for two riders.
Where it is practical, seek training from a qualified instructor. There are many ATV safety courses available in the United States, many of which cost nothing. When operating an adult ATV, never let someone under 16 onboard. It is dangerous and, in some cases, against the law.
In addition to the rider's safety, you should also consider the environment when operating an ATV. The deep treads on most ATVs can damage vegetation, lake shores, and stream banks, according to the U.S. Forest Service. You can limit the damage by sticking to designated trails, and avoiding muddy or snowy areas where the soil is soft.
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