The ATVs (all-terrain vehicles) we know today had very humble beginnings in the mountainous farming areas of Japan. The mountain roads became difficult for the farmers to travel during spring thaws and were nearly impossible to drive over with traditional vehicles or big machinery. The Japanese, always a civilization to modify and tinker with something till they could improve it, made the three-wheeled ATV. This car did wonders for helping the farmers. The ATVs were less costly than the farm vehicles, and it proved to be a fantastic little workhorse.
The Japanese didn't stop there, however. ATV manufacturers took it a step further and realized that they could market these ATVs to Americans. America had nothing similar to the ATV and the ATV arrived on our shores in the early 1970s. Honda was the forerunner of the ATV, and had a proven track record with bike sales in America, having introduced the Honda Cub to countless Americans only a decade before. The successful advertising slogan"You meet the nicest people on a Honda" came at a time when bikers had a poor reputation and demonstrated to people that the average Joe could enjoy motorsports as well. By the 1970s, Honda had a reputation for building reliable, state of the art machines and their ATV was no different. This time the marketing scheme is to show people how thrilling ATV riding could be. The guys from Caetla have written great articles on ATVs and accessories.
Over thirty years ago, the Honda US90 made its debut and was known as the ATC90. Oddly enough, the intent of these ATVs may have started out from Japan's working-class ATV, but the results were the same. After gaining popularity, the ATV soon became popular as a working vehicle as Americans began to realize how this vehicle could be.
The ATV proved to have several benefits for the working-class man. First and foremost, the ATV was cheaper to operate than a pickup or tractor truck, and during the gas crunch of the '70s, that was a plus. The ATV was also easier to maneuver in tight spots and could travel over any type of terrain. The problem people found was the tires. The tires of earlier ATVs were low-pressure, and while this worked fine on sand or sand, the tires punctured easily when moving over flatter terrain, like a chosen field or stones. The ATV did work that no other piece of heavy equipment could do. The tires were not repairable either.
In 1975 the hubless wheel design was replaced with steel hubs and a wheel lined with a cloth on the inside. More plastic fenders were inserted. This time they produced fenders in colors for better visibility from the bush. ATV's popularity grew that the Japanese engineers did not stop their research and development. They had a great thing going, and they were determined to make it better. Their engineers went to observe how the ATV's performed and started collecting data to help with another round of modifications.
By the 1980s, ATVs had gone the same route as dirt bikes and motorcycles. The ATV's were being used as a utility vehicle and for racing. More and more people were buying ATV's for riding off-road trails and competing in races similar to events. By 1985 ATV usage had gone from only 30 percent in the '70s into the whopping 80%. In 1988, Honda made another jump with the ATV's design, the introduced the FourTrax 300, and a model called the FourTrax 300 4×4. Up until this point, the ATV still had the three wheels Honda added an excess wheel and gave the ATV four-wheel drives, which provided more stability and power. They also fitted the FourTrax using a cylinder engine, which was air and gave it a five-speed transmission, automatic clutch, and a maintenance-free drive shaft. Honda also thought to provide the FourTrax an additional low gear for hauling objects as big.
Today, ATV's are completely ingrained into our way of living. You may locate ATVs on the dirt bike trails, on farms, on building sites, and a host of other places. Now countries all around the world are discovering the same thing Americans have; the ATV is a fun and effective vehicle for handling a wide array of jobs in almost any environment.