This year there have been several extraordinary achievements and advancements in the ATV world, and we thought this would be the perfect time to honor and give thanks to those who've pushed the boundaries and made life as an ATV enthusiast better than we could have ever imagined.
You almost always hear people older than yourself claim that the older you get, the faster time seems to pass you by. As much as we'd hate to admit it, there must be some truth to this claim as 2008 has passed us by at full throttle. But as we wrap up '08 and begin gearing up for an exciting new year, we felt that it would be the right thing to do to grab the brakes, click it in neutral and reflect back on some of this year's biggest achievements.
After countless hours of deliberation and even a few heated arguments between those on the ATV Rider team, we exhaustively sifted our list down to three nominees for ATV of the Year. The nominees are KTM's 450 XC, Yamaha's Raptor 250 as well as Kawasaki's Teryx 750 4x4. Yes, UTVs are included. There are many factors that drove our decisions-such as innovation, craftsmanship, and attention to detail, class domination, target audience, pure fun factor and even price. So dive in as we unleash our thoughts.
"There is no doubt that this...
"There is no doubt that this machine is race-ready right out of the box without any question."
-ATVR, December 2007
KTM 450 XC
When KTM unleashed its XC model ATVs just over a year ago, every single one of us was shocked by the attention to detail on this machine. This new innovation basically took the word "stock" to new heights. Right off the showroom floor, you could literally buy a quad loaded with high-end race-bred components, exactly like the ones that we'd normally exhaust our funds to purchase just so we could transform our machines into better performers. And to top it off, every single component on this machine is fully adjustable so that you can dial it in to your specific needs. For example, the A-arms are caster and camber adjustable; the shocks are fully adjustable with preload, compression and rebound; the handlebar clamps can be tuned through four positions; and the chrome-moly axle adjusts as well. The list goes on and on. And have we mentioned the phenomenal power the KTM 450 XC puts out? In a nutshell, for just under 9K, you could walk away with the first true race-ready production ATV. And that's a huge breakthrough for the ATV race world.
"As soon as I spun a few laps...
"As soon as I spun a few laps and pulled back into the pit area, the 'F' word (fun) was the most common thing that I heard flying out of people's mouths. I have to say that I agree with them. This is a midsize quad that's lightweight and sporty."
-ATVR, December 2007
Yamaha Raptor 250
When Yamaha released the Raptor 250, most considered it to be a breath of fresh air for the 250cc sport class. It's a true performance ATV from the ground up, not a typical CVT transmission with shaft drive, limited suspension and heavy frame like many of its competitors. Although the Raptor 250 replaces Yamaha's ever-popular Blaster, it absolutely takes performance to a new level as it's light, has excellent suspension, improved tires and brakes and has a surprisingly torquey motor with electric starting. And to top it all off, it's polished with typical Japanese quality and trick styling. But the most important ingredient that each and every member of our team could agree with is that this Raptor 250 possesses extreme fun factor no matter what age or size you are. Speaking of age, for those young up-and-coming riders, this is the perfect quad on which to learn to ride with a clutch. This machine has the same sporty feel and delivers the same spirited ride as the larger sport quads, but in a slightly smaller, more manageable package. All for under $4000!
"With the biggest engine in...
"With the biggest engine in its class and the suspension to tackle any terrain with confidence, the Teryx could quite possibly be the next king of the side-by-side world."
-ATVR, May 2008
Kawasaki Teryx 750 4x4
Kawasaki is known for building strong, durable and extremely powerful utility ATVs, and green lived up to this reputation with the release of its Teryx 750 4x4. When we grabbed our very first ride aboard this new side-by-side, we walked away in utter shock and dismay as to how good it really was. As Kawasaki chose to go with its proven V-twin 750cc motor, it suddenly became the most powerful UTV in its class. Add to that its unstoppable ability to conquer tough terrains, its potential for getting tough work done around the farm or work site, and its sheer potential of pleasing the weekend recreationist, and you've got a machine in the runnings for ATV of the Year. Kawasaki built this UTV with a wide footprint, superb handling characteristics and excellent suspension performance. Did we mention just how aggressive it looks? There's no place or job that this new beast can't handle.