History of the ATV
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1967 American Honda asked Honda R&D Ltd. for new product dealers could sell when motorcycle sales cooled off in the winter.
1970 The Honda US90 was the world's first all-terrain vehicle (ATV). It sent its seven horsepower through a dual-range, four-speed gearbox with automatic clutch, and sold for $595. It was renamed the ATC90 later that year as Honda trademarked the ATC name.
1975 A fabric carcass was added to the original Honda ATC tires, and steel hubs replaced the first hubless tires to make them less vulnerable to punctures. Farmers were beginning to see the ATV as a tool to make their lives easier. An ATV uses 8% of the fuel necessary to feed a tractor.
1979 Yamaha introduces its first ATV, the YT125 Tri-Moto.
1980 Utility usage exploded in the 1980's and ATVs became multi-purpose machines, serving both recreational and utility purposes. This multi-purpose usage would continue to grow and increase from 30 percent of total usage in 1985 to approximately 80 percent in today's ATV market.
1981 Kawasaki introduces its first ATV model, the KTL200-A1, a three-wheeled model with a "dual-mode differential."
1982 Honda's ATC200E "Big Red®" had a 192cc engine and five-speed, dual range gearbox for chores such as towing, spraying, seeding and fertilizing. Its sealed rear brake survived muddy fields and water crossings, and telescopic-fork front suspension made a day in the saddle much more comfortable.
  Suzuki introduces its first all-terrain vehicles, the 1983 ALT125D and ALT50D "Trail Buddy" 3-wheelers. Suzuki also introduces the first four-wheeled ATV, the LT125D featuring an odometer; five forward speeds plus reverse, an automatic clutch and a "Power Low Gear."
1983 The not-for-profit trade association Specialty Vehicle Institute of America (SVIA) was incorporated. Founding members were American Honda Motor Company, Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A., American Suzuki Motor Corp., and Yamaha Motor Corp., U.S.A.
  Yamaha introduces the YTM225DX Tri-Moto, the first shaft drive and electric start ATV.
  Kawasaki introduces the "Duckster," a camouflaged three-wheeler aimed at the hunting market.
1984 Honda introduced its first 4-wheel ATV, the TRXTM 200. The 370,000 Honda units delivered in 1984 remain the high watermark for Honda sales, making up 69 percent of total ATV sales in the U.S. that year.
  Yamaha introduces its first four-wheel ATV, the YMF400, and its first youth model, the YT60 Tri-Zinger.
1985 Honda introduced an all-new, liquid-cooled version of the 250R that produced 38 horsepower and offered nearly 10 inches of suspension travel at both ends.
  Kawasaki introduces its first four-wheeler ATV, the Bayou 185.
  Polaris enters into the ATV business.
1987 The major ATV manufacturers and the CPSC sign the preliminary Consent Decree.
  Suzuki discontinues its 3-wheeled ATV products, but now has 11 four-wheeled models. The high performance LT500RH has a liquid-cooled two-stroke engine with automatic exhaust control, highly adjustable long-travel suspension, and triple hydraulic disc brakes.
  Yamaha's high performance four-wheel Banshee 350 is the first twin cylinder ATV engine. As one of the industry's largest ATV two-stroke, it wins the Baja 1000 on the first try. The Big Bear 350 is the first Yamaha 4 x 4 ATV.
  Kawasaki model line-up has grown from 2 models in 1981 to 8 in 1987. The Tecate 4 four-wheeler uses the KX motocross-based engine, and it is also the first year for the four-stroke Mojave 250 sport model.
1988 Honda opens first Rider Education Centers in Colton, California and Irving, Texas.
1989 Yamaha introduces the first ATV with a cargo bed, the Pro-Hauler.
  Honda opens Rider Education Centers in Alpharetta, Georgia and Troy, Ohio.
1991 The first automatic Yamaha ATV is the Breeze.
1995 Arctic Cat joins the SVIA and begins production of its first ATVs.
1996 Arctic Cat begins to retail ATVs.
1997 The Prairie 400 4x4 is Kawasaki's first CVT (fully-automatic) equipped ATV and Kawasaki is the first Japanese company to offer a full-sized belt-drive model. This unit is honored as ATV Magazine's first "ATV of the Year."
  Honda debuted its Electric Shift ProgramTM(ESPTM) on an all-new 450cc ATV, the Foreman ES.
1998 Honda introduced the advantages of its longitudinal power train to a broader circle of ATV users with the FourTrax ReconTM, a mid-size 2WD. Honda launches a nationwide public awareness campaign called "Ride Smart, Stupid Hurts."
  Bombardier joins the SVIA and launches its first ATV model, the Bombardier Traxter.
1999 KTM Sportmotorcycles U.S.A., Inc. joins SVIA.
2000 The new Honda 2000 RancherTM combines the compact, powerful efficiency of the 329cc longitudinal-powered drive train in an all-new chassis. The Honda Rubicon is a liquid-cooled, overhead-valve, longitudinally mounted 500cc engine with an all new continuously variable Hondamatic transmission with enough original ideas inside to have more than 100 patents pending.
  Cannondale joins the SVIA and unveils its first prototype ATV, the FX400.
2001 Toberlin, formerly AlphaSports Motors joins SVIA.
  The Kawasaki Prairie 650 4x4 is the first (and only) V-Twin powered ATV on the market. It is the first to offer a completely sealed, oil-bathed multi-disk brake in the rear, and a rider-actuated front differential control.
  The first FX400 ATVs roll off the Cannondale assembly line, and later in the year the Nac's/Cannondale ATV Racing Team is announced. Magazine reviews praise the Cannondale FX400 as "a thrilling addition to the sport quad market" and the "highest-tech quad ever developed." Cannondale's second ATV, the '02 Cannibal begins to ship to dealers. Cannondale plans to introduce three additional '02 ATVs, the Moto 440, Blaze 440 and Speed.
Arctic Cat is the first ATV manufacturer to produce ATVs for leading farm equipment manufacturer Massey Ferguson.
2002 Arctic Cat introduces the first fully independent suspension ATV (without a sway bar), and their first youth ATV, the Arctic Cat 90.
  Bombardier supplies ATVs to the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympic Winter Games.
2003 John Deere joins SVIA
  ATV sales in the United States reach nearly 900,000 units.
2004 Bush Hog joins SVIA.
  Polaris Industries introduces, the Sportsman 700 Twin EFI is the world's first electronically fuel injected 4x4 ATV.
2005 Patriot joins SVIA.
  BRP & Arctic Cat introduce the first Type II ATVs into the US market.
  Polaris Industries joins SVIA.
2006 Yamaha introduces the first ATV with EPS (Electronic Power Steering), the Grizzly 700.
  John Deere stops selling ATVs.
2007 KYMCO joins and KTM re-joins SVIA.