Over the past two decades, quad biking has become something of a craze. From enthusiastic office workers on a team day in the countryside to racers taking part in furiously competitive leagues, all and sundry have become involved in the quad bike phenomenon.
Another side to quad bikes – agricultural and business uses
While quad bikes are more than capable of engendering a real sense of fun and exuberance, and have become a leisure-industry staple, there is another, more serious, side to these remarkable four-wheelers. Also known as ATVs (all-terrain vehicles), they are widely deployed as working vehicles on farms all over the world. They are particularly useful for traversing inhospitable patches of land, such as extremely muddy and uneven fields, or negotiating stretches of densely planted terrain with few obvious gaps.
Indeed, agriculture is strongly linked with the early history of ATVs. Indeed, ATVs were first used in earnest in the remote mountainous farming areas of Japan. The muddy mountain roads proved difficult for farmers to traverse during spring thaws and were all but impassable for conventional vehicles. The three-wheeled ATV was created to meet this need, with Honda producing the first ATV in 1970. Honda then brought ATVs to the USA, and from then on they became increasingly popular and more widely used. Honda and other manufacturers soon developed a four-wheeled model to give better stability and these are now the most popular ATVs – hence the name ‘quad’ bike.
Moreover, ATVs also have their uses as versatile workhorses in non-agricultural settings. For instance, because of their ability to cope with all weathers, they are frequently deployed by councils in the UK during periods of heavy snowfall. They are used either to reach inaccessible vulnerable people who are snowed in; or they are deployed as gritting vehicles for areas such as station platforms which cannot be reached by gritting lorries.
Bringing out the best in ATVs with accessories
The above gritting example helps to demonstrate the sheer versatility of ATVs. ATV accessories of all kinds are available for ATVs, considerably adding to their functionality in all sorts of situations. Gritting with an ATV, for example, is enabled by a yellow funnel-like structure called the ATV salt spreader.
A real variety of useful ATV accessories
The range of ATV accessories available covers all sorts of areas. For making cold-weather working more comfortable, you could consider, for example, some heated handlebar grips. They are easy to fit, and will keep your hands warm during the cold winter months. Handlebar muffs are also available, and have been specifically designed for ATVs to keep your hands warm all year round. They come with a thermal lining, a waterproof outer cover, and fit universally to all ATVs. For any hard-pressed farm worker, out in all weathers, these muffs are all but essential.
For transporting tools on an ATV it is possible to fit a dry box, designed to fit on the front frame of larger bikes, or the rear frame of smaller bikes.
These are just a few examples from the remarkable range of ATV accessories, all contributing to the flexibility and versatility of these exceptionally useful vehicles.
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Keith Knowles runs KIK ATVs, a leading supplier of both new and second hand cheap quad bikes and ATV accessories. Visit the website www.kikquads.co.uk for more information.
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