March 2, 2017
Courtesy of PopularMechanics: FOUR MEN (AND A BOY) FIND OUT IF IT’S POSSIBLE TO HAVE TOO MUCH HORSEPOWER.
I grew up riding ATVs. My pre-driver’s-license formative years were spent traversing the Maine woods aboard a Kawasaki Mojave 250 and a Honda 250X. These 1990s sport machines had manual transmissions, kick-starters, and a top speed just beyond 50 mph, which seemed fast enough when you were cutting through the trees like you’re Luke Skywalker on his speeder bike.
In the modern ATV universe it’s hard to find a clutch, let alone a kick-starter, and a 250-cc engine is laughably puny. The distinction between sport bikes and rack-wearing utility beasts has blurred, with a proliferation of 1,000-cc 4x4s that are equally happy hauling trailers or pulling wheelies. Side-by-sides have likewise mutated. Even the ones maintaining that golf-course-maintenance look pack upward of 90 horsepower plus long-travel suspension.