Testing the Kawasaki Lineup in the Bluegrass State
Whether above ground or a half mile beneath the surface, mining is a tough business. It's dusty, loud, and dangerous, but a vital part of our countries energy chain, and that's not going to change anytime soon. As long as we keep using electricity, we'll need mines to help keep the river of energy flowing, but in the case of surface mining there is a concern even after the energy is extracted. Like the early morning fog that silently drifts between the mountain tops and through the valleys, the question has always been what to do with the area once the mining is completed.
Utilizing the core elements of their philosophy such as innovation, forward thinking and technology, the design gurus at Yamaha Motor Corp. have once again put their collective minds together and produced several changes to some current models for 2011, as well as a brand new model that should fit well within the ‘newbie’ sport riding sector of the ATV industry.
Most ATV owners use their ATV to do a little work around the farm or yard, to get back to the hunting stand, or for weekend recreation exploring a leafy forest trail. Maximum pulling power and top speed are not a high priority, but handling, performance and reliability is. While big bore ATVs are typically seen as those offering 700cc's or more, there are many excellent mid sized utility atvs ranging from 450 to 650cc's providing more than enough power for the vast majority of consumers, and with the features they desire.
Power and Performance make the 'Z the Best 400cc Sport ATV Today
We're always happy to head to the track on an ATV built for racing. The performance, handling, and power from the 450cc racers on the market today was only a distant dream a decade ago. Like most ATV owners, much of our riding is on the trails and in the woods however, and that's not always the best place for a high strung racer, better suited to rocketing corner to corner and between jumps than winding through the trees or gliding across the dunes.
We receive press reports on new products, race results, and industry events every day, but the ones we find most interesting are the reports covering advanced technology and continuing product development. Usually they come from small companies with a couple creative and free thinking engineers, diligently working away in obscurity on something that is their passion, until one day they discover a solution, or a new way to solve an old problem.
Most riding in North America is confined to the trails and track, but in many countries you can enjoy your ATV on the street too! That makes us a little jealous, and we'll admit that many times we've found ourselves sitting at a traffic light, imagining how great it would be to drop the clutch and rocket forward past the other vehicles. While we see only the ATVs meant for dirt, there quite a few other models and manufacturers of road legal ATVs, and even cross over models that are equipped for the tarmac or the trail.
Regardless of the season, our testing never stops. In rainy, cold, or just plain nasty conditions, that can mean a less than comfortable ride. One vehicle that sees almost daily use is our Polaris Ranger. Whether on a trail ride or wood hauling duty, like anybody else, we look for extra comfort where we can find it. When the snow began to fly last winter, it was time for a little more protection.
So you’re riding along on your favorite off-road toy, whether it's your ATV, motorcycle, snowmobile or watercraft, when suddenly things take a turn for the worse. Maybe you start to lose power and hear a rattle before the eerie silence, or maybe it just up and quits with no warning. Either way, you’re left powerless in the middle of the track, trail, or water. You’ve just become a victim of bad gas… and all the “Bean-O” in the world isn’t going to help you now!
The Honda Off-Road people like to say, "Adventure isn't paved." We couldn't agree more, and in the history of ATVs, we can safely say no other company has played a bigger supporting role in off-road adventure than Honda. They were leaders with ATVs right from the beginning, and although the competition has become extremely good, with some specific models even passing those in the Red Rider’s lineup, Honda is still the major player today.
At the top of the ATV pyramid are the quads designed with championships in mind. These are the racers, capable of maximum performance, and while this segment of the market receives most of the attention, it becomes easy to overlook the huge number of less experienced riders who simply love to ride the trails. For those riders, a sporty ATV with good power, handling, reliability, and affordability work far better than one with a finicky race engine. Luckily, there are quite a few mid sized sport ATVs under 350ccs that work perfectly.