Youth Quad Round Up – Mini Quad Buyer’s Guide

Youth Quad Round Up – Mini Quad Buyer’s Guide riding has always been a family sport and that means everyone in the family shares the adventure. It doesn’t take much coaxing to introduce a new rider to ATVing, and they usually take to it like ducks to water. It’s important to make sure junior gets started correctly, however, and with literally dozens of youth quads available, we wanted to list the ones that pass our inspection for quality, safety, and complete OEM support from sales, to parts, to safety.

Honda TRX90X

Honda’s lone youth ATV, the TRX90X, is a reliable performer and we appreciate many of the aspects to the Honda that, if not technically state of the art by a decade or three, help prepare riders for a transition to full-sized ATVs in the future. The engine design for the Honda has been in production so long there’s an excellent chance old Granddad learned to ride on one, but it does have a couple outstanding features.  It’s efficient to produce, it’s as reliable as your best dog, and it is unique in that it offers a semi-automatic transmission that helps riders learn how to shift properly before they jump up to a full-sized

Overall size of the TRX90X is ever so slightly larger than most youth ATVs, and it’s built to Honda’s practically obsessive standard for quality. Electric start brings the engine to life and the riders will find a shifter at their left foot just like full-sized sport ATVs. We’ve yet to see a kid who couldn’t master shifting quickly, and we like that. Riding isn’t supposed to be a challenge! Styling is lifted straight off its big brothers in the Honda sport ATV lineup. We’ve had a TRX 90 in the family for almost a decade and with thousands of nephew miles, it’s as reliable as the day we brought it home. It’s agile, easy to operate, and fun – all rolled into one red package.

Honda recommends age 12 and over for the TRX90X


Suzuki Quadsport Z90 and Quadsport Z50

It wouldn’t be fitting for the factory that invented Quads to not feature a youth model, and with the Z90 and the diminutive Z50, Suzuki offers two!

The QuadSport Z90 is cut from the same cloth as the rest of the Suzuki sport ATV lineup and even features their trademark T-Bone seat. Underneath the seat is a unique suspension system that allows the engine to pivot with the suspension and a double sealed shaft drive. Like nearly every mini ATV, suspension travel is limited and it relies almost as much on tire flex as shock travel, but youth riders never complain. Inside the engine, Suzuki has given the cylinder their top of the line SCEM coating which was developed for the high-performance GSX-R sport bikes. The advantage is excellent durability, reduced weight, and superior heat transfer. On the trail the Z90 is reliable, easy to ride, controllable, and up for years of

The QuadSport Z50 is so cute we practically want one just to sit on top of our tool box, and it features a 49cc, 4-stroke, single-cylinder, air-cooled engine designed for durability, quiet operation and low maintenance. The littlest Suzuki tops out at 9mph. In real world testing, however, it struggled to reach even that thanks to an extremely restrictive exhaust limiter, but it can run WORLDS better with a simple exhaust modification. A throttle limiter and rear tether allows adults to yank the power out from under junior should he or she require extra instruction. The Z50 has been the original learning platform for schools of little riders and is a great way for junior to get started on a lifetime of adventure.

Suzuki recommends age 12 and over for the QuadSport 90, and 6 and up for the QuadSport 50

Kawasaki KFX90

The Kawasaki KFX90 may be the sharpest looking mini ATV with its lime green color, stylish bodywork, and even a couple fake headlights thrown in as accents. Underneath the bodywork, the engine from the KFX is a super reliable 4 stroke first used in scooters. Suspension on the littlest Kawasaki is similar in design and travel to other youth models, but it has a big advantage with a hydraulic disc brake in the rear. It may not seem like much, but in the realm of mini ATV technology that moves at glacial speed, this is akin to fuel injection, autopilot, and the ability to hover all wrapped in one.

While kids may be on the seat, parents are firmly in control and can limit top speed with a throttle limiting screw. When the time is right, a collar may be removed from the CVT for a little extra speed. A wide footprint makes the KFX super stable on the trail and the only way to get riders to stop will be when it finally runs out of fuel. They’ll love it!

Kawasaki recommends age 12 and

Kymco Mongoose 90

The KYMCO Mongoose 90 is one of the most reliable and best buys in youth ATVs! The junior KYMCO offers an 89cc air-cooled, SOHC 4-stroke, electric start engine with backup kick starter, but we doubt you’ll need it. Designed to meet all regulations for emissions, the KYMCO engine is fully CARB certified, but it is also designed to be quiet and comes with a U.S. Forest Service approved spark arrestor. That means you can take Junior riding practically anywhere. Bodywork on the Mongoose is sporty, stylish, and highly durable.

KYMCO is actually the manufacturing partner for several well known OEMs, and the Mongoose 90 is the base for a couple other models with the only difference being bodywork and colors. The Mongoose 90 does come with a hydraulic disc brake at the rear, but it takes technology one step further with a CVT transmission that even has reverse – it’s a great feature on a youth ATV. The Mongoose is very stable on the trail, but should a rider become separated from the machine, a safety lanyard immediately cuts power to the engine. Overall quality of the KYMCO is very good and they stand up to years of abuse. The kids will love it!

KYMCO recommends age 12 and

Arctic Cat 90 & 90DVX

Arctic Cat offers two models for youth riders, one for pure sport, and the other for sport utility, and they are the technology leaders in mini-atvs. Both models feature identical 90cc, 4 stroke engines, a CVT transmission with Forward, Neutral, and Reverse, a single A-arm front suspension, and a swingarm rear suspension. Wheel travel is also identical on each machine. Drum brakes are found at the front of each model with a nice Hydraulic disc at the rear, and chain drive transfers power to the ground. In fact the entire chassis is well made and almost completely identical to the Kawasaki and the Kymco models, but the Arctic Cats offer a couple extra features adding even more value. The little ‘Cats offer a transmission with a reverse gear, both offer full headlights and tail lights, and they come standard with a whip flag for safety. Also, thanks to the front and rear racks, the 90 can even haul junior’s camping gear for overnight expeditions in the backyard, boards for a tree house, or fishing gear. Styling on the 90 is modeled after dad’s full sized ‘Cat while the 90DVX is ready for sporty fun on the trails and both are ready for any type of action.

Arctic Cat recommends age 12 and

Polaris – Sportsman 90, Outlaw 90, Outlaw 50

With one of the most complete lineups in the sport, Polaris wasn’t about to leave youth riders out of the party and they’ve got three models for the cookies and graham cracker crowd. The Sportsman 90 and Outlaw 90 share a chassis with identical engine, chassis, and suspension specifications, and we really appreciate the CVT transmission which offers Forward, Neutral, and Reverse. Drum brakes are found at each end, but the Polaris does have a major advantage in suspension and wheel travel which is twice as much as every other model. Extra suspension makes a huge difference when soaking up bumps along the trail. Both models also feature daytime running lights, a rear tail light, and a safety flag. Outlaw 90 body styling is modeled after the Outlaw 525, while the Sportsman 90 looks like its woods loving bigger brothers, and it even has front and rear racks for carrying a small load.

The Outlaw 50 is the smallest member of the Polaris family, and it scoots around thanks to a 49cc, air cooled, 4 stroke engine mated to a CVT transmission. As with any 50cc model, suspension and power is limited, but we do like the daytime running lights and rear tail light, and the rear whip flag for safety. The little Polaris can also be had in Pink & White which female riders seem to love, but our favorite thing about all Polaris youth ATVs is that they all come with a matching helmet!

Polaris recommends ages 12 and over for the Sportsman 90 and Outlaw 90, and age 6 and up for the Outlaw 502011.can-am.ds90.front-right.yellow.riding.on-trail.jpg

Can-Am DS90 & DS70

CAN-AM offers the only 70cc youth quad with their DS70 but they also have the DS90 to go along with it. Both models are built on an identical platform in every dimension except bore and stroke of the cylinder. We like the aggressive, sporty look of the CAN-AM youth models, and they offer more features than any other youth quad, and at a very respectable price. Both the DS70 and DS90 feature air cooled, 4 stroke engines, CVT transmissions with a reverse gear, electric start, chain drive, full time running lights for safety, and suspension that surpasses just about everything else. Longer suspension travel means better control when the trail gets rough, and we also like the neutral and reverse indicator lights. Shifting is done with the lever at the rider’s right knee. We really like that CAN-AM offers a 70cc alternative to the often anemic 50s, and like all CAN-AM products, the DS youth models are well built, designed for years of riding fun, and no kid will ever be disappointed with one.

CAN-AM recommends age 12 and over for the DS 90, and age 6 and up for the DS 702011.yamaha.raptor90.blue_.front_.riding.on-trail.jpg

Yamaha Raptor 90 & 125, and Grizzly 125

Without a doubt, Yamaha has the best sport ATV lineup in the business, but the Grizzly line of utility ATVs is very popular also. Thankfully, Yamaha did not forget new riders and there are three junior ATV models to choose from.

The Raptor 125 is hands down the best small displacement ATV on the market today. Nothing else is even close, and the Raptor 125 gets all the technology given to Yamaha’s top sport ATVs like the mighty Raptor 700 or the racy YFZ450. Everything about the Raptor 125 oozes sport performance, yet it is incredibly easy to handle, and it is forgiving for new or less experienced riders. It’s literally a decade or more ahead of everything else in every category such as engine, suspension, design, features, handling, and performance.

The Raptor 90 is designed to look like dad’s Raptor 700 and is one of only two 90cc atvs to feature dual front A-arms for better handling and 5 way adjustable shocks on both the front and rear end. We also like the low profile Maxxis tires, and parents will appreciate the super simple speed limiter which conveniently plugs into the electrical systems CDI until junior has honed their skills enough to go faster. It won’t take long for them to get used to the Raptor 90. It’s stable, reliable, it handles well and looks sporty, and they’ll quickly have a track worn into the yard as they ride it all day.2011.yamaha.raptor125.blue_.front-left.riding.on-trail.jpg

The Grizzly 125 looks like any of its big brothers and it does feature racks for carrying a load, but riders will quickly find suspension travel is very limited, and, in fact, is surpassed by the Raptor 90. Other models in the Grizzly lineup have continued to evolve into the top models in their class, and the Grizzly 125 is due for significant updates as well.

Yamaha recommends ages 16 and over for 125cc ATVs, and age 12 and up for the Raptor 90.

2011 Youth ATV Comparison Chart



Elec. Start

Suspension Front

Suspension Rear

Tires Front

Tires Rear




HONDA TRX90X 86cc 4-Stroke 4 Speed Auto Y A-arm 2.6 In. Trav Drum Brake Swingarm 2.6 In. Trav. Drum Brake 20 x 7 x 8 19 x 8 x 8 262 lbs Red / White $2,999
SUZUKI QuadSport 90 90cc 4-Stroke CVT Auto Shaft Drive Y Ind. Swing Axle, Coil Drum Brake Swingarm Coil Shock Drum Brake 19 x 7 x 8 19 x 7 x 8 280 lbs Yellow White $2,599
SUZUKI QuadSport 50 49cc 4-Stroke CVT Auto Shaft Drive Y Ind. Swing Axle, Coil Drum Brake Swingarm Coil Shock Drum Brake 16 x 8 x 7 16 x 8 x 7 171 lbs Yellow White $1,999
KAWASAKI KFX90 89cc 4-Stroke CVT Auto Chain Drive Y A-Arm 2.8in Travel Drum Brake Swingarm 2.9in Travel Hyd Disc 18 x 7 x 8 18 x 9 x 8 262 lbs Kaw. Green $2,699
KYMCO Mongoose 90 89cc 4-Stroke CVT Auto with Reverse Chain Drive Y A-Arm 2.8in Travel Drum Brake Swingarm 2.9in Travel Hyd Disc 18 x 7 x 8 18 x 9 x 8 232 lbs Red. Blue $2,399
POLARIS Sportsman 90 89cc 4-Stroke CVT Auto with F, N, R Chain Drive Y A-Arm 5in Travel Drum Brake Swingarm 6in Travel Drum Brake 19 x 7 x 8 18 x 9.5×8 305 lbs Green $2,699
POLARIS Outlaw 90 89cc 4-Stroke CVT Auto with F, N, R Chain Drive Y A-Arm 5in Travel Drum Brake Swingarm 6in Travel Drum Brake 19 x 7 x 8 18 x 9.5×8 283 lbs Red/Wht Pink $2,699
POLARIS Outlaw 50 49cc 4-Stroke CVT Auto Chain Drive Y A-Arm 3in Travel Drum Brake Swingarm 3in Travel Drum Brake 16 x 6.5×7 16 x 8 x 7 210 lbs Red/Wht Pink $1,999
CAN-AM DS 90 89.5cc 4-Stk CVT Auto with F, N, R Chain Drive Y A-Arm 3.4in Travel Drum Brake Swingarm 6.3in Travel Drum Brake 19 x 7 x 8 18 x 9.5×8 245 lbs Yellow $2,499
CAN-AM DS 70 69cc 4-Stroke CVT Auto with F, N, R Chain Drive Y A-Arm 3.4in Travel Drum Brake Swingarm 6.3in Travel Drum Brake 19 x 7 x 8 18 x 9.5×8 245 lbs Yellow $1,999
ARCTIC CAT 90 90cc 4-Stroke CVT Auto with F, N, R Chain Drive Y A-Arm 2.8in Travel Drum Brake Swingarm 2.9in Travel Hyd Disc 20 x 7 x 8 19 x 8 x 8 265 lbs Black $2,699
ARCTIC CAT 90 DVX 90cc 4-Stroke CVT Auto with F, N, R Chain Drive Y A-Arm 2.8in Travel Drum Brake Swingarm 2.9in Travel Hyd Disc 20 x 7 x 8 19 x 8 x 8 260 lbs Lime $2,699
YAMAHA RAPTOR 125 124cc 4-Strk AirCool Manuel 5 Speed Chain Drive Y A-Arms 7.5in Travel Hyd Discs Swingarm 7.9in Travel Hyd Disc 19 x 6×10 18 x 9 x 8 299 lbs Blue / White $3,399
YAMAHA RAPTOR 90 88cc 4-Stroke CVT Auto Chain Drive Y A-Arms 4.4in Travel Drum Brake Swingarm 3.3in Travel Hyd Disc 18 x 7 x 8 18x 9 x 8 264 lbs Blue / White $2,699
YAMAHA GRIZZLY 125 124cc 4-Stk AirCool CVT Auto F-N-R Chain Drive Y A-Arm 2.8in Travel Drum Brake Swingarm 3.2in Travel Drum Brake 20 x 7 x 8 22x 10×8 335 lbs Blue / Green $3,599

September 1, 2011

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