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90cc ATV Guide - What to Look For?

Updated on July 29, 2014

Four wheelers have been very popular for many years -- first originating in 1970 when a red 90cc ATV was launched (the Honda US90). The machine was riding on big balloon style tires and was without decent suspension and was offering a very basic ride. Today, however things are much different you can get a vast variety of ATVs that are made for a variety of budgets and a large cross section of people in different configurations.

ATVs can be powered by as small as a 50cc engine and can be equipped with a large 1000cc engine. There are a variety of sizes available in the range in between the two capacities. Small mini ATVs are a big hit for kids and can be adjusted so as not to exceed a certain speed so that the rider is safe. They are easily portable and can be transported on the back of trucks. Safety features are installed in all ATVs and include powerful head lights, hydraulic brakes and push button starts.

As a very general rule to consider -- all kids under the age of twelve must drive: 70 cc ATVs, for those between the ages of 12 and 16: 70cc to 90cc (so that's we will be considering here in this account) and over 90cc for persons above 16 who has some experience too.

ATV Laws

Make sure before you invest one that you brush up on the rules for owning one first and how to operate it. Below, is what is the current rules but remember they can be updated and altered, so be sure to do some research into what you can and cannot do.

For riding an ATV over public trails a license is required. For kids with an age of 6 an ATV with a 50cc engine is more than enough and a license will not be required. Kids over 12 don't need a license either and can drive 90cc ATVs. For ATVs with high power a safety course is essential so that the rides do not prove to be fatal. Once they pass the course it is easy and safe to ride over public trails.

44 states in the US have strict ATV laws that must be adhered to. Be sure to be familiar with the laws and follow them completely. As a result these states have fewer accidents and fatalities compared to the other states that do not have laws. A training course for using an ATV is always helpful in curbing mortality rates & accidents occurring. A study that was carried out by the CPSC most of the injuries that happened were a result of a lack of proper training (obvious really). Remember that an ATV training institute can impart training to all new owners of ATVs.

Do You Plan on Using Your Four Wheeler in Your Grounds?

ATV riding also has an effect on the environment.

It was found that top layers of soil get eroded due to ATV riding on trails and exposed large rocks. Soft soil was removed causing an issue where water used to accumulate. Also, winding trails caused the machines to rub against the bark of the trees and inflicted damage on them. This has a negative effect on trees and they can even die due to lowered resistance to diseases and vulnerability to pests.


Safety and Maintenance for a 90cc ATV

Crucial points to consider when related to the safety of the person riding the ATV and proper maintenance are as follows:

- Many ATV dealers sell machines that are meant for adults to kids. This is not only illegal but can result in dangerous accidents due to the high power of the machines. A PIRG survey reported that dealers were ready to sell a huge machine even to a ten year old. So be sure to carry out research into the model you are thinking of getting and what's the age group targeted.

- Weight limit of a 90cc ATV, they differ from model to model but again they do 'differ' so be sure to see how much they can hold. Any decent model (listed below) will be able to easily support the average 12 year old.

- In an ATV, the suspension is of primary importance. In fact it is the main differentiator between a good machine and one that may not be suitable for long term riding on rough terrain (a Chinese 4 wheeler against a Japanese or US model). If the suspension is not properly tuned it can become a major issue in the days ahead, with regards to buying parts and fixing it, rather than riding out and enjoying it.

- Another issue that has been seen is of the nuts/bolts coming off, which is very dangerous if you're out on a trail. But this can be overcome by ensuring that the nuts are properly fixed and checking them frequently. Tightening them takes only a few minutes and can save many problems later. Since most ATVs have aluminum wheels the nuts tend to come off easily and hence adequate care must be taken to tighten them, especially before embarking on a long ride. Like anything make sure you adhere to a bit of general maintenance.

- Getting stuck with an ATV is one of the biggest problems that you can face. Many injuries take place when an ATV veers out of control and overthrows the rider. There can even be a head on collision with another vehicle or an abject like a tree. Good training comprises of teaching riding in difficult riding conditions. Simulations are done of various off road conditions and how to handle them.

-Regular maintenance needs to be carried out for ATVs, using protective gear (helmet etc.) so that it keeps you safe. Maintenance ensures that there is less risk of a breakdown or something going wrong resulting in accidents. The sprocket and chain must be degreased with oil or silicon spray. Use high quality oil and not any old oil that may be around.

- Drum brakes in ATVs have to be kept free of dirt and mud. Clean the machine so that all the mud and dirt comes off. Check all the cables and get them lubricated.

- The fuel pipe is the main lifeline of the ATV. Under no circumstance can it be clogged and so it inspected thoroughly for any leakages.

- During rough use the plastic panel can be knocked out of place and must be checked and fitted back into place. Besides a moved plastic panel can have a part that has come off below or something that may have come off.

- Handle bars need to be checked and adjusted regularly. Good control with the use of the handle bar is important because a dirt trail can have many twists and turns that have to be negotiated well with good control.

- All fluids must be checked and topped off. Low oil can be harmful to the engine. Lack of proper coolant can damage the engine forever. One the other hand proper refilling can ensure the long life of the engine.

- Tire pressure has to be just right. Low pressure can make it very sluggish and uncomfortable while very high pressure can be dangerous and can also make the machine go out of control. Make sure that the tire pressure is as specified.

- The placement of the levers has to be adjusted so that it suits your riding. The brake lever and clutch lever play an important role in controlling the ATV. If you are not accustomed to new grips you may not be comfortable while riding.

What 90cc Models to Consider?

Kazuma 90cc: The Falcon Kazuma is a highly reputable & best selling ATV (particularly popular within Europe), being prided mainly on its reliability and ride performance. It has a quiet engine and can has a weight limit of 180 pounds (but can probably take in excess of this in all likelihood). The Kazuma 90cc can also grip the surface very well and be subjected to some tough rides. It is extremely rugged as well as durable and is popular with ATV enthusiasts. It looks very impressive with attractive graphics on the fenders at the back and front: kids love feeling like a dirt riding pro.

Also, the 4-stroke engine of this ATV is definitely one of the best. The engine is environmentally friendly and way better & more efficient than 2-strokes that pollute the air and consume more fuel. Price wise they usually come in at around the 850 bucks mark, but you can find them cheaper if you are prepared to go second hand.

Are Chinese 90cc ATVs Good or Not?


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