Text by Linda Brandt
When Suzuki introduced the first four-wheel all-terrain vehicles back in 1982, no one realized what a revolution was taking place in outdoor sportsmen’s travel. Until then everybody in the industry was building either small dirt bikes or three-wheelers, which were means of transportation but they seriously lacked the versatility sportsmen needed out in the woods.
Suzuki saw the need for a small compact 4-wheeler that could be loaded into the back of a pick-up, hauled into the woods, and used for transportation. The farmer warmed up to the idea of using the 4-wheeler as a means to get around, using the quad to check fence-lines, herd cattle and check crops.
By the mid-eighties, most of the other Japanese manufacturers had introduced their own versions of the 4-wheel-drive ATV. By the nineties the north American manufacturers: Polaris, Arctic Cat and Bombardier all introduced their own versions. The machines kept getting bigger and faster. Bigger engines were introduced. But until this year nobody had really envisioned them as a work tool.
Arctic Cat introduced the 2-point speed system to attach and remove implements from the back of the ATVs, speedily and with ease. The system is based on a lift system that can easily be mounted and removed from the vehicle as simply as removing three pins. The implements slide into the cradle and attach with two pins. Now the weekend gardener can use the moldboard plow to break up sod, the disk to break up his freshly plowed sod, the cultivator for weed control, and the harrow to break up the lumps. All with his ATV!
The sportsman can load up all his implements, take them to the bush and work up feed plots for the deer. Now the farmer is in serious trouble. He walks to the shed, wanting to run to the neighbour’s for a cup of coffee to discuss whether combining conditions are perfect. Dang! the ATV’s not there! Mrs. Farmer has taken it, and is tilling the shelterbelt and spraying the lawn for dandelions, before mowing the kids’ playing area with a tow-behind mower.
Already in the drawing stages by Arctic Cat are yard rakes, blades, and other equipment to make your life easier. Keep your eyes open for what one of the most innovative manufacturers of the day is bringing forward.