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The Quad Bike That Influenced The Modern ATV

People sat on quad bikes.To anyone who has had the fortune of travelling around a well-designed dirt trail in a beautiful countryside locale, it becomes very clear that quad biking is one of the most fun ways to get around where there are no roads.

The thrill of the wind against your body, the weight of the bike and the feeling of the bumps and surfaces make it an experience that is difficult to replicate, and places that offer experiences riding ATVs are something of a revelation for people who have not had the fortune to experience it for themselves yet.

This is made possible thanks to a split in the designs of quad bikes, with more practical, agricultural ATVs coexisting with sportier, more comfortable and easier-to-handle recreational models.

Surprisingly, one of the greatest examples of this, and the quad bike that helped shape quad biking more than most, was only sold for four years before being discontinued but has left an enduring legacy.

The Influence Of Quadzilla

Whilst technically not the first manufacturer of a quad bike, Suzuki was the first to successfully translate the popular three-wheeled all-terrain cycle that Honda had popularised into a four-wheeled variation.

The LT125 QuadRunner in 1982 was the first quad bike to resemble a modern design, but it was far from perfect. It lacked the suspension systems that make modern ATVs fun to ride, instead relying heavily on low-profile tyres to provide the necessary control and grip.

However, the design evolved exceptionally quickly, and by 1985 the QuadRacer line had added extra performance, control and refinement with the QuadRacer 250, but it would only take another year for Suzuki to better themselves again.

In 1986, the Suzuki LT500R QuadRacer was launched and immediately turned heads in the all-terrain world by being bigger, faster and more powerful than any production ATV that came before it.

Using advances such as automatic exhaust timing control, hydraulic brake discs, independent front suspension and a top speed of 82 miles per hour, it was a quad bike that was seen as rapidly ahead of its time.

It quickly received the name Quadzilla, in reference to the 1954 monster movie Godzilla, and was different from other machines in its class because it was in no way designed to be driven as an agricultural, utilitarian machine despite being as large as a typical modern agricultural quad.

It was designed to compete with the Yamaha Banshee 350, another highly powerful two-stroke ATV, but unlike its competition, it did not quite last the test of time.

Part of the reason for this is that it had a rather unusual power delivery that felt more like a turbocharged engine than a typical quad bike and struggled to find a surface that felt truly comfortable on, unlike the sand-dune-friendly Banshee.

It lasted four years and sold well but was ultimately discontinued to focus on smaller models.

However, it established the divide between utility and performance ATVs and its focus on fun and thrills have made it a popular legacy model to this day.