All-terrain vehicles (ATVs), also known as quad or quad-bikes, are 3- or 4-wheel vehicles with a seat which is straddled by the operator. They are steered by handlebars, and have low pressure tires. In the US, the engines range in size from 49cc to 1000cc. Though they are steered much like a motorcycle, the additional one or two wheels make them more stable at low speeds.
With their ability to cover a variety of terrains, their light footprint, and their speeds, ATVs are often used in agriculture, forestry, law enforcement, and natural resource exploration. Most are equipped to carry a passenger, and many also have beds to carry things. Some even have tow hooks for other vehicles. They are also a lot of fun, and most all terrain vehicles are used for fun. Dune buggies are also great all terrain vehicles to ride on.
The first ATVs were 3-wheeled vehicles made by Honda in the 1970`s and popularized by movies and television shows. All terrain vehicles originally had large balloon tires, but in the 1980`s Honda introduced a suspension, racks, and lower profile tires making this a better utility vehicles. Other companies including Suzuki and Yamaha joined Honda once 4-wheel models were introduced in the mid- to late-1980`s. There are numerous racing models which focus on performance: high-powered, lightweight, with a good suspension and a low center of gravity.
All terrain vehicles have gotten something of a bad reputation due to their link to illegal activities, including trespassing and land erosion. Numerous safety issues have arisen because of the large number of injuries and death that have been reported. Most injuries are caused by reckless actions on the part of the driver or inappropriate vehicles choices. If you choose an ATV that is appropriate for your age and experience and operate it in a manner for which it was designed, you should have hours of good, safe fun.