History of ATVs

By Ashley Davis | General

Jan 26

When you first discuss evolution, ATV’s are probably not the first thing that comes to mind. But, when you really think about it, ATV’s have evolved tremendously over the years. Both cars and motorcycles have been on the roads since the late 1800’s, but have you ever wondered how the booming business of 4-wheelers came to be? It wasn’t until about 100 years later that the idea of ATV’s was even conceived, let along put into practice. And when you go back to when the first prototype was created, the model idea just may surprise you.

We are all familiar with the term ATV (all-terrain vehicle), but the very first ATV ever created really was designed to function in ALL terrains- whether it be dry OR wet land. The very first ATV prototype was called the Jiger- invented in 1960 by a man named John Gower who had grown weary of trekking through feet of snow in order to cut his family’s firewood. His main goal was to invent a machine that was able to withstand the harsh Winters while assisting him in his daily chores. Running with chain saw engines, operating solely on a clutch system, the Jiger began to resemble a small boat made out of fiberglass. With the ability to run up to 30MPH on land and 8MPH in water, this machine sold with such success that Gower’s company ended up running out of business due to such high demands.

With engines progressing to up to seven horsepower, and popularity rising, ATV’s began selling for upwards of up to $595 USD. With this in mind, Honda continued to promote the sales of ATV’s and as the decade progressed, Honda’s biggest year in sales was ultimately reached in 1984. With 370,000 units being sold, the brand “Honda” made up about 69% of total ATV sales for the entire year!

Photo Credits for below Images: atvriders.com

The all-terrain vehicle originated as a tool to help farmers become more efficient during Winter months, and has continued to grow more than anyone ever thought possible! Interestingly enough, many of the applications for ATV’s have sprung from their owners, who have helped shape their growth and design.

While facing the tests of time, ATV’s have become more than just a farming tool, more than just a recreational vehicle, and are now seen as vital tools in a wide range of industries- from hunting and ranching to assisting in mobility for people with disabilities. Thus proving that with dedication and persistence, a simple idea can flourish into something incredible.

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