When we say “all-terrain vehicle”, we usually mean “most terrain” but there’s a Honda 400EX out there that can actually boast skimming the surface of ponds as a part of its repertoire.
Though in all fairness this is no ordinary 400EX- as it features a Honda CBR600RR engine, has been converted to 4×4 with a Polaris Scrambler chain drive. Oh and just look at those sand paddles!
If you’re more interested in checking out the actual feat of pond skimming than you are the vehicle walk-around (or just have a really short attention span), you may want to skip to around the 1:38 mark.
A friend of mine’s dad calls all ATVs “ATCs” even though we constantly correct him. What does ATC mean anyway?
ATC or all-terrain cycle was Honda’s designation for its 3-wheeler line. Don’t forget, while today’s do-it-all quads and UTVs have very little in common with motorcycles on a given manufacturer’s line, this certainly wasn’t the case in the late 1970s/ early 80s.
Interestingly, as the industry evolved to require a minimum of four wheels, Honda changed its model prefix from ATC to Fourtrax (or just “TRX”); a tradition that it carries on even to this day.
What was the very first utility ATV made?
This question is a bit difficult to answer simply because people have found a way to use their ATVs for work purposes since the creation of the ATV. However, the first machine generally regarded as having been built at the OEM level for utility purposes first and foremost was the 1982 ATC200E, or as it was more commonly known: “Big Red”.
With an air-cooled 192cc engine and five-speed dual-range gearbox, electric starting (backup recoil), dual racks and a 9.2-liter storage box, it was clear Honda had listened to farmers and field workers who were modifying their ATC185s for work.
Additional features included a sealed rear drum brake designed to keep muck out and a telescopic fork. Honda added a reverse gear in 1984 and the drive chain was replaced by a shaft for less maintenance, increased durability and a smoother ride.
It’s a far cry from today’s technologically laden 4-wheel drive, power steering equipped, liquid cooled, fuel injected utility ATVs but the Big Red serves as the foundation for all utility-oriented ATVs that followed. It should also be noted that Honda has resurrected the “Big Red” moniker in 2009 for its side-by-side models still being produced today.