We purchased our 2002 T-Rex Mini ATV locally in Victorville. It was a Christmas present for the kids that year, as they (especially since 'No Fear' Cameron) had been asking for one of their own.
Initially, I began scouting the papers and local shoppers, and the mini atvs don't seem to lose much value for a couple of reasons. They are usually in great shape since the kids (most of them, anyway) don't really trash the machines. There are generally alot less miles on junior's mini ATV compared to Dad's. Having stated the obvious now, let's look at a mini atv, the T-Rex.
Motor.................Oil injected, 2 stroke
Starter...............Electric/with back up kick
Transmission..........Auto Constant Velocity
Fuel Tank.............1.3 gallons
Overall length x width x height
Front brake...........Dual drum
Rear brake............Hydraulic disc
Retail cost...........$1800.00 in 2002
The motor of this mini quad has a smooth consistent powerband that makes learning to ride a snap. Power somes on steadily, without any flat spots or surprises. There is also a throttle limiter, that let's you determine what the mini ATV's top speed is. Since the mini ATV has this adjustment, you can let this kid quad go faster as junior's ability increases. Just in case you still have worries about the little ones, there is also a tether kill cord on the back of this mini ATV. If junior is heading for emminent danger, just pull the plug, and the quad will stop.
For maintenance, the sparkplug is at the front of the motor, just behind the steering shaft, making access with a wrench or socket effortless and quick. The choke lever is on the carb and relatively easy to reach. The air filter sits directly below the carb and the cover comes off by removing two screws and a hose clamp.
The beauty of the auto tranny also makes this an ideal mini ATV for the beginner. There is no clutch to pull, no shift lever to worry about, no gears to grind. The rider simply pushes the throttle and it goes. I think the throttle is a little on the stiff side, especially for the smaller thumbs. A change to a twist throttle may take care of this, especially if the kids have any experience on a motorcycle.
Since there is no clutch to deal with, both levers operate the brakes. One lever goes to the front drum brakes, the other to the rear disc brake. The T-Rex mini ATV also has foot pedal that operates the rear brake, just in case. The brakes work very well, stopping the quad not only quick, but straight. The need for good brakes cannot be overstated, especially when we are dealing with the younger, less experienced riders.
The electric start is another one of those features you like to have on any quad, not just a mini ATV. An electric start on the mini quad allows Junior to fire up his own quad, just like Dad or the big boys. The backup kick starter is also handy, and a must, should the little ones forget to turn off the key. We had our mini ATV for a little over six years now, and neither the battery or starter has never let us down. (We did sell the mini, since the kids outgrew it.) To fire up this mini quad, simply turn the key on, flip the swich to run, squeeze the left brake lever, and hit the starter button. By requiring the brake lever to be on, theres no chance of the quad leaving without you, especially if you happen to be cracking the throttle while starting.
Suspension is on par with most other mini ATVs. Out front there is a single A-arm setup dampened by shock asorbers with 5 adjustment settings. Initially, the youth quads bounce a bit until the suspension settled in. Out back there is a single shock on swingarm arrangment, which has been the "norm" for some time now. The rear schock also has 5 settings, kind of a soft, medium, and hard adjustment. To date the suspension has been working as it should. I do have a complaint about the tie rods though. On one of our weekend rides, my son Cameron, flipped the quad. (He is fine, thanks.) The mini ATV landed a little hard on the left front wheel, and the impact caused the tie rod to bend slightly. I was able to repair it rather easily, which means I now keep an extra eye on the tie rods.
Other neat things about mini ATV include the easy to acess oil tank under the seat. It is a vented tank so check for leakage if the quad is transported vertically. The battery is hidden under the seat as well as a tool kit. To access the items under the seat, simply flip a lever behind the grab bar and the nicely padded seat assembly comes off in a snap. There is a flag mount on the grab bar which is directly over the two rear tailights. Out on the front, dual headlights look cool, but they don't really have the brightness needed for night riding. I think of them more as daytime running lights than headlights. It is alot easier to spot yours if he/she has them on during daylight.
Kenda Pathfinder tires come as standard equipment on this model, and have been a good all around tire. The couple times we have gone to Dumont Dunes, I flipped the rear tires around and it helped this mini ATV get around easier. Not as good as paddles, but it worked pretty well.
Overall, the mini atv has scored pretty well with the kids. It scoots without being scary. The flared bodywork looks cool, and the colors look good too. The dual headlights and tailights also add to the cool factor. It has scored well with the mechanic as well. All the stuff that needs to be reached is easy to reach. Nothing major has broken yet, but the kids will be riding this one for at least another 2 years. So that phrase is subject to revision, if necessary. Anyhow, time for the bottomline, when you figure cost to buy, times the cost to maintain, divided by the amount of enjoyment for the kids, this one is a winner.
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