Mini ATV Info You Need
To Make the Right Choice

Greetings all,

As the Mini ATV segment continues to grow by leaps and bounds, we thought (and so did you, based on the emails) that there should be page where hopefully all the Mini ATV info you need is compiled for you. Check out a Mini ATV review

It is true great minds think alike, so let's get started.....

1. What "exactly" is a Mini ATV?

OK, first the generalities, Mini ATVs have several other names, these include the following: Youth ATV, Kids ATV, Junior ATV, Juvenile ATV, Micro ATV, and I think that's about all of them. So, Mini ATVs are called so, due to the fact that they are a "mini version" of an Adult ATV. Several models have been "updated" (the plastic is modeled after their full sized cousins) recently to make the Mini ATVs, look just like their full size counterparts. They have a frame, motor, tranny, and all the other components seen on a full sized quad. However, these components are sized for the intended aged rider, and not the parents who are usually puttin' around on them, about the campsite.

2. What motor sizes are available?

Usually the motors come in standard sizes, for different ages of riders.

Ride Legal.

These are the current federal laws regarding what sized ATV you can ride!

50 cc...for riders 6 - 12

90 cc...for riders 12 - 16

Over 90 cc...for riders over 16

And, yes, there are aftermarket pipes, carbs, and shocks available for the Mini ATVs, but the suppliers can all be counted on your fingers and toes. So, if junior decides he wants to go racing, there are youth classes at almost every track, and the parts are available, all he needs is a mechanic, transportation, and experience, of course.

3. Any other differences between a Mini ATV and an Adult ATV?

Other differences between a Mini ATV an an Adult ATV usually include the following traits and features. Note that I said "usually". That's about as close as I come to a disclaimer.

Tranny most Mini ATVs feature an automatic 2 or 3 speed transmission. One or two models use an auto-clutch. That means no clutch lever, but you still have to shift through the gears using your left foot, same as an Adult ATV. This may be OK for a teen rider, but for the small fries, an auto tranny is the easiest to get started on. You just gas it and go.

Oil Injection System this saves you from having to pre-mix the fuel and oil. Simply keep the injector tank topped off, and it is almost worry free. The oil is combined with the gas, as needed, depending on throttle position.

Brakes the norm here is for drum brakes all around, or drums out front and a a single disc on the rear axle. A couple of Mini ATV models are upgrading to discs all around, which is best. If you are deciding between two different models, go for the disc brakes!

Controls since shifting isn't usually an issue, one lever operates the front brake, the other lever the rear brake. A couple have a single lever for front and rear brakes. I don't like this setup as it can require some hard squeezing on the lever, and that isn't always easy for smaller hands. Some also have a foot lever for rear brakes, this is a good way to learn, as the Adult ATVs use a foot lever for the rear brake also. One less thing to learn when they move up to the Adult ATVs.

Floorboards don't purchase a Mini ATV that doesn't have floorboards! They should run from front fender to the rear fender. This makes it almost impossible to get your feet anywhere near the wheels, keeping them out of harm's way.

Lights most headlights are there to make the Mini ATV look more like an Adult ATV. They do work, but I would not rely on them for night riding. They do work fairly well as a daytime running light. It is much easier to spot yours among a group of small fries if their headlight is on.

Suspension definitely not on par with the full size ATVs. Most minis feature 2-4" suspension travel. That's it. Now with a kid aboard, the suspension will soak up minor bumps, smaller whoops, and such. But will not recover from severe riding or jumping. They may look like Dad's quad, but they don't take the big stuff as well. The biggest drawback to the suspension is that virtually all utilize a single A-arm set up, instead the the double A-arm featured on full size ATVs. This results in a "bouncier" ride since there is one less component used to soak up the bumps.

4. Anything else I should know?

Just a couple more things...

I get asked a lot "Which Mini ATV is the best?" My standard answer to that is the Honda Mini ATVs. I don't make that statement lightly, especially since I am a member of "Team Green", and always have been. But, when you consider that 80% of the Mini ATVs being produced are Honda knock-offs, or made by Honda for other companies, and that Honda has allowed some factories to actually license their engines and components, the Honda answer above is absolutely true. However, the Honda Mini ATVs, both the 50 cc and the 90 cc, are the most expensive to buy, usually $300.00-$600.00 more than the competitors. So, the dilemma becomes, pay for the Honda at the Honda dealer, or get the same thing as a Honda, even though it may be called something else, and save a few bucks.

The inside scoop here is we elected to purchase a Dinli T-Rex 90cc, for the kids. And even though it is not a real "Honda", it really acts like one, since we have had only 1 minor problem, since we purchased it almost 3 years ago. And we took the money we saved on the purchase price, and completely outfitted the kids, both of them, with a complete set of riding gear.

The Mini ATVs, however, are a great deal of fun for the kids. Both of our kids ride our Mini ATV, as have all the kids that go riding with us, and for the most part, they have all come back with smiles after a day out riding. Come to think of it, I always come back with a smile on my face, too. Guess that means we are doing it right.

5. Should I buy a new or used Mini ATV?

That is a very good question, I think I have a good answer...It depends on you and the Mini ATV.

If you are new to the sport of ATVing, you may elect to spend a few dollars more, and buy new. The reasons are pretty obvious:

  • New, means it hasn't been ridden before.

  • Everything is the same age, all the components are at their best because they are new.

  • Everything works as it should.

  • And you can sometimes purchase an extended warranty from the dealer for additional peace of mind.

  • Purchasing a new one means the plastic is shiny, and has no scratches, dings, or scuffs.

  • New is new.

On the other hand, buying used can make sense too. If you think about it, most of the Mini ATVs are ridden by kids, pre-teens, or teens. They (most of them, anyway) probably don't ride them as hard, and definitely not as fast, as the adults. This means you could save some money, by purchasing used, and get a Mini ATV that will last as long as you need it. Most kids outgrow the ATV long before they have had a chance to trash it, or wear it out. If you buy used, there will probably be some scratches or scuffs on the plastic, so it won't be "dealer new", but it will still be "new" to you and the kids. One last tip here, the fastest way to check the condition of a used ATV you are considering for purchase, is to stand it up on the back wheels, and have a look see at the under carriage.

Do the skid plates appear to have been used excessively?

How scratched up are the undersides of the A-arms?

Do you see evidence of leaks around the drain plug?

And just how filthy dirty is the underside?

If it is covered with a case of the cruds, grease or oil, and scratches, this may be trying to tell you that this Mini ATV has not been taken care of very well. You may want to look further for another used Mini ATV.

One last word....SAFETY! most injuries that do occur to kids while riding an ATV happen for one of two reasons, either riding without a helmet, and/or riding without adult supervision. A recipe for disaster.
Never allow your kids or yourself to ride without an ATV helmet. If you ride without a helmet, that tells your kids that it is OK, and that is the wrong message to be conveying to them. The kids must always have supervision when riding. And the adult must be straight and sober, mishaps and accidents can happen in the blink of an eye, unfortunately. OK, back down off the soapbox, but remember...No exceptions!

If you would like to check out all the mini ATVs currently being produced, please follow the manufacturer links below...

Ride Safe. Ride Legal. Ride Again...Curtis

Dinli USA Mini ATVs.

Arctic Cat Mini ATVs.

E-Ton Mini ATVs.

Honda Mini ATVs.

Kymco Mini ATVs.

Polaris Mini ATVs.

And if there is anything you might need in the way of parts, accessories, apparel, or anything else ATV related, you can find it here at ATV-411. You should find what you're looking for by following one of the following links: - Dirt bike & ATV parts

ATV Apparel for the best choices in helmets, motocross boots, jerseys, riding pants, goggles, gloves, and even motocross socks, be sure to check out our selection from the best vendors available.

ATV Repair Manuals be sure to get a repair manual for your quad, it will allow you to keep your ATV in top running condition, which translates into more time on the trail. We have a large selection that covers most popular makes and models.

ATV Laws be sure you are in compliance with all title, registration, and ORV licensing requirements, before you hit the trail. Click through to see the ATV laws for all 50 states, what a handy resource to have.

ATV magazines unfortunately we can't ride every day, so having a few ATV/motorsport mags to read is a good thing. These also make a great Christmas or birthday gift for you favorite ATV nut or gearhead.

ATV insurance let's face it, ATVs aren't exactly cheap. And most homeowners or renter's policies don't cover your favorite toy. Be sure you, and your pride and joy, are protected. Learn about theft, property damage, comprehensive, and liability policies available.

ATV clubs riding is definitely more fun when you have a couple of friends on the trail with you. So, here is an easy way to find an ATV club in your area, we have listings for almost every state, and Canada too.

ATV video games ever wish you could go riding, and not leave the couch or your recliner? No matter what gaming system you have, you can choose from a great selection of the most popular games available.

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