Apex designs highly specialized racing minis in
Chandler, Arizona, then has some of the parts built overseas.
They come with two-stroke motors in four different
sizes—50cc to 100cc. The chassis is lightweight and highly
functional with high-end accessories like DWT wheels
and tires. At most racetracks, the youth classes are dominated
by Apex products.
ARCTIC CAT 150 ($3599)
Even though the 150 is included in the Arctic Cat Youth
line, this is a real utility quad with steel racks that can
carry 75 pounds of Legos and Transformers. The front suspension
is single A-arm and the rear has a swingarm
with a single shock. The motor is governed to 20 mph, but
can be adjusted to achieve a 30 mph top speed. Just
remember, you have to chase the kid down.
ARCTIC CAT DVX90 ($2699)
Most dads are jealous—8-year-olds should not have
quads that look this fast. The DVX90 looks like a racer and
has decent credentials. The 90cc air-cooled motor has an
overhead cam and an automatic, continuously variable
transmission with reverse. The suspension has single Aarms
in front and a swingarmin the rear, providing almost
3 inches of travel. The speed can be governed to 15 mph.
ARCTIC CAT 90 ($2699)
If your kid fancies himself a cowboy, then he will probably
go for the Arctic Cat 90. The bonus is that you can put
him to work, carrying 35 pounds of stuff on the steel racks.
Under the bodywork and racks, the 90 has the same chassis,
engine and suspension as the racy-looking DVX90.
This model just lets him get in touch with his inner John
CAN-AM DS X ($3599)
This quad looks so cool, we wish we could fit on it. It
has double A-arms in front with HPG piggyback shocks,
real aluminum nerf bars, bar risers and a front bumper,
plus it looks like a racer. The chassis is a little more
advanced than the motor, but the air-cooled, 89.5cc
powerplant still has electric start and a CV transmission
CAN-AM DS90 ($2699)
It doesn’t have the racy styling or the suspension of the
DS-X, but the Can-Am DS90 is still a substantial machine
in its own right. It has electric start, as well as a kickstarter,
and the CV transmission has reverse. The motor is a very
simple two-valve, air-cooled four-stroke. It has working
headlights. The best part is that the price is almost $1000
less than the X models.
CAN-AM DS70 ($2199)
Can-Am uses the same chassis for the DS70 and the
DS90. Only the motor is different, but you still get electric
start with a kickstart lever for backup. You also get the CV
transmission with reverse and independent front suspension
using single A-arms. Braking is via three drums. This
year both the DS90 and DS70 are rated Y-10 for 10-yearolds.
HONDA TRX90 ($2999)
Honda expects a little more from your kid than the other
makers by asking them to shift the TRX90’s four-speed
gearbox. In exchange, they develop more coordination
and skill that will become useful later. Otherwise, the
Honda 90 is similar to other machines in this class. It has
an automatic clutch, 2.6 inches of suspension travel and
single A-arms in front. Rated Y-12.
KAWASAKI KFX90 ($2749)
Kawasaki’s KFX90 is rated Y-12 for 12-year-olds, but it’s
very similar in construction and size to the Kymco, which
is rated for younger kids. It has an air-cooled four-stroke
motor with a CV transmission, relieving your kid from the
duty of shifting. The floorboards are fully enclosed. The
Kawasaki comes with a throttle that allows you to limit the
output for true beginners.
KAWASAKI KFX50 ($1999)
Kudos to Kawasaki for offering a real beginner ATV that
is sized and rated for 6-year-olds. This is the safest way to
introduce young riders to the off-road world. The KFX50
has a little four-stroke motor with modest output. The throttle
limiter keeps top speed under control for those very first
rides. This is a much better option than putting your
youngster on a machine that’s too big for him.
KYMCO MXU 150 ($3099)
This machine can either fall into the youth category or
be considered a two-wheel-drive workhorse. It has perfectly
functional steel racks that can carry 90 pounds, and
the 11-horsepower, air-cooled, two-valve motor can pull a
250-pound trailer. But it’s also rated Y-14 for teenage kids,
and the shiftless CV transmission makes learning easy.
The price is untouched for 2014.
KYMCO MONGOOSE 90 ($2499)
In keeping with its reputation for offering a little more
for the money, Kymco has the lowest price in its class. The
Mongoose 90 is rated Y-10 for 10-year-olds and has a continuously
variable transmission with reverse. The
Mongoose 90 has Maxxis tires and makes 6.3 horsepower.
You can tune it down with the throttle limiter until you
reach some kind of homework agreement.
KYMCO MONGOOSE 70 ($2199)
The Mongoose 70 is rated Y-6 for riders 6 years old and
older. But in most ways, it’s very similar to the 90, with a
CV transmission and reverse. Most of the dimensions of
the two are the same, aside from the wheels, which are
smaller on the 70. The 70’s motor is claimed to produce 5.3
horsepower—one pony shy of the 90’s output. Both have
rear disc brakes and a drum in the front.
POLARIS SPORTSMAN 90 ($2699)
You can make your kid work for his ATV playtime with
the Sportsman 90. It looks like a Sportsman 850 viewed
through the wrong end of a telescope. It has plastic racks
and an 89cc, carbureted, four-stroke motor with a CV
transmission that has forward, neutral and reverse. Final
drive is via an O-ring chain. The Polaris is rated Y-10 for
POLARIS OUTLAW 90 ($2699)
If your kid is drawn to the Outlaw 90, you’re in for some
trouble. He probably sees himself as a racer and likes the
sporty looks. It’s good that the Outlaw has a number of
safety features, like an adjustable throttle and the buggywhip/
flag. Under the bodywork it has the same 89cc fourstroke
engine as the 90 Sportsman. It has 5 inches of travel
in front and 6 inches in the rear. It’s also rated Y-10.
POLARIS OUTLAW 50 ($2099)
The littlest Outlaw is one of the smallest ATVs you can
buy, rated Y-6 for 6-year-olds. Not only is it tiny in its exterior
dimensions, but it has down-sized controls that are
perfect for small people. It has 3 inches of suspension travel
at both ends, an electric starter and a no-shift transmission.
There’s no reverse, but that’s what dads are for.
Available in blue or pink.