2015 Youth Quad Buyer’s Guide!

APEX 50/70/90/100 (TBA)
Apex is a company in Chandler, Arizona, that has many of the bits and pieces of its competition-oriented ATVs manufactured overseas. The same basic machine is offered with two-stroke motors of four-different sizes: 50cc, 70cc, 90cc and 100cc. It comes ready to race with competition suspension, nerf bars, hydraulic disc brakes, aluminum-spun wheels and good tires.

ARCTIC CAT DVX 90 ($2799)
This is the snazzy version of the Arctic Cat 90 and has a distinctly sporty look. Under the bodywork, it’s pretty much the same as the utility 90, but it has a front bumper instead of racks. The motor is a single-overhead-cam, air-cooled four-stroke with an automatic CV transmission and reverse. It comes with a safety flag and has working head and taillights.

ARCTIC CAT 90 ($2799)
This little utility quad has “work for your allowance” written all over it. It’s one of the few youth models that has real metal racks with a combined capacity of 25 pounds. There are probably child-labor regulations that prevent anything greater. The truth is that the 90 is designed for fun. It has about 3 inches of suspension travel and an automatic transmission with reverse.

CAN-AM DS90X ($3699)
This particular Can-Am has a very high cool factor and is a clear upgrade from the standard DS. The X has double A-arms in front, swingarm suspension in the rear and KYB piggyback shocks all the way around. The styling is just like the big DS450, but the 90 still has fairly mild output from its air-cooled motor and CV transmission. It has reverse, a kick-start back-up and is rated for riders over 10 years old.

CAN-AM DS90 ($2799)
This Can-Am 90 is a completely different machine from the X version and is priced almost $1000 less. It’s aimed more at the beginner, but it still has a lot of big-quad features, like a CV transmission with reverse. The floorboards are enclosed, and there’s a throttle limiter and a tether to help with early riding experiences. The 90 is rated Y-10.

CAN-AM DS70 ($2299)
This is the largest and most sophisticated ATV with a Y-6 rating, recommended for kids 6 years old and older. It’s actually very similar to the 90, sharing the same chassis and wheels. The 70 simply has a smaller motor. The 70 also has the same CV transmission as the 90, which means it has reverse. That means dad will spend less time pulling little Jarrod out of the bushes.

KAWASAKI KFX90 ($2599)
This 90 is very similar to the Kymco, but uses many components that are exclusively made for the Kawasaki. It has an air-cooled four-stroke motor with a CV transmission. The Kawasaki has electric start but no reverse. The front has single A-arms with 2.8 inches of travel and the rear single shock has 2.9 inches. Final drive is via chain, and the rear brake is a hydraulic disc.

KAWASAKI KFX50 ($1999)
This is a rare gem in the ATV world: an entry-level vehicle that is appropriately sized and rated for 6-year-olds. The most common mismatch of kids and quads comes when children try to operate vehicles that were designed for older riders. The KFX50 eliminates that problem with controls that are sized for young hands. The 50 is completely automatic and has a throttle limiter.

The Mongoose 90S is cleared for use by 10-year-old riders and offers a lot of cool stuff for the price. Tops on the list is reverse. The transmission and clutch are fully automatic, it has electric start and a rear disc brake with drums up front. The shocks have adjustable spring preload. Parents get an adjustable throttle stop and a safety lanyard.

Kymco’s 70S is very similar to the 90S with a few exceptions. The motor displaces 69cc, and it has no reverse gear. The wheels and tires are a little smaller too. It still features electric start, an automatic transmission, a centrifugal clutch and a real headlight, which is important for being seen as well as seeing. The throttle has a limiter, and there’s a lanyard kill switch.

Some kids go for the cowboy look of the Sportsman. Others like the racer look of the Outlaw. Either way, you’re on safe ground. The two Polaris kid quads are nearly identical aside from the bodywork. Both have a CV transmission with reverse and a number of safety features, like an adjustable throttle and the buggy whip/flag. It has 5 inches of travel in front and 6 inches in the rear. It’s also rated Y-10.

Polaris knows the value of starting riders young. The Polaris 50 is approved by the CPSC for riders who are 6 years old. Power comes from a four-stroke motor with an automatic transmission and no reverse. The Outlaw 50 comes with a safety flag, a helmet and an instructional DVD. It has electric start and real daytime running lights. Available in blue and pink, just like kids.

SUZUKI Z90 ($2899)
Suzuki rates the Z90 as appropriate for 12-year-olds, although it seems a little on the small side. The little quad is scaled for riders between 80 and 100 pounds. It has an electric starter, plus a recoil backup. The front suspension is single A-arm, final drive is chain, brakes are drums, and there’s a throttle limiter and tether. The Z90 has a CV transmission but no reverse.

This engine was originally designed to power mini chariots for the kids of ancient Egypt, but it’s still one of the best small-displacement powerplants in the motorsports world. It’s an 86cc air-cooled four-stroke with an automatic clutch and a manual four-speed transmission. These days it has an electric starter, which is something the pharaohs only dreamed of.