HIGHLAND: A NEW U.S.-MADE ATV
It seemed like they came out of nowhere. One day we got a call from U.S. Highland and some guys from Oklahoma announced they had an American-made ATV with some very impressive performance numbers. Within a few weeks, we had one to test.
U.S. Highland didn’t spring into being overnight. The story begins almost 20 years ago with a Swedish company called Folan. In the years after Husqvarna motorcycles was purchased by Italians and moved out of Sweden, a handful of former engineers started on a new project. The result was a V-motor that was light and made crazy horsepower. The history after that gets so complicated that we couldn’t begin follow it. Cannondale, ATK and a new company called Highland were all involved. But the bottom line is that now the tooling for the V-twin motor as well as a single-cylinder version is in Oklahoma where they are preparing to produce a line of ATVs and motorcycles. The single-cylinder motor will be available in a variety of configurations, depending on what the customer wants. It can be a 450 with mild output or a 70-horsepower 507. It is a six-speed with EFI and a very complicated electronic brain that keeps track of every rpm that the motor turns from the first time it’s started. It even has a G-meter that remembers how hard it landed from each jump
The chassis for the ATV can be traced back to the Cannondale 450. It has an aluminum frame with Elka and Ohlins suspension. If you remember, the Cannondale was regarded as one of the best-handling performance ATVs ever.
Now that we’ve ridden the quad, we are impressed. For a full riding impression, check out an upcoming print edition of Dirt Wheels. The website for U.S. Highland is currently under construction.
If the chassis looks familiar, it’s because it has family ties going back to the Cannondale.
The heart of the beast is the Swedish-designed EFI motor. A V-twin version is in development.
Justin Jones sends some Glen Helen dirt into a low earth orbit.
We performed the Dirt Wheels water torture on the Highland. Read about it in an upcoming issue.