Can these vehicles really operate in the water?
Yes. They float just like a boat. The tires are designed to act as paddles. Great for lakes and ponds, but don't use them in any area with any strong current. (Unless, of course, you add an outboard boat motor!) But really, they are best used just to cross water.
What kind of motors do they have?
Most of them (new machines) use Vanguard engines by Briggs & Stratton, or Kohler engines. These are the kinds of engines you'll find on garden tractors. These engines are very dependable and quiet with parts availability nearly everywhere. Most of the machines from the past used a form of a snowmobile engine; these were very powerful, but not very dependable when used for an All Terrain Vehicle.
How many people can they carry? How much weight?
They vary from model and makes, but they can carry between 600 and 1200 pounds. This usually equates to between two to six people.
How fast can they go?
Most of the companies quote 20 to 25 miles per hour on land, 2 to 5 miles an hour in water. Most standard machines will run about 24mph. It doesn't seem like much, but this is fast in a little vehicle. Older, out of production units, like some models of the Attex, could go up to 55MPH.
How much do these vehicles cost?
Prices vary on models and options on new models.
Of course, there's also a used market. Check out our Classifieds section. The main thing to remember is to make sure you get a good machine.
Which new machine should I buy?
There are many new machines now available. I recommend that you look at the different models and compare them to each other. All of todays machines can be reliable with a good maintenance program. Finally, I highly suggest that you drive all the models you are considering, and buy the one that you like the most.
I really want a used one: what do I do?
I suggest you buy a used machine that is in excellent condition. And remember: these machines must be maintained. Lots of people buy one and drive it until something causes a problem, then they "quick fix" the problem and keep on driving. What they end up with, it remains, nevertheless, a machine that will still need work all over. If you want to enjoy using a 6x6, it pays to make sure you get a good one.
Yes, yes, absolutely -- YES!!! These vehicles must be maintained. An owner must service the engine according to the engine manufacturer's suggestions. The drive line must be kept adjusted ,lubricated and serviced on a regular basis. One of the primary factors concerning maintenance is to keep the vehicle clean and dry inside -- this way all the mechanical components should operate more efficiently and most likely for a long period of time. Batteries and control cables must be kept in good repair. In other words, just good "common sense" and regular attention will pay off. If you keep your vehicle in good general repair, you will be able to drive it instead of working on it all the time.
Where can you ride 6x6 ATVs?
Any place where ATVs and other off-road vehicles are allowed (NOTE: Keep reading for more important information!). You can ride them in some lakes too, but be aware you may also need a separate boat license to be legal. Of course, you can ride them on your private property. Riding is allowed in some National Forest areas, but be sure to check all legal issues before you ride anywhere. There are a few areas listed in the ROUTE6x6 BULLETIN BOARD section. When you find other legal areas, be sure to send them to me and I will post them in The BULLETIN BOARD section.
In what color are these vehicles available?
Most of the manufacturers now offer machines in various colors.
How do you steer these vehicles?
They use skid-steering, like on a tractor. None of the wheels change angle as they would on a car. For example, to turn left, you pull the left handle. This slows or stops the left set of wheels, while the right set of wheels continue to push the vehicle, forcing the vehicle to turn to the left. This is what allows the vehicle to turn within its own radius. Needless to say, that's very helpful for getting out of tight spots!
Learning to drive one of these vehicles forces you to throw out some concepts you've learned from driving a car. For instance, if you are making a turn in a car, you turn the wheel to a point where the front wheels are at the proper angle to negotiate a smooth turn. In a skid-steer vehicle, you're essentially always driving in a straight line, making occasional course corrections with the brakes. After time "at the sticks," the operator learns to become fully capable of making nice smooth round turns.
What about the suspension?
There is no suspension, per se, however, these vehicles use low-pressure balloon tires, which function quite well at taking out the bumps in the ride. The low pressure allows them to "grab" better, too.
Is it difficult to learn to drive a 6x6 vehicle?
No. Most people can figure it out in a few minutes. There are just a few things you need to "unlearn" from regular automobile driving. For instance, do not try to steer the ATV like a car. Instead of trying to make smooth, consistent turns at first (like in a car), make many quick course corrections (see illustration above). Also, when you turn, don't let off on the throttle or the vehicle will come to a stop. Alway take time to completely learn to operate the machine AND learn the tendencies of the machine before any high speed or otherwise risky operation(s). At first it will feel strange, but with time most people are able to drive ATVs very confidently.
Why do you call this site "Route 6x6" when you some information about 8x8 vehicles?
Because an 8x8 is just a 6x6 with 2 extra wheels.
There are so many Quads (4-wheel, straddle-type ATVs) available. Why should I consider a 6x6 amphibious?
Of course, Quads don't float, so if you'll be needing to cross bodies of water greater than streams or creeks, they just won't cut it. A side benefit is that you stay fairly dry and clean in a 6x6. The 6x6 ATVs are safer since you ride in them as opposed to on them. Also, Quads tend to be single-rider vehicles. The 6x6 ATVs can hold from two to six passengers comfortably. The same can probably be said for cargo.
I think what really differentiates the different types vehicles is purpose and intent (even the mentality) of the riders. Quad riders tend to be in the dirt-bike crowd, those whose primary goals are riding for the sake of riding and searching for challenging courses or races. Most of the Quad riders I've seen wear helmets and the body armor associated with dirt bike riding. By contrast, it seems that 6x6 ATVs riders tend to be more utilitarian. They use their 6x6 as the means and not the goal. Hunters, fisherman, campers and other outdoor types use 6x6 ATVs for getting them to their intended activity. More industrial users utilize their 6x6 for farming and other outdoor industries. 6x6 ATVs don't require the physical stamina that is needed to ride a Quad. In fact, many disabled people use 6x6 ATVs, since they require no use of their legs and are easy to drive. Finally, 6x6 ATVs have a special appeal to older people, who no longer can or may no longer want to drive 60 MPH and perform jumps off sand dunes, etc., etc. (You get my drift -- er, uh... get it? sand dunes...? drift...?)
What's the some of the dangerous aspects of 6x6 vehicles?
ATTEMPTING TO DO THINGS WITH THEM THAT THEY ARE NOT DESIGNED TO DO!!! Trying to go fast would certainly be at the top of the list! These vehicles are designed to cross difficult terrain at SLOW speeds. If you want to drive fast, you would do better to get a motorcycle or a quad. On the popular television program, "America's Funniest Home Videos," I saw one segment where a man was doing about 30 in an old Terra Tiger 6x6 and then he slammed on the left brake. The vehicle immediately rolled several times over its left side. Luckily for the driver, he was ejected and didn't seem to be hurt. Had he not been ejected or had he been driving on pavement, that segment probably would have been featured on a different television program: "911!" (...end of sermon!)
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