This bad boy could keep going on terrain not accessible to other vehicles and gained immediate popularity in North America, particularly with hunters and trail riders. Seeing wide acceptance and a growing market for these machines, other manufacturers began introducing their own models.
Honda had a leg up on the competition because their reputation was already secured, but Yamaha and Suzuki quickly jumped into the game.
Suzuki was a leader in developing 4-wheeled ATVs. Their 1982 Quad Runner LT125 was marketed as a recreational vehicle for beginners. By 1985, the company was ready to offer the first high-performance 4-wheeler, the Suzuki LT250R Quad Racer, which stayed in production until 1992. During those years, the machine underwent major engineering upgrades, but retained core features like the sophisticated long-travel suspension, its liquid-cooled two-stroke motor, and a fully manual 5 speed transmission on early models that later was upgraded to a 6-speed for the 1987-1992 model years.
Yamaha introduced a different type of high performance machine they called the Banshee 350, designed using a twin-cylinder liquid cooled two stroke motor from their RD350LC motorcycle. It was an instant big score with sand dune riders because of its unique power delivery. But the Banshee was heavier and more difficult to ride in the dirt than most available models. EPA emission regulations signaled the end of this hugely popular ride in 2006.
In the latter half of the 1980s development of utility ATVs escalated quickly, and Honda ushered in the era of four wheel drive ATVs with their Four Trax TRX350 4×4. The 4×4 models became and remain the most popular type of ATV for work and recreational use. Production of 3-wheelers stopped in 1987 with an agreement between the manufacturers and the US Consumer Safety Commission following a legal battle over safety concerns. That agreement expired in 1997, but today very few manufacturers still make and market 3-wheelers.