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What Is a 125cc ATV?

Dan Cavallari
Dan Cavallari

Riding an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) is a fun activity for adults and kids, but it is important to choose the most appropriate vehicle for each rider. While a full size ATV with a large engine may be suitable for a fully grown adult, a child's risk of injury on such a machine is much higher. For smaller riders, a 125cc ATV is a good choice. The 125cc ATV features an engine that is 125 cubic centimeters (cc) in size. By comparison, a larger ATV may be 400cc, while a small one may be 50cc.

The cubic centimeters refer to the engine's displacement; the higher the number, the more powerful the engine will be. A 125cc ATV is not the smallest available, but it is not exceptionally large or powerful when compared to other models. It is most appropriate for lighter riders and beginner riders looking for a vehicle that is fun and fast, but also manageable and safe. At this engine size, the vehicle is likely to be marketed for young riders, as they are most likely to fall into the weight range and riding ability level that is most suitable for a 125cc ATV. Some lighter female riders may also fit well on this size of ATV, though it largely depends on the rider's abilities.

Woman holding a book
Woman holding a book

The design and function of a 125cc ATV will be quite similar to more powerful models, but its capabilities may be more limited. Two general types of ATVs exist: sport ATVs, sometimes known as racing models; and utility ATVs. Sport ATVs are generally designed for racing or otherwise driving fast. These models will feature high ground clearance and ample suspension to handle jumps and rigorous terrain at high speeds, and the body is likely to be fairly lightweight for better handling. A utility ATV, conversely, will be heavier and wider. It is designed for stability rather than for speed, as such ATVs are often used for hunting or other outdoor activities that require hauling goods.

One of the advantages of a 125cc ATV is the lighter weight of the vehicle. The engine is likely to be smaller both in power and in size, as will the frame and body. This cuts down on the weight of the vehicle, making it more nimble and maneuverable. This is why this level of ATV is suitable for lighter riders. The disadvantage, of course, is that heavier riders will not be able to take advantage of this lightweight machine, as it is usually not designed to adequately support larger riders.

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