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What Is a 150cc ATV?

By Jeremy Laukkonen
Updated May 23, 2024
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A 150cc all-terrain vehicle (ATV) is a three- or four-wheeled, single occupant vehicle with an engine displacement of 150 cubic centimeters (about 9 cubic inches). These vehicles have seats that can be straddled like a motorcycle or dirt bike, and they are primarily used for recreational purposes. ATV engine displacements can range anywhere between 49 and 1,000 cubic centimeters (about 3 to 61 cubic inches), so a 150cc ATV is at the low end. These ATVs are typically too large and powerful for young children, though they can provide adequate power for older teens and many full grown adults. A 150cc ATV can be used to ride trails, though the relatively small engine displacement means they can slow down when climbing hills.

All-terrain vehicles, which are also called by names such as three- and four-wheelers, quads and quadbikes outside the United States, come in a wide variety of sizes. Smaller engine displacements are typically better suited for small adults or older children, while the larger vehicles can actually be licensed and driven like cars in some areas. The minimum engine displacement for this use is typically about 250cc (15ci), so 150cc ATVs are usually limited to recreational usage.

In some areas, there are age restrictions tied directly to engine displacement. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and manufacturers reached an agreement in the United States that requires ATVs with engine displacements larger than 90cc (about 5.5ci) to have labels stating they are unsuitable for children younger than 12 years of age. Some areas also have laws that enforce similar policies, so a 150cc ATV is typically considered unsuitable for young riders.

The relatively small engine displacement of a 150cc ATV can make these vehicles well-suited to older teens who are not yet ready for bigger machines. These ATVs tend to be smaller and lighter weight than others with larger engine displacements, so they can also be ridden by full grown adults. An average size adult can typically expect to achieve speeds of about 30 mph (48 kph) on flat terrain, which is typically enough for recreational purposes.

It is also possible to use a 150cc ATV to ride trails, which is one of the major activities that ATV users participate in. The performance of an ATV with this engine displacement size can vary depending on the terrain, type of transmission and the configuration of the air filter. Unlike the relatively fast speeds experienced on flat terrain, a 150cc ATV may slow down to 10 mph (about 16 kph) or less when climbing steep hills.

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