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What Is a 90cc ATV?

By Lori Kilchermann
Updated Feb 09, 2024
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The size of an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) is typically defined by the size of its engine. A 90-cubic centimeter (CC) ATV is among the smallest available. A 90cc ATV is powered by a 90cc engine and is commonly classified as a child's or a beginner's vehicle. The lower horsepower output of a 90cc ATV does not allow the vehicle to be equipped with several of the options that are commonly found on a larger-sized ATV, such as four-wheel drive and a push blade.

Unlike larger ATVs that are equipped with much larger engines, the 90cc ATV does not come equipped with an electric starter. The 90cc ATV uses a pull-start to power up. Another feature of the 90cc ATV is an automatic transmission. Many of the base model, beginner-sized ATVs do not include a working suspension system. This type of vehicle takes advantage of the soft and bouncy, floatation-type tires to absorb the bumps of the rough terrain instead of using shock absorbers and springs like the larger ATVs.

One feature that is common on a larger ATV that is typically not included on the smaller version is a working light system. The small 90cc engine is often not equipped with the charging system required for the operation of head and tail lights. This is a common factor that prohibits the small ATV from operating on many trails and ATV parks around the world. Without a headlight, the small vehicle is often not as easily identified by other vehicles as a headlight-equipped vehicle. The lack of this safety device is also responsible for the 90cc ATV being restricted from operating on most public roads.

Despite the small size of the 90cc engine, the power output of the power plant is more than capable of providing enough torque to transport an adult rider. The basic operating requirements of the 90cc ATV are the same as those of a full-size ATV, so riding the beginner's machine provides the proper teaching platform to ready the novice rider to advance to a full-size model. Despite its small stature, the 90cc machine is more than capable of causing injury to an unprepared rider if used incorrectly. A full complement of protective gear, such as a helmet, boots and eye protection, is recommended for all riders. The small ATV is also required to display trail permits and registration numbers when operating in most areas and ATV parks around the globe.

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