Distributed in South Africa by equipment supplier Smith Power Equipment (SPE), single seater quads and side-by-sides – two-and three-seater vehicles – are used for robust tasks.
The vehicles are used for working in off-road conditions that can be muddy, uneven or traversing up and down hills, which is the reason that most side-by-sides use four-wheel-drive systems, explains SPE Polaris and Linhai product range national sales manager Mark Chittenden.
He explains that quad bikes and side-by-sides differ in their steering arrangement, with quad bikes having handles and side-by-sides using steering wheels.
“This is the reason why most of the all-terrain vehicle (ATV) rangers use four-wheel-drive systems that have high and low settings on their gearboxes.”
Chittenden notes that two-wheel-drive quads are available from Linhai – the Linhai Rustler 260 quad, which is used for basic tasks on farms and game farms where the conditions are not extremely difficult to traverse and there are pre-existing dirt roads for the quads on which to operate.
He explains that the quad has a 13 ℓ petrol tank and a 257 cc engine that uses an automatic continuously variable transmission gearbox that drives the two rear wheels. The engine and gearbox combined enable the quad to carry 150 kg, with a towing capacity of 100 kg.
More difficult tasks, such as driving in the bush and adverse conditions, require smaller four-wheel-drive vehicles such as quads or side-by-sides.
Chittenden says the Polaris Ranger series uses a four-wheel-drive system and is used by farmers to tend to fields, or for hunting, game drives, transporting equipment to remote locations or antipoaching operations where no pre-existing roads exist.
The Polaris Rangers are available in the range of 567 cc to 900 cc petrol engines with an additional 1028 cc diesel engine, all of which use automatic gearbox systems that can be adjusted to a high- or low-range setting. The ranger can be fitted with a two-seater cabin, which allows for extra storage space, or a four-seater configuration.
“The high- and low-range settings of the Polaris Ranger are meant to overcome different kinds of terrain. The high-range settings allow for more speed, while the low-range setting provides more power for the four-wheel-drive system,” he explains.
Chittenden mentions that one of the biggest challenges SPE and others have had to deal with in supplying these ATVs locally has been the provision of good after-sales service for clients in remote locations.
However, with 45 dealers throughout South Africa, the company has been able to overcome the challenge by providing remote support from the nearest branch and full services at any of the dealers, he concludes.