Kasea Skyhawk 50 Review

Can the Skyhawk Soar above the Rest?

Feb. 01, 2002 By George Szappanos

Kasea Skyhawk 50 Review

Can the Skyhawk Soar above the Rest?

By George Szappanos

February 2002

Among the many 50cc ATV offerings on the quad market today, few are truly unique enough among the rest to constitute recognition. The Kasea may just be one of those. In this day of safety conscious, litigation paranoid times Kasea made the wise choice to differentiate themselves from the flood of mini-manufacturers by making safety top priority.

Not only are the machines designed and manufactured with sound engineering, but Kasea saw fit to equip their machines with features that many of their competitors opted to leave off - such as riveted warning tags, hand tether, foot brake. While many would throw caution to the wind when our well-being is concerned, most would agree that when our very children are concerned that too much safety is just what we want.

This above average design has attracted the attention of many enterprises, from go-kart track type concessions that rent Kasea quads on an hourly basis, to Trinity Racing who's been racing Kasea's for over a year and considers them the best mini around. Off-road.com had the opportunity to borrow a Kasea Skyhawk 50 and provide some feedback to our readers on just what we think of this machine. 


Nice looking machine!
Right off, the Kasea is arguably the nicest looking mini quad from an aesthetic standpoint. Red or blue colored plastic is available in the Honda 400EX-ish looking design. Twin headlight bezels hint of functional headlights, although none are actually available from the manufacturer - in keeping with notion that lighting offers the opportunity to ride at night, something that the CPSC frowns on. 

Size-wise, the 50 is identical to its big-brother 90 in its basic architecture, with the only differences being tire diameter (which makes the 90 slightly taller) and engine size. This puts the smaller quad a little bigger than most 6 year olds might be comfortable with, but gives them plenty of room for growth.  Engine

Tapered steel rear axle.

The Skyhawk uses an air-cooled 50cc 2-cycle engine that uses oil-injection (no oil mixing). Like many of the other Asian imports it's based on the Yamaha scooter engine which features an integral CVT (automatic) transmission. The engine is brought to life by turning the keyed ignition, locking the brake lever, and pushing the start button. The engine immediately fires to life and idles steadily thanks to an automatic choke which insures proper fuel enrichment when cold. The fuel tank valve is automatic as well, which means that fuel only flows to the carburetor when the engine is running. The downside to this feature, unfortunately, is no reserve tank setting. Make sure you're properly tanked up before embarking on a long trip from your fuel can.

One complaint we had on our unit is how the motor cut out intermittently when cold. When applying even moderate throttle, it would bog and stall if the young rider kept holding the throttle. A more attentive rider could chop the throttle and nurse the revs back up, but this is hardly an enduring MO for new riders. However, as the engine warms the issue all but disappears.

Another complaint is that the engine seemed to lack the oomph of other 50s tested by our staff. Even with the brass throttle slide stop in the carb removed and the thumb throttle lever stop screw backed fully out the machine lacked vigor. Most of our test riders when asked which machine they wanted to ride seldom picked the Skyhawk stating "that it was slow" (it was difficult to get a more qualitative assessment from a 6 year old).

It could be just this particular unit, since the engine and drivetrain are so similar to its better performing competitors. But Kasea's position is that the machine is intentionally "throttled" or restricted so as to comply with the guidelines set forth by the CPSC. On the brighter side, those familiar with the Kasea line agree that minor modifications could significantly add zip to this machine.


Beefy front spindles with grease fittings.
As far as chassis goes, you'd think Kasea had been making quads as long as the big OEM's based on the well-designed chassis holding the Skyhawk together. Not that it's ready to go racing out of the box, but with gussets in the right spots, grease fittings on the critical wear points, and a solid suspension design Kasea is no doubt making sure these machines last the long haul.

Another nice feature is the front spindle carrier mounted in double-shear, making the likelihood of bending the carrier when bumping into trees pretty slim. Suspension travel is barely more than the thickness of a 2x4, but quite adequate for most 6-10 year old kids. "Grown-ups" seeking the comic approval of their riding buds can easily land 2 footers without damage to the machine or their lower back. Fortunately, both front and rear-end feature preload adjustable shocks.

Controls / Brakes

Hand loop tether and riveted (riveting?) warnings.
The Skyhawk has sealed drum brakes at both ends, which although not as sophisticated as discs, stop the machine just fine. Even adult riders can readily lock the rear tires using either the hand-lever brake, or the foot brake - a feature that many of the Asian mini ATV manufactures have opted to leave off.

Not only is a foot brake a great feature in the interest of safety, but it provides a good basis for developing a young rider's feel for full-sized machine controls.  A gripe not uncommon to most of the Asian mini-quads is the "tightness" of the controls. The hand brakes are not overly difficult to pull, but the thumb throttle gave every under-12 rider "thumb pump" after even 15 minutes of riding.

A lighter spring and a more ergonomic design suited more towards smaller riders would really make this machine more enjoyable to the younger crowd.   Safety

The footpad could be longer.
Besides the various aspects mentioned above, there are a few items worthy of mention separately. In general, Kasea certainly has covered the bases, but two items were flagged by our staff.

First, we'd have liked to have seen longer, more comprehensive foot pads. For veteran riders the short foot pad might be adequate. But for novice riders more protection against a stray leg instinctively or unintentionally dropped in front of the peg would be welcome. And second, the DOT can attest to the value of brake lights, and their value is by no means lost on new riders eagerly following each other nose to tail. A bright red brake light would be a welcome addition.  Final Impressions Overall, the good-looking and rock solid Kasea Skyhawk 50 is a keeper. Targeted at the 6-12 youth market it makes a fine first machine for riders anywhere in this age bracket, although older or heavier riders may find the engine performance wanting as their experience grows.

With the scads of the high performance bolt-on parts sure to be available as the mini-quad population grows, we wouldn't worry too much about a 50 being too slow. But that's another story...  Click here for a slideshow of more pictures...
George Szappanos

  • Contact Kasea at  www.kasea.com  or 1-800-600-9025

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