Top 10 Sport ATVs

Jul. 07, 2014 By Seth Fargher
The sport ATV market may not be as big as it once was, but many sport ATVs, like the Honda TRX 450R, are fan favorites since they are still in production.

The sport ATV segment of the powersports industry has had a bit of a troubled life.  The boom of the late ‘80s that yielded the 250R, LT250, Tecate 4 and the Yamaha banshee preceded the lull of the 90’s and a nearly decade long dry spell with only a handful of sport quads even in production.  As we entered the 2000’s, the sport segment once again surged with new models from each of the big four as well as some new comers and even introduced us to an entirely new class, the big bore sport ATV segment with models like Kawasaki’s 700, Bombardier’s DS 650, the Yamaha Raptor and eventually the Honda 700xx.  Race fans got their production race quads that, although not exactly race ready out of the box, were a substantially better platform than anything else on the market.

Looking back over the last twenty five years, numerous machines can be considered innovative or ground breaking for their time while others simply outperformed or outsold the competition by leaps and bounds. 

While there are numerous machines from both past and present that deserve praise for their contribution to the sport or the innovation brought to the industry, our top ten list consists of our best picks for the greatest of all time.  Qualifications are not merely limited to best selling or best performing but all around acceptance, innovation or influence on the sport segment as a whole.  Two machines that didn’t make the list but we want to give a nod to are Honda’s ATC 90 and ATC 250R.  While three wheelers have been out of production for almost 30 years, both of these machines were instrumental in paving the way for the sport ATV segment that we now know today.  

Yamaha Banshee

Yamaha Banshee
What more can you say about the king of the dunes? Yamaha’s 350cc twin shook up the industry with its release in 1987 and lead the sport segment throughout the entire dry spell of the 90’s. Receiving very few upgrades throughout its 20 year life span shows that Yamaha hit it out of the park early on with this machine. Although not the most popular platform for racers, if you paid a visit to any of our nations duning locations (pre the side by side era,) you would typically see more Banshees than any other ATV.

Honda TRX 250R

Honda TRX 250R
Although it was only made for four years (1986 to 1989) Honda’s Fourtrax TRX 250R is considered by many to be the greatest production sport ATV of all time.  It remained as the dominant platform for all of ATV racing until the four stroke era began and its design continues to be mirrored by OEMs and aftermarket manufacturers alike.  Classic 250Rs in good condition are still bought and sold at a premium because of their popularity and for nostalgic reasons.  It’s one of the only sport ATVs in history that has appreciated in value over the years.

Next Page... Top 10 Sport ATVs Newsletter
Join our Weekly Newsletter to get the latest off-road news, reviews, events, and alerts!