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Motor Size: Understanding the Power of a Gas-Powered ATV

Gas-powered ATVs are great for recreation, whether for youth or adults. From driving through woods to pulling a cart of firewood, having a gas-powered ATV offers a fast way to travel around your property. When you purchase a quad, it’s essential to understand the motor size, allowing you to select the right ATV for your child.

Since gas-powered ATVs are larger and faster than their smaller, electric cousin, they could be more dangerous for your child if you select the wrong motor size. Gas-powered ATVs range from 70cc to 700cc, exceeding speeds of 70 miles per hour and weighing over 600 pounds. As you can imagine, placing an inexperienced rider on the wrong sized ATV could be detrimental to their health.

Parents need to understand the power under the hood of these recreational vehicles. It’s estimated that 25% of ATV-related injuries involve children under the age of 16 years old. The size and speed of these vehicles make them unsuitable for all children, and you must be cautious when picking the motor size.

So, let’s go through the motor size of gas-powered ATV to help you understand the power instead of these vehicles.

What is a Gas-Powered ATV?

When you are looking for all-terrain vehicles for your child, you’ll find electric and gas-powered models. Gas-powered ATVs are pricier than electric ATVs, but they are built to last for years to come. Instead of relying on battery power (and having to remember to charge the battery), these quads rely on gasoline to power them.

Gas-powered ATVs are stronger and have more power than electric ones. You don’t have to worry about them losing power as the battery dies. You do have to make sure you fill it up with gasoline, but they don’t lose power as the gas runs out.

One thing to note is that this style of ATVs is louder than electric ones. They are similar to motorcycles with loud buzzing sounds. So, if you have neighbors, they might become irritated with the noise created by this type of quad.

However, one of the reasons that adults and kids prefer gas-powered ATVs is that they come in different sizes. So, you can purchase the right motor size based on your child’s age. You can even find custom quads in different color combinations.

father and daughter riding atv

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CSPC) issued engine size suggestions for young riders. The CSPC considered any engine over the size of 90cc to be an adult-sized ATV. So, they suggest youth be at least 16 years old to operate an adult-sized ATV. Manufacturers also offer guidelines on engine size for your child’s safety.

Age of Operator

ATV Engine Size 

Under Six Years Old Not Recommended
6 to 11 Years Old 50cc
12 to 15 Years Old 70cc to 90cc
16 Years Old 125cc to 250cc
Intermediate to Advanced Riders 250cc and Up

Motor Sizes of Gas-Powered ATVs

ATVs range in size from 50cc youth ATVs up to 700cc sport quads, 800cc utility ATVs, and others over 1,000cc. The motor sizes are measured in cubic centimeters or “cc.” CC measures the volume of the cylinder, so its the measurement of all of the cylinders combined.

50cc Gas ATV

If your child has spent any time on an electric-powered ATV, they can move up to a 50cc gas-powered ATV when they are around six years old, but consider maturity. These machines range from 48 to 60.5 inches long and 29.9 to 34.7 inches wide.

50cc gas ATVs are small and lightweight, usually designed with little to no suspension system. They typically come with a speed governor to control the maximum speed. It’s essential to keep the speed low when a child first learns how to drive a gas ATV. As your child gets more confident, you can turn up the speed.

A 50cc ATV with four gears can travel around 20 MPH, and that’s why your child needs to be, at least, six years old. They also need to have some skills already before you introduce this ATV.

70cc to 110cc ATV

When your child is between the ages of 12 to 15 years old, you can purchase a 70cc to 110cc ATV. These are bigger quads that can drive faster, and they are heavier than a 50cc quad. Typically, this range of quad can reach speeds up to 32 MPH.

70cc ATVs aren’t as popular as the 50cc or 110cc. You can find some options, but most of them are lesser-known brands. 90cc ATVs are the more popular-sized youth, and you can find them in different measurements.

70cc models measure 48 inches long by 35 inches wide, and 110cc models range from 56 to 61 inches long and 34 to 40 inches wide.

young girl sitting in atv

125cc to 250cc ATV

This motor size can fit teens around 16 years old and above. These riders need to have experience operating smaller ATVs and understanding safety, along with proper operating instructions.

200cc ATVs aren’t as popular as other sizes, but it can be a good size for kids who need more practice before sizing up. These quads range from 65 to 70 inches long and 40 to 42 inches wide.

In this range of cc, the maximum speeds that can be reached differ. Here are the general speed rates to expect:

  • 125cc – 30 MPH
  • 200cc – 38 MPH
  • 250cc- 60 MPH

250cc+ ATV

When you reach 250cc motor size, these ATVs are meant for intermediate and advanced riders who enjoy this recreational activity. Speeds of this size can reach speeds between 55 to 60 MPH, depending on the brand. The 250cc ATVs measure from 66 to 76 inches long and 40 to 42 inches wide, depending on the model.

Higher Motor Sizes 

Motor sizes don’t stop at 250cc, but the larger sizes are all designed for adults. Since the goal of this website is to talk about kids ATVs, we won’t go too far into them, but here is a brief overview.

  • 400-500cc: This size is better for ranchers, acreage owners, farmers, light trail riding, and new riders. Many females prefer this size of ATVs. Quads in this size range reach speeds of around 60 MPH.
  • 550-700cc: If you want a quad for aggressive trail riding or hauling, this size motor is preferred. It’s also great for taller people. ATVs of this size can reach speeds of around 70 MPH.
  • 700-1,000cc: Here are the quad sizes for aggressive trail riding, mud riding, hunting, climbing hills, and crossing streams. You can expect speeds between 70 and 80 MPH.

man pours gasoline into atv

Laws Regarding The Size of ATV for Kids

You should be aware that certain states have legal requirements about what size quad your child may have. The CPSC recommends that no one under the age of 16 years old should ride an ATV. You must look up any legal requirements of the state that you reside.

Several states do have restrictive laws regarding age limits. For example, North Carolina law states that a child must be at least eight years old before they can ride an ATV without any exception. Only states allow young riders on ATVs with stipulations, such as riding supervised or based on engine CC size.

Final Thoughts on Motor Size

Understanding the power of a gas-powered ATV and the motor size lets you pick the right quad for your child. For your child’s safety, you need to select the right motor, which dictates its power and speed. You don’t want to pick a larger engine than your child can handle, so choose the right size based on your child’s age and maturity. That way, you can be sure your child is safe and having the time of his life riding his new quad!

Jerry is a former motorcycle mechanic. He’s dedicated his life to nuts and bolts of two- and four-wheelers. Pottering around in the garage - that’s, Jerry claims, the best way to spend all evening long. Currently, Jerry Kidd is a consultant at CFMOTO dealer in Chicago, IL, that offers high-performance ATVs and UTVs. The company has been serving for more than 30 years to provide its customers of all ages with heavy-duty vehicles.

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