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Joy riding

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A four-wheel-drive for children? A 500 cc toy for parents? Anything's possible with an ATV.

While motown is abuzz with the arrival of Harleys in the country, there is another kind of automobile which is catching the fancy of the rich and famous. (ATVs) have made an entry into the Indian market, and they are finding takers of all ages from six to 60.

ATVs do what their name says they do: deal with a variety of terrain. They may look easy to handle but are in fact quite difficult to manage. The high-powered ones in particular require a lot of skill and physical coordination to ride.

The two companies currently offering ATVs in India are and Gurgaon-based Adventure Wheels. Their products come in all shapes and sizes, to suit the requirements of people who are fond of such “toys”.

For instance, Adventure Wheels offers ATVs in a range of engine sizes from 50 cc to 500 cc. The 50 cc ATV is meant for pre-teens children and is quite popular in the country. Priced at Rs 65,000, it is targeted at kids who are fascinated by such machines. Compared to the ATVs meant for adults, these are easy to handle and come equipped with some safety features. According to the company, the kids’ ATVs are among their most popular models.

The higher-end ATVs from Polaris start at Rs 2.5 lakh for the basic 50 cc model, and go up to Rs 13 lakh for the 850 cc machines. Polaris offers a wide range of ATVs, starting from two-wheel-drives to six-wheel-drives which come with manual as well as automatic transmissions. For instance, the Scrambler 500 series is a four-wheel-drive with electric transmission. Priced at around Rs 5 lakh, the Scrambler is basically a sports ATV. The utility range of ATVs from Polaris is targeted at industries, people who have farmhouses, and the defence services.

The market for ATVs at the moment is pretty niche and at a nascent stage. After all, an ATV is not a cheap product — you are spending Rs 70,000 for something your child wants to ride.

Polaris is trying its hand at a lot of things to promote their ATVs, such as organising ATV safaris and rallies across the country, and making it possible to rent ATVs. The rental plan has found quite a few takers, as it is meant for people who can’t afford to buy an ATV outright but still want to enjoy driving one. An hour’s ride on these rental machines will cost you around Rs 1,000.

A special ATV track is also being set up in New Delhi, and is expected to come up at Adventure Island, an in the suburbs.

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