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The mini, all-terrain vehicle (ATV) quad is a smaller version of the full-size ATV commonly referred to simply as a "quad," due to its having four wheels. Using a small electric or gasoline-powered engine, the mini ATV quad provides an entry-level, off-road vehicle for younger and inexperienced riders to become comfortable on before moving up to a full-size ATV. The mini ATV quad can be either pull-start or electric-start-equipped, and may be either manual shift or automatic transmission equipped. The typical mini ATV quad is very similar in appearance to the larger, full-sized version and possesses most of the same features as the larger ATVs.
For many children and beginning riders, a full-sized ATV or quad can be too powerful and difficult to operate. The answer for some is the mini ATV quad. The scaled-down version of a larger ATV provides an easier-to-control option for novices as well as physically smaller riders when compared to a typical full-size quad. The mini ATV quad is available with many of the same types of features as a full-size quad, with some exceptions being the absence of a four-wheel drive option, and the inability to plow snow or dirt with a front-mounted scraper blade.
The reason for the exclusion of the four-wheel drive option on the mini quad is due to the decreased power of the smaller engine. The power required to operate a four-wheel drive vehicle requires a much larger engine, transmission and transfer case to supply the power to the front wheels. This is also true with other attachments that are common on the full-size versions, such as the scraper blade and some gardening attachments. The smaller, mini ATV quad also uses a governor to restrict the top-end speed of the machine to a more controllable and safer limit.
Operation of the mini ATV quad is often the same as the full-sized machine, with throttle, brake and steering all being operated in the same manner. The tires of the smaller ATV are over-sized, balloon-style tires similar to those on the larger quad versions. The tires provide stable footing and superior traction on soft and uneven terrain. The fuel mileage of the gasoline-powered versions of the smaller machine are comparable to that of a similarly-sized go-cart. The batteries of an electric version are typically able to provide riding power for one to two hours on a full charge.