Saturday, April 15, 2006

Quading, its OK and so is the Suzuki Ozark 250

What can I say about quading now that I have had the pleasure of riding my Suzy Ozark 250 in the desert since July 2005. I can tell you that it is a completely different experience then dirt biking. The Ozark 250 has shown itself to be a capable little machine for both trail riding and light sporty off road use. But for someone who was raised riding dirt bikes and racing enduros it is in my opinion at maximum a quad is “OK”. I can see now why the modern quad has its roots in Japanese farm utility use from where it was born and has really not changed all that much. In my opinion the quad is primarily a utility vehicle trying to have fun but no matter how close it come to a fun ride, it is nowhere near the trills machine you get in a good dirt bike. I realize that from a competency standpoint it is perfect for those who want to ride off road, but have no clue nor intention of chasing the thrill you get on a dirt bike.  Living in a planned community with allot of older baby boomers I can see how the quad was a logical transition from the golf cart, power chair, and powered grocery carts, not to mention the avid old hunter that now rides a camouflage quad to chase Coyotes and Deer since he can no longer ride his horsy.

   For me my Suzy Ozark is OK but not my favorite ride off road, as it requires no skill or challenge. The quad's short suspension travel (6-8 inches) on four wheels, bottom out with every bump and jump which is a much harsher ride at then any dirt bike. A dirt bike's plush 15 inch suspension is like an extension of your own body soaking up any hard impacts and yet much more physically demanding, challenging, and offers a superior power and performance experience within the off road environment.

   In short dirt bike riding is an art form and qauding is a self imposed Walt Disney ride unless you are just learning. On the flip side the quad is a superior utility machine, great for towing your boat out of the river or towing your down dirt bike out of where a 4x4 truck cant go, and of course carrying your fat ass and all the beer you drink off road regardless of your physical condition (beer + quading = fun). From that aspect the quad is here to stay and I must admit that although I barely ride my quad in favor to my Suzy DRZ400 or RM100, I see the day in about 30 years when I will defiantly be joining my geriatric brothers quading off road on a regular basis. Hopefully by then they will have transitional power chair that instantly convert to off road complete with plasma bag tree. 

   So my bottom line advice for experienced dirt bikers is ride as long as you can cause quading is defiantly a step backwards unless you can’t balance anymore. My advice to young families with kids is do yourselves a favor and buy them a quality dirt bike and stay away from those cheap imitation imports from China as they are dangerous and of very poor quality.  A few picture above of my Suzy Ozark and its chassis with the front body removed to give an idea of it structure.

Gunner G.