Why walk when you can ride? In addition to making our lives easier, outdoor vehicles are simply great fun on their own, which explains why there is a booming market catering to all kinds of power sport enthusiasts. The vehicles on this list, however, are not usually in most catalogs. This is because all of the ATVs on this list are, in a word, unique.
You’ll need a hefty bankroll to be able to purchase some of these and in some cases, these vehicles are simply unattainable due to them being prototypes. Still, the technology behind these insane off-road vehicles is worth a look.
For the purposes of this list, we have excluded full-sized automobiles. That’s worth making another list altogether.
The Parajet SkyRunner is probably what would happen if you combined a fanboat with a dune buggy and a UTV. If you ever find yourself bored on the ground, the SkyRunner is able to take to the skies thanks to a paraglider, and it has a top air speed of 55 mph. It can even go faster on the ground—up to 115 mph—but let’s face it, if you buy this high-priced four-wheeler, you’re going to want to be up in the air. The SkyRunner’s price tag runs well past $100,000.
2. Extreme Vehicle One (EV1)
Almost every vehicle designed by Howe and Howe can be put on this list, but this demilitarized Ripsaw platform deserves special mention. Howe and Howe Technologies specializes in what the company terms “extreme vehicles” and robotic platforms, usually for military, law enforcement, and search and rescue agencies. The Extreme Vehicle One, however, is one of the few products the company offers for commercial purchase. The vehicle itself is based on the Ripsaw, which is essentially a light robotic tank that can be remotely controlled or piloted by one person. While the Ripsaw design became fairly popular with the US military, the EV1 has also seen some popularity among outdoor enthusiasts. Brace yourself for the starting price: it costs about $195,000 for basic models.
3. Mini Ripsaw
A smaller version of the EV1, the Mini Ripsaw from Howe and Howe is essentially a large, impressively rugged Segway for the outdoors.
Can’t decide between owning a jetski or an ATV? Want something that can go straight from the trail to the water and back again? Taking a note from Transformers, the Quadski from Gibbs is designed so that it can transition seamlessly from land to water. It does this at the press of a button, retracting its wheels and switching over to water jet propulsion to become an instant personal watercraft. According to the company, the Quadski maintains a top speed of 45 mph both on land and on water.
That said, buying a conventional ATV and jetski may be cheaper than one of these transforming vehicles, as the Quadski comes with a price tag of around $40,000.
5. Mountain Horse
The Timbersled Mountain Horse is not actually a vehicle in and of itself, but rather a conversion kit that allows your dirt bike to ride in heavy snow. The company touts its many benefits over traditional snowmobiles, such as being more increased maneuverability, more accurate handling, lighter weight, and that it’s easier to fit in tight spaces such as dense forest. Also, it’s basically like riding a dirtbike in powder, so what’s not to love?
Since the Mountain Horse is a conversion kit, it also has the added benefit of being the cheapest item on this list by far. That said, a complete kit will still cost you about $5,000 or more.
At first glance, Quebec inventor Yvon Martel’s design looks like an elongated lawnmower with treads. While that would undoubtedly make yard work much easier, Martel’s device is anything but a lawnmower. The MTT-136, which stands for My Tracked Technology, is a battery-powered tool that acts as a vehicle, cargo transporter, and even as a snow plow.
According to a video released on Martel’s YouTube channel, the entire contraption weighs about 280 pounds depending on the type of battery installed, and can run as long as eight hours or for 130 miles. The MTT-136 is also strong enough to push a malfunctioning car and is surprisingly fast in snow.
Martel says he is currently looking for manufacturing partners or distributors.
7. The prototype six-legged ATV
Like the MTT-136, this prototype vehicle is not in production yet. In fact, it doesn’t even have a real name. This six-legged all-terrain vehicle was featured in Discovery’s Prototype This! and it’s meant to end humanity’s dependence on the wheel. Yes, you heard that right, this vehicle works by using six independently moving legs to propel itself forward. According to North Design Labs, this kind of vehicle works remarkably like an insect, giving it many advantages over the traditional automobile. It needs less energy to run, is cleaner for the environment, and is more maneuverable as well. Unfortunately, intial tests found the ATV falling flat on its face.