When it comes to ATVs, few things are as important as speed. As ATVs are almost exclusively designed for off-roading versus working and hauling like their UTV cousins, speed may actually be the most important thing buyers look for when shopping around for a new vehicle.
Many people will tell you that most models, regardless of brand, will need separate modifications—obtained from purchasable accessories—in order to get the most out of your vehicle’s engine. While this may be true in many cases to travel at the maximum speed a vehicle can obtain, there are more than a few different ATVs that are able to perform at top speeds straight from the factory—with some even capable of hitting speeds of over 80 MPH!
In this article, we’ll explore the fastest ATVs on the market today to help you decide the best machine to get for the speed junky in your life!
Table of Contents
- The Honda TRX 700XX
- The Polaris Scrambler XP 1000 S
- The Suzuki Quadzilla LT 500 R
- The KTM 525 XC
- The Yamaha Raptor 700R
- The Can-Am Renegade & Can-Am Outlander
- The Arctic Cat Thundercat 1000
To keep it simple, we’ll start out by looking at a general list of ATV models that are capable of performing at top speeds:
- The Honda TRX 700XX (86mph or 138km/h)
- The Polaris Scrambler XP 1000s (85mph or 136km/h)
- The Quadzilla LT 500 R (80mph or 128km/h)
- The KTM 525 XC (75mph or 120km/h)
- The Yamaha Raptor 700R (74mph or 119km/h)
- The Can-Am Renegade And Outlander, and, finally, (74mph or 119km/h)
- The Arctic Cat Thundercat 1000 (70mph or 113km/h)
Now that we have a solid list, we can use the following sections to talk about each of these models more in-depth.
The Honda TRX 700XX
The Honda TRX 700 XX was only manufactured for a single year: from 2008-2009. Despite this short production run, it’s still left an impression in the minds of adrenaline-seeking speed riders. Powered by a 686cc, liquid-cooled, single-cylinder, 4-valve, electronically-injected fuel engine as well as an electric starter and a 5-speed manual transmission and reversing capabilities, this ATV was capable of traveling at speeds of up to 86 MPH!
The Polaris Scrambler XP 1000 S
The Polaris Scrambler XP 1000 S may hold the title for the fastest ATV you can still get on the market today. With 55” width stability and 14.5” of ground clearance, an 89-horsepower, 2-cylinder liquid-cooled engine, and single level 4-wheel hydraulic disc braking system, this powerful machine is capable of traveling at speeds up to 85 MPH and over the most difficult terrains.
The Suzuki Quadzilla LT 500 R
The Suzuki Quadzilla LT 500 R was the fastest ATV ever produced and reigned supreme during its production cycle, which lasted from 1987-1990. Originally named Suzuki QuadRacer LT 500 R, this quad earned the nickname “Quadzilla” from riders because of its sheer power and speed—an allusion to the word-famous Japanese monster film, Godzilla.
This ATV was and still is, hailed as one of the best all-terrain vehicles to ever hit the market–with some even going as far as to say this quad was actually too powerful and dangerous, putting some riders in perilous situations. This reputation eventually lead to the halting of its production in 1990, after only 3 years on the market.
Despite this, the Quadzilla remains legendary among ATV enthusiasts everywhere, and while that may make it slightly more difficult to find one for sale these days, its sheer legacy and speed capabilities (of up to 80 MPH) mean it definitely warranted a spot on this list!
The KTM 525 XC
Engineers at KTM decided when they were first starting out to set themselves apart from the competition by installing the best aftermarket parts on their ATVs and making that their standard—meaning riders wouldn’t have to worry about making modifications in order to get the best out of their machines.
While that may have an effect on the price point of these vehicles, KTM figured that it would ultimately save drivers money in the long run.
Capable of achieving speeds of up to 75 MPH, it’s not the absolute fastest quad on this list by any means, the value of having your ATV at peak-performance condition straight from the factory—with no modifications or extra parts necessary—can’t be understated, and for many riders makes this machine one of the best that’s ever been offered.
The Yamaha Raptor 700R
The Yamaha Raptor 700R is the best-selling sport ATV of all time. Powered by a 686cc, liquid-cooled, fuel-injected Raptor engine, it produces big torque straight from idle. With its amazing YFZ-inspired advanced suspension system, the 700R is capable of blasting through wooded areas with ease.
With a hybrid steel aluminum frame and cast aluminum swingarm, this ATV is both powerful and lightweight, having a strong internal structure while still being the lightest ATV in its class. Capable of hitting speeds close to 74 MPH, it’s also nothing to laugh at in terms of pure speed.
The Can-Am Renegade & Can-Am Outlander
The Renegade and the Outlander are two models of ATV produced by Can-Am. Both are designed to meet high standards. With either a 78 or a 91-horsepower, Rotax V-twin, liquid-cooled engine, and 214 mm hydraulic disc breaks, these machines were made to perform in any terrain or season, putting power and stability on equal footing and giving us the most horsepower and best hauling of any machine in its category.
These two models are pretty similar to one another, as they are produced by the same company, but there are some key differences. While the Outlander is an ideal tool for working, hunting, and camping, the Renegade seems better equipped for performance. Differences in tire size and ground clearance mean that handling and the overall weight of these machines is different and can thus greatly affect how a rider feels while riding.
However, as they mostly sport the same type of engines, as far as speed needs go these two are virtually identical and are capable of performing at speeds of up to 74 MPH.
The Arctic Cat Thundercat 1000
The Arctic Cat Thundercat 1000, produced from 2007-2010, was named after the snowmobile originally produced in the 1990s and early 2000s. Notable for many reasons, this ATV was perhaps most distinctive for its 1000cc V-twin engine which delivered powerful torque in a light 700 lb frame—meaning its power-to-weight ratio is something any savvy rider would want to look twice at.
Being that it was truly a UTV designed for shoveling and maneuvering through snow, it was surprising to see that its power and speed capabilities rival even some of the top ATVs that are on the market today.
As a result of its performance abilities, engineers bestowed “Thundercat” moniker on this line of UTVs—an honor given to only the most powerful models of vehicles offered by Arctic Cat. These machines were capable of maneuvering with ease and at speeds of up to 70 MPH.
Human beings have always wanted to push their limits. There’s something intoxicating about getting your adrenaline pumping and flirting with the edge of danger. This is something that’s especially true when it comes to those who like to ride ATVs.
As a result, manufacturers everywhere have attempted to keep up with this need by continually designing machines that push their powers to the limit and leave customers craving that crazy thrill. And, as you can see, this has turned into a wide range of offerings from a variety of different companies.
Of course, nothing in this article is any good for drivers who don’t know how to take the proper and necessary precautions when riding these vehicles. Some vehicles have had to take the fall over the years on an account of reckless drivers being careless while behind the handlebars, resulting in some of them—like the Suzuki “Quadzilla”—to be discontinued.
Still—no matter whether you’re searching for a vehicle for pure pleasure or are more concerned with competing at a more professional level—there is undoubtedly a quad out there that’s perfectly suited to match your speed needs.
And always remember to keep in mind as well that most ATVs are able to be modified with special accessories after you purchase them. These accessories have the ability to seriously upgrade the performance of a quad, making it so that even if a particular model you like doesn’t perform as well as you may have hoped straight from the factory, you can still make some slight adjustments until it is performing the way you need it to.
If nothing else, hopefully, this article has helped to point you in the right direction and aided you in your search to find the perfect ATV for you!