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ATVs Take The Plunge

Gibbs Quadski offers 45-mph ride off road and on the water

By: Mike Suchan, OutdoorChannel.com

One if by land, two if by sea.

What about one by land and sea?

That’s what came out of Detroit this month in the Quadski, which is half ATV, half personal watercraft. Now there have been wheeled vehicles that could morph into a boat – real ones, not from a Bond movie – but Gibbs Sports Amphibian Inc. spent millions in man hours and dollars to develop this High Speed Amphibian (HSA).

Powered by a 175-hp BMW Motorrad engine and transmission, the Quadski can hit 45 mph off road then head into the water, where a button push will retract the wheels in 5 seconds, and send the driver on an exhilarating 45-mph cruise.

“It’s been a long, uphill battle, but clearly worth the effort,” said Alan Gibbs, who has more than 300 patents and patents pending. “Quadski will pave the way for a host of others HSAs for consumers, sports enthusiasts, law enforcement agencies, first responders and other commercial enterprises.”

Standing 10.5 feet long with a width just over 5 feet, 4.6 feet tall and weighing in at 1,300 pounds, the Quadski is a bit larger than most ATVs and personal watercraft, and the price is somewhat higher. With all the technology that went into developing it, Gibbs has a sticker price of $40,000 for the one-seat model. (Sounds like they’re working on a two-seater).

It was made available this month in select major U.S. cities with select dealers, and expansion plans include Europe and South America by 2014.

The vehicle is receiving plenty of press, like The New York Times with the headline, “After Romping in the Mud, You can Take It for a Bath.” Clever. Car and Driver got into the act, saying it “Outperforms any other ATV you might ride into a lake.”

Popular Mechanics, known for shooting straight as far as pointing out weaknesses, gave a Quadski a tryout. Writer Ben Wojdyla, who says he grew up on ATVs, went into his test drive/cruise expecting it to “be jack of two trades and master of neither. What I found was much better.”

Wojdya said it rocked off road, but it couldn’t be too skinny of a trail. On the water, he was amazed at how well it rode and how quickly it got on plane but suggested a jet intake guard as he got in shallow water and twice experienced cavitation, where the jet flow was interrupted with a loss in power.

His favorite feature, he wrote, was the bargeboard design that gave him leverage on land and didn’t allow his pants cuffs to get wet in the water.

At that price, not many will be playing Bond. Word is out that yachts are already being retro-fitted to carry them. But Gibbs has other HSAs in the works with the hope that the prices will tumble.

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