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The world's most radical quad bike?


June 17, 2005

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June 18, 2005 It’s got to be close to the most radical quad on the planet, built around a Subaru STi rally car motor – weighing just 530 kilograms and producing 228 brake horsepower, the fire-breathing, four-wheel drive STi-ATV is the result of thousands of hours of work by New Zealand Motorsport enthusiast Ken Brough. Why did he build it? “Why not?”, says Ken, who will make the vehicle available for demonstrations and auto shows.

Ken conceived the STi a few years ago while watching television coverage of New Zealand’s famous Race to the Sky – a hillclimb where some of the most radical quads ever assembled get unleashed. Having built a number of speedway cars over the years plus the odd track car or two, Ken’s idea was to build an over-the-top, super quad with the hope of running it in Race to the Sky, doing demonstrations and the auto show circuit and having a wickedly quick road-registered toy.

As things have transpired, the registration process turned out to be “harder than building the machine”, with Ken filling out reams of paperwork and at this stage having had registration knocked back by the Kiwi registration authorities. “I have someone looking at it at the moment and we have plans to appeal the decision and represent the paperwork, said Brough. “It’s grossly over engineered because I built it so I could ride it and I wasn’t cutting any corners,’ he says, laughing, “so I know it’s safe.”

“Much safer than some of the V8 engined motorcycles and other machinery which get registered for the road. It’s just a matter of time before we get it registered.”

A similar response from NZ Motorsport officialdom saw Ken unable to run the bike in last Easter’s race to the Sky, though ken was quick to point out this was entirely reasonable as the turbocharged 230 horsepower 530 kilogram beastie would have been somewhat of a handful on the changing surfaces of Queenstown hillclimb.

“My plan now is to get it all set up and take it down to a track day at a nearby (tarmac) circuit so we can see what sort of performance we have,” said ken.

Gizmag spoke to Ken just as the machine was finished, and it had only seen limited tarmac time. “We haven’t got a lot of space to test it properly here,” said Ken, “but it is awesomely quick – the speedo showed 130 kmh almost instantaneously.”

“I didn’t think with the 70% front weight bias that I’d ever wheelstand it but it got very light in the front with the first handful of throttle and the rear wheels have scuffs and the front ones don’t so, I guess we can shelve that theory.”

Such has been the response to Ken’s Sti-ATV that already he has been asked to build several more – there’s never too much horsepower, heh? Accordingly, there will be a new name for the beast before too much longer. “I can’t imagine that Subaru would be happy with me selling STi-ATVs,” says Ken. “It’s be a shame if I had to change the colour scheme though,” said Ken. June 18, 2005 Ken’s own story of the STi-ATV can be found at his web site – appropriately, for now, named STi-ATV

And if you’d like a showstopper at your next Motorsport event, Ken can oblige.

About the Author
Mike Hanlon Mike grew up thinking he would become a mathematician, accidentally started motorcycle racing, got a job writing road tests for a motorcycle magazine while at university, and became a writer. As a travelling photojournalist during his early career, his work was published in a dozen languages across 20+ countries. He went on to edit or manage over 50 print publications, with target audiences ranging from pensioners to plumbers, many different sports, many car and motorcycle magazines, with many more in the fields of communication - narrow subject magazines on topics such as advertising, marketing, visual communications, design, presentation and direct marketing. Then came the internet and Mike managed internet projects for Australia's largest multimedia company, Telstra.com.au (Australia's largest Telco), Seek.com.au (Australia's largest employment site), top100.com.au, hitwise.com, and a dozen other internet start-ups before founding Gizmag in 2002. Now he writes and thinks. All articles by Mike Hanlon
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