Since 1894, the powersports industry has exploded, producing fun, exhilarating adventures for millions of riders around the globe. The companies that driven this innovation over the past several decades include Harley Davidson, Polaris, Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, Kawasaki, KTM, Husqvarna, BRP (Bombarider Recreational Products), Arctic Cat, BMW and several others. Motorcycles started it all. But now, we can enjoy adventures off road on snowmobiles, ATV’s, off-road motorcycles and Side by Side’s. Alternative motorcycles to attract stable consumers include the Can Am Spyder and the Polaris Slingshot. The freedom, excitement and flat out fun that is delivered from these open air experiences are widely available across the world to adventure seekers. An abbreviated timeline of powersports vehicle introductions shows the accelerated pace of invention in our life time.
- 1894 The powersports industry was born in 1894 when Hildebrand & Wolfmüller became the first series production motorcycle.
- 1955 Edgar Hetteen, Allen Hetteen and David Johnson were the first to manufacture the commercially successful snowmobile in Roseau, Minnesota
- 1970 Honda introduced what would be the first All Terrain Vehicle (ATV), the ATC90.
- 1982 Suzuki started manufacturing the first four wheel ATV.
- 2004 Yamaha releases the Rhino, the first recreational oriented Side by Side vehicle.
- 2007 BRP starts production of the Can Am Spyder, the backwards trike.
- 2014 Polaris launches the three wheeled Slingshot, a three wheel car that is classified as a motorcycle in North America.
The last 100 Years of Powersports has rewarded us riders today with a variety of ways to experience the outdoors in ways our forefathers could have never dreamed of. What will the next 100 Years in Powersports bring? How will new innovation drive success? What companies will lead the future of this industry? Who will have the opportunity to enjoy powersports experiences in the future? What is our responsibility to ensure powersports are protected for future generations to enjoy? What can we learn from the Powersports industry and the riding experiences it produces about how to operate a business and live a more happy life? These questions are explored here and useful whether you are a powersports enthusiast like me or are just seeking to get the most out of your life, family or business. There is much to be learned from an industry formed around a little two wheeled vehicle called a motorcycle. – Jared Burt
Jared Burt, the author of “Powersports Perspectival” is an avid motorcyclist (on and off-road) and snowmobiler. He and his wife, Nicole have 4 children and reside in Rexburg, Idaho. Jared helped start Rexburg Motorsports in 1996 while a student at Ricks College. As the managing partner he led the rapid growth of the small Polaris snowmobile shop to become on of the largest multi-line powersports dealerships in the nation. Rexburg Motorsports sells and services motorcycles, snowmobiles, ATV’s and Side by Sides for the Polaris, Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, Kawasaki, BRP, Arctic Cat and Husqvarna lines. (Husqvarna is manufactured by KTM) They specialize in mountain applications and setup. In 2010, they were awarded Best Service Department by Dealer News. He can be contacted directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter.