Consequently utility usage exploded in the 1980s and ATVs became multi purpose machines, serving both recreational and utility purposes. This multi purpose usage grew from 30 percent of total usage in 1985 to approximately 80 percent of today's ATV market. Introduced in 1980, the ATC185 was popular among utility users. Rolling on larger, 25 inch tires that afforded improved traction, the 185 featured a five speed transmission with an automatic clutch, and a 180cc four stroke single cylinder engine that was considerably more powerful as well. Though designed to split its duties more or less equally between work and play, the 185 set the stage for Honda's first purpose built utility ATV two years later. The 1982 ATC200E, a.
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In 1985, Honda also introduced the new ATC350X. The ATC350X was another high performance three wheeler, similar to the ATC200X, but as an entirely new machine. The 350X featured a 26 horsepower air and oil cooled 350 cc four stroke engine with a 4 valve head; impressive technology for the time. The engine was so good, it found its way into many hybrid race four wheelers in later years. The engine was a torque monster, and Honda wasn't afraid to call the 350X "the King of the Hill" in its marketing of the machine. The suspension was a step in between the all new ATC250R which featured a 246 cc liquid cooled 2 stroke engine and nearly 10 inches of travel in its suspension, front and back and the ATC200X, with 8. 5 inches of travel in the front forks. The 350X featured disc brakes with dual piston brake calipers for superb stopping power. However, the 350X suffered in handling with an underbuilt chassis which made the machine unpopular with racers, except for those who chose to be different by racing a four stroke machine as two strokes were the engine of choice at the time. Fortunately, aftermarket came out with a custom gusset kit that significantly strengthens the frame at its weakest points for riders that wish to build a race machine. Over the next few years, all manufacturers except Suzuki, developed high performance two stroke machines, but did not sell as many due to the reputation already secured by Honda.
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