Due to hit U.S. retailers before the end of 2012, the Quadski transforms from an off-road four-wheeler to a personal watercraft in just four seconds. And unlike amphibious vehicles of the past, the Quadski promises high speeds (45mph) on land and on water.
“Quadski represents an investment of more than $200-million and two-million man hours of work over a period of 15 years,” says Gibbs Sports Amphibians Inc. founder Alan Gibbs. “With the introduction of Quadski next month, our dream of providing high-speed amphibian transportation to consumers will become a reality.”
The most notable feature of the Quadski is its wheel retracting system built into the suspension. While the suspension is said to provide “superb ride and handling” on land, it retracts at the push of a button on the water. When you want to go for a spin on the lake, you simply ride in and push the retract button and in four seconds you’re ready to go. Gibbs hasn’t released a full spec sheet at this time, so we don’t have any information on suspension travel.
Powering the Quadski is BMW’s K1300 engine. On the water the engine is coupled with Gibbs’ water jet propulsion system. Gibbs says its jets are lighter and more compact than traditional marine industry water jets and provide high levels of thrust and manoeuvrability on water. Gibbs water jet technology boasts the ability to propel the Quadski to planing speed in seconds. The engine produces a claimed 175 horsepower, which is slightly more than an entry-level PWC, but far more than any production ATV has ever seen. We’d imagine Gibbs has found a way to mute that power substantially for use on land, as attested by its 45mph top speed.
“We consider this engine to be the most technologically advanced, light-weight engine available today and ideally suited to power a High Speed Amphibian,” says Gibbs Chairman Neil Jenkins. “We are especially pleased to be working with BMW, a premium vehicle manufacturer known throughout the world for product quality and engineering excellence.”
Gibbs HSA technology is incorporated into the hull. According to Gibbs, the hull provides a stable planing surface and lateral grip for responsive handling on water.
“The hull is designed to be aerodynamic in road mode and hydrodynamic in marine mode,” says Gibbs. “The Quadski’s hull is strong, durable, light-weight and is manufactured from a single-piece mould using current composite technology.”
A quick look at the dimensions (and photos) reveals that the Quadski is much larger than a traditional ATV. It measures in at 126 inches long and 63 inches wide with a wheelbase of 71 inches. It tips the scales at a hefty 1,300 pounds. For comparison’s sake, the two-up Polaris Sportsman Touring 850 (a very large ATV) is more than three feet shorter and nearly 16 inches narrower with a 14-inch shorter wheelbase. The Sportsman Touring 850 is also 500 pounds lighter than the Quadski. While this would limit the Quadski’s use on tighter ATV trails, we’d imagine it’s intended for use on more open trails and fireroads. As well, with a price tag around $40,000, we don’t suspect you’d take the Quadski on many super technical trails anyway.
The Quadski is made by Michigan-based Gibbs Sports Amphibians Inc. For more information on the Quadski, visit http://www.gibbssports.com/quadski.