Quirky quads offer stylish fun

Smart move: Spy Racing road-legal quad bikes are being sold by Super Quads.

Smart move: Spy Racing road-legal quad bikes are being sold by Super Quads. - Credit: Andy Russell

You never get over the thrill of riding a motorbike… well I certainly haven’t.

Smart move: Spy Racing road-legal quad bikes are being sold by Super Quads.

Smart move: Spy Racing road-legal quad bikes are being sold by Super Quads. - Credit: Andy Russell

As much as I still hanker after another the prospect of being on our increasingly poor road surfaces on two wheels and a few years out of the saddle would not be a clever idea especially if your balance isn’t what it used to be.

What I would want is the feel of a motorcycle with the reassurance of four wheels planted on the road.

And the answer could be a quad bike.

I’ve just had a couple of short bursts on Spy Racing road-legal quad bikes which look fabulous and offer fun on four wheels.

Made in China, the Spy F1 is available with 250cc and 350cc, single-cylinder, water-cooled, four-stroke engines and could make a stylish runaround.

Priced at £2,499 for the 250cc and £3,199 for the 350cc, they are said to return 60 to 70mpg overall and have four and six-speed gearboxes respectively, plus reverse, with a motorcycle-style shift pedal. The bigger engine has a separate lever to select reverse while on the 250cc you click the gear shift down for reverse and up for the four forward gears.

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While the 250cc is claimed to be able to hit the motorway speed limit and the 350cc go beyond that where allowed, the Spy F1 quad bikes are really in their element cruising between 30 and 50mph. Push them harder and noise levels build considerably.

Fire it up with the electric start and the engine burbles into life and feels lively through the gears with good mid-range pull. The larger engine feels stronger low-down but the Spy F1 is more about sensible speeds than scorching performance so the 250cc model will do the job.

With suspension on all four wheels, the quad copes with poor roads well, soaking up the worst bumps and lumps, although you are always aware of what is going on beneath the wheels which is part of the riding experience.

If you are used to riding motorbikes the biggest problem is having to turn the handlebars for cornering rather than leaning into them. The steering is quite heavy when parking and riding slowly but gets increasingly responsive as speed builds when it needs only slight inputs on the handlebars to get a reaction which should become more natural with time in the saddle.

For ex-bikers looking to rediscover the freedom of ‘biking’, or drivers looking for a quirky runaround, a quad bike could fit the bill – fun and frugal rather than fast and furious but a real head-turner.

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