FIRST TEST: The Gibbs Quadski | ATV Rider

FIRST TEST: The Gibbs Quadski

A surprisingly controllable, impressively aquatic, but completely impractical amphibian

I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t jump at the opportunity to ride the Gibbs Quadski. I mean, it’s a Quadski ! It’s an all-terrain vehicle that, with a push of a button, offers its users a flashback to childhood. With powers from beyond this world, you’ll morph from land to sea, laying the smackdown on some Decepticons and riding off into the sunset with Megan Fox. Okay, it wasn’t as cool as an epic alien-robot battle, and the single-seat design kept the beautiful Ms. Fox on shore (oops), but the Quadski offered an unforgettable experience. Editor's note: Gibbs has recently release a two-seat version of the Quadski. Read about it HERE.

Powered by a BMW K1300 motorcycle engine that’s rated at an impressive 175 hp with 103 foot-pounds of torque, the 1,300-pound Quadski reaches a top speed of 45 mph. Power is delivered to the rear wheels via a six-speed automated manual that is controlled via a handlebar-mounted push button.The BMW mill is certainly capable of a higher top speed, and we’d welcome more from “the ultimate driving machine” company in the world of ATVs and UTVs, but I understand Gibbs’ reasoning with the Quadski’s sub-50-mph range. The unit is heavy, its composite hull is fragile, and a malfunction could leave you up a creek without a paddle.

Its 54-inch width matched with its lower center of gravity and plush ride made it surprisingly capable on ATV trails, but its lack of all-wheel drive is a serious head scratcher. The majority of two-wheel-drive ATVs would have issues in the soft, slick dirt found on most shorelines, so the Quadski needed a decent amount of momentum during its transition to and from water.

The Quadski’s hull is strong, durable, lightweight, and is manufactured from a single-piece mold using current composite technology. The morph is incredibly smooth, using a push button near the ignition switch that deploys or retracts the wheels and transitions the BMW engine’s output to driveshaft or water jet. The only thing that gives its amphibian body away is in the water when the front tires poke out above the hull. The rear tires turn flat and sit below the water. The Gibbs Quadski is a lot of fun in the water. It’s more maneuverable and hits harder out of the hole, but it should be allowed multiple passengers and a pull bar for wakeboarding or waterskiing.

Final Thoughts? Riding the Quadski on ATV trails then quickly transforming it into a personal watercraft (PWC) was an awesome experience, but its capabilities were not without compromise. It’s ridiculously expensive with a retail price just less than $40,000, and it will never be as reliable as an ATV or as nimble as a PWC. Until the price decreases, we only expect to see the Quadski strapped to the back of extravagant yachts. ATVR

Spec Sheet
Gibbs Quadski| MSRP: $39,990
ENGINE
Type: 4-cylinder 16-valve DOHC
Displacement: 1293cc
Bore x stroke: 80.0 x 64.3mm
Cooling: Closed loop (land); closed loop and open loop heat exchangers (water)
Fuel system: Electronic fuel injection
Starting system: Electric
DRIVETRAIN
Drive system: RWD shaft/Gibbs jet drive
Transmission: Sequential, electronically controlled with centrifugal clutch, electrical reverse assist (land)
HULL & DRIVE UNIT
Hull: Monocoque dual skin composite
Impeller: Stainless-steel five-blade
Stator: 11-blade cast aluminum
SUSPENSION (Type)
Front: Independent coil springs and hydraulic dampers
Rear: Independent coil springs and hydraulic dampers
TIRES/WHEELS
Front: CST/25x8-12
Rear: CST/25x8-12
BRAKES
Front: Dual hydraulic discs (land)
Rear: Dual hydraulic discs (land)
DIMENSIONS
Wheelbase: 69.6 in.
Claimed dry weight: 1333 lb.
Ground clearance: 9.0 in.
Length/width/height: 126.0/62.4/51.6 in.
Fuel capacity: 15.0 gal.
LOAD CAPACITY
Payload: Up to 260 lb. (helmet storage under seat)
ELECTRICAL
Lighting: Dual HID headlights
Instrumentation: Speedometer, odometer, fuel gauge, engine temp, clock
Colors: Blue, Red, Yellow, Orange, Black

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