Mini Truck Wheels – As a retreat property operator in Colorado that requires us to travel far around facilities, we are faced with finding more economical modes of transportation than our pickup trucks. Taking our guidance from farmers and other farmers in the area, we blindly purchased expensive new ATVs. It was a decision that I would regret later.
Over the past 15 years, basic ATVs have become a staple item in many large farms, farms and property retreats. People who work in large property operations must be able to deal with their spread quickly and efficiently to make repairs, inspect fences, plants, irrigation, and a number of other tasks. In recent years, the preferred vehicle is a basic pickup truck. It can be relied on, and can carry enough inventory without making many trips.
Mini Truck Wheels
When companies like Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki, and others start producing recreational vehicles called ATVs (All Terrain Vehicles), owners and large property businesses immediately see the advantage of having smaller utilitarian vehicles. Basic ATVs can take someone to a work location quickly, and can carry a small number of tools or other needs to do a job.
However, ATVs are not created to be optimal utilitarian vehicles, but more than optimal ‘recreational’ vehicles. With its narrow profile and 4-wheel drive capacity, ATVs are extraordinarily suitable for negotiating mountain trails, steep terrain, and making someone return to hilly areas effectively with a little fun thrown. In an emergency, you can bring two people together with a rifle or fishing rod, and maybe a sack lunch.
Meanwhile, returning to the farm, ATV shows some limitations. The inherent factor design is very good at bringing a man to the work site to check something, but he is unable to carry more than a water bottle and a knife. Some ATV manufacturers overcome this by creating small cargo transportation options. While it helps some, it really does not create an ATV to be a vehicle that has a lot of loading capacity.
And there are some other not-so-small problems that show the weakness of ATVs as optimal farm vehicles. Not only that it cannot carry many items, what it carries, including drivers, is often left out in the weather. On rainy or snowy or cold days, ATV riders must suffer through the elements, while the equipment gets wet.
Perhaps the biggest disappointment at ATV is its fuel savings … or we have to say, the lack of fuel savings. When we bought our ATV for a retreat, I was excited to start saving by driving trucks everywhere on the property. It was a disappointment to find that our small ATVs could not produce better mileage than our old Toyota trucks. In fact, it’s worse. Many ATVs are heavy, weighing around 800 pounds. Add a rider and a little cargo, and you are now asking for a ‘one banger’ to push better than a thousand pounds around with not much gas. It will not happen.
A Better Alternative
Under the heading “If I knew then, what I know now …”, we would not buy an ATV. While the ‘fun factor’ was initially quite interesting, it soon became very aware of the weakness of ATV above. But at that time, I didn’t know of another alternative.
But recently I became aware of the so-called ‘Japanese Mini Trucks’ or Kei trucks. The term Japanese mini truck only means one thing for me … your 1/2 ton type Toyota or Nissan pickup truck. But that is not the case anymore.
Japanese Mini Trucks are smaller vehicles with two seats, have cabins covered with warmers and sometimes air conditioners, and have pickup beds that have carrying capacity that is almost the same as larger Japanese trucks. But all vehicles are much smaller, and much easier to maneuver around farms or agricultural properties.
Also called Kei Trucks (“Kei” means “light”), Minitruck Japan has other features that make it superior on ATV as a ‘farm hand’. They were able to achieve phenomenal fuel savings by utilizing a small but powerful 3 cylinder engine. Driveline configurations, which are also present in 4-wheel drive, are more standard in design, and are therefore often more reliable and easier to work on ATVs. Anyone who has ever put their ATV in a shop for repairs can testify to their extraordinary maintenance costs.
Purchasing Japanese mini trucks is most often needed through local importers, who carry used vehicles from Japan into containers. Kei trucks are generally not sold new in the US. And in general, mini trucks are considered as agricultural vehicles and not road vehicles. But some countries allow their use on highways.
Think of a Japanese mini truck instead of an ATV, not a replacement for the truck you use to take to the store. But oh what a substitute for ATV. I was amazed by its function of driving directly to the work site, carrying adequate cargo, keeping us warm and dry, as well as exceptional fuel savings and reliability. Usually, these trucks are made by large manufacturers such as Suzuki, Mitsubishi, and other well-known vehicle manufacturers in Japan.
New models feature fuel injection, air conditioning, and some significant improvements in older vehicles. Most units are equipped with 5-speed transmission. Some have sloping beds, or other options that provide exceptional utilitarian value on farm or farm property.
In short, if I have to repeat it again, I will forget about ATV and will buy a Japanese Mini Truck. If you spend more time working on property than doing recreation, take a look at Japanese Kei Trucks.
Once you know where to look, there is a lot of information on the web. I found this website at http://www.startruckenterprises.com, run by Dan Buzzell in the Rocky Mountain area. There are many photos of trucks, as well as some useful information.
Scott McIntire is a writer, musician, and priest who lives in the beautiful mountains of western Colorado. He is a fourth generation resident in this area, and likes to write about church topics, ministry, music, outdoor life, and a simple lifestyle.
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