In Detail: Gibbs Quadski
Some combinations are better than the sum of their parts. It worked out well for peanut butter and chocolate, but that combo may have been outdone by the Gibbs Quadski, which combines a jet ski with an ATV.
The Gibbs Quadski is an ATV that converts to a personal watercraft in as little as five seconds. It was developed by a Michigan-based team of Gibbs engineers with plenty of experience building amphibious vehicles that can ride on land or water. In fact, the Quadski evolved from the Aquada, an amphibious car concept. Due to strict standards for street-legal automobiles, Gibbs decided to shift their focus to amphibious off-road vehicles.
With a top speed of 45 miles per hour on both land and sea, the Quadski has enough power to give riders enormous fun, regardless of surface. Power comes from a BMW 4-cylinder 1.3 liter motorcycle engine with 140 horsepower and 87 pound-feet of torque routed through a 5-speed transmission.
The Quadski comes equipped with an independent suspension, 9-inch ground clearance, and 46/26 degree approach and departure angles, making it a full-fledged ATV.
Following two different sets of standards for each vehicle mode provided some interesting engineering challenges. For instance, during the transition from ATV to jet ski the transmission no longer shifts gears. First and second weren't needed because top speed would be too low and fourth and fifth couldn't be used because there wouldn't be enough torque to get moving. Instead, Gibbs found that third gear is the most efficient balance of power and speed while on the water.
$40,000 is a high retail price given the fleet of personal watercraft and ATVs that could buy, but it's about having the two combined into one. It's that "I can go literally anywhere" feeling--except the sky (for now)--that makes the Quadski so special.
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