Have you ever ridden a Honda ATC 250R? No? Consider yourself lucky. Yes? Well, be glad you’re still around.
Big Red introduced the ATC 250R as the first high-performance three-wheeled ATV in 1981. Stuffed with an air-cooled, 248cc two-stroke single, the thumper would earn liquid cooling and a reduced 246cc capacity by 1985. The ATC underwent two massive updates during that four-year period, earning Pro-Link suspension, fuel delivery tweaks, and a six-speed gearbox in the process.
All those upgrades couldn’t improve the off-road trike’s sketchy safety record, unfortunately. By 1986, high accident reports and resulting litigation forced the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to strike a deal with manufacturers to cease production and sales of three-wheeled ATVs—including the infamous Honda ATC 250R.
CPSC wasn’t satisfied with dealers just removing units from showroom floors, though. The agency forced sellers to yank engines from the remaining ATC stock and chop their frames in half. These efforts further discouraged bootleg 250Rs from hitting the trails. Nearly 40 years later, it looks like the CPSC’s long-standing ban couldn’t stop popular YouTube channel Donut Media from getting their hands on one of Honda’s notorious three-wheelers.
If you’ve ever ridden a trike, you know the stability and steering issues that plague the vehicles. Honda’s particular design only magnifies those shortcomings. Donut’s Jeremiah and Nolan put those weaknesses on full display with a gamut of pertinent yet amusing tests. Luckily, Jeremiah’s motorcycling background keeps him safe in the ATC’s saddle, but the zany experiments also keep the audience coming back for more.
From clever commentary to humorous callbacks, Donut’s signature style prioritizes laughter over precision. Are their methods scientific? Hardly? Are they highly entertaining? Undoubtedly. We may not have learned anything new about Honda’s crash-prone All-Terrain Cycle, but Jeremiah and Nolan sure make us grateful that we're all still around to memorialize the ATC 250R.