Excitement Mounts ArticleRead our coverage in the Daily Post
The diesel-powered MUDRAT 800D, built in Bridgend, has been described as an ‘ATV on steroids’. A ground-breaking ATV hybrid built in Wales is being launched this weekend by a business tycoon who made his fortune with off-road running shoes. The diesel-powered MUDRAT 800D, likened to a “quad on steroids”, was conceived by Wayne Edy, a Zimbabwe-born businessman whose Inov-8 brand now sells sports footwear in 65 countries.
It was developed over 18 months on his commercial deer farm near Llantrithyd, in the Vale of Glamorgan, and is being assembled in an industrial unit in Bridgend. The right-hand-drive MUDRAT is being marketed as a British-made innovation that is set to revolutionise the way farmers go about their business on uneven terrain. Designed for high ground-clearance, with an 800cc Perkins engine and front-mounted winch, it has a greater carrying capacity than an ATV (All Terrain Vehicle) and offers many of the benefits of an UTV (Utility Terrain Vehicle) at almost half the price.
One convert is Llanfairfechan farmer Gareth Wyn Jones, whose social media profile persuaded the company to let him test one of the first shop-ready vehicles. “It really packs a punch,” said Gareth, who posted an on-line video of him splashing through a deep upland bog.“It is very stable and very powerful – it’s got plenty of guts. “And the winch is really good too. One of our quad bikes got stuck and the MUDRAT pulled it out as if it wasn’t there.”. Llanfairfechan farmer Gareth Wyn Jones has been testing the MUDRAT 800D. He said it handles well, with plenty of power – and has enough room for his dogs
For Wayne Edy, the vehicle is the culmination of a lifetime’s passion for engineering. With help from a family friend, he re-built his first motorbike at the age of 12 and went on to reassemble many more before taking an engineering degree. “Zimbabwe was under sanctions and spare parts were unavailable, which meant you had to be resourceful,” he said. In 2003, after working for shoe firm Brasher and outdoor gear maker Berghaus, he applied his engineering know-how to the grip performance of running shoes. His Inov-8 brand of lightweight running shoes, which allow users to react better to the terrain, is now a global leader in specialist sportswear.
His wealth brought him a deer farm in South Wales, where his experience of Polaris and John Deere ATVs prompted him to see if he could do better. His Dyson-esque approach to looking anew at existing products, resulted in the MUDRAT, which features a high performance CVT drive supplied by CVTech in Canada. “Whenever I see a product, I look at it from an engineering perspective,” said Mr Edy. “I’ve used Polaris and John Deere for a couple of years and both were designed with an eye on the US market.“Neither are really geared towards the mud and terrain you might find in this country.”
As with running shoes, Mr Edy believed he could improve ATV grip performance – and much else besides. One key feature of the MUDRAT is its diesel-powered three-cylinder Perkins engine. As well as prolonging engine life, and lowering running costs, it offers convenience too.
“Most farmers have access to red diesel which, as well as being much cheaper, means that they don’t have to go running to the nearest petrol station to fill up a jerry can,” said Mr Edy. Parts for the Mudrat are sourced from around the world, with first-phase assembly at a Chinese factory that has a joint venture arrangement with Yamaha, the Japanese giant. Final assembly is in Bridgend: the first commercially available machines will be unveiled at this weekend’s Hertfordshire County Show, backed by a social media and website launch. Mudrats are offered with a two-year warranty, though a dealer network is still being put in place.
Mr Edy said: “We’re looking to establish exclusivity arrangements to avoid cross-selling and would welcome approaches from interested dealers.” He added: “I’m very excited by the MUDRAT. This is a British-built product that’s been designed specifically for the British market. “It’s at a price point just above a standard Honda ATV and offers much more. A lot of farmers are aware of Inov-8 and so they’ll know the quality that underpins our products.”
The right-hand drive MUDRAT 800D has been designed especially for the UK market
Thank you to the Daily Post for this article.