Go- anywhere Sherp
Hunters and fishers wowed by Russia’s latest go- anywhere utility vehicle
WHEN we initially saw the Sherp ATV rolling its way around the Internet, our first thought was that it must be the work of a designer, not a real vehicle.
The compact body tucked between ginormous off- road tyres just looked too odd to be real. But the Russian vehicle is indeed real and it’s one hell of a way to drive over anything short of a sheer cliff face.
Led by technologist Aleksei Garagashian, the minds behind the Sherp ATV — minds that are almost certainly a little twisted — got together in 2012 to develop a vehicle with supreme terrain navigation capabilities.
They finished up the design last year and are now showing the vehicle at expos like the upcoming Hunting and Fishing in Russia show.
The Sherp ATV isn’t just an off- roader; it’s an off- track vehicle designed to navigate over terrain that hasn’t benefited from even the most basic human clearing — through the heart of brush fields, into swamps, over deadfall- strewn forest floors, and up and over talus fields.
Its positively massive tyres stand 160 cm tall and provide the size and traction needed to roll over and through virtually anything in the way.
With nearly 60 cm of ground clearance, the Sherp underbody glides over obstacles that would eat up lesser vehicles. A tyre- inflation system helps the vehicle adjust to the varying demands of the ground below.
And the Sherp ATV even swims, with the terrain- grappling ridges on the tyres doubling as paddles. Drainage valves shed water after the Sherp ATV gets back on land.
If you think the ultra- rugged, 340 x 252 x 230- cm, Lx W x H Sherp ATV requires some kind of massive engine to shove it forward, you’ll be rather shocked to learn that the whole thing is powered by a 1,5- litre, four- cylinder turbodiesel with just 33 kW ( 44 hp) on tap.
Though massive to the eye, the Sherp ATV weighs as little as 1 300 kg, and that small engine and the five- speed manual transmission can get it going up to 45 km/ h on land and six km/ h in the water.
Sherp drivers also rely on skid steering, whereby the two wheels on each side are locked in synchronisation, and can be driven independently of the pair on the opposite side.
The Sherp ATV seats four people inside its steel body and even has two seat belts. It can carry up to a ton.
The St Petersburg- built Sherp ATV soft- top base model starts at $ 65 000, about R1 024 400.
Options include an onboard generator and 50- litre in- wheel fuel tanks to augment the 58- litre fuel capacity.
The Sherp AV is also available for lease, though what we’re really hoping for is day rentals.
Watching the Sherp ATV in action is absolute magic — it speeds through the swamp, pulls itself out of the water onto ice after a swim, and slices through tall brush.
After watching the video online, we’re already reserving it a spot on our off- road vehicles of the year list for 2016.
The Sherp is the brainchild of Russian technologist Aleksei Garagashian, who built it to impress even Russia’s Dakar winning truckers with the big- wheeled vehicle’s ability to run over deep mud or float over deep water ( below).