What, exactly, is one of the biggest and most innovative bicycle manufacturers in the U.S. doing in the motorsport business? Pretty much setting it on its ear, as it turns out.

The FX400 Quad ($8,000) is Cannondale’s second motorized offering (the MX400 moto-cross motorcycle hit showroom floors and dirt tracks last year). Like its two-wheeled sibling, it utilizes a 432cc four-stroke, fuel-injected engine that produces gobs of low-rpm power. This means you don’t have to toggle the shifter constantly to keep power on tap. And while many performance-oriented quads can intimidate newer riders with a neck-snapping rush of acceleration as the engine hits its peak, the FX400 remains smooth and predictable as the throttle opens. Not to mention, this engine burns far cleaner than traditional two-stroke and carbureted designs.

And none of this hampers its performance. In fact, at a waifish 355 pounds, the FX400 boasts a class-leading power-to-weight ratio. As such, it rips up, and over-climbs, and big-jumps like a homesick angel, and sticks to corners with the tenacity of week-old roadkill. Come to think of it, that’s probably what other quad manufacturers are feeling like these days. (800) 668-6872