Born in a converted 90- by 150-foot machine shed outside Adel, Iowa, a new-type cargo ramp that quickly loads and unloads ATVs and side-by-sides has rapidly become a big seller. In its first days of production, back orders stretched two and three weeks.
This handy device is called MAD-RAMPS and comes from the inventive minds of Matt and Dave Pelzer. Matt, Dave's son, farms 2,500 acres of corn and soybeans in central Iowa. Father and son found that while ATVs and some side-by-sides fit into the bed of their trucks, it is more often the case that a bulk fuel tank or toolbox already in the bed left no room to transport their off-road vehicles.
"My dad and I have been kicking around the idea for years. We both thought it could do well in the agriculture market, but never imagined the widespread applicability of the unit," Matt said. Early sales show it also has been selling well into the hunting and off-road recreational markets.
The system cradles the rear wheels of ATVs and side-by-sides just beyond the width of an open tailgate.
"We did a lot of tweaking and added some enhancements," said Drew Murray, who is a shareholder and business manager for DMCG Holdings, LLC, the business set up to manufacture and distribute MAD-RAMPS. "You don't have to wrestle with a trailer." Matt and Drew, a certified public accountant who grew up on a farm, are longtime friends. ATVs and side-by-sides can be loaded and unloaded in less than 2 minutes with these ramps.
MAD-RAMPS shows some real genius in its simplicity and in its carrying capacity.
Here's how it works. To load an ATV or side-by-side, the vehicle is driven up two, ladder-like ramps extended through a set of steel sleeves. The sleeves are attached to a pivot point and an arm extending down and into the truck's hitch receiver. As the vehicle moves up and over the pivot point, both ramps flip up, holding the rear wheels of the vehicle in place just off the extension of the tailgate, as its front wheels rest directly in the bed of the truck. In a standard truck bed, this leaves 3 feet of open space for tools, a bulk tank or other supplies.
The ramps slide forward through the sleeves and under a crossbar located closer to the hitch for travel. The telescoping ramps can be set by way of a spring-loaded system in a fully forward position for highway travel or for rough terrain. They are pinned in a position that creates about 12 additional inches of ground clearance.
Murray assures potential customers that the ramps system was put through testing that tried to anticipate nearly any off-road situation or form of abuse. The 15-inch portion of the arm extending directly from the receiver is manufactured from 2- by 2-inch solid steel square bar. The upturned portion of the arm, leading to the pivot-and-sleeve assembly, is made from heavy-gauge steel tubing.
The ramp is rated for 1,400 pounds and a vertical payload of 900 pounds -- the downward-focused weight from the portion of the off-road vehicle extending beyond the tailgate during transportation. A beefier version of MAD-RAMPS supports 2,000 pounds on its ramps and a 1,300-pound vertical payload. In both instances, trucks also must have the capacity to shoulder these weights.
MAD-RAMPS, equipped with trail-like tail lights, is installed in minutes without tools.
For pricing, additional information and a video demonstration go to www.madramps.com.
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