Where do great products and innovative designs come from? Do they come from random thoughts and afternoon daydreams, or do they come from a determined effort to find a practical solution to an everyday problem? Like most great products on the market today, the MAD-RAMPS Pivoting Ramp System was born out of a determined effort to find a practical solution to an everyday problem.
The genesis for the MAD-RAMPS Pivoting Ramp System began on a family-owned farm in Redfield, Iowa. Dave Pelzer and his son Matt, third and fourth generation Iowa farmers, were searching for a way to transport their ATVs around the farm without having to tow a trailer and without having to use up all of the bed space in their pickup trucks.
Because most farmers need space at the front of their truck beds for things like tool boxes, fuel tanks, and other cargo, Dave and Matt were unable to fully load their ATVs into their truck beds. Beyond the cargo space problem, the narrow farm lanes between their fields made turning around with a trailer nearly impossible. On top of not being able to maneuver a trailer around in tight places, Dave and Matt disliked all of the other issues that go along with a trailer: having to license, register, and insure the trailer, and dealing with the frustration of blown out tires and bad wheel bearings. Because of these everyday problems, Dave and Matt found themselves at a crossroads: They could simply live with these problems, or they could find solutions to them. They chose the latter, and the idea that would grow into MAD-RAMPS was ultimately born.
Around 2007, Dave conceptualized the idea of fabricating a “tailgate extension” platform that could be inserted into a pickup truck’s receiver hitch, essentially lengthening the bed of his truck. The use of conventional ATV ramps—along with the tailgate extension idea—would allow Dave and Matt to transport their ATVs and all of their necessary equipment around the farm. The first prototype was designed and built in the farm’s machinery shop, and then it was put to use.
Each consecutive winter after harvest season, Dave and Matt returned to the machinery shop. Through intense collaboration between father and son, the design of the platform was gradually modified and improved. Matt and Dave—both with penchants for design and innovation—incorporated the first game-changing iteration to the product’s design when they conceived of the patent-pending Pivot Bar in 2012, which entirely eliminated the need for conventional ATV ramps. By affixing the pivoting ramps to the frame of what would eventually become the MAD-RAMPS Pivoting Ramp System, the ramps were held stationary, and their ability to move or slip was eliminated, making the MAD-RAMPS product far safer than any alternative on the market today. This improvement alone removed the safety hazards associated with conventional ATV ramps. Additionally, the hassle of storing conventional ramps in an already-full truck bed was completely eliminated—due to Matt’s and Dave’s patent-pending telescoping Pivot Cages that now hold the MAD-RAMPS aluminum ramps in place during transport.
As 2015 came to an end, the MAD-RAMPS design was close to what it is today. But during the development process, Matt came to one important realization: there are widespread applications for the MAD-RAMPS Pivoting Ramp System. Beyond the practical use on the farm, Matt realized that many other ATV and UTV owners—from recreational riders and hunters, to industrial workers and outdoorsmen—did not want to deal with the numerous hassles and ongoing costs of trailers or the safety hazards of conventional ATV ramps, and that they, too, could benefit from the years he and his father spent tinkering in the farm’s machinery shop while perfecting their unique and innovative design.
Today, the MAD-RAMPS Pivoting Ramp System is revolutionizing the way ATV and UTV riders load, unload, and transport their machines. In the near future, the MAD-RAMPS product won’t just be for ATVs and UTVs; new ramps are currently in the works to safely load, unload, and transport golf carts, snowmobiles, and other machines. Although MAD-RAMPS are no longer made in the farm’s machinery shop, they are still crafted and manufactured with pride in America’s heartland—in Iowa, to be exact.