Before you jump on the wheels and start riding an ATV, there are a few tips you should be familiar with. Click here for 6 must-know tips for any rider.
In the United States, over 1.2 million people own an ATV.
Driving off-road vehicles is the perfect hobby for adrenaline junkies who want to get their blood pumping.
Although riding an ATV can be a lot of fun, you need to make sure you do it right. If you’re an ATV beginner, you came to the right place.
Read on to learn these six tips.
1. ATV Safety 101
If you’re an ATV beginner, knowing a few simple safety rules can help you gain experience the safe way.
Don’t Start With a Powerful Machine: This goes without saying, but you shouldn’t start with a powerful ATV. As a beginner, you want to start on a simple ATV.
What you want to do is learn the basics, so you eventually feel comfortable moving up to a more powerful ATV. If you start with a powerful one before you’re comfortable, you could lose control of the ATV.
Always Read the Owner’s Manual: It might seem like there’s not much more to an ATV than the throttle, but when you’re a beginner you need to educate yourself.
Before you take the ATV out for a spin, make sure you located the owner’s manual. It will show you crucial information that you will need before hopping on the ATV.
Take a Class: If you’re serious about wanting to master ATV riding, it’s a good idea to consider taking a class. Taking a class will give you hands-on experience in ATV safe practices and the rules of the terrain.
In some instances, you can get an ATV safety class for free after you purchase a new ATV.
Think About Solid Footings: When you’re getting started, you might not know exactly what to do with your feet.
You should consider getting Nerf bars to provide you with the stability you need until you feel more comfortable.
Nerf bars are footpegs that will keep your feet on the side of the ATV while you ride, so you don’t have to worry about what to do with your feet.
Stay Off the Road: As you may know, ATVs are exclusively off-road riding. This rule applies because ATVs are not safe to drive on regular roads.
Depending on the local laws, driving an ATV on the road could be illegal and you can face a fine.
2. Gear On
If you want to take ATV driving seriously, you cannot neglect to gear the protective gear. Wearing safety gear can protect you from serious injuries.
To get started, ensure you have a good helmet. Not only do you want to protect your head in case of a coalition, but you also want to protect your face while driving.
When you’re driving fast through the woods on your ATV you can come across tree branches, dirt, and debris. Without a helmet, it would be nearly impossible to protect your face.
Some off-road helmets offer full-face and head protection, so you don’t have to get a pair of goggles. Off-road helmets also offer noise cancellation.
Investing in a good ATV helmet is the only safe way to prevent serious head injuries.
To protect the rest of your body, you will need to get a protective jacket, riding boots that go above the ankles, chest protector, goggles, and gloves. Some novice riders should also consider using knee and shin guards.
3. Throttle Basics
Pressing the throttle of an ATV is an exciting moment for most riders. Learning the proper way to throttle an ATV is essential when you’re a beginner.
It’s important to have an experienced rider show you the proper way to throttle the ATV. Unlike other vehicles, the gas on an ATV is a thumb throttle that you press. You can push it and release depending on how much speed you want.
Start the throttle by slowly pressing it until you feel comfortable. If you press the throttle too fast, you could lose control of the ATV, or the front might pop up.
4. Learn the ATV Shifting Basics
If you purchased an ATV that requires manual shifting, you might have so brush up on the basics. On most ATVs, the shifting lever is by the left foot and the clutch is by the left hand. The throttle is by your right hand.
You will have to get comfortable maneuvering the clutch and throttle to prevent the ATV from stalling.
Most people consider driving a manual ATV similar to a stick shift. You might have started driving the car around an empty parking lot practicing how to shift gears. The exact concept applies to operating a manual ATV.
If you never learned to drive a stick shift, you can still learn to operate an ATV without previous experience.
You will just need to practice until you feel comfortable to take it for a spin.
5. Don’t Forget to Brake
Although you might feel ready to go at full speed, you need to learn how to slow down and brake. Braking on an ATV is more than just stopping. You need to learn cornering and traction control as you stop.
This is important to learn so you don’t lose control of the ATV when you have to make complete stops.
6. Learn the Proper Way to Steer
Even though the handlebars on an ATV are similar to a dirt bike or motorcycle, they operate slightly differently. When you’re driving on two wheels, you can lean to one side for cornering.
However, when you drive an ATV it feels more like you’re driving a car. When you need to corner on an ATV, you will have to lean on the opposite side of the momentum to avoid tipping over.
For example, if you make a right turn, your body will get pushed to the left. When this happens your body should lean to the right.
Next time you see a rider make a sharp turn, you will see their body is hanging off the side of the ATV when they make sharp turns.
Beginner Tips for Riding an ATV
Riding an ATV as a beginner the right way is key to ensure you stay safe and have the most fun.
Remember to learn the safety basics, ease on the throttle, and learn to steer.
Want to learn about other extreme hobbies? Check out the rest of our sports section.