Everyone remembers the first time they rode an ATV. There’s something profoundly enjoyable about the rumble of an 800 cc motor and the wind smacking you in the face. Mind you, as fun as they are, ATV’s can be mildly intimidating to the first timer. Folks familiar with motorcycles may have a basic understanding of what’s going on, but between all the buttons and safe riding stickers; there can be a learning curve.
Here are a few tips for first time ATV riders experiencing any self-doubt:
There’s no sense in busting your noggin on the first time out. If you’ve decided to saddle up and try riding a quad for the first time, put on a helmet at the very least. Ideally, you should also be armed with a long sleeve shirt and pants, as well as gloves.
Ride the Right Thing
You wouldn’t put a linebacker on a pony or a toddler on a Clydesdale. The same should apply when it comes to choosing the right quad to ride. Smaller individuals, like young teens and smaller statured adults should ride machines that they are able to easily maneuver, likely in the 250 cc range. Conversely, Uncle Bob who’s 6’4” and weighs in near 300 pounds shouldn’t be riding the same quad. He needs something that his weight won’t affect the performance and handling of. It’s important to note that to even ride a full-size, 1100 cc ATV, children must be at least 16 years old due to the additional ability and weight required to maneuver a quad of this size.
Know What All Those Do-Dad’s are For
From start buttons, to emergency shut offs, clutches and throttles, it’s of the utmost importance that you know how what all those buttons and levers are for to avoid disaster. Ask an experienced rider to do a walk-around of the machine with you before you hop on, and ensure that you know how to start, and most importantly stop and turn off the quad in case things go wrong.
Understand Basic Handling
Unlike your car, the ATV won’t simply turn on a dime because you crank the handlebars. It’s a Kawasaki, not a Cadillac, after all. Remember to lean with the quad as you turn to help maneuver the machine. Lean forward, into the handlebars, on steep inclines and lean back when descending hills. Your weight can make an ATV top-heavy, so utilize your weight to balance everything out.
Remember: Evel Knievel is Dead
You don’t need to see how fast the ATV will go just yet, or jump over anything. Take it easy on your first ride. Get a good feel for how the quad maneuvers, get used to the controls; and you can go a little faster next time.