Tips for the First Time ATV Buyer If you are considering purchasing an ATV, you should be aware that they are a big investment. Aside form the initial cost that can run from a few hundred dollars for an older used model to $5,000 or more, you also have top maintain your ATV just like your car. They require oil, gas, and eventually you will have to replace broken parts. Buying an ATV is not a decision to be taken lightly, and you must consider your needs to determine which ATV is right for you. If you are a beginner, you should start with an inexpensive simple model that will give you practice riding. After you are comfortable, you can upgrade to a more advanced model. You will also need safety gear such as a helmet, gloves, and goggles. Some accessories are not necessary for the casual rider such as winches, unless you plan on using your ATV for work purposes. Before you buy your ATV, think about what you want out of your ATV experience. You may want to ride for fun, to experience the outdoors and be a part of the excitement. You may want to use your ATV to haul things or help with other work such as plowing snow. You may find that your ATV can be both fun and useful. The reason you are purchasing your ATV should be the deciding factor in which type you buy. If you want it for fun, a light model without all the accessories will be fine. If you want it for work purposes, you should look into getting the accessories you need such as a winch, plow, and hitch. You will also be better off going with a heavier model that is designed for work. The type of engine you want in your ATV is also decided by your purpose. A 2-stroke engine takes a mix of oil and gas and is better fit for riding for fun. A 4-stroke engine is better suited as a work horse. You will also have to decide which type of transmission you want, an automatic or manual. ATV's with an automatic transmission are easier to drive just like automatic cars. If you have experience driving a manual transmission, you may prefer the control that a manual transmission offers. You can also get a semi-automatic transmission, which is a cross between the two. You can get advice on which type is best for you from your ATV dealership or online. You will also have to decide which type of starter you want. Some ATV's have an electric start, some have a kick start, and some have a pill start. While this is not the most important factor in choosing an ATV, it can make a difference. If you prefer ease of use, an electric push button start is best for you. With a kick start you have to push a lever with your foot located on the bottom of your ATV. A pull start operates the same way as a lawnmower where you pull a cord to start you ATV. You should do plenty of research before deciding and be sure to get an ATV that fits your needs. Tips for the ATV Beginner ATV's were designed as utilitarian machines at their inception, but they have grown in popularity for sport and enjoyment throughout the decades. Many people enjoy riding ATV's for fun and others race them and participate in other ATV events. ATV's can be exciting and a worthwhile pastime. They can, however, be dangerous but with the right experience and precautions you can safely enjoy your ATV. If you are a first time ATV owner you can benefit from training and practice and should educate your self on proper riding technique and safety precautions. One of the best ways to become a proficient rider is practice, but before you venture out there are some things all ATV beginners should do. If you are buying an ATV for the first time, you should probably go with a used model. If you are unsure that you will like the activity or just do not have great riding skills, at least at first, spending thousands on a brand new machine is not the best idea. It is better that you buy a cheaper used ATV so that you will not feel as bad if you damage it. After you have practiced and are a proficient you can buy the new ATV of your dreams and have less chances of wrecking it. Beginners can greatly benefit from taking training courses. Training courses are mandatory for minors in many areas but optional for adults. They are always a good idea, however, as taking one can show you proper riding techniques and help you develop your skills. You should also make sure your training course covers safety as ATV's can be very dangerous if you do not know how to follow the proper safety precautions. After you have taken a training course, it is time to go out and practice. It is a good idea to always ride with someone else until you are comfortable with your abilities. You should ride with someone who is experienced and a good rider so that you can benefit form watching their technique. You can even decide is an ATV is a good investment fro you by riding with someone else before you purchase your own ATV. You should also remember to read the owners manual for your ATV and any other paper work that came with it. If you buy a used model that does not come with an owner's manual, look up your model online and get some basic information. Maintaining you ATV is also an important part of ATV ownership so you should familiarize yourself with all the different aspects of maintenance. Learn how to check oil and tire pressure as well as do an over all safety inspection to ensure you ATV stays in safe working order. Practice makes perfect, so keep riding until you develop proper ATV skills. Once you are confident in your abilities you can branch out on your own and look into getting a brand new model. Always remember to follow safety precautions and wear protective gear no matter how confident you are. Things to Consider When Buying a Youth ATV There are many things to consider when buying an ATV for a child. You should first determine if the child is mature enough to ride alone and can follow safety precautions. If you think your child can handle the responsibility of an ATV, you must then pick the right one for them. The biggest and most obvious consideration when choosing an ATV for a child is size, although there are other important factors to consider as well. The size of your child will determine the size of the ATV you purchase. You will want to get the largest ATV they can comfortably drive so that it will last them until they are an adult and they will not outgrow it. Most ATV manufacturers make smaller models for children so be sure to inquire when you visit the dealership. Safety is probably parent's biggest concern when purchasing an ATV for their child. While riding an ATV can be a great activity for a child, you need to make sure your child follows safety precautions and the ATV you purchase has all the necessary safety features. Most locals require riders under 18 to take a safety course before purchasing an ATV and this is always a good idea. You will want to consider how stable and powerful the ATV model is that your are considering purchasing. The engine size goes along with safety, as children cannot control an ATV as well as adults. The more powerful an ATV is, the greater the chance for trouble. If you are unsure what engine type will be the most suitable for your child, most dealerships will have someone who can explain all the different engine specs to you. If you are purchasing an ATV somewhere besides a dealership, there is plenty of information online that will help you determine a safe engine type for your child. Let's face it, even the most mature child is still likely to put more wear and stress on their ATV than an adult because they do not have as advanced driving skills. You want to make sure that the ATV you purchase for your child is reliable and maintenance is not complicated. If you buy your ATV from a major company at a dealership, chances are you will get a warranty and the ATV will be reliable. This is not to say that you cannot find a reliable ATV other places, but generally dealerships will have the best service and warranties after the sale. You should also take into account the cost of replacement parts for the ATV you buy. The last thing you should consider when purchasing a youth ATV is cost. Just like any other major purchase, you should shop around for the best deal and make sure you stick to your budget. Depending on how long your child will likely use a youth ATV until they move up to an adult model, you may be better off buying a used ATV and saving for a bigger model when your child grows up. The Great Western Trail: A Utopia for ATV Trail Riding The American West was founded on dreams and the pioneer spirit. "Go West young man!" was the battle cry of thousands of individuals looking for adventure and a fresh start. In time, the way west had been criss-crossed by dozens of trails and passages to reach the Pacific Coast. In time, those trails would become a means for commerce as well as leisure travel and the means of transportation would be as varied as the people that used the trails. The same spirit lives on today in the American West. People sitting around campfires still have dreams and the drive to see them happen. One such group of people is the founders of the Great Western Trail. The GWT isn't a route for a modern day cattle drive, the Great Western Trail is an idea in the making for a multi-purpose outdoor vehicle trail that runs from Canada to Mexico. The trail won't just be for ATV and dirt bikes, the goal is to make the GWT available to hikers, horseback riders, skiers, snowmobilers and many other outdoor enthusiasts. Putting together a trail of this magnitude is going to take a lot of work and forethought. You can imagine all the precautions and planning that needs to be in place for these motorized and non-motorized trails to work together. Overall the "trail" will most likely be a collection of trails running parallel to one another. You can't have a horse and an ATV running on the same trail without some obvious safety issues. There are also some areas that motorized vehicles will not be allowed to go, but a horse or a hiker would. The GWT started back in 1985 and so far there are several hundred miles in Utah and Arizona. Like the Eastern and Western railroads of the old west, the goal is to have both the Northern and Southern sections of the trail meet in the middle, completing a way from Canada to Mexico. Portions of the route are already created and when the whole trail is finished it will cover a total of 4,455 miles through Arizona, Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana. Much of this route is mapped out over some of the most beautiful scenery the United States has to offer. The landscape of the American West is gorgeous enough from a car or the back of a motorcycle, but riding through miles of Arizona desert or the stunning Utah rock formations on an ATV can be downright spectacular. The builders of the GWT hope to utilize trails and roads already existing along the route. By doing this it cuts down on any new construction that needs to be done. The Great Western Trail is also making use of much of the public lands along the way, especially the land deep in the center of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. The trail will also utilize a few National Forests such as Bitterroot and Salmon National Forests and a portion that follows the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail. Still other sections of the trail will wind along the western portion of Yellowstone National Park. Eventually when the trail is finished, you will be able to spend a week or so riding the trail and have the ATV trail riding experience of a lifetime. ATV Transporting Tips Transporting an ATV can be a challenge, especially if you do not have the right equipment. Trying to transport an ATV in the back of a truck or in an all purpose trailer is not the best idea. It can be dangerous and make the task more difficult than it has to be. An unsecured ATV is dangerous and can injure people, and damage your truck or the ATV. If you are going to transport your ATV, make sure you use a specially designed ATV trailer and properly secure your ATV. Taking large heavy equipment such as an ATV on trips with you can be stressful, but using the proper trailer will reduce the amount of stress and make your tripe and enjoyable one. An ATV trailer is a type of trailer made to transport ATV's. Loading, unloading, and moving your ATV is much easier with a specially designed trailer and your ATV will be much more secure during transport. Most ATV trailers are made low to the ground and include a ramp that also folds up to secure your ATV after loading it. ATV trailers are made to withstand the weight of an ATV and have other safety features including places to use straps to secure your ATV. There are some tips you should remember to make the most of your trip while transporting an ATV. Loading and unloading your ATV may seem like the hardest part, but compared to the challenges of driving with a trailer in tow these steps are relatively easy. Make sure the ramp on your trailer stays in good condition and if it is not attached, make sure it will not slip while you load or unload your ATV. Driving while hauling your ATV in a trailer will prove to be the hardest part of transporting your ATV. Every move you make with your vehicle will cause your trailer to move as well. If you switch lanes or turn often, your trailer will also sway and move form side to side. Because the trailer is being towed a short distance behind your vehicle, the reaction of the trailer will be delayed. It will take a few seconds longer for the trailer to stop swaying and the movements of the trailer may be more exaggerated than that of your vehicle. If you are new to towing trailers, you should practice on quiet roads near your house before you attempt to tow your ATV long distances. Acceleration and braking is also different when you are towing a trailer. Obviously, you will not be able to accelerate as fast when towing a trailer so make sure you give yourself plenty of room when entering the road. You will also not be able to brake as quickly so do not follow as close to cars as you normally would. The faster you drive, the more your trailer will move so always drive with caution while pulling your ATV trailer. You should also make sure your ATV is properly secured on the trailer so that is does not come loose from bumps and vibrations and get damaged or cause damage to anything else. ATV Riding Gear, More Than Just Safety ATV riding gear was originally designed to keep riders safe. While today this is still its primary function, many ATV riding gear manufacturers have begun to add style to their products. ATV riders can now display their affinity for ATV's by wearing their favorite gear and look great. ATV riding gear is versatile and now is multifunctional and can be a part of a person's everyday casual attire. Many ATV riders buy riding gear for the purpose of safety while riding and to wear out and about as a fashion statement. Many manufacturers look at riding gear more as a line of clothing than simply utilitarian equipment. They design ATV riding gear including jackets, pants, and gloves with style in mind so that riding gear can be worn in a variety of situations. A riding jacket will look fine over jeans and even riding pants look cool with and ordinary shirt on top. Having great looking ATV riding gear will do more for you than expand your wardrobe. When you look good, you have confidence and this will help your riding performance. The more confident you are, the better you will perform. If you often ride with friends or belong to an ATV group, having members who have the same style of riding gear will help to unite you and form a bond of comradery. Racing teams often dress alike to support each other and sport similar styles. While looking good and dressing as a part of a team can help in driving performance, safety is the number one purpose of ATV riding gear. Every rider should wear a helmet, gloves, and specially designed pants and tops, especially f they are riding competitively. A helmet is the most obvious and important piece or riding gear. A helmet can be designed with style in mind, but it should also be high quality and meet all safety standards. The array of colors and design for ATV helmets are astounding so you are sure to be able to find a helmet that is both safe and stylish. Gloves are another important part of a rider's safety gear. They help ATV riders keep a firm grip and protect fingers and hands form scratches and abrasions. An ATV rider's pants should also be designed with safety in mind. Durable riding pants will not rip easily and will keep riders from injuring and scraping their legs in the event of a fall and suffering other abrasions. A heavy duty riding jacket will also serve to protect a rider's upper body from similar injuries. Wearing protective clothing and driving safely are the best ways to prevent injury while riding an ATV. Always pick riding gear that is of the highest quality. Because there are some many styles and choices, finding ATV riding gear that is both strong and stylish should not be a problem. The internet offers the best selection of safe ATV riding gear that will also make you feel confident and will integrate well into your everyday wardrobe. ATV Forums, Answering All Your ATV Questions If you are new to ATV's, chances are you have many questions. Your local ATV dealership will be able to answer many of your questions during a sale but afterwards you will probably have more questions that come up. You may also want to get impartial advice before you purchase your ATV or just network and meet fellow ATV enthusiasts. The internet has opened up great ways to communicate with anyone, and you can find may ATV forums that will provide you answers to your ATV related questions as well as places to make fiends that share your passion for ATV's. You can find information on specific ATV models, advice on riding techniques, places to go to ride and information on ATV clubs and events. One of the best things about ATV forums is the wealth of knowledge available for people considering buying an ATV for the first time. If you want to get information and advice on which ATV is right for you but do not want to bother with the pressure of discussing it with a sales person, and ATV forum is a great place to go for answers. Community members are usually happy to give advice to new ATV owners and will answer all your questions about different ATV types and models. Best of all, joining a forum is free and you have access to answers 24/7. Buying an ATV is a big investment, and can be quite costly. You can avoid buying a model with problems or one that will not suit you by consulting with experienced rides in a forum prior to buying your ATV. Another good aspect about ATV forums is that you can find out what ATV events and activities take place in your area. If you are looking for an ATV club to join or want new places to ride, ATV forum members will probably know what is available in your area, all you have to do is ask. You can also get advice on places to go for trips with your ATV and new places to explore. If you are looking for a race track or off road area open to the public, it can be hard to find this information locally. The members in an ATV forum will likely know what areas have such offerings and be able to send you in the right direction. If you are a beginner, you probably could benefit from some advice on proper riding techniques. An ATV forum is a great place to go to get advice on how to ride and how to properly care for your ATV. You can find out virtually everything you need to know about riding and maintenance from experienced riders in a forum. If you live in an area where there are few people who ride ATV's, a forum is a great place to make friends and connect with people who share your passion. You can get lots of god information on every aspect of ATV's from riding techniques, maintenance, and where to find the best deals on ATV parts and equipment. You can improve you skills while you make friends all from the comfort of you home. ATV Accessories Having the right accessories for your ATV can heighten your riding experience and make it more enjoyable. Accessories can also serve a utilitarian purpose and help you to complete tasks such as hauling loads and carrying heavy equipment. They can also add to rider safety by protecting against abrasions from trees and reducing the risk of falls. ATV's serve many purposes, most of which can be aided by the right ATV accessories. The purpose of your ATV will determine which accessories are right for you. Safety equipment is essential for all riders, ramps will come in handy for most riders, and hitches, wenches and racks are a must for those who use their ATV's for work purposes. Every ATV owner should have safety equipment. Safety gear is an essential accessory and can prevent serious injuries. All riders should wear goggles, helmets, and gloves as well as rugged pants and a jacket to protect against abrasions. Many states require minors to wear safety equipment and even if your does not, no one should ever ride without proper safety accessories. Safety accessories for your ATV include bumpers and heavy duty covers. If you ever travel with your ATV an indispensable accessory is a ramp. A ramp will make loading and unloading your ATV from your truck or trailer easy and safe. Do not be tempted to use some old 2x4's as a ramp as they will be likely to break under the weight of your ATV and are not safe. Another crucial accessory for your ATV during transport is tie down straps. Make sure you buy heavy duty straps that will secure the weight of your ATV to your truck or trailer. If you travel often, you should think about buying a trailer made specifically for your ATV as it is a safer way to transport your ATV than in the back of your truck. If you ruse your ATV for work purposes or just want to have the ability to tow things if the need arises, a hitch is an important ATV accessory. You can pull virtually anything with your ATV if it has a hitch from other ATV's to wagons and carts. This can prove very useful if you do a lot of yard work or have heavy things to transport around your property. Winches are also useful accessories to have whether you do work with your ATV or not. With a winch you can pull your ATV easily out of the mud or pull other stuck ATV's. Some ATV accessories improve the look of your ATV including ground kits and custom made body parts. If you want to make your ATV unique and customize it to your liking, these accessories are a good way to do it. Make sure whatever accessory you buy is compatible with your ATV and that you can actually use it. Most casual riders can go without some of the utilitarian accessories and others can benefit from them greatly. Even if you don't get a lot of extras with your ATV, make sure you have safety equipment and always ride safely. Assessing ATV Trailer Quality If you have or are planning to buy an ATV, chances are that you will need an ATV trailer as well. An ATV trailer allows ATV owners to transport their ATV safely and much more easily than trying to use the bed of a truck. ATV trailers come in a variety of sizes depending on your needs. You can find trailers designed to haul from one to six ATV's at a time. While other flat bed trailers can be used to transport ATV's, a trailer designed for the task is the safest option. An ATV trailer is made up of a deck that the ATV's are loaded on to and a ramp that folds up during transport and serves as a safety device for holding the ATV in place. Single ATV trailers usually come in two sizes, 5' x 8' and 5' x 10'. The size of your ATV will determine the best size for your ATV trailer. If you have two or more ATV's, you can find trailers that measure 5' x 13 or 5' x 14' that will fit the job. If you need to haul more that two ATV's, you can have ATV trailers custom made to your specifications. The trailer you choose should be sturdy and strong enough to hold the number of ATVs you intend to haul. Trying to fit more ATV's on a trailer that was not designed for it can cause extreme stress on the trailer and the added weight can cause it to break. Most ATV trailers have a tongue mounting system and you should make sure it is sturdy and will not bend, crack, or twist during transport. The main support beams on the trailer also need to be strong as this is where the axels attach. The weight of the trailer's load is transferred to these beams during transport and if they are not high quality, they can bend or break. The trailers cross members should also be strong because if they twist or warp it will cause the corners to flex and will crack the trailers welds. The safest system in an ATV trailer is the tilt clamp system. They are also easy to use and more stable. The tilt clamp system is also faster to attach than a traditional hitch system. The tilt clamp system pulls the trailer and tongue together with a T-bolt that also reduces vibration. No matter what attachment system your ATV trailer uses, make sure it is properly connected and secure. You do not want bumps and vibrations during transport to cause your trailer to become unhitched. ATV's can be very useful or a fun hobby. Make sure your transport method is the proper one for ATV's and that you use the proper precautions. Always secure your ATV on the trailer and make sure the ramp is secured in the upright position so that it does not fall during transport. An unsecured ATV on the back of a trailer can be extremely dangerous. Only use a high quality trailer to ensure that it will not warp or break and it will last you many years. Are ATV's too Dangerous for Kids? An ATV is not a toy and is a machine that should be respected and taken seriously, or the potential for injury is great. It is true that many ATV injuries occur every year, especially with children. When children do not wear protective gear, are not supervised, and do not ride in a safe manner, the potential for injury is great. However, with the proper precautions the chances for injury are greatly reduced. ATV's are not too dangerous for children, providing that you and your child take the necessary safety precautions. If your child does not have the right attitude towards ATV's, they do not wear safety gear, and are not supervised while riding, then yes, an ATV is too dangerous for them. But, if you plan on teaching your child safe driving practices, have them wear safety gear, and supervise them, an ATV can be a safe and enjoyable pastime. One of the most important things you can do to keep your child safe on an ATV is to teach them safety practices and give them the right attitude about ATV's. If you assume that your child will not view an ATV as a toy and will drive it responsibly without any instruction, you are probably asking for trouble. Taking an ATV safety course with your child is a great way to tech them safe driving practices, and in many places it is required before your child can ride. Never assume that your child will be responsible right off the bat, they need to be taught how to responsibly drive and supervised to make sure they follow safety protocol. If you drive an ATV as well, you should try to set a good example by always wearing your safety gear and riding safely. If your child does not wear safety gear, then an ATV is too dangerous for them. Many ATV injuries involving children are preventable if the child had been wearing safety gear. Everyone who rides an ATV should always wear a helmet, goggles, and gloves. The best way to get your child to wear safety gear is to wear it yourself and set a good example. Durable pants and a jacket designed for ATV riding are also a good idea as they can protect from scrapes and abrasions. If you do not intend to enforce the use of safety gear, then do not get your child an ATV as unprotected rides face the biggest risk of injury. While there are many injuries involving kids and ATV's, with the proper precautions they are not too dangerous for kids. As long as kids know the rules of safe driving and obey them, they should stay safe. It is a parent's responsibility to keep their kids safe and to always supervise them. If you do not think your child is mature enough to handle the responsibility of safe driving, wait until they are older to get them an ATV. Kids should only drive an ATV that is the correct size and should always be supervised. If kids follow the rules and parents enforce them, ATV riding can be fun and safe. An ATV Trail Date The ATV trail is a place for dirt, mud, gravel and romance? Today's ladies are hardly the proper models of the Victorian Era; in fact, there are plenty of gals out there just itching to ride their four-wheelers with as much gusto as their male counterparts. So if you're a dude who's scratching his head for the perfect place to woo your next girlfriend, why not choose an ATV trail excursion? Of course, in order to ensure that your adventure is on the amorous side, you'll need to incorporate a little bit of heartfelt and sincere sweetness into the occasion. Start off by sending your "special friend" an invite for an ATV cruise to watch the sunset from a trail nearby. The invitation should be handwritten and sent via the mail, or, if you're cyber-savvy, emailed. Plan your date as you would any other. First, map out the perfect ATV trail based on your companion's four-wheeling level. If she's just starting out (or hasn't ridden before), choose a smooth path that will leave her breathless and smiling, but definitely not terrified. On the other hand, if she's a veteran ATV operator, you can up the ante by picking out a more technically difficult trail filled with twists and turns. Regardless, make certain you know the mileage so you're at the appropriate spot come nightfall (a sunset always makes a lovely date backdrop.) Because this is a date, you'll want to look your best. Though ATV riding can be a dirty proposition, a suit and tie is wildly inappropriate; however, that doesn't mean you have to show up looking like a slob. At least comb your hair and trim your fingernails. Remember to brush your teeth, too, as most people like fresh breath. When you pick up or meet your sweet thing, show her how much you care by holding up a bag packed with plenty of goodies for the two of you to enjoy during your adventure. These could include some non-alcoholic beverages, yummy snacks, a radio or CD player for music options and a camera so you can capture your moments together. During the ride, you'll no doubt have a plethora of opportunities to wow your significant other by pointing out exceptional scenery or by picking her a handful of wildflowers. Since this is a date, don't be in a hurry to get from point A to point B; allow yourselves to linger when feasible. And, of course, if the mood strikes, "stealing" kisses is always appropriate if mutually desired. Should something go wrong along the way, keep yourself calm, cool and collected. Remember, this ATV trail date is about the journey, not about the destination and she'll recall fondly how you handled an unexpected situation if you keep a level head. Though an ATV trail date of this sort isn't guaranteed to produce a relationship that will last the test of time, it's still likely to be a terrific experience for you both. You just have to put a little planning into the excursion and be open to possibilities. Using an ATV Salvage Yard If you are a backyard mechanic and have an ATV, chances are you have considered tinkering with it to improve performance or just to make it your own. There are many places you can find parts for your ATV, and finding them can become half the fun. If you do not want to pay retail price for a part, especially one that will not be seen, you should consider looking for an ATV salvage yard in your area. Buying used parts can be quite economical as you can find may great parts at a faction of what they cost new. Most used parts are perfectly safe and will work just as well as their new counterparts. If you are concerned about using a used part on your ATV, you should consult other ATV owners, there are many ATV forums online whose users will be happy to give you advice. If you do not know where an ATV salvage yard in your area is, the best place to start is your local junk yard or car salvage. They will probably know of any salvage yards that specialize in ATV parts or they may even have ATV parts themselves. If you live in an agricultural or hunting area, or have an ATV race track nearby, chances are you can find an ATV salvage yard nearby. You can also use the internet to search for ATV salvage yards in your area. You should stick to places close enough for you to go to so that you can inspect any parts before you buy them. You can expect to pay less for a used part than for its new counterpart, so if you do not know what to expect price wise for a specific part look up the new price and expect to pay anywhere from 10% to 50% less, sometimes you may get an even better deal. You should always thoroughly inspect any used part you are considering buying as it may not be worth it, as you may have to spend more money just to get the part in working condition. One of the best things about buying used parts is that you can always bargain and try to get n even better deal. You may also be able to get a discount if you buy more than one used part, something that rarely happens if you are buying new. If you are tinkering on your ATV for a hobby or are on a budget, used parts can be very economical. If you are very handy, you can even buy a used ATV at a great price if it has mechanical problems and then fix it with parts from an ATV salvage yard. You can save a lot of money this way as long as you know what you are doing and do not mind doing the work. An ATV salvage yard is a great place to find parts to fix your ATV or to find parts to improve its performance. Always remember to inspect used parts before you buy them and yes, it is ok to haggle to get the best price while in the ATV salvage yard. Tips for Taking Jumps and Sharp Turns on Your ATV You may notice that some ATV riders can make certain obstacles and jumps look like child's play while others make them look dangerous and impassable. Although superior equipment may be partially responsible, experience and familiarity with your quad is what separates the men from the boys. Riding time is the best way to get better, but there are a few techniques, like making you quad pivot around a corner or taking a jump, that can make riding a lot more fun. If you want to take a corner quickly without losing much speed, depending on your ATV's setup and capabilities, you may be able to conquer the turn by making your quad pivot around it. Although this technique works best with light, powerful sport quads, it can be used with utility ATV's as well. Enter the corner wide and fast instead of slowing down or coasting through. When you get to a point in the corner that you hit a spot where you can turn your quad in the direction you want to go, turn your wheels in that direction, hit the front brake hard, and open the throttle. When done properly, this will momentarily cause your rear tires to lose traction and spin your back end around. When you have turned your quad far enough, simply release the brake and keep on the gas. You may fishtail as you finish this maneuver, but steering into the skid will keep you going where you want to go. The result is your quad turning quickly around an obstacle without losing much speed. Making your back wheels lose traction and spin you sideways is the key to this maneuver, so you may get better results if you lean forward and take some weight off the back wheels. This technique is easier accomplished on quads with stiff suspension, low center of gravity, and lots of power on demand. The lack of these characteristics will make this maneuver more dangerous and difficult to do properly, but it can be done if your front brakes can slow you down and you can get your back wheels to break loose. The key to doing jumps on an ATV is technique and respect for your ride. When done properly, most jumps are relatively safe, but if you bite off more than you can chew, you will get hurt. With this said, easy does it when it comes to learning to get your wheels off the ground. No two jumps are exactly the same, but there is a simple technique for getting air without kissing the handlebars when you land. The length and steepness of the jump will play a large role in how fast you want to be going when you hit a jump, but be conservative on the first couple passes and that will tell you what kind of jump you're dealing with. Sometimes a jump will have a lip on it that will do unexpected things to your quad, so be prepared. On your first pass, you will want to approach the end of your ramp(whatever it may be) with enough speed that you feel you would get a little bit of lift if you just held the throttle steady all the way through. However, just before you reach the end of the ramp, let off the gas momentarily, but then quickly give it as much gas as possible. This accomplishes two things: first, the burst of power right before you leave the ground launches you into the air; second, it causes your front end to shoot up into the air, much like doing a wheelie. By entering a jump with this posture, your back tires should hit the ground first, ensuring that you and your quad don't do a swan dive into the ground. When you are airborne, let off of the throttle so that your quad doesn't over rev while to wheels can spin freely. After your first successful pass, you will know a lot about that particular ramp and what your ATV is likely to do when you jump it. Using this information, you can get an idea of the best speed to hit the ramp at and how much throttle to give it before you leave the ground. For many ramps, especially those that are short and have a sharp angle (like the edges of dried out ponds), first gear may be plenty of speed and power, and if the ramp is too steep, trying your approach in second gear could be painful. Anytime you ride an ATV you should exercise caution, especially when riding in a new area or trying new techniques. Modern ATVs are extremely powerful and can get out of control quickly if you do not respect their power. When trying any new techniques, take it easy and master it at low speeds. Although something may look simple, every quad handles differently and will react to obstacles and maneuvers differently. Trying to do things that are beyond your skills or your ATV's handling capabilities can be disastrous and keep you from riding again for a very long time. Tips for Youth ATV Safety ATV riding can be a great pastime for a child, and if they follow the proper safety precautions, it can be a safe one as well. Many children and adults are injured every year from the result of ATV accidents, and many of these injuries are preventable if the riders had only taken the proper safety precautions. Children are especially prone to injure themselves when riding an ATV because they do not have the skills and maturity level of an adult. ATV's are powerful machines and children can have a hard time controlling them as well. This is not to say that ATV's are not suitable for children, but children should follow some safety tips to reduce their chances of being injured while on their ATV. Children should be taught the correct way to use an ATV before they are allowed to ride and should understand the safe way to operate one before they ride. They should know that an ATV is not a toy and can be very dangerous. Children should be taught the correct way to turn, brake, and how to control the ATV. Many places require minors to take a training course, and even if your area does not it is still a good idea. These courses will teach your child how to safely ride an ATV and will give them experience handling one. Wearing safety gear is the best way to prevent injury. Children should always wear helmets and other safety gear whether it is required by law or not. They should also wear goggles and gloves to protect their hands and eyes. Apparel designed with durability in mind is also important as durable pants and jackets will prevent many scrapes and abrasions in the event of a fall. Children should not wear baggy clothing while riding as it can be caught or pulled in the engine and cause injury. Children should know safe places to ride and always ride with supervision. They should not be allowed to ride near roadways, train tracks, or on paved surfaces. Riding near cars is extremely dangerous and illegal in many areas. Riding on pavement is also dangerous as ATV's are designed to run on dirt and can easily spin out of control on pavement or cement. Train tracks can also be hazardous and cause an ATV to flip over or get stuck. You should know your child's ability and they should only ride at a speed and on terrain that is suitable to their experience level. Accidents frequently occur when a child is riding faster than they should or on terrain that is too challenging for them. Make sure you child is experienced enough to handle the terrain and speed they are traveling. Children should not be allowed to take passengers as this is another practice that causes accidents. Passengers can distract a child driver and make the ATV harder to maneuver. Children should also be involved in the maintenance of their ATV and should only ride their ATV if it is in safe working condition. If children follow these safety rules, they should have a safe and enjoyable time with their ATV. The Best ATV Trails: One Man's Trash is Another Man's Treasure Next time you hear about a great riding spot, you might want to ask a few questions before you pack up to go ride there. Although all ATV's are designed for fun, they aren't all set up for having fun on the same terrain, and a trail that is great for some people might be a complete bore or be impassable for others. Twenty years ago most ATV's were fairly similar. Three wheels were a lot more common than four, and they all had a utilitarian feel to them. Today there is a huge variety of ATV's that are specifically designed to meet the needs of nearly any rider. Most ATV's have become very specialized and are designed for mud, rocks, work, or just plain speed. However, because ATV's are so specialized, certain trails are much more suited to different types of ATV's. ATV's fall into two categories, sport and utility, and each type of ATV performs extremely well in a certain conditions. For rock crawling and other extremely rough terrain, a large four wheel drive utility quad is the best, but skid plates are highly recommended. Four wheel drive is crucial for rock crawls since it's not uncommon to get a front or back wheel off the ground in order to get from one rock to another. Although it is possible to prod a two wheel drive sport bike over some crazy rocks, you'd better take the right line through the rocks the first time since most sport bikes don't have a reverse. The suspension setups in sport bikes also make them much more difficult to get across big rocks; this is because the suspension is much more rigid, and many of them lack independent suspension. In many utility quads, it seems like the tires reach down and grab the rocks. When it comes to mud pits, the utility quads, especially those with four wheel drive are right at home. The extra weight of these monsters, along with locking differentials, let the tires sling anything out of the way that it can't grab onto. Sport bikes can be plenty of fun in the mud, but they are not the first choice for deep mud holes. Anytime you are crossing mud, speed is your friend, especially if you're on a sport bike designed for speed and acceleration, not the low end torque need to push through a wall of mud and water. However, stopping any quad in the middle of a mud pit, four wheel drive or not, can mean getting out the tow cable or winch. Another unexpected trail obstacle that can mean trouble is sand, especially the type of sand that is found close to creek beds. Typically you can get some decent traction on dunes, but unpacked sand is a problem for most quads, unless handled properly. In loose sand, a sport bike has the advantage over heavy utility quad. A sport bike's light weight allows it to keep moving over sand, while most utility bikes are designed to dig deeper into terrain to get traction. Regardless of what kind of quad you have, speed is the best way to overcome sand without getting stuck. The biggest issue that comes up when talking about great riding trails is what makes that trail great. Some people will say that mostly level trails with a few hills and ditches are great riding; they just want to get away from everything and enjoy the great outdoors for a few hours. Although there are many people that enjoy this type of ATV ride, it just won't cut it if you're in the mood to sling some mud, catch some air, or crawl up bluffs. Whatever kind of riding you enjoy, you might be very disappointed if you unload at a spot and find that the terrain brings out your quad's weaknesses instead of its strengths. Taking the Mystery Out of Buying a Used ATV If you have considered purchasing an ATV you probably know that it can be an expensive endeavor. ATV's range in price and the hobby can become expensive fast. If you want the newest model with all the bells and whistles, expect to pay a high price. However, if you want to get into ATV riding for less, it is possible to buy a used ATV for a much lower price and still have just as much fun. You should not think that buying a used ATV will compromise safety or quality. If you research the ATV before you buy it and know what to look for, you can find a perfectly safe and operable ATV for a fraction of the price of a new one. This is great for beginners who want to test the waters before they invest in a brand new machine, or for people who want to experience the fun of ATV riding but do not want to pay a premium. Some people like to tinker with their ATV's and customize them. Buying a used ATV is perfect for this as you can find many used parts to create a one of a kind ATV. The downside to buying a used ATV is that you may not always know what you are getting. This is especially true if you but a used ATV online. You cannot inspect the ATV before you purchase it and have to rely solely on the description provided. You can find good deals online but you have to be sure to ask the right questions and get important information. If you want to buy the best used ATV you can, you should follow these tips. The safest bet in used ATV's are models made within the last few years. It is possible to find an older model that is in great condition, but if you are new to ATV's or have not done extensive research it is best to stick to models that were made fairly recently. Recent models will have less miles and will have the least amount of wear overall compared to older models. They also require less maintenance than older models. Unless you know a lot about the inner workings of ATV's, it is best to buy a used ATV from a company or shop that employs mechanics and has experience selling and repairing ATV's. You can find great used ATV's form private sellers, but you have to be sure that you know what to look for to determine quality. If you do not know much about repairing ATV's, you are better off purchasing from someone who does. Buying a used ATV from a company or shop will also usually provide you with some added peace of mind in the form of a limited warranty or return policy. If you are going to buy from a private seller, make sure they have a good rating if they are an inline seller or they have references if they are a local seller. No matter where you buy your used ATV, make sure you do some research on prices and know what to expect to pay. You should also know what to look for and how to identify an ATV that has been well taken care of as opposed to one that has been neglected and will require work. Sizing up an ATV Helmet The most important thing you can do to stay safe while riding an ATV is to wear a helmet. But not any helmet will do, you need to find one that properly fits you. Just putting one on for a minute is not enough to check for the proper fit, and you want to be sure you get a helmet that will protect you. There are some things you can do to make sure the helmet you choose is the best helmet for you and will protect your head in the event of an accident. Your ATV helmet should be snug. There is a difference between tight and snug, and while you should not have to fight to get your helmet on, if it easily slides over your head it is probably too loose. You want to pick a helmet that gives a little resistance as you pull it on otherwise it may move if you are in an accident and will not protect you. Your helmet should stay put no matter how you move. When you are trying on a helmet, be sure to shake your head in every direction and check to see if it moves. If the helmet moves at all it is not the best fit for you. The helmet should comfortably grip your head without pinching and should not move at all, not matter how you move your head. The ATV helmet you choose should not come off no matter what after you secure it. Adjust the chin strap and try to pull the helmet off after the closure system is secure. If the helmet moves off your head or comes up even a little, it is not the helmet for you. Either adjust the closure for a more snug fit and try the test again or pick a different helmet. The helmet should not move at all, even when pressure is applied to it, after it is closed. Many people are tempted to buy the biggest helmet they can find thinking that it will offer them more protection. Fit is much more important than size as a properly fitting helmet will protect you much better than a large one. A helmet that is too large is unsafe and you will end up having to adjust it while you are riding which can cause an accident. Always go for fit, not size, when shopping for an ATV helmet. Another size mistake people commonly make when buying ATV helmets is buying a helmet that is too large for their child. They think a little extra room is ok since their child will grow into it and the helmet will last longer. This is not a good idea as a helmet that is too large will not protect your child now, and can cause serious injury. Always buy a helmet that fits your child correctly now, having to replace it sooner rather than later is a small price to pay for the safety of your child. A helmet can save your life if you are in an ATV accident, so make sure you pick on that fits correctly. Save Money on your Next ATV Purchase If you have an ATV, you know how expensive the hobby can be. ATV's can be very expensive and the parts and costs of maintenance can also be high. If you have to do emergency repairs of even replace a badly damaged ATV you may find yourself strapped for cash. The initial ATV purchase is also a major expense, especially if you buy new. It is possible to save money, keep to a budget, and enjoy ATV riding. You should still be prepared to invest money in your hobby but if you do some research, you can find good prices on ATV's and ATV parts. Most ATV retailers whether they are a local dealership or an online dealer, run sales periodically. You should do some independent research and decide which model and brand of ATV you want. Unless you get lucky, you may have to end up waiting a while for a sale but the price difference will be worth it. Always check to see what the regular price of the model you want to and compare dealerships both locally and online. Once you know what the average non-sale price is of the ATV you want, all you have to do is wait for it to go on sale. Most ATV dealerships have sales twice a year or so, and as long as you are patient you can potentially save hundreds. You should avoid going to a dealer before you know what price to expect because it is easy to be talked into buying an ATV because a sales person says that they have the best price. Always do you own research to find out what the best price really is. Most ATV owners spend money every year replacing or adding parts to their ATV's. This can get costly if you pay retail every time you replace something. Just like ATV's, ATV parts will go on sale periodically so the trick to saving when you buy parts is to wait until their on sale and know what the best price you can expect is through research. This may not seem practical as you never know when something will break and will not want to wait months to fix it. The solution to this dilemma is to buy parts that you know you will eventually need when they are on sale, even if you do not need them at the time. You will save money in the long run if you have a replacement part you need that you bought at a discount. Supplies for regular ATV maintenance can also be costly over time so you should grab them when they are on sale and save yourself money. Many people, especially if they have a new ATV, have not considered buying used ATV parts. If you need to replace something on your ATV, most of the time a used part will work just a well as a new one and will save you money. Just because a part is used or refurbished does not necessarily mean that it is of inferior quality. Most of the time a used part will work just as well as a new one and you will pay a fraction of the price. Safety Precautions When on the ATV Trail Whether you are a veteran of the ATV trail or a novice rider itching to explore the great outdoors on your four-wheeler, you need to bring with you more than a little good sense and safety precautions. Without a significant amount of awareness when it comes to protecting yourself and your ATV, you could wind up injured, lost, or otherwise in bad shape. First, it's essential that you bring a helmet with you. In many places, it's the law. Of course, there might not be other people for a hundred miles except you and your riding companions, so your initial thought process might suggest the opposite. Unless you're a top-notch prognosticator or have access to a 100% accurate crystal ball, that kind of thinking is as risky as gambling on a horse with a lame leg. It is always better to err on the side of caution and wear a protective helmet when you ride on the ATV trail. Next, remember the adage, "Drinking and driving don't mix"? It goes for ATVs as well as automobiles, motorcycles, and boats. Even one beer has the ability to render you in a state of slowed responsiveness: and that means that a wrong turn could be the last one you ever make. Save the alcoholic beverages for the celebratory dinner or party the night after a long day of ATV trail cruising. Make sure you consider using the "buddy system". Though there are plenty of ATV enthusiasts who head out into the mountains with nary a friend save their trusty four-wheeled playmates, it is typically not a good idea. The thinking behind this safety precaution is a reasonable one: if anything happens to you on the ATV trail, having someone else there will speed up the process of getting you to a medical facility. Of course, it's imperative that you have your cell phone on you for your ATV rides, though you cannot always rely on it unless you have a good connection rate. Without a cellular phone, you could find yourself off a trail in no time and without a clue as to how to get in contact with anyone reliable to help you out. If you're exploring a new ATV trail, bring along an updated map of the area. In fact, you might want to get a couple of them and make sure both you and your riding buddies each have one. Sure, it's not supposed to be cool to say, "Let's look at the map," but it's a lot better than shivering along a remote ATV trail at midnight, wondering how in the world you will make it back. It's also important that you turn on the local weather station by the use of the radio or a television before taking a four-wheeler spin. Though most ATVs are built to handle some tricky conditions, it's best to know what kind of elements you're likely to encounter. That way you can dress appropriately, bring along suitable gear or leave the ATV riding for another day if conditions look especially dicey. Finally, one of the most important safety precautions is to ensure that the operator of the ATV is healthy enough to navigate through the trail. If you're feeling at all ill or have a physical injury that could prevent you from being a dependable driver, you may need to head out another time. There is no shame in postponing an ATV ride if you're under-the-weather. And, besides, it's unlikely that you'll be able to enjoy the experience to its fullest if you're coughing, achy, or in pain. By being prudent, you can ensure that your next ATV trail adventure is exciting, rewarding, and, most of all, safe. Getting the Best deal on an ATV Online Many consumers have figured out that the internet is a great place to get merchandise at great prices, and ATV's are no exception. There are many different places online where you can find a great deal on an ATV from Retailers websites to manufacturers and even auction sites such as eBay. The internet gives consumers the ability to browse hundreds of different models and makes price comparisons easy. Shopping online for an ATV does have its own set of challenges, the biggest one being that you cannot test drive the ATV you will be purchasing. There are ways around this, however, and other things you should keep in mind when you are shopping for your next ATV online. One of the best things about shopping online is how easy it is to compare prices. With just a few clicks you can see what each competitor charges. You should always research prices yourself; do not assume that a website has the correct prices for their competitors even if they claim to. It does not take much effort to price shop online so take advantage of it. You can also check the websites of local dealerships to see if they will be running sales that you can take advantage of. If you are new to ATV's or don't know which type you want, the internet may not be the best place to start your search. Begin by checking out ATV's at your local retailer or dealership to get an idea of what you like. You can use the internet to get suggestions by visiting ATV forums and enthusiast websites. You can get plenty of advice online about what type of ATV will be right for you and get answers to all of your questions without pressure from a sales person. When you shop online you cannot always be guaranteed that the ATV you are purchasing will be high quality. Shopping from an online retailer with a good reputation or from an individual with good feedback is one way to ensure the ATV you purchase will be of good quality, or at least as advertised. Do not hesitate to ask questions via email or phone about the ATV you are considering purchasing. If you cannot get an answer or the company tries to give you the run around, I is best that you go else ware. Since you are purchasing an ATV online, it is impossible to test drive the ATV you like and get a feel for it. This is the down side to buying online, even though you can usually fin deep discounts over local dealerships. The way to get around this problem is to decide on which model you want and then go inspect and test drive it at your local dealership. Granted this only works if you are buying a newer ATV that can be found at a dealership, as you will have a hard time finding the exact used model you may be considering. If you are buying a newer ATV model, go check it out locally before you buy it to make sure you will be happy once it arrives. Off Roading Off the Strip What do you think of when you hear "Las Vegas"? Slot machines, casinos, showgirls, money, glitz, spectacular shows and some of the best buffets in the States, right? What very few people realize is that southern Nevada has some of the best outdoor activities in the south western United States. Lake Meade National Park not only offers a great tour of the Hoover Dam, but Lake Meade is a hot spot for boating, water skiing, jet skiing, fishing and even some scuba diving. The roads that wind around the lake are frequented by motorcyclists and bicyclists, runners and walkers. If you go far enough into Lake Meade National Park you run into the Valley of Fire, a park named for it's spectacular fiery red rocks and stunning landscape. On the west end of Las Vegas is Red Rock Canyon, more spectacular landscaping for horseback riding, hiking, camping, rock climbing, biking and motorcycling. And let's not forget the trails for the ATV crowd. In Las Vegas there are two major areas where the locals go to ride. The first one is about a half hour outside of Las Vegas at the north end of the strip just past Nellis Air Force Base. There are two ways you can reach the Nellis Dunes. You can either follow Las Vegas Boulevard (aka The Las Vegas Strip) to the north and past the Las Vegas Speedway until you get to the end of it or you can take the I-15 to the Apex exit and turn right. You can't miss the Dunes on this lonely stretch of road. If you came off the I-15 the Dunes will be immediately on your left, in fact, you will be able to see them from the exit ramp. Every weekend there are trailers and RVs parked up on the Dunes. You can watch kids and adults riding the trails on ATV's and dirt bikes from the road. If you follow the Boulevard south as far as it will go, you will find yourself paralleling the I-15 going towards California. This stretch of road will take you to the Jean Dry Lake Beds. The area here is also wide open desert with plenty of space for ATV trail riding and should take only twenty to thirty minutes from the Strip. Venturing outside of Las Vegas you can find another ATV hotspot, the El Dorado Dry Lake Valley Area. Take US 95 or the Boulder Highway south towards Searchlight. Seven miles after the Railroad Pass Casino before you reach Searchlight you'll find the trails. And finally off of US 93 is the Logandale Trails System. An inexperienced rider or first time visitor to Las Vegas might want to consider hiring a trail guide. Most of these trails are unmarked and difficult to follow if you aren't familiar with the area. A guide will also be able to help you over the rougher patches of trail. All ATV outfitters in Las Vegas offer training on the ATV to make sure that you understand how to operate the vehicle. Off road vehicles in Nevada are usually don't require registration, license or titles to drive, but drivers under the age of 15 require adult supervision and everyone needs to wear a helmet. Headlights are also required to be on from dusk to dawn. Another safety precaution is having a brightly colored flag attached to your ATV while riding the trails so that other riders can see you. Do not ride your ATV on the roads or highways either; trailer your vehicle to the site and stick to the trails. Above all else, do not operate your ATV or any other motorized vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Nutritional Snacks for the ATV Trail Could what you put in the ATV operator really make a difference on the ATV trail? Absolutely; after all, you wouldn't fill up your four-wheeler's tank with maple syrup and potato chips. Filling up your own "tank" with garbage is just as likely to result in a negative outcome such as fatigue, gastrointestinal upset or distracting hunger pangs early on during a long ride. Want to know the secret to a long and happy ATV trail excursion? It's replacing all those sodas and juice bottles with clear and cool water. Though many ATV drivers swear by sports drinks, they might deliver too much sugar into your system. Though sports and energy drinks are coveted by athletes who are exerting tremendous amounts of energy, you're better off imbibing clear, pure and unflavored H2O. What better food stuff than a handful of trail mix to go along with your thirst-quenching bottle of water? Before you start munching on the various trail mixes available on the market, take heed. Many of those so-called "healthy" snacks are loaded with trans-fats, unnecessary sodium, and far too much sugar. Instead of trying to sort through all the supermarket options, why not make your own? In a large plastic bag, throw in a cupful of a high fiber cereal, a half a cupful of nuts, a half a cupful of unsweetened dried fruits (such as cranberries, apricots, or raisins), and, if you must have something sweet, a modest sprinkling of semi-sweet baking chocolate chips. Shake the bag and share with your ATV trail buddies. Though many of the energy bars on the market are woefully lacking in basic nutrition, there are some which are hearty enough to eat as a meal substitute. If you're going to be out on your ATV all day, you can replace lunch with one of these power-packed energy bars. Just make sure that your choice has at least 250-350 calories and a whopping dose of fiber. Watch out for energy bars that are all carbohydrates; try to find one that balances carbs with protein. Try to avoid any that are made by popular candy makers because they usually contain way too high a proportion of sweetener. One of the most underappreciated fruits is the lovely yellow banana, a tropical delight that packs a nutritional punch. Though a medium banana is only about 100 calories, it is loaded with potassium and has reputedly therapeutic benefits. If you can stow a few of these edible golden treasures in a place where they won't get squashed during your ATV trail excursion, you'll be able to benefit from their natural wealth of nourishment. Never forget that the more planning you put into your ATV exploration, the more you'll get out of the experience. That includes the type, amount, and quality of foods you bring with you on your next ATV journey. Modifying Your ATV There are many reasons that you may want to modify your ATV. If you want to improve performance or looks, or just customize your ATV you my be hesitant because you do not want to mess anything up. Or, you may be gung ho and have no hesitation about tinkering with your ATV. No matter which mindset you have, there are some things you should consider before modifying your ATV. You should do some research before attempting modifications and make sure you have a plan and know what to expect when changing parts. A great place to start your research is online. There are many websites and forums where you can get personalized advice. If you are not sure where to begin or have a question about a specific part, there are many people who will be willing to give you impartial advice in ATV forums. And it is free to join in the discussion. You can also find information on modifying your ATV on websites and even in blogs, so do a little research online before you start the work. If you do get stuck or make a mistake, you can get solutions to your problems from ATV forums and learn how to fix your mistakes. Even a small mistake can turn costly, so make sure you get advice before you end up spending more than you have to. Sales people at you local ATV dealership or parts store can also give you advice, but you should be aware that sometimes they are more interested in making a sale. If you are not sure what you should do, do not let yourself get pressured into buying parts until you are sure it is the right course of action for you. Dealerships and part stores can be good sources of information but you have to be careful not to buy things that you do not need. You should always work on your ATV slowly and complete one project at a time. You can spend a great deal more than you intended to if you do not go slowly and you may even complicate your work by trying to change more than one thing at a time. You should plan out what you want to do and estimate what each part will cost and how long each part of the project will take. Then you will now exactly how much money you will need and how long the entire project will take. You should always plan your modification according to your budget. While this seems obvious, without a plan you may find yourself spending more than you can afford. It is important to price parts before you start so you know if your plans will fit into your budget. You mat be able to save money if you buy used parts or wait for a sale, so always investigate all your options. If you find that you cannot afford everything you want to do right away, save for a while and modify your ATV more slowly. Youth ATV Safety ATV's were developed for use in agriculture, for hauling equipment and traveling around farm property. They have since evolved into a hobby for many people and are now even used for racing. People love the excitement that ATV's provide and the vast array of terrain that ATV's open up for exploring. ATV's can provide a lot of enjoyment for riders and be a worthwhile activity. ATV's can also be dangerous, especially for children. Adults are often injured when they loose control of an AT and children have even less skill and experience than adults. This is not to say that children should not be allowed to ride an ATV, but they must follow strict safety rules in order to avoid injury. Children should be taught that an ATV is not a toy and should be operated with care and with safety in mind. They should be made aware of all the safety rules and never allowed to ride without supervision. If children realize how dangerous ATV's can be and what they must do to stay safe, they will be at a much lower risk of injury. The best thing you can do for your child before they are allowed to ride is send them to an approved ATV training course. Many places require riders under 16 to take a training course before they can legally ride which is a good idea anyway even if your area does not require it. You should attend the training course with your child so that you are also familiar with ATV safety and can enforce the safety rules your child learned. Another important safety practice for you and your child is riding the correct sized ATV. Children should never ride an adult sized ATV, as they are usually too large for them to comfortably operate and increase the likely hood of injury. If you are going to purchase your child an ATV make sure you get a youth sized ATV that is not too large for your child. You should also consider the engine size as a more powerful engine means a faster ATV. Children should only drive an ATV that they can handle. Wearing appropriate safety gear is also an important part of ATV safety. Children should always wear helmets, gloves, goggles, long pants and a long sleeved shirt. Most places require helmet use by law but even if they do not a helmet should always be worn. Using safety gear will prevent many injuries that can occur when riders fall. Make sure that the safety equipment you purchase for your child fits properly and is of high quality. You should make sure that the safety gear your child uses is rated for ATV use. The last thing you should always do to keep your child safe, is to inspect their ATV before each use. Teach your child how to inspect their ATV as well and you can then both make sure it stays in good working condition and will not break or malfunction during use. If you and your child follow these safety tips, your child will have a safe and enjoyable time with their ATV. Youth and Adult ATV's, What's the Difference? If you are considering buying an ATV for your child, chances are you have heard the advice to only let them ride a youth sized ATV. Is there a big difference between youth ATV's and adult sized ATV's? There is indeed and the differences are what will keep your kid safe or potentially cause them to get injured. You should only let your kid ride a youth sized ATV because they are smaller, lighter, and easier for a child to handle. Adult ATV's are dangerous for children and children should not be allowed to ride them until they are old enough and large enough to properly handle them. While size is the most obvious difference, there are other differences between youth and adult sized ATV's. It is important for children to only ride youth sized ATV's because they can comfortable control them. A child or preteen will have to stretch to reach the handle bars of an adult sized ATV and will not be able to put their feet on the ground. It is important to be able to comfortably reach the handle bars and the ground for safety reasons. Most children under 16 are not big enough to comfortably ride an adult sized ATV. Adult sized ATV's are also heavier and more powerful than youth sized ATV's. They are designed for adults and children will have a hard time reaching the handle bars and pedals. This makes them harder to ride and they require more strength to control because of their larger size. Most children do not have the strength or experience to properly control these bigger machines. Adult ATV's also go much faster than youth ATV's which is not a good thing for inexperienced riders. Children should only be able to ride at a speed they can handle and on terrain they can comfortably maneuver. Even if they have their own ATV, your child will probably want to ride yours because of the "cool" factor. Make sure you explain to your child that adult ATV's are dangerous for children and they need more experience and strength before they can ride one. Do not be tempted to give in, as it is easy for a child to loose control of a large ATV. The size and speed of an adult ATV makes them dangerous for children so make sure you wait until your child is old enough to let them ride one. Youth ATV's also have safety features not found on adult ATV's that will help to keep your child safe. These features allow parents to retain some control and keep their kids safe if they run into trouble or break the rules. You can get a youth ATV with a remote shutoff so that you can turn off their ATV if they run into trouble. Youth ATV's usually have other features that make them safer to operate as well. They have larger brake pedals, larger mirrors, and handle bars that are sized for smaller hands. All these features make youth ATV's safer for children and are reasons why children should only drive youth sized ATV's. Why Some People Dislike ATV Riding in Nature Areas There has always been great debate between motor sport activists who want to enjoy riding their machines in the outdoors and other nature lovers who claim that off-road motor vehicles harm the environment and ruin the area for anyone who wants to enjoy the outdoors in other ways. The argument can be made that motorcycle and ATV riders have as much right to use state lands as anyone else, but most other outdoor activities don't interfere with riding the way riding can interfere with hiking, hunting, fishing, bird watching, or even the balance of nature and maintaining consistent flood plains. Although there may always be a conflict, understanding what other nature lovers do and how your riding affects them will help keep ATV riding in current areas, and possibly help it spread to even more areas. The number one justification for banning ATV riding in certain areas is the detrimental affect it can have on the environment. Although ATVs smoke, are noisy, and help redistribute the mud on a piece of property, these factors have little affect on the environment. However, ATV riding, if done improperly or carelessly can damage waterways and have very noticeable effects on the local environment. The biggest and most likely risk is damage done to vegetation on the banks of waterways and nearby areas. Because those plants hold the riverbank together, if the plants are killed by riding over them, the soil in that area can be easily washed away, changing the flow of the river and oftentimes causing flooding. This kind of flooding causes damage to bottomlands, which is usually very fertile and a hotspot for deer, turkey, wild mushrooms, a plethora of wild birds, and many other things that other nature lovers seek out. In addition, increased erosion along rivers and streams cause fine sediment to fill the water, making it difficult for creatures like tadpoles and crawdads to grow and develop, which hurts the ecosystem, as well as the fish population and fishing opportunities. Most state laws do permit you to cross a river or stream on an ATV, but the most damage comes from riding up and down waterways because so much sediment is stirred up in the water. Other than not damaging waterways and floodplains, there are several other things you can do to ensure that your riding doesn't interfere with other activities that go on alongside the trail. For the most part, you should be fine as long as you keep your riding on the trail. It is when you stray from the trail that you will bump into people who don't appreciate motor sports as much as you, and you may, in some cases, ruin their entire day. If you ride in areas that permit hunting, you should take a minute or two to find out what animals are in season so you know what else is going on in the woods. Many hunters complain of ATV riders driving by their hunting spots to see if they're having any luck. Although most hunters don't mind chatting it up, keep in mind that many hunters look forward to bagging a big deer or turkey for months, and an ATV off the trail is often enough to disrupt an animal's normal patterns and keep hunters from seeing anything. It would be the same as if you were looking forward to a riding an area, only to turn your back for a second and have a hunter ruin your trip by slashing your tires. Your day, as well as weeks or months of planning and anticipation, would be destroyed in a few short seconds. The same can be true of bird watchers, hikers, and people fishing in streams and ponds where you ride. Although you may not realize it, an ATV is a noticeable presence in the woods, and not one that all creatures, including humans, appreciate. Although there can be some conflict between motor sports lovers and other outdoor enthusiasts, a little respect can go a long way. Also keep in mind that many people who hunt, fish, hike, etc, also ride or have ridden ATV's and vice versa. Many hunters will use ATV trails to cover ground quickly and get into areas that are usually undisturbed and catch their prey unsuspecting. Most hunters realize that deer and turkey do get used to the sight and sound of ATVs on trails. However, when you leave the trail with your ATV, you are disturbing the wildlife and possibly flood plains, which give other nature lovers and lawmakers a solid reason to restrict ATV riding to certain designated areas.
Which is the Right ATV Tire for You? There are many reasons to own an ATV. You may need one to haul equipment around your property and to help you with outdoor work. You may want one for hunting to travel through the woods and to transport large game. You may want one just for fun and trail riding or you may want to compete in off-roading and racing. All these reasons are perfectly good ones for owning an ATV and each purpose is best served by a different ATV tire. There are many different types of ATV tire, some designed for rough and muddy terrain, some designed for snow, some designed for flat ground, and some for racing. The purpose of your ATV should dictate which tire you use and while some tire types will suffice for a few different applications, others are a bad fit. If your ATV is for enjoyment and you ride in fields and similar terrain for most of the time, the stock tires that came with your ATV will work just fine. It is not until you get into very rough or muddy terrain that you should consider getting different tires. Likewise, if you are going to try your hand at racing, stock tires are not your best choice. If you use your ATV for enjoyment but often find yourself trying to traverse hilly, wet or muddy terrain, you ATV might benefit from a change in tires especially if its performance is suffering. If you are going to use your ATV in a variety of rough terrain, you should look into mud tires. You should be warned, however, that not all mud tires perform well on regular ground so you should consider just how much time you spend traversing tough terrain and how much time you send tearing around the field or dirt track. Mud tires come with different tread depths, the deeper the tread the better your tires will hold up against rough terrain. You local ATV dealership will be able to suggest which tire type is best for you or you can get advice from other ATV owners. You should make sure that the tires you purchase are the right size for your rims otherwise they can pose a safety threat. If you mainly drive your ATV on flat ground then standard tires will probably be best for you. Just like cars tires, ATV tires come in a variety of heights and the best height for you is dependent on your driving style. Some tire styles increase the likely hood that your ATV will flip and make it harder to take corners fast. Tall tires will provider you with a gentler ride and give you more ground clearance. Short tires are more stable, however, and make steering easier. If you do not want to change tires, pick one with an average tread that will perform well on a variety of conditions. If you plan to ride on a variety of terrains that will require different tire types, you may want to invest in a second set. Do not, however, think that you need specialized racing or mud tires unless you frequently drive in muddy terrain or race with your ATV. Which ATV is Right for You? No matter the reason, if you are going to purchase an ATV there are some things you should remember. Depending on your purpose, budget, and needs, a used model might be fine or a new ATV from a dealership may be a better choice. No matter where you purchase your ATV, you should do plenty of research before you make a decision and be sure to get plenty of impartial advice. Never let a salesman in the showroom talk you into purchasing something you will regret. Make sure you have a good idea of what you want, and what you need, before you set foot in a showroom. Your first consideration should be the age and size of the rider. If you are buying an ATV for a youth or small adult, you will want to go with a smaller model for the best riding comfort. An average sized adult should do fine with a larger model. If you are buying an ATV for someone else, it is best to take him or her along to make sure the ATV you pick is suited to their size, its better to make sure its right than to surprise them with an ATV that is too big or too small and not comfortable for them. The second consideration when buying an ATV is your purpose. Do you need an ATV to help haul things around your property, to carry game in form the woods while hunting, or other work purposes? Are you planning to ride your ATV for fun or even try your hand at ATV racing? ATV's vary in sizes, styles, and accessories so you will want to be sure you get one with all the features you need. If you want an ATV for work purposes, you will want to get a strong heavy ATV that is suitable for hauling or carrying large loads. You can get ATV's that have built in racks for carrying equipment or game and that come with a hitch to hook up a wagon or trailer. If you are purchasing an ATV for fun, you will probably not need all those features and would do well with a simpler model. If you are thinking about racing with your ATV, you will want to get one that is light, powerful, and designed for racing. You should also get the proper tires for your ATV when you purchase it. If you are planning to ride in hilly, rough, and muddy terrain, you will want to get mud tires with deep tread that will help you to navigate this harsh terrain. If you are going to ride around flat ground or on trails, stock tires will suffice. If you will be racing, you should get specially designed racing tires as well. You should also consider price and get an ATV that you can afford. You do not have to pay full price at a dealership, if you research what you need you can probably find it used in your area. If you want a warranty or service after the sale, you should consider buying from a dealership but always compare prices and know how much the model you want should cost. What Makes a Good ATV Trail? There are thousands of ATV trails throughout North America (and more are being charted every day), but how do you judge whether you've found a good one or not? Here, we'll examine a few of the elements that you need to look for when deciding where to take your four-wheeled "baby" for your next pleasure cruise. Generally, if you're someone who is familiar with four-wheeling, you'll want an ATV trail that has some length to it. Otherwise, you could risk becoming bored when you just go in circles in the same field. ATV trails can be a few to a hundred miles long; start small and gradually build up your endurance. If you're a beginner, ask a more experienced ATV operator to show you the ropes; heading out on your own is a dicey proposition and not recommended. You want an ATV trail that matches your ability, or it won't be much fun. Thus, if you're a novice, don't start your four-wheeling hobby in an extremely mountainous region or one that requires a great deal of ATV riding know-how. Similarly, if you're someone who has a great deal of ATV operation experience, you should find a suitable trail or you'll be overcome by ennui an hour into your excursion. One of the greatest aspects of ATV riding is enjoying the natural surroundings, so be certain that your next trail ride is one that includes some amazing views or which allows you to soak in the beauty of the area. Remember you don't have to be a photographer, an artist or a poet to be moved by a snaking stream or a radiant sunrise. Not sure if a trail or area is open to ATV travelers? Then stop before gunning your motor and don't ride on any trail or in any region until you have been given the "okay" by either the property owner or a legal authority. Far too many four-wheeling enthusiasts have given the sport a bad name by ripping through private property or tearing up national parks. There are plenty of legal ATV trails out there; make sure the one you choose is on the up-and-up or you could be hammered with a heavy fine. The last thing you want is to get lost during an ATV trail ride. Riding without the proper gear while outside in the elements can be uncomfortable, scary, and deadly in some situations. Therefore, if you're unfamiliar with your ATV trail, make sure you obtain a map of the region so you can stay aware of your bearings. Even if you never need to glance at the map, it's still better to have it than to end up wondering, "Where the heck am I?" while a dark night approaches. Finally, one of the most important elements of a great ATV trail is that it is one you want to share with friends and other riders. You will know you've found an awesome path when you can't wait to get on your blog and start bragging about your recent excursion to other four-wheeling adventurers. After all, when you've found something that's really exciting, it's up to you to share the news with your friends all over the world. What ATV Trail Best Suits Your Personality? "I've found the best ATV trail! You have to try it!" How many times have you heard that statement from one of your ATV-loving friends and then rushed out to have a terrific ATV riding excursion, only to find that you're not all that enthralled by a trail that another four-wheeling enthusiast has deemed "awesome"? Since you are an individual with a definite personality and not a robot without preferences, what leaves you breathless in terms of an ATV trail might not raise the pulse or even eyebrow of another ATV rider and vice versa. Hence, we've put together the following guide to help you figure out the perfect ATV trail for you. If you're someone who likes speed and want to feel the wind rushing past you, then you'll probably like an ATV trail that's flat and fast. Flat and fast trails are best described as terrain that allows you to gun your ATV's motor and quickly get from one point to the next. Your best bet is to find a low-lying area, as mountainous regions rarely have long stretches that include no twists or turns. ATV trails in the middle states of America lend themselves to this kind of speedy ATV riding, as they are notoriously level and have an attractive, earthy quality. If you're a four-wheel rider who loves the thrill of wicked turns, then you should consider an ATV trail that's twisting and wild. You can hoot and holler along an ATV path that winds its way through a wooded area or along a stream bed. Do your best to avoid extremely rocky areas as they can be dangerous, but don't be afraid of taking on some of the smaller hills and roaring your ATV around some of the more adventurous terrain. If you're an enthusiast who loves steep climbing followed by hair-raising descents, you might enjoy an ATV trail that's up and down. Head to the mountains, my friend! In the mountains, you will find exactly what you're searching for in terms of rollercoaster-like ATV adventures! Not only will you be able to test your ATV's moxie on some serious grades, but you'll also be able to whiz down scenic mountainsides. Remember to keep your speed in check, though; up and down terrain is only safe when you keep a cool head and a conservative pace. If you're a laid-back person who just enjoys a little bit of everything, why not try an ATV trail that's a pleasure potpourri? The "pleasure potpourri" is ideal for the ATV trail rider who can't make up his or her mind as to what the "perfect" excursion might be. And, best of all, these types of hodgepodge ATV journeys can be found almost anywhere in the country. In fact, you might just find all the necessary elements of a mixture of hills, valleys, vistas, and gravel paths within a few miles of your own home. No matter what your personality type, you can rest assured that there is an ATV trail out there for you and never be afraid to go outside your preferred style. Even if you're a hard-and-fast "pleasure potpourri" four-wheeling lady or gent, you just might discover that you actually harbor a secret love of "twisting and wild" ATV paths. You'll never know until you try, so get out there and start exploring! Ways to Beef-up Your ATV With new ATV's coming out every year, a quad that is king of the mountain one year may fall back to the middle of the pack the next year. And, of course, the more you ride and get comfortable with your ATV, the braver you are going to get and eventually reach a point when you have perfected the art of riding and run into a mud pit you can't cross or notice that some other quads can get the jump on you. Many people simply trade their quad when this happens, but there are a lot of things you can do to your quad to get even more power or custom tune your ATV to suit the terrain in your area or your riding style. One of the easiest ways to tailor your quad to local riding conditions is to simply change your how you grip the ground. There is a large variety of tires on the market that are made for extreme mudding, sand, and all out speed over any terrain. The most obvious factor you can change about your tires is the tread pattern. Mud tires will typically have a deep, well-spaced tread with a lot of surface area, which allows it to push against slippery mud. Although tread pattern comes into play when playing in the mud, so does sidewall strength and tire thickness. A mud tire with a thicker sidewall will give you more consistent performance when you're axle deep in sludge. Many people find that lighter rims also give them a slight edge in the mud. Like mud, getting through sand is made much easier with tread that can push and grab a lot of sand. However, if you're trying to get faster, especially through the corners, you might benefit from a knobby open-patterned tire that is designed to grip trails without deep mud pits. You can also get tires to make the ride a little softer or give you a firmer grip, but the tires only affect how you grip the trail. Sometimes it's necessary add some muscle to your quad to get the performance you're looking for. Although there were once many people who would change sprockets to get more low-end power or top-end speed out of their quads, most of today's quads have balanced gearing based on weight, engine power, and what it was designed to do. Many riders find that tinkering with sprockets don't change their quad's performance characteristics as much as they'd like, and instead turn to performance modifications to squeeze more power from their ride. Although you can go deep into your engine and change cams and other parts that will make your engine even more stout, you can get noticeable results from more affordable and less complicated modifications. The easiest way to get more power from your quad is by adjusting the airflow through your engine. Simply changing the intake on your quad will give you an increase in power because you force more oxygen into the combustion chamber. Switching to a less restrictive exhaust will get more power to your wheels since the engine doesn't have to work as hard to breathe. Headers are another bolt-on modification that will let your engine work more efficiently and add power to your quad. One popular modification that makes it possible to take on really deep mud holes is a snorkel kit and exhaust extension. A risk you run when diving into mud is that you will suck some mud through your intake, or it will enter your engine through your exhaust. Getting mud or water in your engine will shut it down in a hurry and may require a trip to the shop to get all the water out of your engine. A snorkel kit may be necessary to get through some mud holes you encounter when riding. Regardless of what kind of quad you ride, with the horde of new ATV's that come out year after year, sooner or later it will fall to the middle of the pack. The good news is that aftermarket parts are also getting better all the time, which allows you to custom tune your quad without breaking the bank. Using Courtesy While Driving an ATV Since its introduction to the public in the 1970's, those who ride All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) have had to deal with a number of issues regarding their behavior. Some of these issues deal with safety, while others deal with rider's behavior towards sharing trails and those whose land they trespass on. Many drivers irresponsibly disregard laws that prohibit the use of ATVs in certain areas. Because of this, hundreds of trails have been designated as safe and legal places for ATV riders to use. As with all forms of vehicular travel, there are a number of rules, both implied and legislated, which have been developed to ensure the safety of those who drive ATVs. Regardless of why someone is using a trail, it is important to remember that all trail users are responsible for watching and listening for others. This should result in those who use trails actively looking and listening for others, as opposed to merely reacting when someone or something comes their way. This approach will go a long way towards preventing the accidents and misunderstandings that can take place on the trails. It is generally accepted that traveling on the right side of the trail removes indecision about the proper side on which to pass. If you need to pass on the left for one reason or another, always ask for and get permission before you do so. Make sure that you are able to slow down significantly and use caution at all curves and junctions. While riding an ATV is not the time that you want to experience a surprise! Surprises are never safe -- regardless of what type of vehicle you happen to be riding! If you should encounter a horse while you are riding your ATV, always yield to the horse and rider. Go out of your way to make sure that the horse has seen and heard you. In addition, you will want to give the horse adequate room to pass you on the trail. Remember that motorized recreation vehicles, such as ATVs, can usually be heard coming, and the horse rider may be well out of the way. If not, be courteous, and shut off your motor. Then allow the rider to get a safe distance beyond you before you start it back up again. If you happen to notice that a horse is becoming edgy, nervous, or agitated, always turn off your engine. Then ask the rider what you can do to make the situation better for him and the horse. Unfortunately, the great majority of responsible riders have had their reputation negatively affected by those who do not follow the rules of the trails and who do not take the necessary time to be courteous. Simple courtesy and respect for others and their property will discourage riders of ATVs from riding on non-designated trails, or from using other's private land without permission. This type of responsible thinking will also prevent riders from driving their ATV under the influence of alcohol or drugs. A number of accidents happen each year because of this unfortunate behavior. If you are planning riding your ATV on a trail designed for ATV use, keep in mind that there is always a good chance that you may encounter someone who is using the trail for a purpose other than the driving of ATVs. In these situations, it is best to give others the respect that you desire from them. Be active in your effort to hear and see other who is on your trails. When you do encounter them, always yield. Youth ATV's, Why Size Does Matter If your child wants an ATV, you may be hesitant because of safety concerns. While many injuries occur every year, many of them are preventable if children take the proper safety precautions and ride the correct sized ATV. It may not seem like the size of the ATV would matter much, but when it comes to kids and ATV's, size does matter. Children should not be allowed to ride an adult sized ATV for many reasons. Large ATV's take a lot of strength to control and usually have more powerful engines that allow them to go much faster then youth ATV's. Children should have the opportunity to hone their driving skills on a smaller, slower ATV before they graduated to an adult sized ATV when they are older, stronger, and more experienced. ATV's can be a source of great fun and a worthwhile hobby for children. They should always be supervised when riding and wear appropriate safety gear. Many places required minors to wear helmets by law and prohibit them from riding adult sized ATV's. Even if this is not a requirement in your area, it is still a good idea and will keep your child safe while pursuing their ATV hobby. Children and pre-teens (ages 6-12) should ride an ATV with an engine size of 70cc or smaller. There are larger models for teenagers, and while age should be a factor in which ATV you choose for your child, other things such as maturity, size, and strength should also be taken into consideration. A smaller child who is 16 should still ride a smaller ATV, and while this may not be optimal for them, it is imperative for their safety. Your child should only drive an ATV that they can comfortable handle. When buying an ATV for your child, you should make sure it is the correct fit for them. Your child should be able to reach the ground with their feet, without standing on their tiptoes. They should be able to comfortable reach the handle bars without having to overextend their arms. Their arms should be slightly bent as they have a firm grip on the handle bars. They should also be able to reach the ground with their feet and have their legs slightly bent. Getting your child an ATV they can comfortably control is important and will help to keep them safe. As well as age and size, your child's maturity level also plays an important part in what type of ATV you buy them. You will have to consider if your child can shift gears or would do better with an automatic transmission. If you want to retain control over your child's ATV, whether you think their driving skills need some work or they will have problems following rules, you can consider getting an ATV with a remote switch to turn off the ATV of your child gets into trouble. Buying an ATV for your child is not a decision to be taken lightly. You should make sure your child knows that an ATV is not a toy and can be dangerous. Make sure they ride an appropriate sized ATV and always wear protective gear. Development of ATVs ATVs (all-terrain vehicles) were first developed during the 1950s. The earliest models had six wheels instead of the four that riders are now familiar with. Honda was the first company to make the 3-wheel ATV in 1970. These were famously displayed in the James Bond film, 'Diamonds Are Forever.' Originally called the US90, the ATV was purely for fun, made with very large balloon tires instead of the mechanical suspension and smaller tires eventually introduced in the early 1980s. One of the most important versions of the ATV was the 1982 Honda ATC200E Big Red. It was a landmark model in that it featured suspension and racks. This made it the first utility three-wheeled ATV available on the market. It was popular due to its ability to go anywhere on any type of terrain. The fact that it could go over types of terrain that most other vehicles could not eventually made it very popular with hunters in both the US and Canadian. It was also very appealing to those who were looking for nothing more than an exciting ride on the trails. Soon Honda broke new ground by developing sport models. Honda seemed to have a virtual monopoly on the market, due to its patents on design and engine placement. The 1981 ATC250R was important because it was the first high-performance three-wheeler, featuring full suspension, a 248-cubic-centimetre two-stroke motor, a five-speed transmission with a manual clutch and a front disc brake. For those who enjoyed the sporting trail, the 1983 ATC200X was another in a series of landmark machines. It was developed with an easy-to-handle 192-cubic-centimetre four-stroke. This simple design was seemingly perfect for new participants in the sport. Honda soon found itself competing with Suzuki. Suzuki led the industry in the development of 4-wheeled ATVs. It sold the first 4-wheeled ATV, the 1983 QuadRunner LT125, used primarily as a recreational machine for those who were just beginning to ride ATVs. In 1985, Suzuki stepped up their game when they introduced the first high-performance 4-wheel ATV, the Suzuki LT250R QuadRacer. This ATV was in production from 1985-1992, during which time it underwent three major engineering makeovers. This vehicle became the ATV known as designed primarily for racing by highly skilled riders. Honda then responded a year later with the FourTrax TRX250R. This ATV has never been replicated. Kawasaki joined the battle to develop better ATVs when they introduced their Tecate-4 250. In 1987, Yamaha introduced a different type of high-performance machine -- the Banshee 350. The Banshee 350 featured a twin-cylinder two-stroke motor from the RD350LC street motorcycle. This ATV was heavier and more difficult to ride in the dirt than the 250s .It soon became a favorite with riders who preferred the sand dunes. The Banshee is still a hugely popular machine, but 2006 was the last year it was available in the U.S. Riders will be able to pick up a 2007 model in Canada, however. ATVs were first introduced to the buying public in the 1970s. They immediately caught on with those who were interested in doing something different outdoors. Original versions featured much larger tires and were offered in both 3-wheeled and 4-wheeled models. Soon, though, the 3-wheeled models of the ATV were prohibited, as they gained a reputation for being too dangerous. ATVs have since undergone a number of cosmetic and mechanical changes. Companies such as Honda, Suzuki, and Yamaha have developed a number of models that serve ATV riders of all tastes and interests. Headgear: Choosing the Right ATV Helmet You have already taken the time to choose the right ATV for you or a family member. You did your research, maybe test drove a few to make sure the vehicle had the right "fit" and found one that matched both your budget and your personal sense of style. Your shopping isn't over yet. Along with having the right ATV for either the trails or working out in the field, you're going to need the proper safety gear to go along with it. Gloves, jackets, pants and boots are definitely on the list, but the most important piece of safety gear you will own will be your helmet. How do you go about finding a helmet that fits properly? How tight is too tight? How loose is too loose? Are all helmets the same? Starting with the last question, not all helmets are the same. You want to get a helmet specifically designed for use on a vehicle like an ATV or a dirt bike. You don't want to get a helmet that someone might use on a regular street motorcycle. Most ATV helmets cover your head completely and have a face guard that extends over the mouth. When you first put the helmet on it might feel tight because of all the padding inside. If you can slip the helmet over your head without it feeling snug, then you know that it's too big. Try shaking your head side to side and going through as many movements as you can to see if the helmet shifts or slides when you move. Also try to decide how heavy the helmet feels. Does it feel cumbersome? Do you think you would be able to wear it for longer than 15 minutes without getting tired of it? The second thing to look for is how easily the helmet comes off. If you're in an accident or get thrown from your ATV, you don't want your headgear to go flying off in one direction and you in another, which totally defeats the purpose of having a helmet. Now that you've got the helmet on, adjust the chinstrap and cinch it tight under your chin. Grab the helmet from the back and try to take it off by pushing it to the front. Does the helmet slip down over your eyes and come off? Now try moving the helmet side to side. If you can feel your skin shifting with the helmet and the foam padding then you know you have a good, solid fit. Women have one more thing to consider when they go to look for a helmet. The way a woman wears her hair on the trail will make a big difference in what size helmet she gets. If she has short hair that won't need to be braided or tied up, then there's no problem. If every time she goes riding she French braids her hair or tucks it up under the helmet, then she might need to go with a larger size than she would if she didn't put her hair up. The hair takes up extra space and if you don't account for that your helmet won't be the right size. Children's helmets are another issue. So many parents are very money minded when it comes to getting clothing and gear for their kids that they might be tempted to get a helmet a size larger for the child to "grow into". Unfortunately you can't cut corners when it comes to buying a helmet. It has to fit snuggly with no exceptions. As mentioned before, a helmet that is too large is as dangerous as having no helmet at all. The Great Debate: Two Stroke vs. Four The battle for supremacy between two stroke and four stroke quads is likely to rage on forever, except for outside factors that may end this age old debate; it is very likely that upcoming legislation could end production of two stroke engines, making it impossible to get a new two stroke quad. So if you've ever considered getting a two stroke quad, the clock is ticking. Mechanically the difference between a two stroke and four stroke lies in how often the spark plugs fire. In a two stroke, it fires once with every revolution of the cam, while a four stroke only fires the plugs every other revolution of the cam. With everything being equal, a two stroke will have twice as many combustions as a four stroke, which causes it to produce much more energy with the same size engine. While this may make a two stroke sound like an obvious choice, there are several drawbacks to the design and performance characteristics of two stroke ATV engines. The extra energy and heat produced by a two stroke requires oil to be added to the gas to keep the engine properly lubricated. Because oil is put in the combustion chamber, two stroke engines smoke a lot, which is the reason for the imminent ban on them. One side effect of the impressive power that two stroke engines produce is that the top end of the engine must be rebuilt somewhat frequently, depending on how hard the engine is pushed. Although the rebuild is not terribly expensive, it must be done periodically to avoid rebuilding the entire engine. For many riders the constant maintenance is worth the performance they get out of their two stroke engine, but the accessibility of this power may be prohibitive for some riders, riding styles, and terrain. In order to tap into the power of a two stroke engine, you have to keep the throttle close to wide open to stay in the power band. Although some models are better than others, some stock two strokes lack real power on the low or midrange. In the hands of an experienced rider, a two stroke is an amazing machine, but in certain scenarios, you can lose all your power by making a necessary up shift or slowing down without a hard down shift. However, their explosive power makes two strokes the engine of choice for many racers, especially in racing disciplines that require frequent jumps and quick acceleration out of turns, such as Motocross. As far as typically maintenance, most four stroke quads require relatively little attention. Spark plugs and oil changes are always necessary, but you do not need to rebuild the engine on a regular basis. However, many riders complain of the high cost of rebuilding four stroke engines when necessary, but a four stroke engine should hold up longer than a two stroke if it is rode properly. If you keep a four stroke high in the rpm range all the time, you are asking for trouble. Although four strokes do not possess the characteristic break-away acceleration of a two stroke engine, they have access to power through a larger rpm range, which eliminates the need to have the throttle wide open all the time. Access to power in the low and midrange allows for a much more leisurely riding experience, or the ability to dive into deep mud and come out the other side. Because a four stroke has power on the low end, it has a much easier time freeing itself from deep mud, while a two stroke is usually doomed if it comes to a stop in mud. Four strokes, in many cases, have a higher top speed than two strokes, but will take much longer to get to their top speed. Four strokes have improved a lot over the years, with some many dominant racing quads being propelled by four stroke engines. However, the Honda 250R, a classic two-stroke quad, is still taking podium spots over ten years after it began production. For the most part, two stroke engines are better suited for light sport quads and four strokes, which produce most of their power on the low end, are more suited for heavier quads made for mud, rocks, and work applications. The debate between two stroke and four stroke engines is not likely to end soon, but production of two stroke engines may. If you prefer high speed, airborne, adrenaline heavy riding and you don't mind spending some time turning a wrench, you may want to get your hand on a two stroke quad while you still can. Choices to Make for Your First ATV For whatever reason, the ATV bug has bitten you. You've seen them on television or maybe you have a couple of friends that already go riding on the trails. Day in and day out, in all kinds of weather and in every season, people are enjoying recreational ATV trail riding. But when you're new to this activity, where to begin? What needs consideration before making a major purchase of an ATV? Do you need to take a driver's test or a safety course? Do you want the ATV for recreation or for work? Are you thinking about competitive racing? Finally, how much is this whole venture going to cost? The first thing you need to do is take a trip down to your local ATV dealership. Not only will you be able to look at and try out different models, but you can talk to the dealer for information as well. Don't be intimidated about asking questions; salespeople are there to help -- and also to make a sale. If you don't like the service at one dealership, visit another. A good idea is to try to rent a particular model before you buy. Renting an ATV for a weekend is a smart thing to do if you plan on having a child as a passenger on your ATV. So many times, a child will want to try a new hobby only to discover they don't like it on the first day. There are some adults like that also, so if you're unsure whether or not an ATV is for you, then do try renting one first for a test run before you sign the final papers to purchase. Currently, there are two types of ATVs on the market: Sport and utility. Some ATV models claim to be hybrids of the sport and the utility models. The utility ATV will have racks on the front and rear of the vehicle, while a sport model will have no racks. A hybrid model might have a rear rack only. The type of ATV best for a hunting, fishing, or camping trip would be a utility ATV. Those activities involve hauling a lot of stuff in and out of the bush, and you will need front and rear racks. Sport ATVs are for trail riding or racing and will usually have more speed available, as well as bright colors for high visibility on the trails. Engine type is also another consideration. Two stroke engines have a system where they lubricate themselves by burning fuel. There is a specific gas-to-oil ratio mix used in order for the vehicle to run properly. A few models require that the oil reservoir be refilled every five or six tanks of gas. Noise is also a major drawback, a by-product of higher RPMs. Two-stroke engines are fading from popularity as technology improves, and more people lean towards the clean-burning four-stroke engine. Four stroke engines are quieter and are more fuel efficient than their two-stroke counterparts. The automatic clutch is another feature that might cause some confusion. An automatic clutch requires putting the ATV into the appropriate gear when the engine hits the corresponding RPM for that gear. An automatic clutch does not mean an automatic transmission. Models with an automatic clutch will not have a foot peg for shifting; instead, there is a shifter for your left thumb on the handlebar. An ATV with automatic transmission has its drawbacks as well, as in order to have the machine engage the auto transmission, the driver must maintain a certain number of RPMs. This can be a problem when climbing steep, rocky terrain. Another question is whether you need two-wheel or four-wheel drive, otherwise known as "two by two" or "four by four". A two-wheeled drive vehicle has the rear wheels do all the work and push the vehicle along, whereas a four-wheel drive employs all four wheels to provide better traction. Four-wheel drives do cost more, but are good for extra traction in particularly tough terrain. Newer machines on the market will allow for "on-the-fly" four-wheel drive, where the four-wheel drive is engaged as needed. Finally, there is the choice of a drive shaft, chain, or belt drive. All three methods of drive are good ones, but an enclosed drive shaft seems to make better sense for various types of terrain. With a chain or a belt drive, there is always the risk of snapping the chain or the belt while out on the trails, and then you might have to do some emergency repairs. In the end, the shaft drive will pay for itself with lower maintenance. Buying a Used ATV Not all of us can afford a brand new 2007 ATV with all the bells and whistles. As with cars or motorcycles or any large vehicle for recreation or pleasure, we sometimes have to start out with buying second hand. Of course there's nothing wrong with purchasing a used car, bike or ATV. If you are going to buy used, you have to know what to look for, especially with a vehicle such as an ATV where you know that there is a chance the previous owner might have given the ATV some serious abuse on the trails. Before you begin to cruise the classifieds you have a couple of decisions to make. Who is the ATV for? An ATV for an adult is made differently than one made for a child. Do you want the ATV for purely recreational purposes? Do you want to race or just enjoy some leisurely off-roading with your family? Do you want to use the ATV as a utility vehicle? The best place to start if you have never purchased an ATV before would be at a local dealership. You may not be able to afford one off the showroom floor, but you can still go look and pick the dealer's brain for information. At the dealership you can "test" the different classes of ATVs. Sit on a few to see how they fit, each ATV will be different and you might find that some are more comfortable than others. Even though you are trying newer models, there really won't be too much of a difference between them and the older versions. After getting all the information you can from the dealership, you will have some idea of what make and model you will be looking for in a used ATV. While you're at the dealership also check to see if they have a bulletin board for other ATV resources. Sometimes if you contact a club or other organization they may be able to put you in touch with people who have ATV's to sell. Classified ads and specialized classified magazines like you see for cars or motorcycles will also be a valuable resource. And of course the number one source for finding used vehicles is the internet. Places like eBay will no doubt have a lot to offer, the only problem with that is, unless the seller is in your area, you have no way to view the ATV up close. When you find the ATV you want to purchase, definitely go to check it out personally. When you see the ATV for the first time, make note of the condition of the plastic on the fenders. The overall outward appearance of the ATV will give you a pretty good clue as to how hard the previous owner treated the vehicle. If the fenders or other plastic parts are cracked and ruined you can bet that you're going to have to replace them and replacement parts and accessories are expensive. You have to decide how much you are willing to invest in refurbishing the ATV if parts do need replacing. Check the condition of the seat for any rips or tears. Again, a ripped seat isn't a big deal and is totally replaceable, but do you want to spend the extra money to do that? The next part of the inspection will take some work. You will want to lift the front end of the ATV up to inspect the undercarriage. With the ATV lifted, closely inspect the frame for any damage. Make sure there are no cracks or dents in the frame or any of the connecting welds Note any areas that might have rust and check them for cracks too. Check the handlebars for any loose play and do the same to each wheel. Loose wheels could indicate worn wheel bearings or damaged ball joints. Oil, breaks and the air filter and air box should also be checked. Ask the owner if they have any records regarding oil changes and maintenance. Some owners might have an owner's manual that they can pass on to you. Take the ATV for a test drive too if you can to see how it handles. Lastly, if a title is required in your state ask the owner if they have the title and if it is clear. Most states require a bill of sale with the VIN (vehicle identification number) on it. Whether your state requires a bill of sale or not, it is always a good idea to have one to protect both you and the former owner incase a dispute crops up. Be aware that in most cases you are buying the ATV "as is", which means the previous owner is not responsible for any problems you might find with the vehicle after you have purchased it and brought it home. Buying the Perfect ATV Helmet In many places the law states that you must wear a helmet when riding an ATV. This is especially true for minors. Even if you are not required by law to wear a helmet, it is a good idea. Having a quality helmet is the best way to protect yourself from injury and while many consumers equate price and brand with quality these are not always the only indicators. There are other important factors to consider when purchasing an ATV helmet that will determine how safe and effective it will be for you. While there aren't many differences between a motorcycle helmet and an ATV helmet, there are a few and they may make a big difference. Likewise, there are differences between ATV helmets that are designed for different purposes such as off-roading and racing. ATV helmets generally have more ventilation and cover more of the face. While these features add some extra elements of safety, they add more to comfort which can make a big difference if you spend a lot of time on your ATV. ATV helmets are also generally made to be more secure as ATV riding can be more bumpy and aggressive than other types of vehicles that require helmets. The amount of padding and how well a helmet fits are two of the most important aspects to picking the safest helmet for you. Price and brand often go hand in hand with these aspects of quality but this is not always the case. The primary purpose of padding is to give the helmet a snug fit that keeps it in place without moving. If the helmet that you purchase does not fit correctly, it will provide the best level of protection. Make sure the helmet sits on your head correctly and that it does not pinch at the neck. Whichever helmet you choose, make sure it is Dot certified. You can find plenty of safe helmets that fit correctly and are safe that are not name brand or exorbitantly expensive. You should also try on helmets before you purchase one. You need to make sure that it has the correct amount of padding to make it fit snugly. Put the helmet on and move your head in all directions to make sure it will fit correctly no matter which way you move. A comfortable helmet is more effective because you will more likely to wear it and will not get tired of the uncomfortable feeling of an improper fit. Most stores will have a return policy and it is a good idea to make sure you can return or exchange your helmet if you find that it is not comfortable for an extended period. It is also important to find a helmet that does not move around while wearing it and that is stays in the safest position no matter which way you move. If you are purchasing a helmet for a child, make sure you choose one that is the right size and have your child try it on for comfort before you buy it. Choosing a helmet that fits correctly and that is DOT certified are the most important factors to consider when purchasing an ATV helmet. ATVs and Land Usage Since its introduction to the public in the 1960's, the All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) has encountered many controversies. Some of these have dealt with the issue of safety, as original 3-wheel ATVs proved to be too dangerous for riders. Even improved 4-wheel ATVs still represent certain risks. Another controversy has been the age limits for the riders of ATVs. Many states have prohibited minors under the age of 16 from driving an ATV. One of the most predominant controversies regarding ATVs, however, has been the defining of the areas in which they are permitted. Where and when these vehicles are driven has continually popped up as an issue, as many drivers irresponsibly disregard laws that prohibit the use of ATVs in certain areas. The issues surrounding ATVs and land usage are many. A major problem is that many riders intentionally cross over into privately owned property. They also have made a habit of crossing into public and private properties where they are obviously not intended to be. Often, the use of an ATV is strictly limited to trails, but riders still feel the need to leave these trails and venture on to other property. Environmentalists are some of the biggest opponents of ATVs. They believe that riders who use ATVs for sporting purposes are inconsiderate of the environment. For example, they claim that the vehicle is used excessively in areas that are largely considered biologically sensitive, such as wetlands and sand dunes. Environmentalists claim that the deep treads on some ATV tires are capable of digging channels that drain boggy areas. They also claim that these tires damage the careful grooming of most snowmobile trails and increase the levels of sedimentation in streams. Proponents of ATVs, however, argue that the deep-treaded tires are necessary for the safe navigation of muddy and often rocky terrains. They also point to a number of findings that attribute the erosion and decay of sensitive habitats to out-of-control housing planning and industries that extract goods and materials from these highly sensitive areas. ATV advocacy groups have organized to address these issues. Some of these groups have even gone so far as to purchase land for ATV riders to use. They have taken additional steps, such as building and maintaining appropriate trails for ATVs and obtaining permission directly from landowners to use their land for riding ATVs. Most importantly, many of these advocacy groups have committed themselves to educating ATV riders as to the best ways in which they can safely and responsibly use ATVs. Unfortunately, those who do not follow the rules often negatively affect the image of the great majority of responsible riders. Those who see fit to ride off designated trails, on private land without permission, and under the influence of alcohol or drugs create a great number of problems for those who play by the rules. In addition, self-regulation is particularly difficult since the main public complaint against ATVs is that they create excessive noise. Although the majority of ATVs comply with noise regulations, there are those whose intentional violation of these rules can disturb the activities of other recreational users for miles across open landscapes. Recreationists who are upset about irresponsible ATV use include snowmobilers who feel as though their trails are misused. Hunters have also complained about ATVs, as the loud noise of the engine often disrupts their attempt to catch game. These are but some of the major complaints lodged against ATVs and the problems they bring in regard to land usage and the environment. Groups that support ATV riders have tried a number of methods to lessen the negative effects of these vehicles. In addition to providing designated areas for riders to enjoy, certain advocacy groups have made an effort to educate all those who own ATVs on the safest and most responsible ways in which they can operate their vehicles. ATVing for the Entire Family Since their introduction to the public several decades ago, ATVs have become increasingly popular. They are very appealing to riders because of the amount of excitement one feels as they are riding. People are now discovering that the whole family can enjoy the excitement of the ATV. On the negative side, though, people are often injured while ATVing, and because of this, it is vitally important that adults do everything they can to ensure the safety of both themselves and their children. To drive an ATVsafely, one needs to be strong, skilled, and, most important, mature. This is why children who are younger than 16 years of age should never operate an ATV. Adults must not forget that it also takes strength and stamina to be a passenger. A rider who is sitting behind the driver must be able to hold on tight for a long period. Often, they must hold on while the ATV goes over very bumpy ground at a high speed. The rule of thumb is that any child who is younger than six years old should never be allowed to ride as a passenger on an ATV. It is probably not surprising to discover that head injuries are one of the causes of both death and serious injury on ATVs. These serious injuries usually occur when ATVers crash, fall, or overturn while moving. It should be remembered that children can also be injured if they are towed by an ATV during winter months while they are on a sled, tube, tire, or other device that is being pulled by an ATV. In Canada, statistics show that four children younger than 16 years of age die in recreational vehicle related accidents each year. So, the question becomes: how can ATVs be used safely so that they are enjoyed by each and every member of the family who is old enough to do so? If your family happens to own an ATV, be sure that no one under the age of 16 is ever allowed to drive it. Again, it is tremendously important that you never allow any children younger than six years of age to ride as passengers. If you are a parent who owns and operates an ATV, consider following these rules to be an excellent opportunity to model the type of safe behavior you want your children to display. Before you head out on your ATV adventure, be sure to be careful when fueling the ATV. Burns are possible, and you want to avoid them. Be sure to use the proper lifting methods when loading ATVs on and off trailers. This will help you prevent strains and crush injuries. Make sure that you check the weather forecast before you go out. It is probably not a good idea to venture out if a major storm is brewing. Also, make sure that you check the condition of the trails. Depending on how mountainous the area in which you will be ATVing is, you may want to assess whether there is danger of an accident. In the winter, always be sure to avoid ATVing on ice if you are not 100% certain that the ice is very thick. You should also be able to identify the signs of hypothermia if you are ATVing in the wintertime, and know what to do if it does occur. Make sure that you always travel with the right equipment. You will want to have well-insulated protective clothing, such as goggles, waterproof suits and gloves, and rubber-bottomed boots. Of course, you need to make sure that everyone who will be riding is wearing a helmet approved for ATVing. Another thing you can do to ensure the safety of you and your family is to attach brightly colored antenna flags to your ATV. You will definitely want to do this if you are driving in a particularly hilly area. Of course, the most important thing you can do to ensure your family's safety is to drive carefully. Use wisdom and caution. If you have followed the preceding guidelines, you will find that ATVing is a very exciting sport that can be enjoyed by members of your entire family. ATV Safety Training Course ATV trail riding is a fun and exciting sport that can provide hours of entertainment for the whole family. There is nothing like a good day on the trails, out in the sun and wind, to bring the family together or to meet up with friends or to make new ones. But ATV trail riding isn't all fun and games; there is a large degree of safety precautions involved. While you're having fun you still have to remember that you are working with a motorized vehicle and, although it is designed for recreation, that vehicle needs to be treated with the same respect and caution that you would a car or a motorcycle. For this reason, before you hop on that brand new ATV and hit the trails, you might want to consider taking an ATV safety training course. Unlike a car or motorcycle, no license is required to operate an ATV. Many people learn how to ride from older siblings, parents or friends. While learning from friends or family isn't a bad idea overall, there might be some finer points to driving ATV's that your family or friends might have left out. While you might find some places that will offer an ATV safety training course not all courses have certified trainers. The ATV Safety Institute (ASI) was founded in 1988 with the intent to provide a course that would educate riders about the safe operation of their vehicles and the hopes that once the students completed the course that the numbers of accidents and injuries on the ATV trails would be reduced. The idea seems to have worked, since 1984 many of the accidents involving ATV riding have been greatly reduced. ASI is also a non-profit organization. When you purchase your ATV most of the manufacturers such as Honda, Arctic Cat, Yamaha and others will offer you the opportunity to take the ATV safety course free of charge. If you don't own an ATV and might be considering buying one for yourself or a family member, you may still take the course for a small fee. As with the Motorcycle Safety Foundation where the course provides the motorcycle, some ASI courses might include the use of ATV's donated either by manufacturers, local motor sports shops or private donors. Check with your instructors first to find out if you need your own ATV or not. An ASI course will take you through all the basics of operating and riding an ATV and only takes half a day to complete. Certified instructors will teach you step by step each required skill in a controlled environment. You will begin with the use of proper safety equipment and how to start and stop your vehicle properly. Later on you'll move up to going up and down hills and over and around obstacles on a closed course. Each lesson builds on the previous one, becoming more of a challenge as the course goes on. Children as young as 6 years old can take the course. There are special classes for the age group between 6 and 16 and parents are required to be present during the classes. All ASI instructors complete a broad training program and must meet all of ASI's requirements before they are allowed to call themselves a certified instructor. ASI reports that they have more than 1000 active certified instructors in more than 12000 locations across the United States. For more information or to locate a course near you, visit the ASI website at http://www.atvsafety.org/ ATV Safety Issues Since their introduction to the public four decades ago, All Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) have become increasingly popular. They are very appealing to riders because of the amount of danger one feels while riding. This danger, however, should not be taken lightly. ATVs carry with them a number of safety issues which every rider ought to be concerned about. Despite the ongoing effort of ATV companies to make these vehicles safer, accidents are still happening on an all-too-regular basis. ATVs originally came as both 3-wheelers and 4-wheelers. It did not take long, though, for the industry and the public to realize the risk of the 3-wheeler. With no true center of gravity, the 3-wheeler was an accident waiting to happen. It was widely assumed that once ATV companies permanently removed the 3-wheeler from the market, accidents would sharply decrease. While there has been a decrease in the number of deaths and injuries due to 4-wheel ATVs, enough have happened that the vehicle's safety is still a legitimate concern within the industry. For example, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) revealed that in 2004 alone, there were an estimated 136,000 serious injuries in the United States that were directly related to ATVs. The preceding year, 2003, saw 740 people lose their lives due to ATV accidents. The troubling aspect of this rather high number of deaths and injuries attributed to ATVs is that the industry and the CPSC recently agreed on a series of action plans designed to improve ATV safety. These action plans represent an agreement between the ATV industry and the CPSC to crack down on several issues that affect the safety level of ATVs. Some of the things that are now required of companies that sell ATVs are the labeling and safe marketing of ATVs. In addition, the CPSC has been given more say as to what ages may ride certain types of ATVs. The problem, however, is that a large number of companies that manufacture and distribute ATVs are based in Asia and Italy. Because of their international status, they are not required to abide by the laws of the CPSC. In other words, many of the companies that are making ATVs are exempt of any oversight by the U.S. government. Due to the CPSC's inability to control the safety guidelines concerning the ATV industry, focus has now shifted to state control over the age of riders. Many states have recently enacted legislation that specifically governs the usage of ATVs on state-run land. Some of the factors that states deal with are the ages of riders and the type of engines they use. Several states mandate that the use of machines greater than 90cc by riders under the age of 16 is strictly prohibited. Those who criticize these blanket policies concerning riders' ages claim that these rules do not adequately address the issue. For example, critics claim that many early teen males are bigger and sometimes stronger than fully-grown adult females. To protect themselves from this line of thinking, some states are simply prohibiting any minors (those under the age of 16) from driving ATVs. Advocates of ATVs, however, argue that training riders at an earlier age only stands to improve safety. They argue that children exposed to ATVs at an early age will gradually gain the expertise necessary to be safe drivers of ATVs when they reach adulthood. In 1988, the All-terrain Vehicle Safety Institute (ASI) was formed. This organization seeks to address ATV safety issues by providing training and education for ATV riders. Most states now require that new users of ATVs undergo this type of training. This is one more in a series of attempts by the industry and the CPSC to improve the safety of ATVs. The need to do provide instruction in ATV riding and driving increases as the sport's popularity continues to grow. ATV History The ATVs (all terrain vehicles) we know today had very humble beginnings in the mountainous farming regions of Japan. The muddy mountain roads became difficult for the farmers to travel during spring thaws and were almost impossible to drive over with conventional vehicles or big machinery. The Japanese, always a culture to modify and tinker with something until they could improve it, created the three wheeled ATV. This vehicle did wonders for helping the local farmers. The ATVs were less expensive than the larger farm vehicles and it proved to be an excellent little workhorse. The Japanese didn't stop there, though. ATV manufacturers took it a step further and realized that they could market these ATVs to Americans. America had nothing like the ATV and the first ATV arrived on our shores in the early 1970's. Honda was the forerunner of the ATV, and had a proven track record with motorcycle sales in America, having introduced the Honda Cub to millions of Americans only a decade before. The successful marketing slogan "You meet the nicest people on a Honda" came at a time when bikers had a bad reputation and proved to people that the average Joe could enjoy motor sports as well. By the 1970's, Honda had a reputation for building reliable, state of the art machines and their ATV was no different. This time the marketing scheme would be to show people how thrilling recreational ATV riding could be. Over thirty years ago the Honda US90 made its debut and was called the ATC90. Oddly enough, the initial intent of the ATVs may have started out at the opposite end of the spectrum from Japan's working class ATV, but in the end the results were the same. After gaining popularity as a recreational vehicle, the ATV soon became popular as a working vehicle as Americans began to realize exactly how versatile this little three-wheeled vehicle could be. The ATV proved to have several advantages for the working class man. First and foremost, the ATV was cheaper to operate than a tractor or pickup truck and during the gas crunch of the 70's that was a big plus. The ATV was also easier to maneuver in tight spots and could travel over practically any type of terrain. The only problem people found was the tires. The tires of earlier ATVs were low-pressure and while this worked fine on mud or sand, the tires punctured easily when going over sharper terrain, like a harvested field or sharp rocks. Overall, the ATV did work that no other piece of heavy equipment could do. The original tires weren't repairable either. In 1975 the hubless wheel design was replaced with steel hubs and a wheel lined with a tough fabric on the inside. More durable plastic fenders were added. This time they produced fenders in bright colors for better visibility out in the bush. As the ATV's popularity grew the Japanese engineers didn't stop their research and development. They had a good thing going and they were determined to make it better. Their engineers went into the field to see how the ATV's performed and started gathering data to help with the next round of modifications. By the 1980's, ATVs had gone the same route as dirt bikes and motorcycles. The ATV's were being used as a utility vehicle and for racing. More and more people were buying ATV's for riding off road trails and competing in races similar to motocross events. By 1985 ATV usage had gone from only 30% in the 70's to the whopping 80%. In the 1988, Honda made another groundbreaking leap with the ATV's design, the introduced the FourTrax 300 and a second model called the FourTrax 300 4x4. Up until this point the ATV still had the three wheels, now Honda added an extra wheel and gave the ATV four wheel drives, which provided more stability and power. They also fitted the FourTrax with a four stroke single cylinder engine which was air cooled and gave it a five speed transmission, automatic clutch and a maintenance free drive shaft. Honda also thought to give the FourTrax an extra low gear for hauling particularly heavy objects as big as 850 lbs. Today, ATV's are fully ingrained into our way of living. You can find ATVs on the dirt bike trails, on farms, on construction sites and a host of other places. Now countries all over the world are discovering the same thing Americans have; the ATV is a fun and efficient vehicle for handling a wide array of jobs in almost any environment. ATV for Beginners Since their introduction to the public several decades ago, ATVs have become increasingly popular. They are very appealing to riders because of the amount of the excitement one feels as they are riding. People are now discovering that the whole family can enjoy the excitement of the ATV. On the negative side, though, more people are injured while riding ATVs than in any other recreational outdoor sport. If you are beginning to pursue an interest in ATVs, there are a number of things to know. The first step is to head for the trails with someone who has experience with an ATV. Actually ride an ATV so that you can decide if you are really interested in getting one. Once you are certain that you like it, go pick out your vehicle. As of this second, it's not a law but it is recommended that people of certain sizes use ATVs of certain sizes. For example, if you have a son and he weighs 85 pounds, do not try to find an 800 or 900 cc machine for you to stick him on. Try putting him on a 440 or 600 cc machine. This is more in line with something he can handle. Also, make sure that you are fitted to the right machine. It is usually not recommended that beginners buy brand new machines. As you end up becoming more familiar with the sport, you will talk with people who have different models, and you may end up finding yourself in constant pursuit of the "next best thing." After you have your first machine, definitely take a safety course. Courses are usually broken up into three or four weeks, with them lasting two and a half hours a night once a week. Consider these to be well worth your time and your money. Some courses even end with the instructor taking the class out on to trails. Courses are not mandatory -- but they will most likely be one day! Next, you should take the time necessary to sit down at night and read your owner's manual. Keep in mind that each ATV is different, so if there are labels or parts you don't know, the only real answers you will ever find will be in the manuals. Oh yeah...when you go out on the trail, make sure that you carry the owner's manual with you. If you have bought a used machine from a neighbor or someone else, you can get a copy of the owner's manual by taking the serial number off the machine and going to a dealer. The next thing that you are going to want to do is to get out on to a trail and practice. That really is the only way that you are going to learn how to drive an ATV. Of course, you will always want to make sure that you have permission from whoever owns the land! In the beginning, be sure that you do what you must to ensure that you are riding sensibly. Ride with experienced people. As with other sports, you only get better by riding with people who are better than you. So ride with people who have a fair amount of experience. In addition, no matter how confident you are, when beginning, make sure that you always ride under the supervision of someone who can guide you. In other words, never, ever ride alone! If you follow these simple steps, you will be able to enjoy all of the fun and the excitement that makes up driving an ATV. As with other things, it will take some time before you, as a beginner, are able to do it by yourself. Take the time to receive training on how to do it, and dive headlong into the owner's manual. Once you feel ready to hit the trails, practice driving your ATV. Remember to have an experienced driver with you. Following these steps will ensure your safety and will guarantee that you have a good time. Renting an ATV vs. Lugging an ATV on your Next Trip If you are planning a trip into the outdoors, you may not want to lug your ATV with you. But without it, you will miss out on all the great riding you can do while on vacation. What is an ATV enthusiast to do? If you are going on a long trip and do not like the idea of hauling your ATV or ATV's for your whole family, with you, there are other options that will still allow you to enjoy the outdoors on an ATV. Many places have ATV's to rent, and if you go with this option you can still enjoy the outdoors on an ATV without having to haul yours along for the trip. If you do decide to rent, follow these tips to make the most of your experience. Renting an ATV is not cheap, but compare the hassle of lugging yours plus the cost of extra gas to cover the weight of your ATV during the haul, and it may be worth it to you. The other downside of renting an ATV is that it may take some getting used to before you are comfortable with the rented ATV. You may not find one available to rent that is exactly like yours and you may not enjoy the ride as much. If you are not too picky, you will probably be too busy enjoying your trip to notice the difference, so consider renting if riding a different ATV for a day or so does not seem like a big deal. If you are renting, try to pick an ATV that is close to the model of the ATV you are used to riding. This will make it easier for you to adjust to the new ATV and make riding easier and more enjoyable. If you cannot find a similar model, at least make sure that the weight and engine size of the rented ATV is the same as yours. Before you agree to rent, you should make sure the ATV you choose is in safe working order. Chances are if you own your own ATV you know how to inspect one for safety. Make sure everything is in good working order and there is no damage that can potentially cause injury. The best way to decide if an ATV that you will be renting is safe and comfortable is to take it for a quick test drive. Part of the safety inspection should be the tires. Check for proper inflation and make sure they are suitable for the type of terrain you will be riding on. If you are insure what the trails are like where you will be riding, as someone at the rental shop too make sure the ATV you rent is compatible with the trails you will be riding. Just like renting a car, you should always read the find print and understand the details of your rental agreement. Know if you are responsible for gas and make sure there will be no hidden charges when you are done renting. Some ATV rental places will have optional insurance, others will not and this is something you will have to consider as well. Operating an ATV Safely ATV's can be fun, but they can also be dangerous. They are notorious for causing injuries and even death, but with the proper safety precautions your chances of injury can be reduced. ATV's are powerful machines that are designed to traverse difficult terrain. They can de difficult to handle and the nature of the riding you can do is dangerous in itself. If you want to stay safe while riding, there are some general safety tips you should follow. Having experience is the best way to ensure you drive safely. Before you buy your first ATV, make sure you become acquainted with their operation and try one out if possible. There is a wealth of information online about how to properly handle an ATV and proper driving techniques. You should also study the owner's manual to get insight on how to safely drive your ATV. After you purchase your ATV you should drive with others that are experienced and observe safe driving techniques. The best way to learn how to navigate rough terrain with your ATV is to watch experienced riders navigate. You should begin your ATV hobby by riding on easy, level terrain so that you can get acquainted with your ATV. Taking a training class is also a good way to learn how to safely operate your ATV. Some states require minors to take safety classes prior to being able to ride and they are a good idea for everyone. No matter how experienced a rider you are, you will inevitably take a few falls. The best way to protect yourself is to wear safety gear at all times. A helmet is a must along with gloves and goggles. You should also wear pants and a jacket that are designed for riding and durable. They will protect your arms and legs from abrasions and not tear as easily as normal clothes. Many injures occur because riders do not wear proper safety gear and these injuries could be avoided if riders wear safety gear. Make sure your helmet fits properly and if you do take a serious fall you should replace it if it takes impact. Another way to stay safe when riding an ATV is to make sure you can handle your machine. Larger more powerful ATV's can be hard to handle and you need to make sure that you can control the ATV you choose. If you have a hard time controlling a large ATV, you can always get a smaller one that will be easier to manage. Make sure you get plenty of practice and are comfortable with your ATV before you tackle tough terrain. Another safety precaution that seems obvious but causes many injuries is driving under the influence of alcohol. Never operate an ATV if you have been drinking, you can endanger your life and the life of others. ATV's take skill and precaution to operate safely and all ATV owners should follow safety rules. Proper safety equipment and experience will go a long way to keep you safe while on your ATV. Differences between Utility and Sport ATV's At first glance, it's easy to tell Utility and Sport ATV's apart, and many people will eliminate one class of these quads solely on appearance. However, other than size, there are some important differences between Utility and Sport quads that you might want to take into consideration if you are looking for a new ATV, or the next time you go riding. If you're looking to do some work, or take a quad deep into uncharted wilderness, a Utility ATV with a winch is probably the best choice for you. Although Utilities are perhaps not as extreme as a Sport quad on level ground, Utility quads can crawl over or through terrain and mud that would swallow a Sport quad alive. Although the additional size, weight, and low end torque, not to mention the optional four wheel drive, give utility quads a huge edge in dicey terrain, there are many other features that allow a Utility get through the really rough stuff. Many Utilities have a locking differential to climb out of deep mud holes and other situations where traction is a problem. The differential will either make all the wheels turn at the same speed or shift torque to the wheels that aren't slipping. Most Utility quads also have independent suspension on all four wheels, allowing it to keep in contact with the ground and keep you in control no matter where you're at. In most utilities, the suspension is tuned to give a soft and predictable ride that insulates riders from bumps in the trail. These features draw many people to Utility quads, especially if they plan on using it for hunting or work around the farm. However, many people overlook Sport quads, even though they may be more suited for their riding style. If you want to have the power and performance to simply pull away from your buddies on the trail, or carve a corner like you never thought possible, you should try a sport quad. Sport quads are engineered for quick acceleration and bursts of speed. Sport quads are designed to be run hard for optimal performance, and can stand up to hours of high-speed riding. The gearing is aggressive and the suspension is stiff for digging into corners, which is one of the complaints that many people have about Sport quads. However, you can adjust the tension and range of your suspension to give you a stiffer or softer ride, but if you soften the ride you will inevitably get more body lean and less performance. One factor not to be overlooked is the ease of getting a Sport ATV airborne and landing it gracefully. Some people can land jumps that put them over 100 feet in the air or do a back flip with small and maneuverable Sport ATVs. Although you may not feel up to flipping an ATV under any circumstances, hitting jumps is a lot of fun once you get comfortable. Utility quads were originally designed to be worked, but recent years have seen Utilities get a lot sportier and more suited to recreational riding. Sport quads are also getting more user friendly, which gives them more appeal. Although each category of ATV has its advantages and disadvantages, in 2006 Yamaha made a very successful attempt at bridging the gap between Sport and Utility ATV with their 450 Wolverine, which combines the best features of both classes of ATVs. It is a light ATV with sport-like handling, but it has four-wheel drive and is balanced for high speed performance, but has the comfort and low-end power for rough terrain. Essentially, Utility and Sport quads have different angles on how to have fun off-road. Sport bikes are designed for all-out speed and handling, while utilities seem like a Cadillac in comparison-they're bigger, heavier, slower, but much more comfortable to ride. The type of ATV that is best for you will depend on your riding style, and how far you want to push you quad and what kind of obstacles you want to use to test the limits of your quad. However, with the popularity of Yahama's Wolverine, you can expect to see several crossover ATV's in the next couple years. Finding Great ATV Trails Once you have purchased your ATV, you will probably want to find new places to ride and explore. Unless you are lucky enough own lots of land on which to ride of have a friend who does not mid the use of their land, you will eventually look for local trails to explore. There are many different types of trails, some you can make a day trip of and others that are perfect for a weekend excursion. Unless you live in the middle of the city, chances are that there are many different places for you to ride your ATV in your area. If you have just taken up the hobby, you may not have many resources available to find the perfect riding spot. There are ways to locate local riding trails including ATV dealerships, local ATV clubs and even online. Once you have found your perfect riding spot, you can enjoy the outdoors on your ATV. The place you bought your ATV is probably a good place to start your search for riding trails. Your local ATV dealership or shop can usually tell you what is around and advise you on local rules and regulations. Most of the time the people who work at the ATV dealership will have a passion for riding ATV's and will know about local trails and ATV events. Be sure to enquire about all the opportunities in your area when your purchase your ATV. Some dealerships will even post information about trails and events in their shop on bulletin boards on online on their websites. You should check back to see if any new information is available about places to ride. Most areas with a good number of ATV enthusiasts will have ATV clubs. ATV clubs are probably the best place to go for information on ATV trails and events. They will have information about racing, organized events, and know the best places to go. You can even organize a trip with more experienced riders if you are a beginner to gain practice and learn good riding technique. The All Terrain Vehicle Association (ATVA) has local chapters around the country. If you want to know if there is one in your area, just do a quick internet search. You can also use the internet for a source of information about great places to ride. ATV forums and websites may have information about ATV trails in your area. You may not always be able to get local information depending on where you live, but you can gain wealth of knowledge and advice. You may get lucky and connect with a group in your area that knows of places nearby that you can ride. When looking for ATV trails, you should be aware that most places require riders to use the proper safety equipment and respect the trails. ATV trails are great places to ride and provide enjoyment for both beginners and experts alike. The various riding conditions provide fun and excitement and will help to develop your riding skills. How to Conquer the Mud with Your ATV Although certain kinds of ATVs are setup for pushing through deep mud, the technique for getting to the other side remains the same. When crossing obstacles like mud, the biggest risk is getting stuck, which means coming to a stop. Because of this, speed is your friend, although you can hit a mud hole too quickly. However, hitting the mud with speed will usually give you the momentum to slide over the mud hole and out the other side even if your tires won't grip much. In some cases, you may want to keep at least one tire on solid terrain, if possible, so that your quad has something it can grip. You can do this by straddling the ruts and staying on the high ground, or by leaving one tire out of the mud. However, if the mud hole is too deep, you may tip your ATV over into the mud. Some say that you should stand on your pegs when entering a mud pit so that you are more ready to respond to the uneven terrain. However, keep in mind that you may meet a lot of resistance when you hit the mud, causing you to come to a near-stop very abruptly. If you are standing when this happens, you might go for a dive in the mud. Although standing up may work for some people, you need to be comfortable and balanced enough to be prepared to unseen rocks and roots in the mud, as well as the possibility of a nose dive, or suddenly catching traction with the throttle wide open. One mistake that many new riders make is giving their ATV too much gas once they start to lose traction. Once the mud starts to fly, more gas is not always the solution, since flying mud means that your tires aren't gripping anything solid. Sometimes a tire that is spinning a little slower will grab onto something that it would just grind against with more throttle. This is especially true if you come to a complete stop in the mud. When getting your quad moving again, easy does it, since too much gas means nothing but slinging mud. However, to get out of most spots after coming to a stop, some wheel spin is necessary, but more wheel speed usually doesn't mean more traction. When you get into the mud, keep in mind that the tires with the most weight over them will be the most likely to get traction. So, if your quad is two wheel drive, you will want to keep some of your weight over the back axle, which will drive those rear tires through the slippery mud on the surface and down to something it can grab. Shifting your weight side to side can also help one of your tires get the traction it needs to pull you out of the mud. Four wheel drive makes short work of a lot of mud that gives two wheel drive quads a lot of trouble, but four wheel drive is by no means an end-all solution for deep mud. Some mud pits may be entirely too deep for a stock setup, and a snorkel kit and exhaust extension may be needed just to ensure that your engine doesn't suck in a bunch of mud and debris. For mud this extreme, four wheel drive is a necessity, and a set of aftermarket tires with a more aggressive pattern will also help pull you out of the mud. No matter what kind of ATV you take through the mud, keep in mind that you may only have one shot at getting through without getting a tow. The more you know about the particular mud hole, the better, but an experienced rider can tell a lot about a mud pit by its looks and how soft the rest of the trail is. However, a hole you can get through one day may swallow your quad after a good rain or may change drastically after other people have ridden through. The key to conquering mud is keeping cool and having several ways to get your tires to grip instead of slip.
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