Riding an ATV is not like driving any other four-wheeled vehicle. It is a unique riding experience that requires practice to perfect, but it is indeed worth the time. ATVs can give you the same adrenaline-filled thrill that a dirt bike can while being more stable. An ATV is still a powerful machine and caution should be taken before you head out on one. Here are some tips to consider when you first start on an ATV.
Wear protective gear
It does not take too long to find your bearings on an ATV, but you can do so even quicker by wearing the right stuff. Using a helmet, jacket, gloves, boots, and goggles will give you the freedom to push your boundaries without pushing past the safety zone. Make sure the boots you wear go past your ankle to keep yourself protected from prickly plants on the trail. When you gain enough experience to take on rougher terrain, invest in a chest protector, knee and shin guards for added protection.
Have solid footing
Consider nerf bars and heel guards so that you do not have to worry about keeping your feet stable. Nerf bars are essentially large footpegs that keep your feet planted during the ride. Heel guards ensure your feet stay where they should, giving you more control as you ride. It may feel natural at first to have your feet dangle on the side, but that leaves them vulnerable to getting caught in spinning back tires.
Consider your riding position
Both an ATV and dirt bike have handles, but steering on an ATV is much different than on a dirt bike. Instead of using your body to distribute weight and shift the vehicle, you use your weight on the opposite side of momentum. So, when you turn right, you will be pushed to the left, but you will want to lean right.
While on flat trails, feel free to sit down and enjoy the sights. But, as you pick up speed on a stimulating trail, you will need to stand up. Doing so will give you more visibility and make you a better rider. Keep your elbows out, knees bent, and hover above your seat. The course you are on will have sudden dips and bumps, so avoid locking your elbows and keep your knees relaxed to absorb movement.
Practice the controls
These will become second nature eventually but, in the meantime, practice them. The clutch is to the left of the handlebars while the brakes are on the right. Get in the habit of resting your fingers on these levers every time you sit.
Next, you should practice switching gears. If you were ever taught to drive a stick shift car, then you were probably taken to a parking lot to practice working the clutch and shifting gears until you got a feel for it. You will need to do the same to for shift changing on an ATV to feel smooth and intuitive.
Becoming a skilled and confident rider comes with time and practice. To gain experience with various terrains and get expert advice, contact AXR Jaco. We will make sure you have the right gear and have a good time on the trails.