So you’re eyeing up a brand new (or gently used) ATV on UTV trader for some fun in the mud, but you have little to no experience on one. Here’s a quick guide to five simple riding tips for new riders to help you stay safe while you hit the off-road trails.
1. Stay on Top
While this may sound like an over-simplified tip, “don’t flip the ATV” is probably one of the most important things you’ll need to hear. Many new riders see the four wheels and immediately think that it’s going to handle just like a car, but while an ATV is more stable than some two-wheeled vehicles, don’t get too confident. New riders often find themselves tumbling backwards after not knowing their throttle well enough, and they wind up pinned under their ATV. Start off slow and learn the individual handling of your ATV before trying to tackle that big hill or drift through that mud patch.
Again, possibly too simple of a concept, but every ATV handles slightly differently. You might have learned on a friend’s ATV and bought a different model for yourself. Take it slow at first, learn the individual handling characteristics, throttle sensitivity, and lever ranges.
3. Lever Handling
If you’ve ever ridden a motorcycle, you know to look for a clutch lever on the left and a brake lever on the right. Motorcycle riders also know that proper riding technique includes not having their fingers around those levers unless they’re about to pull them in. But for an ATV, you’re going to want to have a finger or two on each lever so you can pull them in at a moment’s notice. The riding requirements for an ATV call for even quicker reflexes, and having those levers at the ready could save your neck.
4. Foot Positioning
While your riding posture in general is important, one thing that many new ATV riders neglect is their foot position. Depending on your ATV, you may want to invest in larger pegs called “nerf bars,” but if you aren’t interested in making modifications, pay close attention to how your feet are placed. New riders commonly make the mistake of letting their feet dangle or drag. You might not think this is so dangerous, especially if you’re going at a slower speed, but the distance of your foot to a back tire might be shorter than you think, and the last thing you want to do is get your foot caught in a tire.
5. Learn to Load
You have to get your ATV from one place to another, right? Never, under any circumstances, attempt to ride a motorcycle, dirt bike, or ATV up into the back of a pickup truck. Learn how to properly load these vehicles into a truck. Otherwise, you risk flipping over and damaging your ATV and yourself.
While there are many other things to consider when first hitting the trail as a new ATV rider, hopefully these tips will help you stay safe so you can have the most fun with your new vehicle.