So you want to buy an ATV. It happens to a lot of us. I remember my first ATV, well it was an ATC. It was an ‘83 Honda ATC 200. I fell off that thing more times than I can count.
Whatever, I had a helmet on. I don’t own any four wheelers now, but they have a special place in my heart and they always will. But it got me thinking about what’s the best quad bike to buy?
Did you do some riding? Did you go to the desert this weekend with your buds and play in the sand? Day in and day out, in all weather, in every season people love trail riding with the quads.
Are you new to this activity? Are you lost and you don’t know where to begin? What should I know before I buy it? Do I need a motorcycle license? Utility or sport? How big? Do I want to race? What is my budget?
“When you open the throttle on a straight away
that is usually when people opt for sport quads.”
The first thing I would do is head to a dealer
You can bug the guys on the sales floor with all sorts of questions. Don’t worry, they will help out newbs. They usually love the enthusiasm of new or aspiring riders. If they’re dicks there are always other dealers.
If you have the option to rent an ATV or ride a friend’s that is the best option. You can get comfortable learning what you like and don’t like about a certain model. Some people get the “shiny new object” syndrome where they are in love with something for minutes, days, or weeks until something else comes along.
Try before you buy
It’s sad when someone buys an awesome machine to let it collect dust in their garage for seasons and seasons instead of tearing it up in the dirt. Get comfortable with riding and understand whether you see a future with a quad in mind.
The wife and children have been known to be proponents for or against these types of things. I personally would not base my decision on the approval of my wife, but that’s just me.
Sport or Utility?
At first glance, it’s easy to tell Utility and Sport ATVs 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.
You may be considering an ATV for use around the house or for hunting. Utility ATVs are very accommodating. They can haul heavy junk like equipment or food as well as tow broken down vehicles.
Utility quads don’t go as fast but they can climb walls they got enough low-end torque to make a Sportster jealous. They may be camo or dull colored. They’re designed to go under, around, or through anything not race quarter miles.
Utility ATVs can come with locking differentials; they shift torque to the wheels that have traction in slippery situations so if you’re dick deep in mud you’ll be able to get out. Or the diff can distribute power to all wheels evenly.
The suspension is plush to absorb low-speed bumps like rocks and mother-in-laws. If you missed your Lazy Boy at home, you can’t get much better than this in the woods and you’ll make your Fat Boy jealous (Sorry, I’ll stop with the Harley references).
Sport models don’t have as much room. They usually fit two people max with flared fenders to accommodate the large travel by the suspension. Buy this type if you’re a weekend warrior, just riding for fun, or if you want to full out race.
Sport ATVs usually come in bright colors so you don’t run into the geisers racing on the trails. They are lighter so they handle better, perform better, and overall look cooler than utility models.
They have aggressive suspension to peel out of corners and kill your legs when you’re hauling ass through the bumps. When you open the throttle on a straightaway that is usually when people opt for sport quads.
Jumping sport quads is normal. With utility quads that are the least “utilitarian” part of the beast. Well, you can do it. But you may get broke more than the quad. If you do, record it and send it to us for the site. I love a good hero/zero story.
Manual or Auto? Some people buy their first quad with no clutch. Riding can be hard enough and a clutch can steepen the learning curve.
If you’re not as daring opt for an auto. You may be limited to what you can find. Also, you may still have to switch gears with your left hand, though, without a clutch.
READ MORE: WHAT IS THE BEST OFF ROAD VEHICLE TO BUILD
ATVs for young riders usually have automatic transmissions. I always recommend a manual transmission as you have more control over the machine. It takes longer to learn but with some practice anybody that should be out there riding has the aptitude to learn to ride with a clutch. And if you upgrade in the future you will buy an ATV with a clutch.
“Sport quads will ride all day. Utility quads
will work all day. The choice is yours.”
Shaft, belt, or chain
Each drive type has its benefits. Shaft drive is rarer but it can be the best option. Belt or chain drives have the ability to break on the trail. Though the response and feel of a chain or belt are preferred by many.
A shaft drive can protect you. Shaft drives need no maintenance except for periodically changing the shaft oil every few hundred years. Chain drives may make you have to wait for a big old utility ATV to come to lug you out of the woods. Shame.
ATVs are an incredible source of fun, excitement, and blood boiling adventure. They can be used for fun or utility. Buying the right one is a big decision and it should be taken seriously. There are lots of different models for different applications. So what’s the best quad bike to buy? You can get this now! You’re a pro!
Making the right choice based on your needs will provide frustration or lots of joy. I hope you feel comfortable with moving forward and getting on one!
Have a good one and stay dirty.