Riding Tips

[su_tabs][su_tab title=”General”]

Know your vehicle before you begin riding. Read your ATV owner’s manual.

All Terrain Vehicles can be different from one another in many ways.  Handling characteristics vary upon basic design and how they are equipped:

  • some have front and rear brakes, some have rear brakes only.
  • ATV can have electric starters, or kick or pull starters.
  • some are water cooled others air cooled.
  • automatic or hand operated clutches, some are fully automatic and some ATV’s have a reverse gear.
  • some have solid drive axles and some have differentials.
  • some with chain drives, others with shaft drives.
  • some are throttled with twisting the hand grip others by pushing a thumb lever next to the hand grip.
  • locations of controls differ by ATV model.

[su_tab title=”Protective Gear”]

Your helmet is the most important piece of protective gear for safe riding. Wear eye protection, either goggles or a face shield.  Gloves will protect your hands and off road style motorcycle boots offer the best protection for feet, ankles and legs. Long sleeved shirt or jersey and long pants will protect your skin from scratches.

[su_tab title=”Pre-Ride Inspection”]

Inspecting the mechanical condition of your ATV before each ride is important to minimize the change of injury or being stranded. You can ride farther in a hour than you can walk in a day.

  • Check tire pressure.
  • Check controls and brakes.
  • Check lights.
  • Check oil and fuel levels.

[su_tab title=”Maintenance”]

Perform periodic maintenance on your ATV.

  • Rough terrain will loosen parts. Look and feel for loose parts while the engine is off.
  • Inspect your chain for proper adjustment and adequate lubrication.
  • If you have a drive shaft check for oil leaks and it’s supply.
  • Periodically check major fasteners with a wrench.
  • Follow the maintenance schedule as outlined in your owner’s manual.
  • Always keep your feet on the footrests while riding to prevent injury.
  • When mounting, take care not to step on the shifter.

[su_tab title=”Parking”]

  • shift into neutral and set parking brake or shift into low gear or park if you have it.
  • avoid parking on an incline.

[su_tab title=”Braking”]

  • release the throttle
  • downshift or use the engine to slow the vehicle
  • apply both brakes equally
  • avoid excessive braking while cornering
  • apply brakes lightly on slippery surfaces
  • shift to low gear when descending a hill and don’t ride the brakes for long periods.

[su_tab title=”Turning”]

at low speeds:

  • turn the handle bars in the direction of the turn, shift our body weight onto the footrest on the outside of the turn and lean your upper body to the inside of the turn.

at higher speeds:

  • as speed increases you must lean your upper body farther toward the inside of the turn while keeping your weight on the outer footrest.

starting to tip:

  • if your ATV starts to tip while turning, lean your upper body further into the turn while gradually reducing the throttle and making the turn wider.

An expert rider stays out of trouble not simply by handling the machine well, but by being smart enough not to get into risky situations in the first place. Learn to read the trail as you ride. Watch more experienced riders by following their moves and path.[/su_tab]
[su_tab title=”Hills”]

These tips are on ascending and descending hills and on how to traverse a slope.

[su_spoiler title=”Climbing a hill” icon=”caret”]

    • some hills are too steep for your abilities. Use common sense.
    • some hills are too steep for your ATV regardless of your abilities.
    • never ride past your limit of vision.  If you can’t see what is on the other side of the crest of a hill, slow down until your can get a clear view.
    • keep both feet firmly on the footrest, shift ATV into low gear and speed up before ascending the hill.
    • shift your body weight forward by sliding forward on the seat for small hills, on steep hills lean well over the front wheels.
    • if you don’t have enough power to continue uphill but have forward momentum and enough speed to turn around safely, turn around before you lose speed and then proceed downhill.
    • if you lose momentum apply brakes before rolling backwards and dismount to the left,turn handlebars to the left and release the parking brake and pump brakes to let the ATV roll backwards. this will turn the ATV sideways to the hill reset the parking brake, turn handlebars to the right.  Let ATV roll until it is angled downhill, set parking brake, remount on the uphill side and ride downhill.
    • do not back down a hill. Use front brakes when rolling backwards to stop.


[su_spoiler title=”Descending a hill” icon=”caret”]

  • keep both feet firmly on the footrests
  • point the vehicle directly downhill
  • transfer you weight to the rear
  • shift into low gear and descend with throttle closed
  • apply rear brakes to reduce speed.

[su_spoiler title=”Traversing a slope” icon=”caret”]

  • keep both feet firmly on the footrests
  • lean upper body uphill
  • steer slightly uphill.


Northumberland District ATV Riders Club