Choosing the Right ATV

The Top 10 Things to Consider When Purchasing an ATV

1. Intended Use

Without a doubt, this is the most important thing to consider when purchasing an ATV. With the wide range of features and options available on today’s machines it is important that you choose an ATV that is well-equipped for your intended use. Keep in mind that most ATVs can accomplish most tasks. However, the better the options and features of the machine are matched to how you will be using it, the better your riding experience will be.

2. Size

The engine size you need will depend largely on what you wish to accomplish with your machine.
ATVs with larger displacement engines (500cc and greater) go faster and provide more power for utility tasks such as plowing snow or towing a trailer. Larger machines will require more strength to steer and control than smaller machines if they are not equipped with power steering.

Smaller ATVs are lighter, more nimble, and cause less fatigue during a long day of riding. Smaller machines can accomplish most of the tasks that a larger machine can, but produce less power for towing, plowing, and other utility projects.

3. Suspension

An ATV’s suspension impacts the way the machine handles various terrain and how well it will tackle the tasks you ask of it.

There are two common suspension options for ATVs: single axle and independent rear suspension (IRS). Single axle machines are better suited for work duties like plowing and towing and for riding on established trails. ATVs with IRS perform better on rough terrain where crossing large rocks, logs, or stumps is required.

Remember that most machines can accomplish most tasks regardless of which suspension is chosen, but will perform differently dependent upon what the ATV is being used for.

4. Power Steering

Electronic Power Steering (EPS) greatly reduces the effort required to steer and handle an ATV. This is especially true on larger displacement machines. EPS helps to reduce rider fatigue and is highly beneficial for trail and off-trail users who plan on riding their machines for extended periods of time.

Work duties such as plowing become much easier with power steering. Just think about the effort required to plow and turn through a large pile of wet snow at the end of your driveway!

5. Carbureted or Fuel Injected

Fuel injection is becoming a popular option for today’s ATV riders and is most common on larger machines. On a fuel injected ATV, the machine’s fuel to air mixture is controlled electronically and allows for much easier start-ups and more responsive throttle power.

Riders who stop and start their machine often or use their ATV during the cold winter months will appreciate the convenience that comes with a fuel injected ATV.

Carbureted fuel systems have long been the norm in the ATV industry and will deliver similar levels of performance as a fuel injected machine when used properly. Carbureted machines often require manual “choking” when starting the vehicle. Some basic maintenance is also needed with carbureted ATVs to ensure top performance.

6. Riding Alone or with a Passenger

Generally speaking, ATVs are only designed to be safely operated by one rider. However, there are a number of options and accessories that can be added to your machine to allow for safe “two-up” riding. Many manufactures also offer touring and side-by-side models that are designed to safely accommodate two riders.

7. Where the Machine will be Used

Many states limit the access of off highway vehicles (OHVs) on public land and trails based on vehicle width, weight, and engine displacement. If you plan on using your machine on public land be sure to check your state’s regulations to ensure that you purchase a machine that may be legally used where you plan on riding.

8. Automatic or Manual Transmission

Many of the ATVs being manufactured today come equipped with an automatic transmission. This greatly simplifies the riding experience, eliminates the need to shift gears while riding, and makes for a smoother ride. All that said, manual transmission machines are still available and some riders prefer the ability to exactly control what gear the ATV is operating in and how the engine’s power is dispersed. Manual transmissions on utility ATVs are clutch-less and the gears are shifted either via a foot lever (like a motorcycle) or with push button controls on the handle bars. Some manufacturers even offer an option to switch between manual transmission and automatic transmission settings.

9. Transporting the Machine

How you will transport your machine to your riding area is also an important thing to consider. Many ATVs can be loaded into the back of a pickup truck with the use of ramps and transported easily. However, larger machines and side-by-side models may not fit in the back of a truck or may be too heavy to transport safely.

For many riders an ATV trailer is a great option to transport their machine to and from their riding area and also provides additional room to bring tools, accessories, and other cargo with to one’s riding area.

Before you purchase an ATV keep in mind how you will transport it and consider the additional investment that will be required with a trailer.

10. Two or Four Wheel Drive

Today most ATVs come equipped with four wheel drive as it more effectively utilizes the engine’s power, provides greater traction, makes towing and plowing easier, and provides numerous other benefits.

However, two wheel drive models are still available and can be used for a number of light duty purposes. Carefully consider what you will be using your machine for, and where you will be using it when deciding between two and four wheel drive.

Many machines offer the rider the option to switch between two and four wheel drive modes.

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Hitching Post is one of the largest powersports dealerships located in Minnesota. If you are interested in purchasing an ATV, fill out the following form and we will contact you to discuss the machine that is right for you!