A Definite Guide to All Terrain Vehicles
All Terrain Vehicles or ATV is a fun yet challenging vehicle. It’s challenging because it requires more skill and control when you are operating it.
However, it’s also fun, because you get to travel through the difficult terrain with so much ease. To enjoy riding vehicles, all you need to do is to truly understand what you are riding as well as pay attention to the safety and regulation.
In this guide, you will learn more about ATV, its component, its safety, and also its regulation. Once you’ve finished reading it, you’ll get better understanding about this special vehicle to help you operate it safely and easily.
What is ATV (All Terrain Vehicles)
Just like its name, ATV is a special vehicle made for areas that common vehicles won’t be able to travel. This includes areas like sandy area, muddy area, watery area, and snowy area. In appearance, ATV looks like a motorcycle, but with either three or four wheels.
There is also ATV with six wheels, but usually you won’t find it on the store and have to specifically order it. The expanded number of wheels is the factor that makes ATV more stable than motorcycle and able to travel through challenging area.
Usually, ATV is either designed for one operator or rider or for one operator and one passenger, the latter is usually called tandem ATV. It is usually also designed to be able to pull a cart, because ATV doesn’t have a room for storage on its own.
People use ATV for various purposes, including but not limited to agriculture, survey, patrol for wildlife and border, exploration for oil and mineral on land, land management, law enforcement, and even to give medical services to victims in difficult area. A lot of farmer owns ATV because it is the most suitable vehicle to roam around their large muddy farm.
Aside from work and other practical purposes, people also use ATV for sport and hobby. The focus of the ATV for this purpose is not the utility, but the appearance and the performance.
There are various types of competition or race for ATV. Some of them are woods racing or cross country, hill climbing, desert racing, and ice racing.
There are various components in an ATV, from the wheel, the machine, the body, to the handlebars. All of those components are important. However, among them all, there is one component that you can easily change and upgrade. That component is the ATV tires.
However, sometimes the task of choosing the right tires for the ATV is not easy. This is because as time goes on, there are various types and brands of them available in the market.
Good news is, you don’t have to be conflicted about ATV tires. Actually, there is only one rule you should follow when you’re picking ATV tires. It is to choose according your terrain.
If you live in a tropical country without much snow and sands, then it won’t make sense to buy snow tires or sand tires. Similarly, if you are trying to climb sand dunes using all-purpose ATV tires, you’ll just end up in frustration.
So, what kind of terrains are there and what kind of tire is suitable for each of them?
All-Purpose ATV Tires
The name tells you that this flexible tire is suitable to use in soft, medium, and even hard terrain. From muddy and water area to rock, this kind of tire can handle them all.
However, note that having the ability to serve in all-purpose terrain means these ATV tires aren’t suitable for extreme terrain such as deep snow and sand. All-Purpose ATV Tires have patterns that look like the usual tires you see in other big vehicles on the public road.
Mud ATV Tires
Mud ATV tires may slightly look All-Purpose ATV tires. However, it has wider and deeper tread patterns in order not to retain and hold the mud inside them. With tread patterns like this, mud ATV tires have a strong grip on soft terrain.
They are also made from stiffer rubber than the other, that’s why this ATV tires are not good on hard ground. Mud ATV tires usually works in light snow terrain as well, that’s why they often called mud and snow ATV tires.
Snow ATV Tires
Although mud ATV tires can be used for snowy terrain as well, for deep snow it is not ideal. ATV snow tires should have aggressive tread pattern – wide and deep – just like mud tires.
It needs to have good durability and thicker as well. Another difference with the mud tires is that snow ATV tires are made from materials that stay buoyant even in the cold, instead of freezing.
Sand ATV Tires
This type of ATV tires is easily recognizable because of the distinctive tread pattern. The pattern on the rear tires looks like pedal, which causes the tires to scoop the sands and then propel the ATV forward.
Meanwhile, the front tires are smooth or even bare so they won’t sink on the sand. Sand ATV tires need to be lightweight in order to be flexible and have a good traction on the sands.
Rocky ATV Tires
These tires are the exact opposite from mud ATV tires. So, the tread patterns are tight instead of wide to increase the contact between the tires and the ground.
This way, rocky ATV tires can even climb rocks because it has better traction whether when it is accelerating, turning or braking.
Rocky ATV tires should be thick instead of lightweight to increase durability, since rocky or hard terrain usually have sharp and protruding contour that may puncture the tires.
Safety and Legal Regulation about ATV
ATV is a challenging vehicle, because using it requires more skill and control than using common vehicle like motorcycle or car.
That’s why, inability or carelessness in operating ATV can result in serious accidents that may cause injury or even death.
That’s why; government usually regulates the use of ATV rather seriously. Depends on the country and the states, there will be a set of regulation and instruction you have to comply.
Make sure to check the list below to ensure that you are riding your ATV safely.
– Always comply with regulation, including age and area
- Some countries like US and Australia don’t allow ATV to be operated in public streets, while another like UK allows it but with heavy regulation to follow. Again, depends on the state and local government, usually there are areas where ATV is prohibited – like in Alabama, no one is allowed to ride ATV in the sand dunes or beaches along the Gulf of Mexico. Always check the ATV regulation in your country and states.
- Every country and state have different age requirement for ATV license. For example, in US someone as young as 12 years old can operate ATV on state land provided they have operation license and supervision from someone who is at least 18. In other country, the age can be up to 16 years old.
- Check for other regulation, like if there is any requirement to finish a training or have an insurance.
– Always wear appropriate outfit
- Gloves will keep your hand protected from tiredness, soreness, cold, and even in the case of a spill.
- Over-the-ankle boot with low heels will protect your feet from cold and keep them from slipping off the footrests.
- Long-sleeved top and trousers are recommended to protect your skin from getting scratched or hurt during a difficult ride.
- Helmet is important to protect you head in case of accident. Full-face helmet can protect your face from wind as well.
- Eye protection. Ideal eye protection for ATV are goggles or windshield, which will cover your eyes from possible contact from branches that hang too low or pebbles that get thrown in the air from your ATV movement.
– Always check the condition of your ATV before using
- The ATV tires should have the right and balanced air pressure from the tires on the right side and on the left side so the vehicle won’t pull to one side. The tires should not show any sign of gas leakage. The axel should also be securely connected to the wheel.
- The control system of the ATV should work properly, from the throttle, brakes, and footshifter. Try to operate the ATV in a short distance while performing all the function to check the condition.
- All the switches in the ATV should work properly as well, from the ignition switch (if any), engine stops, and light. You can test them by switching the button on and off before going.
In conclusion, ATV is a special vehicle that promises you a wide range of fun and utility in difficult terrain. However, because of its special ability, you need to have better skill and control in operating this vehicle compared to other.
However, if you follow all the safety and legal regulation provided by your local government regarding the use of your ATV, it won’t be a problem at all. Enjoy a whole new world from your ATV.