10 Myths about ATVs – Debunked
I was speaking with a few co-workers at work and we were talking about what we did for the weekend. one of them said that he spent the day helping his sons baseball team. another one told me that he had a barbecue with his family. and the last one just watched Netflix and stayed home. I told them that I spent the day riding on a trail on Saturday and Sunday I cleaned my dirty quad. they knew that I liked offroading and trail riding but maybe they thought that I was doing that with an SUV or similar.
I told them that I own several quads and that they can come offroad with me next weekend if they want! and they started asking all sorts of questions and assuming all sorts of things and I was responding to them. over the few days I had the task of myth-busting in the group chat that we made. “can we drive it on the street” “do they use electricity to run” “is that like a golf kart?” and other things that they said. anyways, I decided to take some of the things that they said and some of the other general myths surrounding ATVs and make a list debunking these myths! please enjoy.
ATVs are used exclusively for racing
The first one that I see mentioned is that they are exclusively used to go fast on a straight line. and while that is the use that many people like to give to the ATV, it’s not necessarily their only strength. ATVs are also used on farms all over the world for utility purposes, especially UTVs. UTVs are bigger quads that are used to carry stuff and they can be a bit slower. they are a favorite of hunters, farmers, and anybody who needs an all-terrain vehicle that is smaller and cheaper than an SUV.
One of the other uses that ATVs have is offroading. like I mentioned in another article, I firmly believe that ATVs are the ultimate trail machine and are an off-road powerhouse. they combine everything necessary to make a competent offroader: good ground clearance, traction on the 4 wheels, a rugged chassis, torquey engines, and ample space to make the ride more comfortable this is one of the other main uses that ATVs have, being able to get anywhere because of the 4WD without breaking a sweat.
And of course, there are also sports ATVs that are faster and more performance oriented, these drive and turn much better than your average ATV. their 0-60 times are generally superior to most quads, and they are styled more aggressively too. so when people mention this myth I usually think of those quads. but the truth is there is a lot of variety too, not just sporty models.
ATVs are safe
This is a very dangerous story that people have in their minds about ATVs. they believe that since quads have 4 wheels and you don’t need to balance yourself in the seat like a dirtbike, they are very safe and can be used recklessly by everyone. and nothing could be further from the truth. ATVs can even be more dangerous than dirtbikes and when I say that to people they are surprised and don’t believe. “that makes no sense! it’s much easier to hurt yourself in a dirtbike than in a quad!” and yes, maybe you might need more training to ride a dirtbike than a quad, but the problem is that people get overconfident as soon as they get in the quad. they start pressing the throttle, they go fast on a straight line, and they lose control. suddenly, the quad is upside down and the person riding is injured.
Another case is people offroading with the ATV. this usually happens in people with no experience. they do not know the limits on their quad and push the throttle too fast on a steep hill or an unbalanced position. then they lose the balance of the machine and the quad falls on them. quads rollover are a serious concern for anybody trying to get into this, especially if you are young! so they are certainly not the safest kind of transportation available.
Now, this doesn’t mean that you can’t make it safe. going slow when going to a new trail and using safety equipment are things that are mandatory in my book. I wear safety equipment almost always that I’m riding. I have bought helmets, chest protectors, boots, and goggles over the years both online and in mom and pop stores. I would recommend getting at the very least a helmet because head injuries are very commonly seen. this is the one that I use on a weekly basis. it’s a high-quality helmet that is very aerodynamic and comfortable.
ATVs are cheap
This myth is the one that people are most shocked from when they see prices. I don’t know where this one comes from but maybe people think that ATVs are just glorified go-karts with crappy engines. maybe they think that they are a disassembled lawn mower made into something that you can ride. and so they think that you can find a quad under 2000$ new. when I tell them the truth about modern ATV engineering and the average price of a new quad, they don’t believe me!
So yes, ATVs are and have always been pricey. depending on the class, ATVs can be between 5000-10000 dollars. this is for the established brands. less known brands like Tao Tao or Coolster are cheaper alternatives. I bought a Tao Tao quad for my son because he wanted a new one and I didn’t have enough cash, but it was too big for him, he didn’t fit in it, so I decided to use it myself. even though Tao Tao is considered more of a value brand, it’s still not cheap. ATVs are expensive in general.
The parts are also something that is pricey and not easy to find. since quads are more of a niche interest, there aren’t a lot of them, and that means that parts availability is limited and the pricing for these parts go up. ATVs are also not good when it comes to sipping fuel, especially if it’s a sports model. they chug gas and many models use premium gas exclusively.
You don’t need to do maintenance on quads
The fastest way to break a quad is to mistreat is and avoid doing maintenance on it. these machines require regular maintenance and many people forget about that. this myth is widespread maybe because there’s is less information available on quads. these machines are not as simple as they might look. modern ATV components can include complex parts such as fuel injectors, alternators, and other electronic systems and that for the proper performance of the quad, those systems require regular maintenance.
Many new quads now come with maintenance instructions on the manual. there you can see how often you should put on into the ATV, what type of maintenance should you do, and other tips and recommendations. or if you bought the quad new, they usually include a few years worth of free maintenance.
ATVs are not capable offroaders
This one is completely false. ATVs have always been a formidable offroading tool. when I go offroading in the usual spots I see much more SUVs compared to quads. and maybe that’s how the myth proliferated. some might have more ground clearance and they have more cargo space. this makes it more useful than ATV if you have a bigger family. but other than that, I think ATVs are the best offroader you can have.
The first reason is that they have the necessary ground clearance to get anywhere. they can be used in any offroading situation, they don’t have a take up a lot of space and so they are less obstructed when trying to climb a steeper hill. and if you need more clearance, you can just install an aftermarket suspension. this is for more advanced offroaders because it also could be dangerous but these suspensions can really help increase the limits of the quad.
Another reason why they are the best offroaders is because of not having a cabin covering you. that means that you can see rocks and other kinds of obstructions that you might not see in an SUV. this, combined with the strong balance and stability makes the quad the best offroader available today.
Anybody can ride an ATV
ATVs are easy to learn and ride. but that doesn’t mean that anybody should ride it. the prime example is toddlers. more parents insist on making their kids ride with them on the ATV. sometimes they are given an adult ATV with a lot of power and that can be dangerous. I thankfully have never seen any accidents associated with kids but I have heard of a few. anyways, there are some quads that are specifically made for little kids. if you want your kids to use a quad, it should be exclusively those. they are usually underpowered so that there is less of a safety risk. after that, teaching them how to properly ride the quad should be your main goal. I would also buy safety equipment for the kids. things like helmets or boots.
The other group that should be cautious about using ATVs are pregnant women. I talked about that in this article, but in short, it seems that the bumps that you feel in quads might hurt the baby’s development. I would recommend all pregnant women to avoid riding ATVs until they give birth.
Buying an ATV is as easy as buying candy
This myth goes hand in hand with myth number 3. people that believe this think that you can just go into Walmart and just get any ATV, pay cash, and simply drive it out. the truth is that ATV follows a similar process to cars when it comes to buying and selling. car things like the title also apply to quads! so remember that if you have never bought a quad. if somebody tells you that there is no paperwork needed to sell or buy an ATV, then they are wrong!
ATVs are useless on the pavement
Maybe people say this because quads are generally not road legal, but they are far from useless. depending on the tires that you strap on the quad, doing more than 70 mph is easily done. jacking up the pressure of the tires helps a lot with this. converting your quad into road legal will also certainly make your quad not useless on the pavement. so the validity of this myth depends a lot on whether your quad is road legal or not. but even if it isn’t, calling it useless is certainly not true.
ATVs are old news
There are another group of people that believe that ATVs are a dead hobby, that they were only used in the 90s, and that is far from the truth. now the hobby and sport (offroading activities in general) are not as popular as it was 15 or 20 years ago, but ATVs and dirtbiking are alive and well! there hasn’t been are sharp declines in quad use nationwide and the reason for that is the loosening of road legality laws of quads and the rise of technology in the new quads. the new ATVs are not only more powerful, quicker, and lighter, but they are also much safer and much easier to find. dealership network has improved nationwide, especially in states that aren’t exactly offroading strongholds. this myth is a bit fat lie!
I expect ATVs use to increase in the following years. the government has been more lax when it comes to laws restricting ATVs in one way on another, both at the federal and state level. so less regulation means they are cheaper and they can ride on more places legally!
You can’t do any tricks in an ATV
This one is, in my opinion, the most ridiculous one. anybody that has been the X games at ESPN has seen quads jump around from dirt ramps. this is the most obvious example, but also, there are several other tricks that you can do if you have some proficiency with the quad. the first one is the wheelie!
I made an ATV wheelie guide that details the steps, but in short, you just need to yank the quad up while applying throttle. do it slowly the first time so that there are no problems, but once you get the hang of it, it becomes second nature.
There are some other tricks that you can do, like donuts, and balancing the quad on the left or right wheels. so, there are a lot of tricks to do with a quad, not as much as a dirtbike, but enough to debunk this myth.