What to look for in an ATV

I’m not an ATV expert.  Having said that, I’ve put in hundreds of hours, riding ATV s in a farm setting.

The first thing you need to do is determine your needs.

Stability:  I have a little bit of up and down country.  I like to feel stable going down steep hills.  I’m not a little guy, so this means I want a bigger machine.  I don’t need all the power it confers, but it does make things more fun.

Winch:  I consider a winch to be an important part of a work ATV.  You can use it to attach a snow blade and do a myriad of other tasks.

Independent suspension all the way around (all four wheels can go up and down independently of each other) is not necessary.  This is more important if you do a lot of trail riding, but even then, not a big deal.

Electric start is nice.  You’ll have it no matter what if you get a bigger ATV.  Pull start is nice if your starter breaks (mine is not working right, btw).  Bigger ATVs don’t have pull start, which is a bummer for me.

To me, engine size isn’t a big deal.  A 200cc ATV can do everything I need on the homestead.  I want a bigger ATV for the stability though, so I have a 650cc ATV.  Sometimes, a bigger engine upsets the balance of an ATV, so that doing things like going up or down steep slopes, can be more scary than if you had a smaller engine.

Two riders?  My ATV was built to handle two riders.  While I don’t plan on having a second rider, I really appreciate the extra room.

Trailer:  Get a trailer to transport your ATV.  I recommend a small trailer because I’m able to hitch mine to my ATV after I unhook it from the pickup.  Here’s something bad that can happen if your ATV is in the back of your pickup…


Always strap your ATV down.  This was stupid of me–I had a car pull out in front of me and stop.  I was able to stop the pickup, but the ATV tried to visit me in the cab.  My foolishness cost me $350.

Price?  I bought ATV from a relative.  It’s hard for me to justify the price tag of a new machine and even old, worn out four wheelers can cost a couple grand.

My ATV is a 2008 Arctic Cat TRV 650.

I do recommend that you go and have fun with your ATV.  It’s important to familiarize yourself with it, right?



Happy Trails!