How to Ride Your ATV Uphill & Over Rocks and Logs

April 28th, 2014
Quadbike at sunset

photo via visual7 (E+), GettyImages

Exploring the outdoors is a thrilling experience on an ATV. You will face different types of terrains, each with its own set of challenges. In many riding areas, you will have to navigate up hills and over rocks and logs, which requires special skills. If you are new to ATV riding, save the extra rocky trails & hills until you are more experienced. Get used to riding on rough terrain and uneven ground; then you can graduate to an area with a few patches of rocky sections & small hills.

Evaluate & Plot Out Your Riding Path

When you approach a difficult piece of terrain or are at the foot of a hill, you should first evaluate the best path to take, before charging on ahead. If someone experienced has gone before you, try to follow the same path. It is easy to plot out the path of least resistance from the bottom of a hill, as you have a clear view of the terrain in front of you. If you have good riding skills and are looking for a challenge, you can scout a moderately difficult path with more rocky patches.

Tips for Riding Uphill

Start your ATV and take a standing stance that feels comfortable. Rev your machine to about half its full capacity and ride the trail in second gear. As you progress up the slope, you will have to increase the throttle to keep to the same speed; just don’t try to go too fast. Allow plenty of space between yourself and other riders.

Tips for Riding Over Rocks

When you come to a rocky patch, speed up a little and switch to third or fourth gear (whichever feels comfortable). Lean back a little to be more grounded, but make sure your front tires have not lifted more than a couple of inches. You’ll have to maintain some speed while crossing over rocky terrain, but your reflexes are going to be tested when your tires try to slip and slide over the rocks. If you are traveling in a group, the safest way to go uphill would be to send the most experienced rider up the hill first. Another rider should start only when the first has reached the summit, and so on.

Climbing Over a Log

Another challenge is riding over a fallen tree that is lying across your path. Here you will need to consider the size of the log, as well as the ground clearance and type of your ATV. Do not attempt to drive over logs that are more than two feet in diameter.

First, shift to first gear and slowly approach the log. When you are almost touching it, rev your vehicle, lean back, and engage the clutch. As soon as the front tires touch the log, release the clutch, your ATV will lift off. Shift your body weight forward at this point, to the middle of your ATV; if you continue to lean back as you climb over the log, your machine will flip over backwards. This requires quite a bit of practice, but as you gradually learn more about what your ATV is capable of you will be able to climb over objects that lie in your path more easily.

What Makes the Yamaha Grizzly One of the Best Utility ATVs

March 26th, 2014
Yamaha grizzly

photo via Yamaha Motorsports

grizzly storage

photo via Yamaha Motorsports

If you are shopping for utility ATVs, then the range of Yamaha Grizzly models could be just what you are looking for. These ATVs have features that make them very easy to handle and ride, which makes putting the vehicle to work much easier. When considering utility ATV features, here are some that the Yamaha Grizzly has to offer.

Transmission and Gear Selection

Having to change gears while performing tasks on your utility ATV can be frustrating. Yamaha Grizzlys have Constantly Variable Transmission (CVT), which makes it easier to ride. The driver simply selects forward or reverse gear, and there is a convenient throttle for controlling the speed with the thumb. CVT provides optimal power at different speeds, without having to change gears. In certain Grizzly models, there are additional High and Low forward gears for tackling tougher terrains and managing higher tow loads.

The Grizzly models even have a device that provides reliable all-wheel braking while going downhill.

Easy Switching Between 2WD and 4WD

Even though 2WD is adequate for general use, you need the extra power of 4WD when you are travelling over difficult terrain or managing difficult tasks on your quad. Grizzly models provide the easiest way of switching between 2WD and 4WD, by simply pushing a red button on the right handlebar. In 4WD mode, you have the option of choosing differential for allowing the front wheel to move at different speeds, and to also lock the differential to reduce the risk of slipping on difficult terrain.

grizzly suspension

photo via Yamaha Motorsports

Suspensions

The front suspension on most Grizzly models is double A-arms adjustable type, which optimizes control over the steering wheels for excellent handling. Each wheel moves independently, providing the best traction. For the rear, certain models have Independent Rear Suspension (IRS), which allows each wheel to not only move independently, but also to track the surface, providing a softer ride in the worst terrains.

Electric Power Steering

The Electric Power Steering (EPS) on the Grizzly helps to reduce physical effort required for steering, and dampens the kickbacks from stones and bumps. The EPS is an intelligent system that is able to measure the input force of steering against vehicle speed and tire resistance, and feeds the required power to the steering via an electric motor. This system also reduces torque required for steering the ATV in 4WD mode with differential lock.

Storage, Carrying, and Towing

All Grizzly models have various types of storage solutions, including under seat compartments and watertight lockers. The rack on the Grizzly will vary in size depending on the model, and the biggest ones are able to carry a maximum load of 85 kg. The rack design incorporates vertical stops that prevent your loads from sliding. All Grizzly models over 300 cc have a mounting point for fitting the tow ball. The towing capacity will vary between models, and the highest capacity is 600 kg.

Tips for Maintaining Your ATV Transmission

March 13th, 2014
ATV trail

photo via Philip and Karen Smith (Iconica), GettyImages

The function of the transmission is to transfer the rotational power of the engine to the drive shaft, which rotates your tires. This is an important function, but since the components of an ATV transmission are quite complex, maintenance is a challenge for most people. There are two types of transmissions on ATVs - manual and automatic - and here are a few tips that will help you with the maintenance job.

Maintaining Manual Transmission

With manual transmission, you shift gears with the clutch, so most of the maintenance will be focused on the smooth operation of this clutch. When your clutch pedal starts to seem closer to the floor or feels stiff, then it’s time for some adjustments or to replace the clutch (depending on the severity of the problem). Most clutches have an adjusting mechanism, which is usually located on one side of the transmission bell housing. The service manual of your ATV will have a section on the clutch, which will mention the adjustments. For maintaining the gearbox, you only need to change the transmission oil, usually once in two years, or depending on vehicle usage.

Maintaining Automatic Transmission

For automatic transmission, it is important to check the quality and level of transmission oil regularly. The quality of the oil will provide a clue to the condition of your transmission. When your transmission is in optimum condition, the color of the oil will be bright red; whereas in a bad transmission, the color would have turned to a dirty dark red. In a worn out transmission, the oil will have a strong odor of rust, which you will not find in a well-maintained transmission.

Check the transmission oil level, to make sure it is between the high and “add” mark. It is best to check the level of oil in the transmission pump when the engine is not running. Mark this level, and then run your ATV engine. The oil level should drop from about  3/8ths to half an inch as soon as the engine is fired. This drop will show that your transmission pump is working correctly. It is important that you top or replace the transmission oil with one that is recommended by the manufacturer in your manual. If you use the wrong type of oil, you could do some serious damage to your transmission.

Change the Filter

It is usually recommended to change the transmission oil once in two years; however, you might have to do it earlier, depending on the mileage of your vehicle, or the state of your transmission. Whenever you do the transmission oil change, always change the filter as well.

Usually, a filter will be included in the package when you purchase the pan gasket, which has to be removed during the oil change. Different ATV models will have different ways of changing the transmission oil. The service manual will have all the information you need for performing the oil change, and if you have misplaced your manual, try to get one online.