Development Of Atvs
ATVs (all-terrain vehicles) were first developed during the 1950s. The earliest models had six wheels instead of the four that riders are now familiar with. Honda was the first company to make the 3-wheel ATV in 1970. These were famously displayed in the James Bond film, 'Diamonds Are Forever.' Originally called the US90, the ATV was purely for fun, made with very large balloon tires instead of the mechanical suspension and smaller tires eventually introduced in the early 1980s.
Choices To Make For Your First Atv
For whatever reason, the ATV bug has bitten you. You've seen them on television or maybe you have a couple of friends that already go riding on the trails. Day in and day out, in all kinds of weather and in every season, people are enjoying recreational ATV trail riding.
But when you're new to this activity, where to begin? What needs consideration before making a major purchase of an ATV? Do you need to take a driver's test or a safety course? Do you want the ATV for recreation or for work? Are you thinking about competitive racing?
Finally, how much is this whole venture going to cost?
Nutritional Snacks For The Atv Trail
Could what you put in the ATV operator really make a difference on the ATV trail? Absolutely; after all, you wouldn't fill up your four-wheeler's tank with maple syrup and potato chips. Filling up your own "tank" with garbage is just as likely to result in a negative outcome such as fatigue, gastrointestinal upset or distracting hunger pangs early on during a long ride.
Want to know the secret to a long and happy ATV trail excursion? It's replacing all those sodas and juice bottles with clear and cool water. Though many ATV drivers swear by sports drinks, they might deliver too much sugar into your system. Though sports and energy drinks are coveted by athletes who are exerting tremendous amounts of energy, you're better off imbibing clear, pure and unflavored H2O.
What better food stuff than a handful of trail mix to go along with your thirst-quenching bottle of water? Before you start munching on the various trail mixes available on the market, take heed. Many of those so-called "healthy" snacks are loaded with trans-fats, unnecessary sodium, and far too much sugar. Instead of trying to sort through all the supermarket options, why not make your own? In a large plastic bag, throw in a cupful of a high fiber cereal, a half a cupful of nuts, a half a cupful of unsweetened dried fruits (such as cranberries, apricots, or raisins), and, if you must have something sweet, a modest sprinkling of semi-sweet baking chocolate chips. Shake the bag and share with your ATV trail buddies.
Though many of the energy bars on the market are woefully lacking in basic nutrition, there are some which are hearty enough to eat as a meal substitute. If you're going to be out on your ATV all day, you can replace lunch with one of these power-packed energy bars. Just make sure that your choice has at least 250-350 calories and a whopping dose of fiber. Watch out for energy bars that are all carbohydrates; try to find one that balances carbs with protein. Try to avoid any that are made by popular candy makers because they usually contain way too high a proportion of sweetener.
One of the most underappreciated fruits is the lovely yellow banana, a tropical delight that packs a nutritional punch. Though a medium banana is only about 100 calories, it is loaded with potassium and has reputedly therapeutic benefits. If you can stow a few of these edible golden treasures in a place where they won't get squashed during your ATV trail excursion, you'll be able to benefit from their natural wealth of nourishment.
Never forget that the more planning you put into your ATV exploration, the more you'll get out of the experience. That includes the type, amount, and quality of foods you bring with you on your next ATV journey.
Off Roading Off The Strip
What do you think of when you hear "Las Vegas"? Slot machines, casinos, showgirls, money, glitz, spectacular shows and some of the best buffets in the States, right? What very few people realize is that southern Nevada has some of the best outdoor activities in the south western United States. Lake Meade National Park not only offers a great tour of the Hoover Dam, but Lake Meade is a hot spot for boating, water skiing, jet skiing, fishing and even some scuba diving. The roads that wind around the lake are frequented by motorcyclists and bicyclists, runners and walkers. If you go far enough into Lake Meade National Park you run into the Valley of Fire, a park named for it's spectacular fiery red rocks and stunning landscape. On the west end of Las Vegas is Red Rock Canyon, more spectacular landscaping for horseback riding, hiking, camping, rock climbing, biking and motorcycling.
And let's not forget the trails for the ATV crowd. In Las Vegas there are two major areas where the locals go to ride. The first one is about a half hour outside of Las Vegas at the north end of the strip just past Nellis Air Force Base. There are two ways you can reach the Nellis Dunes. You can either follow Las Vegas Boulevard (aka The Las Vegas Strip) to the north and past the Las Vegas Speedway until you get to the end of it or you can take the I-15 to the Apex exit and turn right. You can't miss the Dunes on this lonely stretch of road. If you came off the I-15 the Dunes will be immediately on your left, in fact, you will be able to see them from the exit ramp. Every weekend there are trailers and RVs parked up on the Dunes. You can watch kids and adults riding the trails on ATV's and dirt bikes from the road.
If you follow the Boulevard south as far as it will go, you will find yourself paralleling the I-15 going towards California. This stretch of road will take you to the Jean Dry Lake Beds. The area here is also wide open desert with plenty of space for ATV trail riding and should take only twenty to thirty minutes from the Strip.
Venturing outside of Las Vegas you can find another ATV hotspot, the El Dorado Dry Lake Valley Area. Take US 95 or the Boulder Highway south towards Searchlight. Seven miles after the Railroad Pass Casino before you reach Searchlight you'll find the trails. And finally off of US 93 is the Logandale Trails System.
An inexperienced rider or first time visitor to Las Vegas might want to consider hiring a trail guide. Most of these trails are unmarked and difficult to follow if you aren't familiar with the area. A guide will also be able to help you over the rougher patches of trail. All ATV outfitters in Las Vegas offer training on the ATV to make sure that you understand how to operate the vehicle. Off road vehicles in Nevada are usually don't require registration, license or titles to drive, but drivers under the age of 15 require adult supervision and everyone needs to wear a helmet. Headlights are also required to be on from dusk to dawn. Another safety precaution is having a brightly colored flag attached to your ATV while riding the trails so that other riders can see you. Do not ride your ATV on the roads or highways either; trailer your vehicle to the site and stick to the trails. Above all else, do not operate your ATV or any other motorized vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Safety Precautions When On The Atv Trail
Whether you are a veteran of the ATV trail or a novice rider itching to explore the great outdoors on your four-wheeler, you need to bring with you more than a little good sense and safety precautions. Without a significant amount of awareness when it comes to protecting yourself and your ATV, you could wind up injured, lost, or otherwise in bad shape.
First, it's essential that you bring a helmet with you. In many places, it's the law. Of course, there might not be other people for a hundred miles except you and your riding companions, so your initial thought process might suggest the opposite. Unless you're a top-notch prognosticator or have access to a 100% accurate crystal ball, that kind of thinking is as risky as gambling on a horse with a lame leg. It is always better to err on the side of caution and wear a protective helmet when you ride on the ATV trail.
Next, remember the adage, "Drinking and driving don't mix"? It goes for ATVs as well as automobiles, motorcycles, and boats. Even one beer has the ability to render you in a state of slowed responsiveness... and that means that a wrong turn could be the last one you ever make. Save the alcoholic beverages for the celebratory dinner or party the night after a long day of ATV trail cruising.
Make sure you consider using the "buddy system". Though there are plenty of ATV enthusiasts who head out into the mountains with nary a friend save their trusty four-wheeled playmates, it is typically not a good idea. The thinking behind this safety precaution is a reasonable one: if anything happens to you on the ATV trail, having someone else there will speed up the process of getting you to a medical facility.
Of course, it's imperative that you have your cell phone on you for your ATV rides, though you cannot always rely on it unless you have a good connection rate. Without a cellular phone, you could find yourself off a trail in no time and without a clue as to how to get in contact with anyone reliable to help you out.
If you're exploring a new ATV trail, bring along an updated map of the area. In fact, you might want to get a couple of them and make sure both you and your riding buddies each have one. Sure, it's not supposed to be cool to say, "Let's look at the map," but it's a lot better than shivering along a remote ATV trail at midnight, wondering how in the world you will make it back.
It's also important that you turn on the local weather station by the use of the radio or a television before taking a four-wheeler spin. Though most ATVs are built to handle some tricky conditions, it's best to know what kind of elements you're likely to encounter. That way you can dress appropriately, bring along suitable gear or leave the ATV riding for another day if conditions look especially dicey.
Finally, one of the most important safety precautions is to ensure that the operator of the ATV is healthy enough to navigate through the trail. If you're feeling at all ill or have a physical injury that could prevent you from being a dependable driver, you may need to head out another time. There is no shame in postponing an ATV ride if you're under-the-weather. And, besides, it's unlikely that you'll be able to enjoy the experience to its fullest if you're coughing, achy, or in pain.
By being prudent, you can ensure that your next ATV trail adventure is exciting, rewarding, and, most of all, safe.
The Best Atv Trails
The Best ATV Trails: One Man's Trash is Another Man's Treasure
Next time you hear about a great riding spot, you might want to ask a few questions before you pack up to go ride there. Although all ATV's are designed for fun, they aren't all set up for having fun on the same terrain, and a trail that is great for some people might be a complete bore or be impassable for others.
Twenty years ago most ATV's were fairly similar. Three wheels were a lot more common than four, and they all had a utilitarian feel to them. Today there is a huge variety of ATV's that are specifically designed to meet the needs of nearly any rider. Most ATV's have become very specialized and are designed for mud, rocks, work, or just plain speed. However, because ATV's are so specialized, certain trails are much more suited to different types of ATV's. ATV's fall into two categories, sport and utility, and each type of ATV performs extremely well in a certain conditions.
For rock crawling and other extremely rough terrain, a large four wheel drive utility quad is the best, but skid plates are highly recommended. Four wheel drive is crucial for rock crawls since it's not uncommon to get a front or back wheel off the ground in order to get from one rock to another. Although it is possible to prod a two wheel drive sport bike over some crazy rocks, you'd better take the right line through the rocks the first time since most sport bikes don't have a reverse. The suspension setups in sport bikes also make them much more difficult to get across big rocks; this is because the suspension is much more rigid, and many of them lack independent suspension. In many utility quads, it seems like the tires reach down and grab the rocks.
When it comes to mud pits, the utility quads, especially those with four wheel drive are right at home. The extra weight of these monsters, along with locking differentials, let the tires sling anything out of the way that it can't grab onto. Sport bikes can be plenty of fun in the mud, but they are not the first choice for deep mud holes. Anytime you are crossing mud, speed is your friend, especially if you're on a sport bike designed for speed and acceleration, not the low end torque need to push through a wall of mud and water. However, stopping any quad in the middle of a mud pit, four wheel drive or not, can mean getting out the tow cable or winch.
Another unexpected trail obstacle that can mean trouble is sand, especially the type of sand that is found close to creek beds. Typically you can get some decent traction on dunes, but unpacked sand is a problem for most quads, unless handled properly. In loose sand, a sport bike has the advantage over heavy utility quad. A sport bike's light weight allows it to keep moving over sand, while most utility bikes are designed to dig deeper into terrain to get traction. Regardless of what kind of quad you have, speed is the best way to overcome sand without getting stuck.
The biggest issue that comes up when talking about great riding trails is what makes that trail great. Some people will say that mostly level trails with a few hills and ditches are great riding; they just want to get away from everything and enjoy the great outdoors for a few hours. Although there are many people that enjoy this type of ATV ride, it just won't cut it if you're in the mood to sling some mud, catch some air, or crawl up bluffs. Whatever kind of riding you enjoy, you might be very disappointed if you unload at a spot and find that the terrain brings out your quad's weaknesses instead of its strengths.
The Great Debate Two Stroke Vs Four
The battle for supremacy between two stroke and four stroke quads is likely to rage on forever, except for outside factors that may end this age old debate; it is very likely that upcoming legislation could end production of two stroke engines, making it impossible to get a new two stroke quad. So if you've ever considered getting a two stroke quad, the clock is ticking.
Mechanically the difference between a two stroke and four stroke lies in how often the spark plugs fire. In a two stroke, it fires once with every revolution of the cam, while a four stroke only fires the plugs every other revolution of the cam. With everything being equal, a two stroke will have twice as many combustions as a four stroke, which causes it to produce much more energy with the same size engine. While this may make a two stroke sound like an obvious choice, there are several drawbacks to the design and performance characteristics of two stroke ATV engines.
The extra energy and heat produced by a two stroke requires oil to be added to the gas to keep the engine properly lubricated. Because oil is put in the combustion chamber, two stroke engines smoke a lot, which is the reason for the imminent ban on them. One side effect of the impressive power that two stroke engines produce is that the top end of the engine must be rebuilt somewhat frequently, depending on how hard the engine is pushed. Although the rebuild is not terribly expensive, it must be done periodically to avoid rebuilding the entire engine.
For many riders the constant maintenance is worth the performance they get out of their two stroke engine, but the accessibility of this power may be prohibitive for some riders, riding styles, and terrain. In order to tap into the power of a two stroke engine, you have to keep the throttle close to wide open to stay in the power band. Although some models are better than others, some stock two strokes lack real power on the low or midrange. In the hands of an experienced rider, a two stroke is an amazing machine, but in certain scenarios, you can lose all your power by making a necessary up shift or slowing down without a hard down shift. However, their explosive power makes two strokes the engine of choice for many racers, especially in racing disciplines that require frequent jumps and quick acceleration out of turns, such as Motocross.
As far as typically maintenance, most four stroke quads require relatively little attention. Spark plugs and oil changes are always necessary, but you do not need to rebuild the engine on a regular basis. However, many riders complain of the high cost of rebuilding four stroke engines when necessary, but a four stroke engine should hold up longer than a two stroke if it is rode properly. If you keep a four stroke high in the rpm range all the time, you are asking for trouble. Although four strokes do not possess the characteristic break-away acceleration of a two stroke engine, they have access to power through a larger rpm range, which eliminates the need to have the throttle wide open all the time. Access to power in the low and midrange allows for a much more leisurely riding experience, or the ability to dive into deep mud and come out the other side. Because a four stroke has power on the low end, it has a much easier time freeing itself from deep mud, while a two stroke is usually doomed if it comes to a stop in mud. Four strokes, in many cases, have a higher top speed than two strokes, but will take much longer to get to their top speed. Four strokes have improved a lot over the years, with some many dominant racing quads being propelled by four stroke engines. However, the Honda 250R, a classic two-stroke quad, is still taking podium spots over ten years after it began production.
For the most part, two stroke engines are better suited for light sport quads and four strokes, which produce most of their power on the low end, are more suited for heavier quads made for mud, rocks, and work applications. The debate between two stroke and four stroke engines is not likely to end soon, but production of two stroke engines may. If you prefer high speed, airborne, adrenaline heavy riding and you don't mind spending some time turning a wrench, you may want to get your hand on a two stroke quad while you still can.
Atv Safety Training Course
ATV trail riding is a fun and exciting sport that can provide hours of entertainment for the whole family. There is nothing like a good day on the trails, out in the sun and wind, to bring the family together or to meet up with friends or to make new ones. But ATV trail riding isn't all fun and games; there is a large degree of safety precautions involved. While you're having fun you still have to remember that you are working with a motorized vehicle and, although it is designed for recreation, that vehicle needs to be treated with the same respect and caution that you would a car or a motorcycle. For this reason, before you hop on that brand new ATV and hit the trails, you might want to consider taking an ATV safety training course.
Unlike a car or motorcycle, no license is required to operate an ATV. Many people learn how to ride from older siblings, parents or friends. While learning from friends or family isn't a bad idea overall, there might be some finer points to driving ATV's that your family or friends might have left out.
While you might find some places that will offer an ATV safety training course not all courses have certified trainers. The ATV Safety Institute (ASI) was founded in 1988 with the intent to provide a course that would educate riders about the safe operation of their vehicles and the hopes that once the students completed the course that the numbers of accidents and injuries on the ATV trails would be reduced. The idea seems to have worked, since 1984 many of the accidents involving ATV riding have been greatly reduced. ASI is also a non-profit organization.
When you purchase your ATV most of the manufacturers such as Honda, Arctic Cat, Yamaha and others will offer you the opportunity to take the ATV safety course free of charge. If you don't own an ATV and might be considering buying one for yourself or a family member, you may still take the course for a small fee. As with the Motorcycle Safety Foundation where the course provides the motorcycle, some ASI courses might include the use of ATV's donated either by manufacturers, local motor sports shops or private donors. Check with your instructors first to find out if you need your own ATV or not.
An ASI course will take you through all the basics of operating and riding an ATV and only takes half a day to complete. Certified instructors will teach you step by step each required skill in a controlled environment. You will begin with the use of proper safety equipment and how to start and stop your vehicle properly. Later on you'll move up to going up and down hills and over and around obstacles on a closed course. Each lesson builds on the previous one, becoming more of a challenge as the course goes on.
Children as young as 6 years old can take the course. There are special classes for the age group between 6 and 16 and parents are required to be present during the classes. All ASI instructors complete a broad training program and must meet all of ASI's requirements before they are allowed to call themselves a certified instructor. ASI reports that they have more than 1000 active certified instructors in more than 12000 locations across the United States. For more information or to locate a course near you, visit the ASI website at http://www.atvsafety.org/
Headgear Choosing The Right Atv Helmet
You have already taken the time to choose the right ATV for you or a family member. You did your research, maybe test drove a few to make sure the vehicle had the right "fit" and found one that matched both your budget and your personal sense of style. Your shopping isn't over yet. Along with having the right ATV for either the trails or working out in the field, you're going to need the proper safety gear to go along with it. Gloves, jackets, pants and boots are definitely on the list, but the most important piece of safety gear you will own will be your helmet.
How do you go about finding a helmet that fits properly? How tight is too tight? How loose is too loose? Are all helmets the same? Starting with the last question, not all helmets are the same. You want to get a helmet specifically designed for use on a vehicle like an ATV or a dirt bike. You don't want to get a helmet that someone might use on a regular street motorcycle. Most ATV helmets cover your head completely and have a face guard that extends over the mouth. When you first put the helmet on it might feel tight because of all the padding inside. If you can slip the helmet over your head without it feeling snug, then you know that it's too big. Try shaking your head side to side and going through as many movements as you can to see if the helmet shifts or slides when you move. Also try to decide how heavy the helmet feels. Does it feel cumbersome? Do you think you would be able to wear it for longer than 15 minutes without getting tired of it?
The second thing to look for is how easily the helmet comes off. If you're in an accident or get thrown from your ATV, you don't want your headgear to go flying off in one direction and you in another, which totally defeats the purpose of having a helmet. Now that you've got the helmet on, adjust the chinstrap and cinch it tight under your chin. Grab the helmet from the back and try to take it off by pushing it to the front. Does the helmet slip down over your eyes and come off? Now try moving the helmet side to side. If you can feel your skin shifting with the helmet and the foam padding then you know you have a good, solid fit.
Women have one more thing to consider when they go to look for a helmet. The way a woman wears her hair on the trail will make a big difference in what size helmet she gets. If she has short hair that won't need to be braided or tied up, then there's no problem. If every time she goes riding she French braids her hair or tucks it up under the helmet, then she might need to go with a larger size than she would if she didn't put her hair up. The hair takes up extra space and if you don't account for that your helmet won't be the right size.
Children's helmets are another issue. So many parents are very money minded when it comes to getting clothing and gear for their kids that they might be tempted to get a helmet a size larger for the child to "grow into". Unfortunately you can't cut corners when it comes to buying a helmet. It has to fit snuggly with no exceptions. As mentioned before, a helmet that is too large is as dangerous as having no helmet at all.
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