Five Things to Consider When Buying All-Terrain


The United States is the perfect place to use an all-terrain vehicle of some kind, either for fun or as a practical way of getting around rough terrain. Americans bought almost 41,000 such vehicles between January and March of 2017, in fact. Your motorcycle dealer often also has a wide variety of vehicles, such as motorcycles, ATVs, UTVs, dirt bikes, snowmobiles, and all the accessories. If you’ve got some rough terrain you want to cover, you might be wondering which vehicle at the motorcycle dealer is best for your needs. Here are the things you need to think about as you make your choice.

Evaluate Your Terrain

If the terrain around your camp, cabin, or other property is pretty flat, then it matters less what kind of vehicle you acquire. What might surprise you is that an ATV might not be the best choice for really hilly or uneven terrain. The same is true of a UTV, although UTVs do have a roll cage. The roll cage will protect you and the vehicle a bit more, but the reality is that they are still prone to tipping, especially if you right them leaning to one side while going up a hill. If you’ve got a lot of uneven ground, dirt bikes or even a small motorcycle are the way to go. These sorts of vehicles can go up hills that no ATV can dare.

Consider Your Own Skills

How good are you on two wheels as opposed to four? You’ll need a great sense of balance to go dirt biking effectively in hilly, wooded terrain, and you’ll need to make sure you have the right dirt bike equipment or motorcycle equipment for whatever you need to do around the property. If you’re really uncomfortable, go with an ATV or UTV. Just don’t assume that it’s safer to use the four wheels than the two. Lots of people get injured every year riding a four-wheeler fresh from the ATV dealer, largely because the four wheels feel safer and lull people into driving recklessly and not wearing safety gear.

Look To The Woods

If you’ve got a lot of woods and dense vegetation around your property, you probably definitely don’t want a UTV. They tend to be larger than ATVs and less maneuverable than either ATVs or two-wheeled vehicles. If you look at the dirt bikes or the smaller motorcycles at your motorcycle dealer, you’ll notice that they will clearly be easier to stop and start fast, and will make sharp turns a lot better than the bigger vehicles.

Will Your Vehicle Also Work?

In other words, are you going to need it to do something other than just transport you from place to place? Do you need to plow snow, haul wood or tools, or drag a rake to clean up the ground? Clearly, you’ll not be able to do that with a dirt bike. UTVs tend to have the most cargo room and are a bit more powerful, so they make a better workhorse than any other vehicle on the list. However, there are a few ATVs that have serious power and are designed to do this kind of work.

Plan Your Budget

What you can afford is going to limit your choices the most in the end. The least expensive option at your motorcycle dealer is obviously the dirt bike, and then the smaller and less powerful motorcycles. Of course, if you need to get some gear for these, the cost will go up. The lesser utility ATVs are a bit more, but less than you might expect, and the prices go up from there, with UTVs being significantly higher in price.

Putting It All Together

What can you afford? Once you’ve determined that, what are you going to use it for? Just to get around, or also to do work? What about the terrain you’ll be using it on? Put all these qusetions together and you should get close to your answer. Whatever you choose, have fun and stay safe out there!

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