What to Look For When Buying an ATV, UTV, SSV or dirt bike - Top Tips!
Posted by Freddie Hinkley on
ATV, Quad Bike, Dirt Bike, UTV and SSV Buyers Guide.
If you are new to recreational machinery, such as off-road power vehicles, here is an insight on what to look for in a UTV, motorcycle, or quad. Markets have experienced an increase in sales for these vehicles because they grant you an exciting way to get around and stay entertained. You might use utility terrain vehicles (UTVs) and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) for specialised operations, such as agriculture or hunting. Buying these vehicles is a daunting task that requires one to consider their budget limits whenever going through the numerous types and sizes available in the market.
Our guide, hopefully, stresses to you the importance of selecting a vehicle that fits you, the purpose of use and is simple to control. Although a quad bike has four wheels, it can be challenging for one to handle the machine even though the idea of being hurled around might sound thrilling. You can take control of quad bikes, ensuring proper weight distribution and body positioning through the steering. Therefore, it is critical to choose a vehicle that is comfortable and easy to control.
Since a motorcycle lacks adjustable features, such as a steering wheel and seat, you must purchase a dirt bike that feels right and suits your needs. Most people assume that a ten-minute trial on the showroom or ten-mile road test is sufficient to know if it is right for them. It would help if you went through the various types of motorcycles, quad bikes, and side by sides (SXS) available in the market before purchasing a new one. Quad bikes and motorcycles are typically best suited for recreational activities, while an SXS is more geared towards the movement of heavy supplies and equipment off the road.
Sports and standard motorcycles are common in the market, but the latter is best suited for beginners because of assuming an upright riding position over long distances. Conversely, sport bikes would predispose you to backaches because they always lean forward. After all, the handlebars and foot-pegs are challenging to reach.
Although cruisers are famous for long-distance travel, the bike's low-rider seating position, forward pegs, high handlebars, and heavyweight makes it uncomfortable for new riders.
It is common knowledge that you should carry out intense research before purchasing anything. Whatever off-road power vehicle you might decide to purchase, ensure that you learn everything about its brand model and where you can service it. Besides knowing the availability of its parts, you should know when to go to a mechanic for servicing. The bottom line is that it is imperative to know everything concerning your side by side, quad bike, and motorcycle.
You should search the internet on reliability, reviews, and issues concerning the off-road vehicle that captures your interest the most. Additionally, you can talk to current owners of the type of quad, SXS, or bike you like apart from consulting a mechanic to get expert advice. Although the most notable brands matter, you should be open-minded to select companies that match your durability and handling requirements. Popular companies include CFMOTO, Polaris, Yamaha, Suzuki, Can-Am, Kawasaki, and Honda.
Size and Weight
When purchasing a bike, you must be able to plant both of your feet flat on the ground. It is a significant confidence-builder in case you lose control of your bike. Additionally, planting both feet creates balance on the machine, particularly when the bike has a considerable weight.
An average SXS or ATV buyers guide recommends that you factor in the vehicle's weight aspect because it influences manoeuvrability and control. Weight goes hand in hand with displacement for most off-road bikes and quads but not for all dirt bikes.
Since quad bikes are ideal for racing, vehicles below 350 kilograms are best suited for younger people. Additionally, a 400 kg all-terrain vehicle is optimum for everyday use, while those weighing above 550 kg are built to carry goods. People usually think that the ample seating space is created for an extra passenger, but the real purpose is to reposition yourself when driving. An additional passenger would cause the all-terrain vehicle to lose track and stability, and thus in such a case, one should purchase a utility- terrain vehicle.
You should choose a vehicle with tyres that can handle the terrain you plan to use because it boosts control and the ability to take sharp corners. Tyres are essential for safety since they influence the braking sensitivity of your quad. If you plan to drive on tarmac roads, pick a power vehicle with tyres with an elevated grip on flat surfaces. Alternatively, you can choose universal tyres because you can move optimally off road.
Off-road tyres are reserved for professional riders and extreme terrains that require a better grip to handle any obstacles. Since tyres have a significant impact on the safety of the bike or SXS, you should ensure that they are incorrect or worn out. If you are buying a used quad or side by side, ensure that you factor in replacement expenses, especially when the tyres are worn out.
You can stick to the rule that states the bigger the tyre is, the smaller the terrain size. Generally, more extensive front wheels allow faster acceleration while larger rear tyres allow aids with the vehicle's traction when moving. If you are a beginner, a larger tyre and wheel size creates balance and comfort when riding the high-power road vehicle.
According to experts, new riders should begin with low power engines before steadily stepping up to more powerful bikes. Additionally, your experience and requirements dictate the engine size you should purchase. Contrary to what most thrill-seekers believe, a 1000 cc engine is powerful, but half that amount of power is more suited for beginners. A 500cc ATV, UTV, or bike is relatively powerful with greater control on rough terrains.
Quads with a 50 to 100 cc engine size are best suited for kids because of safety features, such as lack of gears and low power. Additionally, such vehicles designed for juniors lack or have little suspension aside from the automatic transmission to improve young children's safety level.
Buying New vs Used
After deciding what kind of quad, bike, or SXS you want, you remain with the task of buying a brand-new or used vehicle. Although getting an SXS or quad in its best condition while new might be the ideal option, enthusiasts argue that purchasing an old one is the right route. Contrary to enthusiasts' advice, experts recommend one to buy a new quad or SXS for apparent safety and practical reasons.
Buying a used vehicle would cost you more money in terms of repairs, aside from lack of a warranty. However, new bikes and SXS's have no room for price negotiation, low resale value, and cost more than used ones. Here is a summary of what to consider if you decide to purchase a used quad or SXS:
1. Bring a friend along to help purchase the bike and as a witness.
2. Inspect the bike and ask questions from your research.
3. Ensure the vehicle identification number (VIN) matches that on the title.
4. Check the VIN with online databases or the local police for credibility.
5. Ask for legal documentation and servicing history and ensure it matches with the ride.
6. Check for wear on the braking system, tyres, shocks, and the external condition to negotiate the vehicle's worth.
7. Write out an invoice that details the seller's and the bike's information, which would be signed by you and the seller.
8. The seller should sign the title and beware of any hidden disclosures before sealing the deal.
9. Take it for a test ride and a full tune-up with a professional mechanic.
Safety and Insurance
After buying the quad or SXS, ensure that it is road legal by checking if it's approved for road use. Therefore, you should acquire the necessary safety gear aside from the driving license and insurance. Safety gear includes a tool kit, first aid kit, goggles, winch, helmets, and protective clothing.