ATV Technical Riding is what I enjoy most. To me ATV technical riding is basically hill climbing, rock crawling, log crawling or basically any task that requires the full capabilities of a utility 4×4 ATV. To accomplish a technical boulder field or a near vertical rock face one has to concentrate and master three basic skills:
- Throttle/Brake Control
Because of the sometimes extreme nature of some ATV technical riding I recommend you always wear a helmet and have a spotter, someone to guide you and offer support by holding a corner of the machine or holding a strap/rope tied to the ATV. If you are new to ATV technical riding then this is where you start working on the first skill – Trust.
Trusting your spotter to guide you and support your machine is necessary in order for you to work on the other two skills, throttle/brake control and balance. If you don’t trust your spotter then you are operating on the verge of panic. Once panic sets in, forward movement usually becomes very difficult and uncontrollable.
Trusting your ATV to accomplish the task comes with understanding the capabilities of the machine. Today’s utility 4×4 ATVs are incredible machines and it is amazing what a stock machine right off the showroom floor can accomplish. Add some new tires, suspension upgrades, a winch and some other modifications and the capabilities of a utility 4×4 ATV are virtually endless.
Throttle and brake control is the second skill necessary for ATV technical riding. One must have patience in technical riding and smooth throttle and brake control is critical in accomplishing the task. Sudden bursts of power or sudden braking makes it very difficult to maintain balance, the third necessary skill.
One important factor to help with throttle control is to understand the engagement RPM of the CVT (Constant Velocity Transmission) clutch on your utility ATV. The engagement RPM is the lowest RPM from idle that the clutch actually engages sending power to the tires. On stock ATVs this is typically anywhere from 1,200 – 1,300 RPM. The lower engagement rpm the easier it is to master throttle control.
Once you have engagement you want try and maintain that engagement as you creep forward over an obstacle. Letting up on the throttle halfway over an obstacle will disengage the clutch, removing power to the tires, and your forward momentum stops.
If you must let up on the throttle while climbing over an obstacle slowly apply the brake at the same time, this will keep you from rolling backwards and help maintain your balance. When you are ready to proceed apply the throttle lightly to engage the clutch and at the same time slowly release the brake. Your forward movement should be smooth and slow.
Balance is the last skill to master, this involves shifting your weight from side-to-side, front-to-back in order to maintain control. ATV technical riding requires you to be standing 90% of the time to maintain balance. When climbing over a steep obstacle you should be leaning forward over the handlebars keeping your weight over the front tires.
Coming from a dirt bike background the most difficult part I had with ATV technical riding in the beginning was keeping my feet on the floor boards. This was part of my not trusting the ATV. After a while I felt more confident and began to trust the capabilities of the ATV. By keeping my feet on the floor boards I found I have much more control of my balance, throttle and brakes.
When going down a steep embankment use the brakes lightly and take advantage of your engine braking system. Again this is trusting the capabilities of the ATV. Using only the brakes when descending a steep embankment can cause skidding and loss of control.
Trust, throttle/brake control and balance all go hand-in-hand when ATV technical riding. You can’t have one without the other two. Remember to always wear a helmet and ride responsibly. Visit CampingATV.com for all of your ATV Accessories.