So you think little Seymour is ready. You sit him on his little ATV or minibike and turn him loose for the first time. He laughs deliriously, turns to look at you and runs headlong into the trash cans. He’s crying, your wife is furious and someone has to clean up a big mess. It’s a wonder that any of us learned to ride.
The guys at 3Built have a product that can eliminate the tears, the scornful looks and the overturned trash. They have a remote engine kill switch which can shut off the power before impact. Technology to the rescue!
Teaching a young one how to ride is painful for both parties. Your kid will crash into things and you will feel it. The first step in the process is finding the right vehicle. Right now the wizened sages of our government have put a freeze on the sale of most children’s ATVs and minibikes. That means you can’t buy a new vehicle which is designed for riders under the age of 12 because of the hysteria over lead content. Right up front we have to say don’t even think about putting your six-year-old on a full-sized ATV. They go too fast, they’re too heavy, they require too much strength to turn and a kid’s hands are just too small to operate the controls. You [have] to find a used kid-sized ATV if you want your kid to survive the learning experience. Thank you, U.S. Congress.
We found a pre-ban Suzuki LT-Z50 which is perfect for beginners because you can limit the vehicle’s speed; not only with a throttle stop, but with a spacer in the drive train. Between the throttle stop and the limiter, the top speed of the little Suzuki is under 8 mph. With faster minis and ATVs, a parent has to run behind the kid with a leash attached, so when he starts going too fast, you can yank him down to some safer velocity. Take our word for it; that process is no fun.
So the best of all worlds is something like the Suzuki with the 3Built remote kill switch. There’s no running, no leash and best of all, no crashing into trash cans. You wire the receiver into the ATV’s electrical system and hold a key-fob, which looks just like the remote lock control for your car. There are two buttons on the fob; a lock and an unlock. When you hit the lock button, the vehicle dies and won’t start again until you
hit the unlock button. It’s simple, it works and it’s a great idea.
Installing the receiver is a little trickier than you might think. There are basically two types of O.E. kill switches found on most ATVs and minibikes. Some simply go to ground. Others are live and complete a circuit needed to fire up the motor. To find out which one you have, use a test light to see if the wire going to the kill switch is hot. If it is, then cut that wire and install the receiver in-line. If the kill switch just goes to ground, you can splice into the wire without cutting it. The instructions tell you how to do it on some common vehicles, but our late-model Suzuki wasn’t covered. In case you have the same model, here are the Crib Notes: The yellow/orange wire to the CDI needs to be cut. Connect one end to the receiver’s yellow wire and the other to the blue wire. Then connect the red and black wires to the battery terminals. That will save you a lot of blown fuses.
There’s plenty of room under the seat for the receiver, and you can let the antenna wire hang out the rear.
When it’s installed properly, the remote kill switch really will stop your kid in his tracks. The claim of 250 feet is accurate and it can even work when the kid is out of sight. But don’t expect miracles. You don’t have control of the throttle, you don’t have control of the brakes and he can still crash. To repeat, having a vehicle with a low top speed is the most important factor of all for the early stages of the learning process.
You can exercise some moderate control over the vehicle’s speed by switching the kill switch off and on quickly. But in the case of the Suzuki or any ATV with an automatic clutch, the motor will freewheel and stay dead if you have the ignition turned off for more than a split second. We had two very young kids as lab rats for the remote kill switch and in both cases, we were amazed at how quickly they learned. When a kid first gets on an ATV, you’ll have to use the kill switch three or four times. After that, you’ll probably never use it again. Just the same, you’ll want to keep it handy.
The 3Built Remote Engine Kill Switch is available for vehicles that come with or without batteries. The price varies from $69.99 to $79.99, and it’s worth every penny. Contact them at www.3built.com or call (818) 574-5334.