Anyone who likes smooth, straight trails please raise your hand. We don’t imagine yours is going up, is it? Most of the ATV riders we meet on the trail love it when there?s a little challenge to a section. A tricky rut, a small log, some big rocks, a sloppy mudhole, a big hillclimb?you know, the things you talk about back at camp at the end of the day.
Navigating these tough sections smoothly and quickly makes it all the better. What does that take? Smooth throttle control, correct body positioning and a little practice. To help you the next time you come upon something tough, we?ve gathered some photos of some seemingly impossible situations which we were able to ultimately tackle. Check them out and enjoy the fact that nature sometimes throws us a curveball when we?re out on the trails.
To tackle big logs, approach the obstacle with your body in the “attack position,” standing up off the seat, legs slightly bent, elbows out and head forward. You don?t need much speed, but you do want enough so the front end pops up upon impact. At this point, pull up on the bars and jab the throttle to lift the front end up and over.
Keep a steady half-throttle setting at this point and let the rear suspension and your legs soak up the hit the rear wheel is taking. At this point, be prepared for the bottom of the frame to hit the top of the log forcing the front end down. The rider should simply go with the flow, staying in the attack position.
Now you can get traction through both the front and rear wheels and drive off as the rear of the quad comes up and over. The rider should keep his weight to the rear of the machine, but at the same time be prepared to get a little smack in the behind from the seat.
Our test rider was a bit apprehensive about even attempting this leap when we first found it, since there was absolutely no lip on the takeoff ledge. We assured him that the Mojave?s rear would soak up the impact with the other ledge. The key to jumping a flat crevice like this is to gas it and wheelie right on takeoff so you hit the other side with the front end in the air. Try to have enough speed so the rear wheel catches the ledge first, rather than the bottom frame rails. Stand up with your weight in a centered position to soak up the hit with your legs.
These can get pretty tricky, but the key to tackling them safely is to have plenty of momentum and stay on the gas. If there are any rocks or holes on the trail that you can?t miss, be ready to stand up and hit them with the throttle still on. Tough hillclimbs are in many ways a mental game?if you have the confidence (which comes from practice and experience on smaller hills), you can attack the hill without losing
momentum or getting off the throttle.
Slow, steady and easy is the best way to navigate a boulder field like this. If you try it with any sort of speed, you risk pinching the bead on the tire, slicing a sidewall or damaging the bottom of the engine. In fact, a couple more pounds of air in the tires while rock climbing will help prevent flats. Move your weight on the machine so that the tires that have the most stress on them are lighter. In other words, if the right front has to crawl over a big, sharp rock, throw your weight to the left rear to “lighten” the right front of the quad. On uphills, plan your attack ahead of time so that the quad does not get in any dangerous off-camber positions. Again, slow and steady is the key.
Get ready to hang off the side on slippery, muddy off-camber trails to keep the quad from slipping to the bottom. Work on keeping the wheels driving all the time, but not spinning?spinning wheels will send you sliding. A slow, steady throttle in a low gear range works best in these conditions.
JUST PLAIN STUCK
Sometimes you may find yourself in a really tough situation where you might need to ride the quad out by standing on the side. This Kodiak would not budge if the rider was sitting on the machine in the usual manner, but when he hopped off to the side and got the weight to the right-side wheels, it started to climb out of this nasty hole. Notice that the rider has positioned himself on the uphill side of the quad. This is not only where the tires need more traction, but it?s also much safer if the quad started to tip over.