First-Time Buyers Guide to Youth ATV’s
There are a lot of different options on the market today for youth all-terrain vehicles (ATVs, also called four-wheelers, or quads). Today we’re answering some of the most common questions we receive from first-time buyers looking to purchase a gas-powered machine.
Most ATVs designed for kids are fully automatic (meaning they don’t need to shift from first gear into second, etc.), and most on the market today are also electric start with a push-button on the handlebars. This is preferred over the older style kick-start models.
Consider what your child is most interested in: are they simply going to be cruising around the yard, are you hoping to do some family trail riding, or does this kid have motocross racing in their future? Talking about these factors will help you narrow down the options you’d most prefer in a gas-powered ATV.
There are two broad styles of ATVs: a sport design or a utility design. Sport models may be narrower, with a slightly more aggressive stance, occasionally sporting more colorful graphics. Larger sizes of sport ATVs have features that focus more on acceleration and handling. Utility models typically have a storage rack, may be a bit wider, with more aggressive tires for use in mud or even snow. Larger sizes of utility ATVs have features that equip them better for work or long-distance riding. Most youth ATV’s fall somewhere in the middle of these categories, and most are two-wheel drive.
Most youth ATVs fall within the 110-250cc range. CC means cubic centimeter, and it’s a measure of the engine’s cylinder output in any given gas-powered machine. A larger CC roughly equates to a larger machine, and so most first-time riders will start at the lower end of available CC’s. Typically, the first step begins with a 50cc machine recommended for ages six and up. By age 10, riders may be advancing to somewhere within the 70-100cc range. Going above that size is not recommended until at least age 15. Higher CC’s allow for more speed and more power. Most powersports dealers can help you decide which is best for your particular rider. That being said, parents and guardians must take into consideration the riding ability of each individual child and make the best decision for their families.
Modern ATV’s have a warning label that states the minimum age requirement for a rider to fit that particular machine. This safety label takes into account the size (weight), speed, and performance capabilities of the ATV, so look for these labels as you begin browsing for machines.
A quality ATV will come with a safety tether, also called a safety-stop lanyard. This is a simple cord that is attached to an instant kill switch on the machine at one end, and a piece of the rider’s clothing at the other end. Sometimes it is a simple wrist strap design. In the event that the rider is bounced off of the machine, the resulting pull on the safety tether will activate the kill switch on the machine, shutting off the engine.
Remote wireless stop is a newer technology that many parents are excited to learn about. With the touch of a button (usually on a key fob or controller), a parent or guardian can stop the machine’s engine remotely.
All youth ATV’s will have what’s known as a rev limiter – which works on a gas-powered engine to control the maximum revolutions per minute of the engine, thus controlling the maximum speed. This both protects the inner workings of the engine, as well as the rider from dangerous top speeds.
A throttle limiter is different – and is often called a governor, speed limiter, or speed controller. This allows a parent or guardian to manually set the maximum speed that the machine can reach while in motion. Some ATV’s may come equipped with this simple device, but many don’t. It’s a worthwhile addition to your child’s first gas-powered machine because it’s a simple way to ensure that the rider can maintain control as they learn to maneuver and gain confidence. As the rider becomes more experienced, an easy adjustment (usually a screw that is used to change the level of control) can be made to allow a higher speed. For example, the 110cc Tao Motor ATV can be adjusted all the way down to just 5-mph for the beginner, increasing gradually to a top speed of 26-mph by using the limiter.
Options to Consider
One helpful option to consider that isn’t included on every machine is the reverse gear (see the IceBear Dyno 110). This can be extremely helpful if the rider finds him or herself in a tricky situation, allowing them the option to simply back out and away from an obstacle or a missed turn.
Seat height and distance from the foot pegs are important factors to consider when fitting a rider for their first machine or upgrading to the next size level. If possible, it’s always advisable to bring the rider with you when choosing their ATV. This way, the rider can sit and determine what feels comfortable, and you can make sure their positioning looks correct. This includes a comfortable grip on the handlebars and excellent reach to control the brake lever(s).
Different machines can have slightly different braking systems. Often front brakes will be drum-style, while rear brakes may be hydraulic disk instead. In general, disc brakes are considered to work more effectively by stopping quicker.
Kids Ride Hard: Get a Warranty
Another thing to check out before making your purchase is the current warranty on the machine. Ideally, a 1-year warranty on the engine and some mention of electrical components should be included with the sale. At Q9 Powersports, we offer a standard warranty with every machine purchased that includes lifetime technical support as well.
If you have any questions that haven’t been answered here, use our contact page anytime and we’ll be glad to help.