(BPT) – First-time buyers account for more than a quarter of all-terrain vehicle sales each year. As with any major purchase, a little education can go a long way toward helping you get the best possible deal for your money.
Polaris Industries, a leading manufacturer of ATVs, offers the following advice when you’re making your first ATV purchase:
* Consider the age and experience of the ATV’s primary rider. ATVs come in all shapes and sizes. It’s important to match the right features with the rider for a more enjoyable ATV experience. Is the rider a youth, beginner adult or adult with other power sports equipment experience? There are youth vehicles on the market available for children as young as 6, and adult-only vehicles that come with different power options. Be sure to not overdo it on your first purchase. There’s always the option to upgrade power and performance down the line.
* Weigh how the ATV will be used. ATVs, generally, can be broken into two separate categories – sport or utility. Sport quads have a sportier look and feel, and are more suited for recreational or high-performance riding. Utility ATVs, such as the Polaris Sportsman ETX, offer four-wheel drive and are capable of carrying loads, towing, plowing and performing other tasks. Some vehicles combine a mixture of these attributes.
* Consider the terrain where you’ll be riding. Will it be hard-packed trails, fields, mud, sand or steep hills? If you will be riding mostly on tough terrain such as deep mud or steep hills, a four-wheel drive ATV, with its enhanced traction, would probably be better suited and make for a more enjoyable riding experience. For regular trails and field riding, a two-wheel drive vehicle would probably suffice. If riding in highly rutted or rocky terrain, an ATV with electronic power steering might be the best bet to help reduce handlebar feedback and rider fatigue.
* How many riders will your ATV need to carry and how? While everyone is aware of the typical straddle ATV for one person, there also are ATVs specifically designed to carry a driver and passenger for double the fun. Known as “2-Up” ATVs, the vehicles feature a longer chassis with a second seat behind the driver.
* Do you prefer a steering wheel and pedal controls? Recently, there has been a new “style” of ATV introduced as the Polaris ACE. This vehicle is a single-seat, sit-in ATV with a steering wheel and a cage for more comfort, confidence and capability. The Polaris ACE offers a unique way for both novice and experience riders to hit the trail.
* Are you prepared to play safely? Safety is always an important consideration when purchasing an ATV. Enrolling in a safety training course before making a purchase will get you acclimated to riding an ATV. The ATV Safety Institute offers safety courses nationwide to help you become a more safe and aware rider.
* Finally, how much do you want to spend? There is an ATV available to fit virtually any pocketbook. It is important to research the various features available to find a machine that fits your budget, riding style, work expectation and experience. Entry-level ATVs offer features needed for the first-time buyer and are easy on the pocketbook, starting around $ 4,000. Skilled riders looking for more power might opt for a full-size value model which starts around $ 6,000. For heavy-duty work or riding, most manufacturers offer full-size, premium models with bigger engines starting around $ 8,500.
With a great variety of different options available, ATVs are perfect for leisure riders or families who want to enjoy the great outdoors together. Use these considerations and do your research to ensure a smooth purchase and even smoother ATV riding experience.