Handling 2×2 vs 4×4

Handling 2×2 vs 4×4

Time to choose your riding preference.  This will often depend on where you want to ride and what you want to do, but either way, if you choose 2×2 or 4×4 the riding experience will be different and you should know those differences.

If you happen to be of the opinion that you can hop on an ATV and have an identical experience on any machine you ride you are in for an awakening. As the writer of this ATV trail guide, people have been very kind, one even insisted that I ride their ATV, for the sake of a varied experience. Each manufacturer’s machine has its own look and feel. There are features that make significant difference in how the machines handle, an engine braking system just for one example.

By far the greatest difference in how machines handle that I have noticed between machines is not necessarily between various manufacturers ATVs. The greatest differences is between how two wheel drive (2×4) ATVs handle as opposed to four wheel drive (4×4) ATVs.

I have been informed that even some professional instructors don’t recognize that these differences exist and attempt to train a person with a 4×4 ATV in the same way you would train someone with a 2×4 ATV. Hopefully, this misconception is not wide spread.

The difference is primarily found in how the ATV makes turns. A 4×4 machine will generally require the front wheels to lead the way through any obstacle. In a 2×4 ATV you can swing the rear of the machine around in the midst of a turn by gunning the throttle. This rear wheel slide through a turn is one of the skills taught in a standard training course. It is a feature that permits you to turn more sharply. When you are using a 4×4 ATV gunning the throttle in the midst of a turn will only apply power to the front and rear tires simultaneously and you may find that your front wheels will grab with equal strength and rather than turning, you may be propelled off the track you were intending. In some cases this can have some serious consequences.

Many ATVs now have on demand 4 wheel drive. These hybrids can offer the experience of a 2×4 machine until you engage the front wheels, from thereafter and until disengaged the 2×4 handling features will disappear.

This riding nuance is small, but if you are informed of it before you ride one type of ATV and then another, you may be able to assure your continued safe and controlled travel on your ATV.

Categories: ATV Riding Basics

Write a Comment

Your e-mail address will not be published.
Required fields are marked*