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How to Change Gears On An ATV

Updated April 17, 2017

All-terrain vehicles, or ATVs, seem like a safer alternative to dirt-bike riding. With two more wheels on the ground, the risk of falling and the fear that stems from that risk decrease greatly. However, no matter how many wheels are powered by the engine beneath you, you'll need to be able to operate a manual gearbox before doing any serious riding. Take the time to learn and practice shifting your ATV's gears to have the best possible experience on the trails.

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  1. Sit on the ATV in a safe and comfortable position with both hands on the bars. Turn the ignition key to the "On" position. Pull in the clutch (the left lever), push the shift lever down four times and then pull it up slightly to put the ATV in neutral. Be sure the neutral light is on. Push the starter button to start the ATV.

  2. Pull in the clutch lever and press the shifter down. This puts the ATV in first gear. Release the clutch lever slowly until you feel the "pull" of the engine, then pull the lever back in. Repeat until you are comfortable with the point of the lever release at which this "pull" happens.

  3. Get the ATV moving, when you are ready, by releasing the clutch lever slowly. When you feel the engine "pull," slowly apply the throttle on the right handlebar and release the clutch lever completely. If done properly, you will now be moving forward at a slow pace. You can moderate your speed by applying more or less throttle at any given moment.

  4. Accelerate to the top of the first gear range and pull in the clutch lever. Push the gear shifter up until it clicks one time. Slowly release the clutch and apply a moderate amount of throttle. You are now in second gear.

  5. Continue riding and shifting up through the gears by repeating the clutch-shift-throttle-release motion. When you are ready to stop, smoothly close the throttle and pull in the clutch. Apply the front and rear brakes with your right hand and foot and shift down through the gears into neutral.

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Things You'll Need

  • ATV with manual gearbox
  • Practice area

About the Author

Justin Wash

Born and raised in St. Louis, Mo., Justin Wash began his professional writing career in 2004 with an online freelance copywriting business. Over the years, he has written for a myriad of clients including China-Vasion and The Executives Closet.

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