Is Riding a Quad Easy? (Top 3 Mistakes to Avoid)


Are you planning to rent a couple of quads with your friends for the weekend but aren’t sure if you can handle riding one? If that is the case, you don’t need to worry. Riding quads is super intuitive and you will have an easy time learning the ins and outs.

Riding quads is easy. From my experience, people learn how to ride ATVs in less than fifteen minutes. You just have to know where the controls, such as the gas throttle and turn signal, are located. After that, it’s just a matter of getting the feel of how much you should accelerate when taking turns. You will get this down after riding the quad for ten to fifteen minutes. However, I need to mention that you should always start with a smaller quad if you are a beginner. Handling a powerful ATV like a Yamaha 700 is not easy at all, especially if you are riding on rugged roads like mountain trails, for example.

Whether you are planning to go trail riding with a rental or want to buy your first quad, you should be pleased to know that riding quads is easy. That’s not all. I will showcase some of the best ATV riding tips and tricks to help you get better as fast as possible.

Is Riding a Quad Easy?

man riding a yellow yamaha 700R in the forest

In general, beginners only need ten to fifteen minutes to learn how to ride a quad. The reason behind this is that ATVs are designed to be easy to ride. The controls such as the turn signal or gear switch are easy to find and once you get the feel of the gas throttle, you will have an easy time riding on all sorts of roads (including muddy trails). The trickiest part about learning how to ride a quad is knowing how to steer.

Unlike a regular car, you will have to move your body weight when steering an ATV. This can feel weird if you are not familiar with four-wheelers. On the bright side of things, it doesn’t take longer than a couple of turns to learn just how much you should move your body weight and the handles when steering. If you are worried that steering will be problematic on your first quad riding experience, you can check out this article I wrote where I go more in-depth on how to steer an ATV. In the article I also share what not to do with the ATV in order to prevent accidents, so you should make sure to stick around for the end of it.

Aside from getting the feel of steering, the final “tricky part” about riding quads is knowing how to shift gears. Luckily, most ATV models are semi-automatic. This means that you don’t have to use a clutch pedal in order to switch gears. You just have to let off the gas throttle and use your left foot to change gears. In general, you will lift up on the gear pedal in order to shift up and, yes you guessed it, press down on the pedal to downshift. I have a full guide that explains how to shift gears on a quad. You can check it out here.

How Dangerous is It for a Beginner to Ride an ATV?

While riding ATVs is easy, and everyone can learn how to do it quickly, this doesn’t mean they are not dangerous. It’s quite easy to get in an accident while riding quads, especially if you are being reckless and don’t have enough experience and skill. This is why I always advise beginners to ride at a lower speed and be extra careful in tight corners, at least for a couple of hours until they get the hang of it. With that said, I prepared a list of things that you should never do when riding a quad so that you can be safe:

  • Don’t ride quads under the influence of alcohol or drugs

Even though it might sound like a fun time to drink a beer with your friends before riding quads, I promise you that this is not a good idea. You never want to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs when riding offroad.

  • Take it slow in corners

One of the most common mistakes that I see beginner quad riders make is entering too fast in corners. It takes skill and experience to master tight corners (both on ATV and dirt bike). Therefore, you should take it slow in corners, especially tight ones, to prevent any accidents.

  • Don’t lean the opposite way when taking turns

Another beginner mistake that people make on their first ATV ride is to lean in the opposite direction of the turn they are taking. You need to be aware of your body weight when riding ATVs and try to stay neutral as much as possible.

Since you are a new rider, you should learn what to wear when riding ATVs. I wrote a guide that explains what clothing you should wear and, more importantly, what you shouldn’t!

How Can I Get Better at Riding a Quad?

The best way to get better at riding quads is through practice. Just like you would go about improving at any other sport, practice is what makes perfect. If you go out quad riding every other week, you will notice a significant improvement in your ability to control the four-wheeler. If you really want to take your quad riding skills to the next level, you can go on private trails or parks that are equipped with obstacles designed to offer riders a challenge.

Final Words

As a final note, riding quads is easy, and everyone can learn how to do it in less than fifteen minutes. The tricky part is to get the feel of moving your body weight in corners and how to switch gears. However, everything about riding four-wheelers is intuitive, and the controls are easy to access. The last thing I want to mention is that if you are planning to go offroad riding, you should make sure to get protective gear.

Bob Kelly

Hey there, my name is Bob and I've been riding ATVs, dirt bikes, and UTVs for most of my life. Going on outdoor adventures has always been my passion. I love sharing tips and tricks with beginners who are getting ready to join the world of outdoor enthusiasts.

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