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.

Based on my experience, learning how to ride a quad is easy. Four-wheelers are designed to be easy to master and it doesn’t take longer than 15 minutes on average to learn how to control one. Here are some key steps to keep in mind if you are new to ATVs:

  • Familiarize yourself with the controls: It’s essential to memorize the location of components such as the gas throttle and turn signal before you set out on your first ride.
  • Get used to the acceleration: You should pull on the gas throttle when the quad is turned off so that you get a feel for it. This way, you will know how much to pull to accelerate when taking turns.
  • Start with a smaller quad: If you are a beginner, my advice is to opt for a less powerful ATV to ease your learning process. Handling a powerful quad like a Yamaha 700 can be challenging, especially if you are not used to rugged terrains.

You will be surprised by how intuitive it feels to ride quads. Whether you are planning to go trail riding on a rental or want to buy your first four-wheeler, you have arrived at the right place to learn how to control it. I will showcase the best ATV riding tips and tricks to help you get better at ATV riding ASAP.

image summarizing that riding a ATV is easy

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.

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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.

Top 3 Mistakes You Need to Avoid!

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 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 to Get Better at Riding Quads

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. Here are some tips that helped me get better at riding quads when I first got started:

#1 Practice is key

As previously mentioned, practice is key to mastering four-wheelers. I recommend making a conscious effort to go out on the trail as much as possible. You should also try and gradually increase the level of difficulty in terms of terrain. While riding in an open space is the best way to get used to four-wheelers, you need to go on difficult terrain to actually get better and become an expert.

#2 Learn from experienced riders

Most people connect with other ATV enthusiasts for group rides. Getting to socialize is one of the main benefits of riding ATVs, but that’s not all. You can also join ATV riding groups or online forums to learn from their experience. You should never be afraid to ask for advice when it comes to riding quads. In addition, you can always check our website for informational posts.

#3 Focus on body positioning

Proper body positioning is crucial for maintaining control and balance on a quad. Pay attention to how you shift your weight when turning or traversing uneven terrain. Once you feel comfortable moving your weight on the four-wheeler, you will be able to ride on any trail.

#4 Master the art of braking

You need to understand how ATV brakes work to be safe on the trail. When a friend of mine wants to try riding my ATV, I always stress it to them to practice using both front and rear brakes as often as possible. The ATV is easier to control at lower speeds.

#5 Ride in Varied Conditions

What better way to get better at riding quads than to overcome challenges? You should ride in different weather conditions and on diverse terrains. This will help you become more adaptable and learn how to manage your ATV effectively in various situations.

#6 Take a riding course

Even though you can get better at riding quads just by doing it on your own, the fastest way to take your skills to the next level is by taking a riding course. ATV riding courses are great for beginners because you will have access to a professional who will share invaluable insights and proper riding techniques that are gained through years of riding.

If you incorporate the six tips I shared for improving your quad riding skills, I guarantee that you will get better in no time. The last tip I want to share is that patience and dedication are the key to mastering the art of quad riding.

Do ATVs Flip Easily? How to Prevent It

ATVs, while designed for rugged terrain and off-road excitement, are indeed prone to flipping if not operated with care. Their high center of gravity and narrow wheelbase makes them susceptible to tipping over, especially during sharp turns or when traversing steep or uneven surfaces. It’s important to understand that the risk is inherent to the vehicle’s design, but it’s not a foregone conclusion. Many factors, including speed, rider behavior, and terrain play significant roles in the stability of an ATV.

Here are some steps you can take in order to prevent flipping your ATV:

Ride at a Safe Speed: Avoid high speeds, especially around turns, to maintain better control of your ATV.

Proper Body Positioning: Lean your body into turns and distribute your weight effectively to counterbalance the ATV.

Avoid Steep and Uneven Terrain: If possible, steer clear of extremely steep or uneven surfaces where the ATV’s balance could be compromised.

To Sum It Up

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. You can reach me at if you want to get in touch.

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