Thursday, October 27, 2016

Preparing Your ATV

This page goes hand in hand with my packing tips page.

Make sure you have your ATV serviced before. You'll put between 900km (560 miles) and 1250 km (780 miles) on your machine in a week and you'll put about 50+ hours on it. It's fairly easy riding but a break down in the middle of no where would seriously ruin your fun. I recommend the following:
  • Check your Oil and filter - If you haven't had an oil change in over a year or over 1000 km I suggest getting one before you go. Check your oil everyday during the trip as well to make sure you're not burning any. I'm a fan of changing oil frequently.
  • Check your air filter. If you have a replaceable paper type you might want to bring a spare with you. The dust on the trip can be off the charts depending on how dry it is. I've seen machines fail to start because the filter was plugged with dust and had to be shaken out. I suggest you even take a spare with you and change it mid week if there is a lot of dust. 
  • Grease - if you have grease fittings be sure to grease them well. You could run into some water holes.
  • Tires - if they're old and cracked or extremely worn REPLACE THEM. That's a judgement call on your part. 
  • Brakes - make sure your brakes are in good condition. 
  • Belt - If you're driving a machine that's belt driven (pretty much everything but Hondas and the Yamaha YXZ) have the belt inspected. It's not hard riding so it's not hard on your belt but better to be safe than broken down.
You might want to consider some of the following as well:

  • Throttle extender - if you're like me and experience thumb pain after a day of riding you'll want one. Remember, you're doing seven days of riding about 8 hours a day or more. I bought a Kolpin throttle extender online from Royal Distributing for about $25.00. Worked like a charm.
  • Hand guards or Handlebar Mits - good for chilly days or rain depending on the time of year. July and most of August you won't need them. A good set of weather proof gloves help too if you run into rain especially in September, it can be chilly.
  • ATV Windshield or UTV half windshield- I've done the trip with and without one and I find they are helpful in rain and cool weather. Some ATV windshields act as hand guards as well so that's a bonus. In summer the trail is dry and windshields get obstructed with dust which can be annoying if your shield is tall. A mid height or low windshield will be fine for an ATV. I have a UTV and use a half-windshield on this trip. A full windshield will get coated in dust in no time.
  • Winch & tow rope - you most likely won't need one but it could come in handy if you experience a breakdown or go off-trail or have to take a by-pass around a washout. If you are travelling with people that have winches you'll be fine.
  • Tool kit - if you don't take one, you'll need one - Murphy's Law. 
  • Air compressor - in case of a flat or slow leak, they happen no matter how new your tires may be or how many ply they are. I've done the trip several times without a flat and two times I had flats - fixed easily with plugs.
  • Tire patch kit - A MUST! Don't even think of doing the trip without plugs. Bring at least 25 plugs. One good size hole could required several plugs. If you have a UTV bring a spare wheel too just in case. 
  • Heated hand/thumb grips - They are pretty comfortable if you run into rain or cool weather. 
MURPHY's LAW - If you don't get your machine serviced, something might break. Why risk it? I always take my ATV to the dealer and have them check everything over before going. You never know what they may find, it's better to catch it before it's a problem.  

 

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