Operating Your OHV

Before you do any serious off-road riding, you need to find a safe, unchallenging location where you can practice riding your new OHV and get comfortable operating it. The location should be large, open, flat, and free of hazards.

Starting the Engine

First, consult your owner's manual. Typically, you will:

  • Point the OHV in a safe direction.
  • Put the transmission in neutral or park.
  • Set the parking brake.
  • Turn on the fuel valve.
  • Make sure that the engine stop switch is in the "run" or "on" position.
  • Put the choke in the "on" position if the engine is cold.
  • Start the engine.

Adjusting Your Posture

To make sure you can shift your weight quickly when necessary and reach the controls easily, always maintain proper posture:

  • Head up and eyes looking far ahead
  • Hands on the handlebars
  • Feet on the footrests, toes pointing straight ahead

Removing one hand or foot can reduce your ability to control the OHV or could cause you to lose your balance and fall off.

Removing your feet from the footrests or dragging your feet on the ground can result in serious injury if your feet get under the rear wheels.

Starting Off

After the engine is warmed up:

  • If your vehicle has a sidestand, retract it.
  • Apply the rear brake.
  • Shift into gear.
  • Release the parking brake.
  • Release the rear brake.
  • Apply the throttle slowly.

Proper Level Riding Position

Shifting Gears

There are different types of transmissions on OHVs, so read your owner's manual for instructions on shifting your model.

If you have a manual transmission, always let off the throttle while shifting to prevent the front wheels from lifting.


The proper braking method depends on whether your OHV has brakes in the front, rear, or both.

Consult your owner's manual for correct braking procedures.


Stop the OHV on a level surface, not on an incline.

Stop the engine.

Shift the transmission into neutral or park.

Set the parking brake.

If your vehicle has a parking mechanism, allow the drive train to lock.