How to select an ATV / quad bike for hobby farm use

 All terrain vehicles (ATVs, also known as quad bikes) are one piece of farm equipment that most farmers can’t do without. Although they are not designed  to be a tractor, on most small farms they can reduce the need for one.

ATVs are capable of a variety of farming tasks, including transporting people and equipment from A to B, towing a trailer, spraying, spreading and much more. For those that don’t know anything about motorbikes, selecting a hobby farm ATV can be a daunting task. 

Buy a new or used ATV? 

The decision whether to buy a new or used quad bike, as well as choice of model, make and size of the bike required will depend on your budget and on your reasons for buying a quad bike (e.g. for fun, transport or farm workhorse).

Used quad bikes range from $800 to $5,000 while new bikes cost anywhere from $4,000 to $19,000. Buying a used bike comes with the same associated risks as buying any piece of used farm equipment.  
How to select an ATV / quad bike for hobby farm use

 If a used bike is your preference, you should check the oil dipstick and for metal fragments (which indicates motor wear). You should also investigate the  regularity of its oil/filter changes and check that these are detailed in the service book. Finally, ensure the bike is not subject to finance and don’t forget to  take it for a good test ride.

 Engine and transmission

 Assessing the engine and transmission of a quad bike is important. You need to ensure there is enough grunt for farm work. Bike engines are powered by  either a single or twin cylinder with engine sizes ranging from 150 to 800 cubic centimetres (cc). The larger the cc, the faster and more powerful the bike.  Engines are either liquid cooled by a radiator or air cooled by air flowing over and cooling the cylinder. Air cooled quad bikes are generally cheaper, lighter  and simpler than liquid cooled bikes. 

 Most ATV transmissions are five-speed complete with high and low range, neutral, reverse and park features. Two-wheel drive is normally standard with  four-wheel drive an option.

 Rider comfort and quality

 If you plan to use your quad bike regularly, a thick padded, well-moulded seat is a must have. Rough and rocky terrain will require independent coil  suspension to increase rider comfort. Only the top of the line models come with power steering. 

 Brakes and tyres

 Good ATV brakes are essential if you plan to be negotiating steep and slippery slopes. Brakes come in hydraulic disc or padded forms, operating either  single (front and back wheels braking independently) or dual braking (front and back simultaneously). Brakes are either foot or handlebar operated. A  handlebar operated brake has the added benefit of operating as a park brake.

 Bike tyres come in 2, 4 and 6 ply, the higher the number the increased durability of the tyre. Check the tyre ply before purchase as many new bikes come  with only 2 ply tyres.

 Load and tow

A farm ATV will require plenty of carrying capacity, including front and rear racks. Front racks can carry from 25-50kg and rear racks from 50-100kg. If you plan to tow a trailer, spray unit or spreader, your bike will require a tow bar and ball. Maximum towing capacity on the largest ATVs is approximately 450kg. 'ATV's are one piece of farm equipment that most farmers can’t do without.'

 Rider safety 

 Rider safety should be an important consideration when purchasing a farm ATV. They were the leading cause of serious farm injury and death during 2011.  While rider education and training have an important role to play, the use of rider helmets and the attachment of a crush protection roll bar device can  significantly reduce the likelihood of injuries or death.

 Bike protection

 Most ATVs come with standard protection devices including handlebar protectors and bash plates on the undercarriage of the bike. If you plan to be  working in rugged terrain with obstacles, select a bike with a high under frame clearance.

 Other ATV features

 Most farm ATVs come standard with a liquid crystal display (LCD) featuring the fuel level, time, engine temperature, warning lights and 2WD or 4WD  selection. Other add-ons may include a winch, which is typically located on the front of the bike and can be useful if you are operating it by yourself in an i  isolated area.

 Where limited public road access is required, primary producer conditional registration can be obtained. For this type of registration, the bike will require  indicators, lights, brake lights, rear reflectors, rear view mirrors and a horn. Some models straight out of the box will be registrable whilst others will need  these features added.

 Warranty and parts

 A two-year warranty is standard, with top of the line brands often offering extended warranty periods. Prior to purchase, check with your local dealer that  spare parts are readily available. The last thing you want is to break down and have to wait weeks to get the bike fixed.

 Where to from here?

 For further information on ATVs we recommend you purchase a copy of ATV-Agskills. This book shows how to use an ATV safely, including riding on  slopes and in sand, water and mud.

Charlie Roberts - small farms consultant. The author Charlie Roberts is one of the FarmStyle Australia experts, he runs this website along with a successful farm near Dubbo in Central New South Wales, so he walks the talk. Charlie has a Bachelor of Farm Management and a Masters of Business Administration. He has worked for a number of agricultural companies in both New Zealand and Australia. He has a wealth of experience working with farmers in a range of environments.
News Category

New Forum Topics

Topic Replies Last post Forum
5370 How to Package
by Barpajack on Thu, 01/03/2019 - 12:51
2
by Albertgotdonkey
Thu, 03/21/2019 - 09:34
Farm planning
5486 Diversify with Aqilaria crassna
by DebbieP on Wed, 03/20/2019 - 20:06
0
by DebbieP
Wed, 03/20/2019 - 20:06
Business & marketing
5472 pto seeder
by summit1966 on Sat, 02/16/2019 - 15:55
4
by Albertgotdonkey
Wed, 03/20/2019 - 11:56
Farming Help
3169 Best way to graze paddocks?
by cletus on Tue, 02/28/2017 - 10:39
5
by Marvingirty
Tue, 03/19/2019 - 23:54
Farming Help
5363 Olive trees
by lazzaman on Sat, 12/22/2018 - 19:39
8
by db51
Tue, 03/19/2019 - 17:30
General Forum
5484 abattoir options
by summit1966 on Sun, 03/17/2019 - 22:43
0
by summit1966
Sun, 03/17/2019 - 22:43
Butcher meat
5476 Slashing native grasses for horses?
by skye on Tue, 03/05/2019 - 17:39
1
by greggy
Sat, 03/09/2019 - 18:30
Farming Help
5453 Pasture Improvement Costs
by @Nick on Mon, 01/14/2019 - 19:44
2
by skye
Tue, 03/05/2019 - 17:34
Farming Help
5473 Acreage with a tree plantation
by Dan13L on Mon, 02/18/2019 - 01:43
1
by admin
Tue, 02/26/2019 - 16:30
General Forum
5474 Olive saplings in victoria
by nizfer2019 on Mon, 02/18/2019 - 04:15
1
by admin
Mon, 02/25/2019 - 15:25
Farming Help
5469 Raising cattle for profit
by karinya2018 on Tue, 02/12/2019 - 22:26
1
by admin
Thu, 02/14/2019 - 15:45
Cattle
5456 How can I make money from my hobby farm?
by anasttin on Fri, 01/25/2019 - 11:06
1
by rookie_farmer
Wed, 02/13/2019 - 20:55
Farm planning
5467 Baby Minature /Pygmy Goats
by [email protected] on Tue, 02/05/2019 - 16:07
1
by barb
Wed, 02/06/2019 - 15:44
Goats
5466 How to Become Classified as A Primary Producer/Alpacas
by Char on Fri, 02/01/2019 - 11:04
1
by admin
Mon, 02/04/2019 - 15:03
Farm planning
1937 How much farm land to make a profit
by Teesh on Mon, 04/28/2014 - 22:14
4
by greggy
Mon, 01/28/2019 - 19:11
Farming Help
3192 When can weaned calves go back with the herd
by bigdave06 on Mon, 04/03/2017 - 19:55
4
by WendyW
Mon, 01/28/2019 - 14:34
General Forum
5347 Tractor Attachment Brands
by reeeen4 on Tue, 12/04/2018 - 13:54
3
by greggy
Sun, 01/27/2019 - 03:04
Farming Help
3319 Raising cattle for meat, how many per acre
by stevo7 on Mon, 01/29/2018 - 10:25
4
by greggy
Sun, 01/27/2019 - 02:57
Farming Help
5455 Turn qld acerage into commercial farm
by fazeraus on Fri, 01/18/2019 - 19:10
1
by admin
Wed, 01/23/2019 - 13:18
Farm planning
5349 Tractors
by Blackmount73 on Wed, 12/12/2018 - 21:27
2
by James F
Wed, 01/09/2019 - 19:27
Machinery & products

Our Sponsors

Our Partners