A Guide To Manual Transmission ATVs

manual transmission atv

Did you know that ATVs were developed in Japan so that farmers in rural and isolated locations could use the ATVs to transport their crops across the rugged terrain? 

In 1969, Honda brought ATVs into the US with 3 fat wheels. ATVs have come a long way since then with newer models and features that will make you want to run out and get one today.

There’s a lot to consider when buying your first or your next ATV. One of the big decisions you’ll have to make is whether to get a manual transmission ATV, a semi-automatic ATV, or an automatic ATV. The choice between the three types of transmission can make a huge difference in your ATV riding experience. 

A manual transmission gives you more control over how power is generated by ATV. With experience and practice, you’ll be able to turn easily and with more control. If you want to find out more about manual transmission ATVs, then you’ve come to the right place. Keep on reading for your guide to manual transmission ATVs.

What Is a Manual Transmission ATV?

Just like a car or a motorcycle, a transmission supplies the power from the engine to the wheels. You can have 3 types of transmissions:

  1. Manual
  2. Semi-Automatic
  3. Fully Automatic 

A manual transmission ATV allows you to choose the best gear for the situation. They’re called manual transmission because you get to manually control the clutch, gear lever, and throttle. You have the most control over your ride in a manual transmission ATV.

You can use the lower gears for low tractions situations. This can be when you need to haul heavy stuff or climb uphill. You want to use the higher gears for cruising. In a manual transmission, you get to control how much power you need for that particular situation.

With a semi-automatic transmission, you can change gears by pushing a button without trying to manage a clutch at the same time. If you’re an experienced rider and want more control, most people veer towards a manual transmission ATV, rather than a semi-automatic transmission.

Manual Transmission vs Fully Automatic

Recently, fully automatic ATVs are becoming more common because of their ease and convenience. If you’re one of those people who have always had a manual car, then you’ll want the satisfaction of driving a manual transmission ATV. 

For those new to manual transmission, it can be a bit intimidating. It requires more time to get comfortable and, in the meantime, you’ll be dealing with stalling because of the clutch. With practice, however, you’ll be riding your manual transmission ATV in no time.

With a manual transmission, you change the gears when you choose. A fully automatic ATV changes gears automatically, so you never have to worry about shifting gears or clutches. It’s an easy and convenient choice.

They’re also known to be better for long rides or for when you need to change gears quickly. No matter what, you won’t be able to change the gears in a manual transmission as fast as in a fully automatic ATV. So, if you’re going on sand dunes, an automatic ATV may be easier.

A semi-automatic ATV, on the other hand, is great when you need consistent speed for tasks like towing or hauling.  

The real reason to choose manual transmission over automatic transmission is how much control you want over your ride. If you want the best performance or if you’re considering racing, you want the most control over your gears. This is when a manual transmission is most appealing. 

When Should You Choose an ATV With Manual Transmission?

You should choose a manual transmission ATV when you want more control over your quad. You will be able to keep the maximum power when you have traction. You will also be able to use less power when you don’t have traction so you avoid slipping. 

You can also get in and out of a turn much more easily with a manual transmission ATV. If you look forward to revving on your ATV and prefer more control, then manual transmissions ATVs are the right choice for you. At the end of the day, you should choose what you’re most comfortable with.

If you want to buy an ATV for your kids, then you won’t find a lot of options with manual transmission. ATV for youths tends to be automatic transmission because it’s to learn without the complexities of a clutch. The best ATVs sizes for youths are based on the age of your kid. 

How Does a Manual Transmission ATV Work?

A manual transmission ATV requires you to use your clutch, brake, and throttle at the same time. If you’re not a multi-tasker this can take a while to get used to.

In a manual transmission ATV, you’ll have to disengage the engine from your transmission using the clutch. Only when you complete this step can you change gears. You have to reengage the clutch after changing gears. It’s very similar to what you would find on a bike or a car.

How Do You Shift a Manual ATV?

To shift a manual transmission ATV, you need to understand the different components that you need to use at the same time. Understanding these will allow you to shift easier on a manual transmission ATV without stalling. The three components are:

  1. Clutch – located behind left grip
  2. Foot Gear Shifter – located next to left foot
  3. Throttle Lever – located on the right-hand grip by your thumb

Before you begin, make sure your quad is in neutral. Neutral is found between the first and second gears on most ATVs. You need to hold the clutch and click down with the foot shifter until you hit first gear. Then you need to click up to hit neutral. 

Once you’re in neutral, pull the clutch lever. Press your foot down once to shift to the first gear. Don’t release the clutch yet. For a manual transmission, the clutch is the big difference.

Now, you want to push the throttle forward while releasing the clutch. If done correctly, the clutch should engage, and the ATV will move forward.

You need to go by the feel, and you’ll feel the clutch engage. At this point, release the clutch.

Remember if your engine stalls, it’s probably because you don’t have enough throttle or you’re letting go of the clutch too fast. The more you practice, the more you’ll get a feel for the clutch and know exactly when to release.

Do it over and over again until it becomes natural.

In the first gear, you’re probably only going at 10 km/hr. You want to start to shift to higher gears. Your engine will tell you when you need to shift to a higher gear. If your engine is screaming, then you know it’s time to shift gears.

To change gears while driving, you want to pull the clutch lever and let go of the throttle. With the left foot, change the gear to the next higher gear. Give a little more throttle and release the clutch. Keep practicing!

Some of the Manual Transmission ATV Models

You have several manual transmission ATV models to choose from depending on what you’re looking for. Each company offers additional features so do your research and try out your ATV before making a decision.

Yamaha Raptor 700R

The Yamaha Raptor 700R is a best-selling sports quad. It offers style comfort and unmatched performance. It has electronic power steering, comfortable seating and is 11 inches of the ground. 

It has a 686cc liquid cooled 4-stroke engine for more power and better traction. Its wet weight is 422 lbs. It has a 5-speed manual transmission.

Honda FourTrax Foreman

The Honda Foreman is reliable and durable. It has a swing arm rear suspension that’s perfect for work or towing. If you want an ATV for plowing snow, then Honda FourTrax Foreman is for you. The Electric Shift Program allows you to shift forward and reverse repeated with ease. This comes in handy when you want to plow snow.

With the Foreman, you get a 518cc engine, tough front and rear racks and an easy-to-use reverse system. It weighs 636 pounds and has a manual transmission (foot shift with automatic clutch).

Suzuki Kingsquad 400FSI

The Suzuki Kingsquad has a 376cc fuel-injected 4-stroke engine. It has an oil cooler, and thermostat controlled cooling fan, so the engine doesn’t overheat while you’re working hard or hauling cargo.  

There are multiple versions available It has a manual transmission with a shift-level auto clutch. You will have maximum traction and fuel efficiency with the Suzuki Kingsquad. It weighs 628 pounds and has a ground clearance of 9.8”.

Check Out More Tips and Tricks on ATV Riding

Now you know everything there is to know about manual transmission ATVs. You know they offer the best control, mileage and performance, if you use them the right way. You also know how to shift gears in a manual ATV. 

You probably have more questions that you need to get answered before you go buy your next ATV. Check out our blog on more articles that answers all your questions about manual transmission ATVs like how to jack up your ATV.