Ask The Editors: Do I Have To Have A 4×4?

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Do I have to invest big to decide whether or not the sport is for me?

Dear ATVC: Looking to buy first ATV for use in Arizona. Seeing as how the terrain is sandy and rocky, can I get away with just a 2WD? I’m old but a beginner so looking at something like an Ozark. I’d hate to spend a bunch of money and find ATVing isn’t for me. Will I regret not having 4WD for sandy/rocky areas? Thanks for any advice.

Honestly, no. 4WD isn’t a necessity for exploring rocky and sandy conditions. It can help, especially in situations of limited traction, much in the same way a good winch adds peace of mind but do keep in mind that for many years the gateway into the world of off-roading took the form of rear-drive 3-wheelers. In fact while ATVs have been around since before the 1960s in one form or another, the first 4×4 didn’t come onto the scene until 1986. There has been plenty of trail-riding fun to be had in the interim.

That being said, many automotive advancements have found their way into our arena to make the off-road experience all the more enjoyable; things like 4WD, automatic transmissions, electronic power steering, fuel injection etc.

Our best advice in your situation would be to consider browsing the used ATV classifieds in your area. If you’re truly on the fence about whether or not you’ll take to the sport, you can usually find better prices and more features per dollar by going used. If it indeed turns out you’re here to stay, ATVs hold their resale value well and you could always trade-in your machine on a new one. Not to mention, the riders in your area will likely already have a pretty good handle on the hot setup for the conditions you’ll be riding.

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