ATV Transmissions and Chains


ATVs have come along way since they were first introduced to the United States. They can now have Manual Transmissions with automatic clutches, hand clutches or can be fully automatic.  Most even come with a reverse gear.
Today's ATV can have a chain drive, a shaft drive or a solid drive axle.  Some ATVs have differentials which can be locked.  This causes both wheels to turn at the same time to provide additional traction.
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If you need an ATV that is for agricultural operations such as farming, the best transmission is one with an automatic clutch, a reverse gear, shaft drive and a locking differential.
An ATV can be difficult and even dangerous in sharp turns with a solid drive axle or a locked differential. Since both rear wheels are rotating at the same speed, the weight of the machine must be reduced on the inside rear wheel to enable it to turn. This allows the inside rear wheel to be able to slip through the turn. The rider must shift his weight forward and to the outside foot peg. This maneuver causes the machine to be less stable and increases the risk of a side overturn.
Driving an ATV at lower speeds will allow the differential to unlock. This lets the rear wheels turn independently. An ATV transmission with an automatic clutch reduces your chances of "popping the clutch" which reduces rear overturns.
ATVs with a differential lock always have a solid shaft drive. A solid shaft drive is more trouble free than a chain drive. A power take-off is available of some models. To determine if this feature is desired you should first decide on how your ATV is going to be used. If you are going to use your ATV as a piece of machinery, then it is probably an option that you want.
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