High vs Low ATV Gear – When To Make the Switch

High vs Low ATV Gear; A man off-roading a yellow ATR.


ATV’s are recommended to be kept in the best conditions for you to fully enjoy any quad bike experiences you’re participating in. For this, we at Avalanche Adventure make sure these motor vehicles are in the best condition when we give them to you.

However, the thrill also lies in the way you handle these vehicles. This means, fun is not just in the race and other activities but also in learning to handle the ATVs properly. 

Sure, the natural confusion you’re likely to face when riding an ATV is not knowing the right difference between high vs low ATV gear, but there are certainly some ways you can follow to shift the high gear to low and vice versa. 

Once you have the ability of shifting the correct gear at the correct time, you will experience a full adrenaline rush and you’ll come back for more!

That said, here are some points that you need to know on when it’s the correct time to shift gears. Before that, let’s take a look at the two kinds of ATVs that need unique treatment when it comes to using high and low gears.

Two Types of ATV – Manual and Automatic 

A man off-roading an ATR leaving a dusty trail behind him.

Be it manual or automatic – both of these quads have the flexibility to switch its gears when required.

However, to begin with, in a manual quad, you will have to work your way up the gears as and when you move ahead. In simple words, when you are in a clearer, non-rocky and non-muddy terrain, you can work your way up in higher gears. Similarly, you will need to drop down if you feel the need to, or simply want to take it slow.

On the other hand, some automatic quads do the trick for you, except for when you need to decide between high or low gear to begin your journey with. In these ATVs, you will generally find a stick that allows you to switch between high and low. It is like a manual quad, but it will work on different parameters when compared to its counterpart. 

In any situation, you need not worry because, at Avalanche Adventure, we have trained instructors specifically assigned to meet different kinds of problems at all levels for our customers.

Now that you know the basic difference between these vehicles, let’s understand how the whole high vs low ATV gear shifting works. 

High Gear 

High vs Low ATV Gear; A man off-roading an ATR leaving a dusty trail behind him.

Using high gear has its pros but that does not mean you can steer clear of its cons. 

High gear gives you the best kind of adrenaline rush, wind through the hair and that ‘flying-in-the-air’ feel. It allows more power to go faster on relatively clearer terrains; the engines, too, adjust better at higher speeds. This is why some people use high gear all the time, especially when they are planning to drive on lots of road work.

Having said that, the cons, when a higher gear is used in an untimely manner, the main concern is that you might damage your drive belt. Naturally, you should avoid this mistake by making sure you only shift to higher gears when:

  • The terrain is clear, like a good road or fairly easy
  • The course is not muddy
  • There are no steep hills; up or down. 

Not only that, different models of ATVs have different ways of handling, so perhaps try understanding them through their manual or ask our experts for professional advice.

Pro Tip – While you’re at it, remember that high gears can also damage the belt if you are moving too slowly.

Low Gear

A man on an ATR using his strength to ride on a terrain surrounded by bushes and trees.

When you shift to low gear, it gives you plenty of power to finish the technical challenges, like getting out of muddy terrain or passing through sticky trails. 

Additionally, lower gears give you more torque, which enables your ATV to move with more power at slow speeds. However, it’s best to switch to low gear when:

  • Climbing steep hills and slopes
  • Applying brake to lower the power of your ATV’s engine 
  • Negotiating your way

Now just like high gear, low gear has some pros too. It gives you a lot of power to climb up the hills to keep you out of trouble and also saves the belt from slipping or breaking in the long run. 

However, low gears restrict you from reaching high speeds and also use more fuel than usual.

That said, you can choose whatever suits you the best. In any case, do not forget to use trial and error methods and conclude the method that works best for you. 

Book Your Slots at Avalanche Adventure Today!

Once in a while, you must step out of your routine and feel the life that you’re meant to live. 

At Avalanche Adventure, we offer multiple team building and family engaging activities at our arena; so book your slots for your favourite activities at our activity center and get ready to blow off some steam!

Alternatively, you can give us a call on 01858 880613