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ATV Braking Techniques, Slow Down Faster

ATV Braking Techniques, Slow Down Faster

If you are an ATV rider looking to enhance your track time and improve your skills, mastering proper braking techniques is crucial. While speed is enjoyable and important, your ability to brake effectively when approaching corners is paramount. Without proficient braking skills, you may find yourself getting overtaken by other riders. 

When I first started riding, I struggled with corners. I consistently found myself being passed by others, which was not the most enjoyable experience. However, by closely observing skilled riders and gaining more experience myself, I discovered the importance of positioning myself before entering a corner. 

Learning and implementing effective braking techniques completely transformed my riding performance. By slowing down faster, I was able to maintain higher speeds for longer durations before entering corners. 

Besides, learning the correct braking techniques is invaluable for trail riding, as it can prevent accidents when navigating tight corners in wooded areas. In this article, we’ll provide everything you need to know regarding ATV braking techniques. So you don’t want to stop reading here!

ATV Braking: Line Selection

To brake most efficiently you have to be aware of line selection. Ideally, you want to be braking on the smoothest and most packed-down area of ground possible. This is only sometimes possible, but keep the terrain in mind for your braking.

You also want to be aware of where you are entering the turn, and where you will be exiting. I go over cornering in much more detail in my How To Corner On An ATV article here. But the point is, if you’re braking for a corner, know how you plan to take the corner.

ATV Braking: Technique

Knowing how to position your body and how to handle the controls will change how you brake, and help you improve. 

Here are some tips on how to master the proper technique for ATV braking

  • Stand

Stand on your quad with your weight slightly more towards the rear. Get yourself into the central standing position, and be ready to shift your weight if you need to. 

When you stand, you’re giving yourself and your quad another set of suspension by using your legs to absorb some impact. This will help prevent you from getting bounced off the seat if you’re breaking into some bumpy terrain.

  • Grip

Grip your handlebars firmly, and have your hands ready to use the controls. Also, grip the ATV with your legs. This will keep you steady and ready to react in case you need to make adjustments. Having control over your machine is key to improving your riding technique.

  • Brake

Apply the front and rear brakes together. Try to brake smoothly and avoid locking up the wheels, which can lead to a slide. If the rear wheels lock up, it’s not as significant of a concern as when the front wheels do.

However, If the front wheels lock up and you need your steering ability, let off the front brake a little to regain control. The front brakes will be doing most of the work, which is why it’s important to lean to the rear a little. 

Positioning yourself more towards the back of the quad will allow your rear brakes to dig in more and help slow you down faster.

  • Gear

Switch down gears to help you slow down faster. Doing this is called engine braking, it works better on 4-stroke engines. The idea is that if you’re in a lower gear, the engine will help slow the quad down for you. 

I don’t find much help from the engine braking, a lot of times I brake so fast I don’t even let off the clutch until I’m ready to accelerate again. The main benefit of switching to a lower gear is that you’re already in the right gear to accelerate out of a corner.

  • ATV Brakes

Did you know that you can always upgrade your brakes and rotors for faster braking? Yes! It’s possible. Here is a link to Amazon for ATV And UTV Brakes to help get your search started. You can find brakes and brake parts for almost any four-wheeler or ATV online nowadays.

I do pretty well with just the stock pads and brake parts that come with the machine. But it is important to maintain them and replace them when they need them.

You can find pads, rotors, and calipers for a decent price. But if you want professional quality parts that will help you brake faster than stock parts, it’s going to cost you. Some of the high-end rotors can cost over 100 dollars, while a simple replacement rotor can be found for under $20.

Keep your brakes cleaned and maintained, follow the braking techniques above, and you will notice faster braking and improved riding in no time.

Summary: ATV Braking Techniques For Slowing Down Faster and Safely


  1. Apply both brakes: Most ATVs are equipped with both front and rear brakes. To maximize braking power, you want to use both brakes simultaneously. Apply even pressure to both the front and rear brake levers or pedals to slow down efficiently.
  2. Progressive braking: Instead of applying the brakes abruptly, gradually increase the pressure on the brake controls. This technique allows the weight of the ATV to shift forward, increasing traction on the front tires and improving braking performance.
  3. Engine braking: Many ATVs have engine braking systems that utilize the resistance of the engine to slow down the vehicle. When you release the throttle, the engine automatically slows down the ATV. Utilize this feature by releasing the throttle and allowing the engine to assist in deceleration.
  4. Downshifting: If you are approaching a steep descent or need to slow down quickly, downshifting can be effective. Shift to a lower gear to harness the engine’s braking power and control the speed of the ATV.
  5. Trail braking: This technique is commonly used in off-road riding. It involves lightly dragging the rear brake while entering a turn. Trail braking helps stabilize the ATV, reduces the risk of losing control, and allows for smoother cornering.


Remember, it’s crucial to practice these braking techniques in a safe and controlled environment to become familiar with the ATV’s braking capabilities. Always be mindful of the terrain, adjust your speed accordingly, and maintain a safe following distance from other vehicles or obstacles to ensure your safety while riding.

Thanks for reading to the end! 

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