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Best Beginner ATV For A Teenager: Entry Level

Best Beginner ATV For A Teenager: Entry Level

When it comes to finding the best beginner ATV for you, there are several factors to consider. Safety, ease of use, and affordability are key considerations for both you and your parents. The ideal ATV for teenagers must strike a balance between looking cool and providing the necessary safety features to keep you out of harm’s way.

With many great options available on the market choosing the right ATV can be a challenge. As a teenager, you don’t want to ride around on a small 50cc ATV designed for younger kids, nor do you want the excessive power of a 500cc ATV that could potentially lead to accidents and trips to the emergency room. We understand your desire for speed and excitement, but it’s crucial to prioritize your safety. 

Look for an ATV with a suitable engine size, such as a 250cc or 90cc, which offers enough power for an exhilarating ride without being overwhelming for a beginner. You also want to ensure that the ATV has essential safety features like adjustable speed limiters, automatic transmissions, and reliable braking systems, for an enjoyable and secure riding experience. 

This article is a valuable resource that covers all the essential aspects of the subject. So, you want to keep reading to ensure you have a comprehensive understanding.

Type Of ATV

ATVs can generally be categorized into two main types: sports ATVs and utility ATVs. Each type is designed with specific purposes and features in mind.

If you’re looking for speed, agility, and high-performance riding, sports ATVs are the way to go. These ATVs are built to provide an exhilarating experience, with sleek designs and optimized features for off-road racing and recreational adventures. With powerful engines, advanced suspension systems, and lightweight frames, sports ATVs offer quick acceleration and maneuverability. They excel in conquering challenging terrains, making them perfect for those who crave the adrenaline rush of high-speed riding and performing tricks.

On the other hand, if you need an ATV that prioritizes functionality and practicality, utility ATVs are the ideal choice. These ATVs are designed to handle heavy workloads and practical tasks, such as yard work, farming, and equipment transportation. With sturdy frames and larger cargo racks, utility ATVs offer the capacity to carry equipment and often come with towing capabilities. They are built to prioritize hauling, towing, and versatility, making them a reliable workhorse for practical tasks.


It’s important to note that there can be some overlap between the two categories. Some ATVs combine sporty features with utility capabilities, providing a versatile riding experience that combines both work and play.

Therefore before making your choice, consider factors such as handling, maneuverability, and weight. This is especially important for teenagers, as they may not have the strength to handle heavy ATVs comfortably.

Used or New?

Another factor to consider is whether you can afford to purchase a new ATV or if you’re open to exploring the used market.  Opting for a used ATV can be a cost-effective choice, enabling you to save money. However, navigating the used market can be challenging, particularly when searching for a bargain. In such cases, it can be beneficial to enlist the guidance of an experienced friend who can provide valuable expertise and assist you throughout the process. 

However, if you’re uncertain about what to look for or desire a sense of trust, investing in a new model provides added assurance. Another advantage of buying new is the opportunity to test the ATVs before making a purchase, providing you with more options to choose from.

On the other hand, dealerships can offer the best of both worlds by providing a selection of high-quality used models, along with expert advice and warranties. This allows you to find a used ATV that retains its value while also receiving the necessary support and peace of mind.

Ultimately, the decision between purchasing a new or used ATV depends on your budget, preferences, and the level of guidance you require. Consider these factors carefully to make an informed choice that aligns with your needs and ensures a satisfactory ATV ownership experience.

Check out this list of some of the most popular models for newbies to quad-riding.

Honda TRX250

The Honda TRX250 is a tried and true ATV that remains a formidable option even today. With its striking appearance and powerful sound, this Honda model exudes a sense of strength and capability. The throaty roar of its engine creates an impression of power that can easily captivate a teenager’s attention. However, it’s important to note that the TRX250 strikes a balance, providing an exhilarating experience without the potential risks associated with an overly powerful engine.

It’s still fast enough to give them all the thrills and a ride that is still fun for newbies or more experienced riders alike. Shift change also gives all the feeling of a bigger model and starts beginners off the right way. Its gearbox is also pretty sympathetic and it doesn’t stall when it stops which lets youngsters learn to ride a shift without getting it right every time.

The price is pretty attractive, with new models coming in at less than $4,500. Depending on where you ride, though, you might find it a little too noisy for neighbors. As a sports model, it’s also not much use for carrying equipment around and it’s a little too small to carry a passenger which might take some of the fun away for a teenager who wants to share the thrills with a pal.


Things to love: feels powerful, good value, sympathetic shift

Things to worry about: not many safety features, very noisy

Polaris Sportsman 450

This quad could be pretty dangerous with its huge 500cc engine so you need to be careful not to overdo the speed before you know what you’re doing. It’s probably best for someone who has got to grips with the basics and wants to try going a little faster without having to worry too much about technical accuracy.

It has an automatic transmission, meaning you can concentrate on your riding without worrying about changing gears. Its suspension is quite springy and gives a smooth ride over rough terrain.

At only $5,000, it is still a fairly economical model to start you off. Some riders criticize its performance at top speeds, saying it doesn’t handle as well. This might make it more appealing to parents who want to deter kids from going too fast!


Things to love: easy to ride, not too expensive, smooth

Things to worry about; Powerful engine, loses handling at the highest speeds

Kawasaki Brute Force 300

kawasaki brute force 300

Even the name sounds powerful, and this is really aimed at adults so teenagers need to be a little cautious. However, the engine is not too big at 271cc and the automatic transmission means it’s very easy to ride.

The difference between this and the Polaris is the braking system: Kawasaki uses front and rear brakes separately which can be hard to get used to. If you’re looking for a model that will build your skills for the future, this is it.

Knowing the brakes need thinking about might also deter youngsters from going too fast in the first place. It’s a two-wheel drive, so not really for use in deep mud but it’s a very smooth and stable ride that can build riders’ confidence.

A good starter for someone to become a great rider, but not as easy to just get on and go like the Polaris.


Things to love: looks funky, great suspension, sturdy, small engine

Things to worry about: brakes need getting used to, only 2WD

Staying Safe

While some models come with safety features fitted as standard, it is really up to the riders to keep themselves safe by using a little common sense. Quads can make riders feel more sturdy than a dirt bike, but that is a false sense of security as the risks are about the same.

Bigger side-by-sides might offer rollbars or even seatbelts, but even this is no real protection when going too fast. Even a 250 engine can quickly reach speeds of up to 65mph, so you must trust your teenager to take it slowly at first until they build up their skills. If you can’t count on them to do this, you might be better off looking for a smaller engine or an electric quad suitable for kids. They won’t love you for it, but at least they’ll be around for you to love.

Wearing the right safety gear can also mean the difference between biting the dust and walking away or getting to the ER in the back of an ambulance. Most teenagers are quite happy to wear an expensive trail kit as it looks good and goes with the image. Use this to your advantage and make sure they wear their padding and strong boots every time they ride.

A helmet is obvious, but don’t be fooled into buying secondhand. To be effective, your helmet needs to meet up-to-date guidelines and should be replaced every time it takes a hit, even if there is no visible damage. Goggles and gloves are also pretty essential.  

To see some of my top-rated safety gear, check out the Recommended Section of this site.

Make no bones about it, quad riding will always be dangerous. Choosing the right model and having the right safety equipment from the off is crucial. Get into good habits and build the right skills at the beginning and you can look forward to a long, thrilling journey on the trails.

Final Thought!

When selecting a beginner ATV for a teenager, prioritize safety, ease of use, and affordability. Look for an ATV with appropriate power and essential safety features. Striking a balance between thrilling performance and necessary precautions will ensure an enjoyable and secure riding experience.

Thanks so much for reading to the end!

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