Wecome To RVs and OHVs

This blog is all about RVs (recreational vehicles) and OHVs (Off Highway Vehicles), camping, sailing, and survival
and how they work together to provide wholesome family fun and great learning opportunities.
Many posts are intended to familiarize novice campers and RVers with RV systems and basic camping and survival
skills. But even experienced RVers and campers will enjoy the anecdotes and may even benefit from a new
perspective. Comments, questions, and suggestions are encouraged. The organization is pretty much by date of publication. Please use the SEARCH option below to find what you are looking for.

Friday, March 23, 2018

OHV Tips for Riding Hills

Most of the off road trails you will ride on or in your OHV will include hills you will have to negotiate.   Climbing, descending, or crossing hills (slopes)  requires specific skills that are different from what you need for traveling on level ground.

Climbing hills.  For climbing hills with any type of OHV, the first thing you need to do is determine if the hill you are facing is within the capabilities of you and your machine.  If not, find a way around or turn around and go back.  Next, most people will try to get a little run at the hill, but be sure not to go so fast that you are uncomfortable or begin to lose control.  Sooner or later you are likely to encounter a hill you cannot get over the top of.  When that happens, you need to know how to safely get back down.   How you do that will depend on what kind of OHV you are operating.  For a dirt bike, shut off the engine, put the transmission in 1st gear.  Then get off the bike on the up hill side and gently turn the front wheel, release the clutch to let the bike roll until it is approximately cross ways from your original hill climbing direction.  Then turn the wheel downhill, carefully remount the bike, and ride back down the  hill.  You may want to release the clutch and let the engine start and you can use engine braking to help control the speed of your descent.  If you are riding an ATV you will want to set the parking brake, dismount, and drag or push the front of of the ATV around until it is angled downhill.  Always stay on the uphill side of the machine.  Then remount, release the brake, and ride down the hill.  Make sure you don't put yourself where the machine might tip over on you!  As with a dirt bike, let the engine start and use engine braking to help control your downhill speed.  Side-by-sides are incredibly difficult to turn around when climbing a hill so it is usually best to simply back down slowly before you get into an impossible situation, carefully watching behind you (over your shoulder or via mirrors).  In some cases you might want to have someone get out and guide you via hand signals or verbal commands (if you can hear them over the engine noise).  If the hill isn't TOO steep you might be able to turn around and drive down but there is a significant risk of roll over whenever a UTV is sideways on a hill.

Descending hills.  It seems counterintuitive but going down hills can be more difficult than going up them.  After all, you have gravity working for you going down hill, right?  A common problem for all OHVs when descending hills is going too fast as gravity pulls you and your ride down the slope.  The first defense is to downshift to increase engine braking to reduce speed.  Then use your brakes judiciously.  Overuse of the front brake on dirt bikes or ATVs may cause the machine to flip over the  handlebars so use the front brake sparingly if at all.  Once you reach the bottom of the hill and begin to level out you can use both brakes to continue to slow down or stop as desired.  It is not uncommon to continue sliding downhill even after the brakes have locked up the wheel(s).  You never want to lock up the front wheel (s) because then you lose the ability to steer the vehicle.

Crossing Hills.  Crossing hills on a dirt bike is fairly straightforward, as long as you keep the bike balanced and keep enough forward momentum.  You don't want to stop where you can't put your foot down to stabilize your bike!  If you encounter a problem crossing a hill that requires you to slow or stop, lean uphill and put that foot down for stabilization.  Crossing hills with ATVs and side-by-sides is generally not a good idea.  You might be able to do it if the slope isn't too steep, but all too often, by the time you can make that determination, it is too late and your machine is already starting to roll over.  Sometimes you can help keep an ATV stable crossing a slope by leaning uphill to help counter the pull of gravity that is trying to make it roll over.  There really is no good way to cross a steep slope in a UTV.   Gravity is going to want to roll it over unless the slope is gentle enough to keep the center of gravity low.  Since you can't shift your weight in a side-by-side to assist crossing  hills, it is better not to try it at all if there is any doubt you can make it without rolling over.

Have a hill of a time  -- and stay safe!