How to Use a Clutch on a 4 Wheeler

Boy posing on ATV, Arizona

Learning the basics of operating an all-terrain vehicle or four-wheeler is essential to understanding the safety measures that must be taken to maneuver through wooded and rough terrain. Basic functions like operating the clutch and properly shifting the vehicle can mean the difference between successfully navigating an obstacle or being thrown from the four-wheeler. Proper clutch usage will ensure the drivetrain has slack at the right time and that the four-wheeler stays on all four wheels.

With the four-wheeler in neutral, start the vehicle. You will know the four-wheeler is in neutral when the vehicle can be pushed forward or backward without engaging the transmission.

Locate the clutch on the left side of the handlebars. Squeeze the clutch handle against the grip of the handlebar. In this position you can engage the gear drive by pushing down on the shifter pedal.

Slowly let the clutch handle out as you apply pressure to the thumb throttle on the right side of the handlebar. Once the bike starts to move, give it a little more gas and keep letting the clutch out until the bike is on its way.

Shift gears by letting off of the thumb throttle and pulling the clutch handle in. Place the bike into second gear via the gearshift pedal and then slowly let go of the clutch as you start to apply gas via the thumb throttle. The same method is used for shifting into higher gears.

Remove your thumb from the thumb throttle and pull the clutch handle in. Downshift the four-wheeler by putting it in a lower gear. Slowly release the clutch. Do not apply gas until the clutch has been fully released. This will prevent the bike from over-revving and potentially causing an accident.