Buying an ATV should be an exciting adventure resulting in a most welcome reward, but sometimes the experience can quickly turn sour and ultimately leave you empty-handed.
Like a car or any expensive machine two options exist: Buying used or buying new. Ultimately the decision to buying a used or new ATV rests with you, the buyer. However, many factors influence what route to take.
The first consideration is whether you're new to ATV riding. Jumping on the ATV craze is perfectly normal. Riding quads is an experience like none other however it doesn't always turn out to be forever. Buying an ATV isn't the only expense. Depending on where you live might require purchasing a trailer and then driving an hour or two away. Maintenance isn't cheap and the time involved can be discouraging.
This is a 2008 Honda TRX
Ultimately, some riders enjoy the sport for a season until the time and money required or even a serious crash dampens the fun and the days of 4-wheel riding come to a quick end. If you've bought a brand new $8,000 ATV that's a significant shock to the pocket book if the hobby doesn't last. If you tend to enjoy new things and then move on to something new, then investing in a used ATV might be the wise choice. On the other hand, if you've been riding with friends for a while and been itching to get your own, buying a new ATV may well be worth your money.
The second consideration is of course money. The average cost of a new ATV is about $10,000 which depending on engine size, brand and other high-end add-ons can significantly raise or lower that overall cost. If you're riding high, so to speak, with significant expendable cash then why not go the new route? It's brand new, has a warranty and no concerns with a private seller covering up an accident or other significant unseen damage.
This is new 2014 Honda FourTrax Rancher 4x4
If money is a factor then consider used. A patient shopper might just find a gently ridden ATV for much less than what the original owner paid. In reality, a new ATV is "used" the moment it leaves the dealership and some people who get into the sport, as said earlier, decide it's just not for them long-term.
Thirdly, what's your plan for the ATV? This question is primarily for new ATV owners as not all ATVs are the same. You won't ride the same ATV for Motocross racing as you would for work around the farm. Is this for a child? You'll also want to consider engine size. See our Choosing the Best ATV for Beginners guide for more information on choosing your first ATV.
Existing owners looking to up their game on the track or trail have some thinking to do. A brand new quad is the ideal route but many owners tend to replace the stock equipment with higher end product anyway. The engine is brand new but the money involved to upgrade everything adds significant expense to an already expensive machine. However, many new ATV come ready to ride off the showroom floor. This gives you the option of running the stock equipment into the ground before adding upgrades.
If you're vested into quad life and you enjoy wrenching in the garage every weekend then the used route is probably your best option. Your know-how is a significant advantage when checking out a used ATV and deciding whether it's in riding shape. Buying an older ATV, stripping it down and adding your favorite aftermarket equipment is the best way to customize your own ride.
This is a 2009 Yamaha Raptor 700R
In the end, buying used or new rests on how comfortable you are in the buying process. The new route might take you through the dealer experience of buying a car. But, it's new, should be backed by a warranty and is ready to ride. Buying used can get you a great deal but exposes you to the unknown. See our Tips to Buying a Used ATV guide for help in this arena.
Patience and homework prevail. If you're new to ATV riding don't buy anything until you've done some research and know what you want and how much to spend. It helps if you've got a well-versed friend in the ATV world to help you through the process.
Written By: AndrewT