Technology aids off-road recreation with better ATVs

When it comes to getting out and about in the Okanagan backcountry, perhaps nothing can get you further off the beaten track than an ATV.

And when it comes to ATVs, modern technology has made the off road units more powerful, more comfortable and more family friendly.

“We are in God’s country here in the Okanagan,” said Jason Cooley, business manager for Kelowna’s Banner Recreational Products. “There is so much available to you out your backdoor and it’s open terrain. One of the advantages of an ATV is you can see so much terrain through your ride and you’re not necessarily going to be as fatigued as if you have hiked all that way.”

ATV’s have come a long way since they became popular and were introduced to people interested in getting out into the wild. Cooley says there are many ways that the machines of today are so much more rider-friendly than decades ago.

“It’s a far cry from the big red days of the early eighties,” said Cooley. “They haven’t really changed in the looks department but the manufacturers are in stiff competition and that breeds better technology and the consumer wins. The machines are lighter and the parts are more durable. In recent years they have become fuel injected, they have power steering, electronic fuel management and there are onboard computers. With the modern fuel injection they get great fuel consumption.”

Another area where ATV’s are growing in is the number of families getting involved in the sport. There are smaller machines that a child can start getting involved in the sport. The type of ATV depends largely on the skill of the child involved. While a typical adult machine at Banner Rec. goes anywhere from 400 cc to 800 cc with speeds that can reach 120 km/h, beginner machines are available as low as 70 cc.

“We do have machines that are adequate for children starting out and you can work your way up through our product line,” said Cooley. “Kids should be made aware of the hazards of the machines. Our 70 cc machines come with a throttle that can be governed so you can limit their speed.”

With plenty of power at your fingertips, safety is paramount when hopping on your off road vehicle. There is no licensing system so it’s up to individual riders to be responsible when riding.

“Obviously there is no ATV police so you need to behave appropriately for the benefit of the sport,” said Cooley. “You don’t want to go into mother nature and rip it to shreads. You’d like to go in and tread lightly and leave a light imprint. There is a social responsibility where you want to behave as you would like to be treated.”

Bottom line in the world of ATV’s is to choose a machine that is well suited to your experience and what you want to use the ATV for. There are many different types from high performance to utility.

“What type of machine you want depends on your individual needs. Through a series of questions we find out what the customer is ideally looking for and what they want the machine to do,” said Cooley. “We’re all interested in different things. Some want durability, others want power and performance and others are looking for all of the above.”

Cooley adds that the best philosophy once you head out into nature is to tread lightly and respect other users of the backcountry.

You can find the latest in ATVs at Banner Red in McCurdy Place.



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