ATV Terms & Phrases


What is that? Many of us have asked that same question when we hear a new term or phrase we are not familiar with. This section is dedicated to answering that question. We hope you find it useful.

Common ATV Terms Explained
  • Airtime: Length of time a rider is in the air during a jump.
  • ATV (All Terrain Vehicle): Commonly known as 4-wheeler or Quad. Also includes 3-wheelers.
  • Bottoming Out: Landing so hard from a jump that the suspension uses up all of its travel.
  • CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission): A fully automatic transmission consisting of two variable width pulleys and a belt. Different gear ratios are achieved when the pulleys automatically changes width and results in the belt riding higher or lower on the pulleys.
  • Four-Stroke: A type of engine with valves and cam(s) that produces combustion every four piston strokes.
  • GNC (Grand National Champions or the Nationals): A 12-race MX/TT series in the U.S.
  • GNCC (Grand National Cross-Country): A 13-race woods racing series in the U.S.
  • Goosing It: Applying lots of throttle in short burst to jump the ATV forward.
  • Holeshot: The first rider to get to the first turn.
  • Hydraulic Disc Brake: Stops the ATV by forcing brake fluid through lines when the brake lever is pulled. The fluid actuates the brake pads that contact a rotating rotor or disc to stop the ATV.
  • Independent Rear Suspension: Each rear wheel is suspended and moves independent of the other.
  • Knobbies: The type of tires usually on Quads. These tires have large knobs of rubber tread that are arranged and designed in various ways to grab the dirt or mud effectively.
  • Limited Slip: A type of differential which allows the wheels (front or rear) to spin at different speeds.
  • Mechanical Drum Brakes: Stops the quad when a brake lever is pulled which in turn pulls a cable which activate shoes that contact the interior of the drum.
  • Off-Camber Jump: A jump on a turn.
  • OHV: Off Highway Vehicle.
  • ORV: Off Road Vehicle.
  • Plastic: generally refers to the body on an ATV.
  • Poker Run: see below
  • Powerslide: Sliding the rear end of an ATV by applying the throttle.
  • Quad: Another name for an ATV with 4 wheels.
  • Razorback: A sand dune peak that drops off steeply on each side.
  • Rollover: Rolling your ATV or tipping it on its side.
  • Skidplates: Plates that protect the underside of your ATV.
  • Speed Shifting: Shifting through the gears without letting off of the throttle.
  • Sport ATV: Generally refers to a 2WD ATV without cargo racks that is built for performance.
  • Sport/Utility or Utility: A 2WD or 4WD ATV with racks that is suited for limited sport riding and work related activities.
  • Swingarm: The pivoting support that connects the rear axle and shock absorber to the ATV frame.
  • Tear-Offs:Strips of clear plastic connected to your goggles. They are removed as they become dirty.
  • Two-Stroke: A type of engine with valves and cam(s) that produces combustion every two piston strokes. The fuel used in this type of engine requires a gas and oil mixture.
  • Wheelbase: The distance from the center of the front wheel hub to the center of the rear wheel hub.
  • Whip or Flag: A long flexible rod with a flag at the top.
  • Whoops: Rolling bumps anywhere from five to ten feet apart and one to three feet high

Poker Run
What is that? Many of us have asked that same question when we hear a new term or phrase we are not familiar with. Poker Runs are one of the least understood activities in ATV'ing. This section of the site is dedicated to changing that. We hope you find it useful.

So just what is a Poker Run?
Don't feel bad if you are not sure. I wasn't sure either the first time I heard someone mention a poker run. I just thought it was some type of race and left it at that. Actually I found out a short time later that a poker run isn't a race. It is more like a rally.

Poker runs have been popular with car and motorcycle enthusiasts for years. With the explosion in ATV sales and usage, many riding areas are finding that Poker runs are a great way to draw new riders, raise extra money and offer yet another way for ATV riders to enjoy the sport.

A Poker run starts with a list of stops or destinations. These stops are usually on predefined set of trails. For each stop you reach you get to draw a single playing card from a deck of 52 cards. The person manning the stop will record the card you have drawn on some form of tally sheet or form that you carry with you. This tally sheet or form will also have your poker run entry number on it. This is done to prevent riders from drawing more than one card at any stop. Once you reach all of the stops you will have picked up all the cards "dealt" to you.

Usually there are five stops in a poker run but there can be more. For example, there could be seven stops and the player gets to choose the best five cards to keep for their hand. At the final destination the player with the best over all poker hand wins. Its not real complicated.

The run is not timed so there is no advantage to riding the course fast. It is handled this way for safety. There is typically a start and end time to the run but there is enough time allocated between the start and end times to allow for a rider to easily get to all the stops, visit and sometimes even grab lunch.

There are several variations of the Poker run. Each poker run you attend is likely to have slightly different rules. Some of the variations include:

  • Having the rides pick up a chip or marker at each stop instead of picking a card. The rider then trades in these chips or markers for cards when they return at the end of the day. The advantage to this variation is that the stops do not have to be manned.
  • Making the stops harder to find by giving clues to the stops instead of directions. This makes the poker run a little like a treasure hunt. This can be a lot of fun.
  • Don't let the riders draw the cards at the stops. Instead have then pick an envelope from a group of sealed envelopes that contain anywhere from 1 to 3 cards. This will result in some people getting extra cards which will allow more people to have better hands. This increases the excitement since there will be many "good" hands dealt.
  • Designate a card as a "special card". Anyone who draws this card some sort of prize.
  • Give a prize for the worst hand in addition to the best hand.
  • Allow riders to "buy" up to two cards when they return. This will give you an opportunity to raise addition money. The rider would pay a few dollars to be able to turn in one or two cards and draw a replacement for those cards from the deck increasing their chances for a better hand.

A poker run can be a lot of fun. Typically there are prizes or money offered for the winner(s).

Now the next time you hear about a poker run you will know what it is.

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