June 21, 2022

A Complete Guide to ATV and Powersport Slang

Most sports and activities have their own slang, their own terms for things, that if you’re not part of it may sound like gibberish. Off-roading is no exception, but to save you the embarrassment of asking “what’s that mean?”, we’re listing all the common words and terms for riding the trails.

Powersports Slang

Airtime

Airtime refers to the amount of time your ATV is in the air after taking a jump. Your speed and jump height factor into your airtime. The faster and higher you jump, the more airtime you get.

ATV 

This is one of the most well-known powersports terms out there. It stands for “All-Terrain Vehicle”, and it can refer to a vehicle with three wheels or four wheels.

Bottom out

Landing from a jump so hard that your suspension springs fully compress. You’ll know you bottomed out by the grating clunk sound, and if you’re constantly bottoming out, we suggest looking at getting stiffer suspension, or at the very least getting regular tune ups to keep your machine running smoothly and extend its longevity. 

You can get your ATV tuned up at any of our locations, so contact the location that’s closest to you! 

Bump Start

Also known as ‘push start’, ‘compression start’, or ‘popping the clutch’. Whatever you call it, it’s a way to get your ATV going when it’s having an electrical issue. It’s especially useful if your ATV won’t start because the battery died. 

It’s done by putting the ATV into 2nd gear and rolling it as fast as you can (either by pushing it using manpower or going down a hill) while holding the clutch in. Once it’s rolling, hop on and quickly let the clutch out.

CCs

CCs stands for ‘cubic centimetres’. This refers to the volume of the engine. Engine volume can be as low as 50cc or as high as 1,000cc.

Digger

Any crash or collision. Be careful and avoid them at all costs!

Four stroke

ATVs usually have a four stroke engine, which means the pistons go through four strokes while the crankshaft turns.

Ground clearance

The distance between your ATV and the ground.

Goosing it

Revving the throttle in short bursts to jump the ATV forward.

Holeshot

The first rider to get to the first turn.

Hydrolocking 

Hydrolocking occurs when riding through water and the engine takes on too much water. This can lead to mechanical failure.

Knobby tire

The type of tire used on ATVs. They have strategically placed knobs to help better grip dirt and mud.

Mudding

Riding in areas that are very muddy. The whole point of mudding is to get as messy as possible. If you’re going mudding, make sure to check out this article to get unstuck from the muck.

Off-camber

Part of a trail that’s on a steep incline. These areas put riders at risk of rollovers.

Paperweight

A part that is broken beyond repair and its only function is to keep paper weighed down.

Plastic

Refers to the body of an ATV which are usually made of plastic.

Poker run

An ATV rally with stops along the route for riders to collect randomly dealt playing cards. The number of stops depends on the game. Once the riders visit all the stops and have their full hand, the rider with the best hand wins.

Powerslide 

Sliding the rear end of your ATV by applying the throttle.

Quad 

A commonly used name four a four-wheeled ATV. Can also be called a Four Wheeler.

Razorback

A sand dune that drops off sharply on each side.

Rollover

Rolling or tipping the ATV over on one side. This can be dangerous so be careful to avoid rollovers whenever possible.

That means being aware of razorbacks and off-camber areas.

Roost

The dirt and debris your ATV will kick up when the tires spin in place. Short for “Rooster Tail.”

Skid Plate

Metal plates that protect the undercarriage of your ATV.

Speed Shifting

Shifting through all of your ATV’s gears without releasing the clutch. We don’t recommend doing this as it can damage your transmission over the long term.

Squirrel

A reckless and unsafe rider. Don’t be a squirrel. Named after how erratic and unpredictable squirrels can be.

Stock 

An ATV that has all of its original parts and no aftermarket modifications.

SXS

Abbreviation for a side-by-side, an ATV that has two seats next to each other.

UTV

UTV stands for ‘Utility Terrain Vehicle’. They are used for work more so than just recreational riding. They are more powerful than the average ATV and often have more storage space. 

For more information, check out our article on the differences between UTVs and ATVs.

Wheelbase

The distance from the center of the front wheels hub to the center of the rear wheel hub.

Whoops

Rolling bumps on a trail spaced about five to ten feet apart. Whoops are usually one to three feet high.

Winch

Essential equipment that will pull you free if your ATV gets stuck. It’s so important that it comes stock with many ATVs already.

For other essential items when ATV’ing, check out our article on the top 8 items you should bring on every ATV ride.

Yard sale

A crash that leaves broken ATV parts in its wake. Not recommended.


Now get out there and have fun!

Now that you’re up to date on ATV slang, check out our beginner’s guide for ATVs to make sure you’ve got all the equipment you’ll need to hit the trails.

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