Preparation for Sand Dune Riding 101

Gearing up to hit the dunes? If it's your first time, buckle up, because you are in for an altogether different ride than what you experience on the trails. The sand dunes carry a variety of different variables which make riding their ever-changing slopes a challenge every ATV rider must take on. Remember, they don’t call them All Terrain Vehicles for no reason. It might be time to switch up your terrain, and up your game!

Heres the thing: sand is like glitter. It seems to adhere itself in every unwanted place, and try as you may to wash it off, it continues to glisten tauntingly at you. Likewise, riding the dunes will bathe every nook and cranny of your ATV in sand. No problem! A little mess never hurt an ATV that wasn’t prepared for the experience. The TerraFab team has got you covered with the necessary gear to protect against the sand and the pro tips for dune riding.

Necessary Gear

1. Sand and paddle tires

“The wheels on the ATV go round and round”...well, maybe so much if they are the average knob tires in the sand. For sustainable trips to the dunes, swap out the knob tires for rear paddle tires and blade tires in the front. Paddle tires are designed to scoop the sand in the revolution of the tire for grip in acceleration in sandhill climbing and dragging. You’ll be whipping up a pleasantly dramatic sandstorm behind you too.

2. Steel sprockets

The non-stop grind of the sand will call for steel sprockets, which are solid and durable. Save yourself the damage the sand will deal on aluminum sprockets! Better to have the preventive parts, like steel sprockets, than to be constantly replacing gear.

3. Viscosity Lube

To avoid cleaning up a messy and gluey fluid after your ride in the dunes, you’ll want to avoid using regular chain lube. This gluey fluid is the product of the naturally thick lube battered with the adhesive sand throughout the ride. A lighter chain oil will not mix so disastrously with the sand and is the safer solution. Another helpful alternative is simply, tired and true, WD40 (however, you’ll want to check if it is adaptable to your ATV’s parts).

4. Protection for Air Filters

Imagine attempting to breathe with a mouth full of sand. Apologies for the unpleasant imagery, but that is what your air filter will be like in the onslaught of sand when you hit the dunes. Therefore, take the preventive step and invest in a K&N pre-filter. This provides a cover for your air-box, keeping the sand out, and your engine living longer!

5. Let Your Flag Fly

The last four pieces of gear defended the interior of your ATV, but nothing goes further in protecting the exterior when riding in the dunes than a safety flag. Remember how well the Sand People hid in the sandy hills of Tatooine in Star Wars? Their surprise attacks may have seemed skilled, but the dunes did all the camouflaging work. When rolling up and down the hills, riders can seem to emerge from nowhere. Attaching an 8-foot tall safety flag from your ATV will enable all other riders to see you coming from far away, preventing head-on collisions.

Pro Tips for Sand Dune Riding

1. Don’t Go Solo

There is an appeal in being a lone wolf on the trail, but the absence of trails in the dunes can quickly become disorienting. Having some friends tag along will greatly decrease your possibility of becoming very lost. "If everyone is moving forward together,” said Henry Ford once, “then success takes care of itself." Better yet, come up up with preventive strategies to avoid getting lost together such as deciding on a designated meet-up location and equipping someone with a GPS. Additionally, everyone acts as each other’s spotters, making sure no one in the group is barreling towards another rider.

2. Riding Gear

Your ATV isn’t the only thing that needs protecting. Wearing safety gear in the sand dunes may be twice as important than as on the trails, as your probability of falling is greater. Be safe and armor up.



We wish you the best and are here for you if you ever have any questions.

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