Twist Throttle vs. Thumb Throttle on ATV: Which is better? 

Last Updated on November 20, 2023 by ATVNotes

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New in the ATV-craze? Are you not sure whether you love your ATV’s thumb throttle? Or just curious about why ATVs use thumb throttles instead of twist throttles? 

The twist throttle is operated by twisting the grip on the handlebar allowing for greater control over speed and acceleration. And the thumb throttle is controlled with a lever that is pushed forward or backward by the rider’s thumb. A thumb throttle is more popular with beginners since it only requires pushing or pulling with one finger rather than manipulating an entire grip. Both types of throttles have their benefits and drawbacks, which we’ll explore here.

ATVs are vehicles that can be customized for every modification on earth. But can you do it for your throttle too? This article will answer that and settle the debate about ATV Twist Throttle vs. Thumb Throttle once and for all. Read on. 

Throttles on ATVs

The types of throttles with modern ATVs are thumb throttles and twist throttles. Proper use of throttle will improve overall performance and longevity of an ATV’s engine while ensuring rider safety. For that, you must have a clear idea of them.

Thumb Throttle 

Thumb throttles are ergonomically designed, so the lever is under your thumb, on the inner side of your ATV’s handlebar. That makes it easier to turn on your ATV. With a thumb throttle, all you have to do is keep your thumb over the lever and press down.

ATV thumb throttle

The more pressure you apply on the lever, the faster your ATV will go. Also, many thumb throttles come with a built-in safety switch, so you don’t need to worry about accidentally hitting the throttle while riding.

Advantages of Thumb Throttles:

  • They will prevent your wrists from getting sore as you will not have to use your grip.
  • You are in more control of your vehicle’s speed and direction.
  • It will not interfere with the brake lever.
  • You can add more lights or looking glasses/ mirrors.
  • Thumb throttles also allow riders to focus on riding instead of constantly worrying about their grips.

Twist Throttle 

Twist throttles are most common in motorbikes and e-bikes. You have to twist them forward or backward to turn your ATV on or off. Unlike thumb throttles, the entire handlebar is the throttle, so you do not have to worry about keeping your hand and thumb a certain way to turn the power on.

Advantages of Twist Throttles:

  • They are more comfortable to use for motorbike users.
  • They are the better option for people who do not have the required thumb strength. 
  • They are better for rough terrain.

Why Do ATVs Have Thumb Throttles 

Before we move onto the ATV thumb throttle vs. twist, we will have to know why every ATV uses thumb throttles instead of the latter. 

Safer Navigation 

ATVs are vehicles designed to ride over rocky and mountainous areas, shallow water, and dangerous paths. That means your ATV’s speed will never stay the same, nor will your grip. In places where you need to use higher speed, you will naturally hold onto your handlebar for support and safety.

Now, picture this: if your ATV had a twist throttle, you could accidentally increase the ATV’s speed, which could lead to accidents and messy situations. Therefore, in this ATV twist throttle and thumb throttle debate, the thumb throttle wins as it provides better security. 

You can ride tension-free as you will not have to worry about your thumb’s force or lean too much against the throttle.

Thumb Throttles are Easier to Use 

Most riders prefer thumb throttles over twist throttles because they are easier to use. Users find it more comfortable to use something that will not operate accidentally. 

Moreover, thumb throttles are better for new learners as they can be operated just by a button and the thumb, compared to twisting. That also makes deceleration and acceleration easier to perform, leading to fewer accidents and loss of life. 

Worry-free riding

As you may have already gotten the gist, thumb throttles are just safer. Riders are in more control of their ATVs, and there are fewer chances of engaging the throttle in places where you do not need to, as you will have to push a button for that to happen. 

Is twist throttle on an ATV a better alternative? 

Twist throttles on ATVs are a popular alternative to thumb throttles. They offer a range of benefits that make them an attractive option for riders looking to take their off-roading experience to the next level.

Firstly, twist throttles provide riders with greater control over their ATVs. Unlike thumb throttles, which can be somewhat awkward to operate at higher speeds, twist throttles allow riders to maintain precise control over their vehicle’s speed and acceleration. 

Twist Throttle on an ATV

This means they can push their ATV harder and faster without sacrificing safety or control. In addition to providing better control, twist throttles also tend to be more comfortable for riders.

Many people find that thumb throttles become uncomfortable after extended periods of use, whereas twist throttles are designed in such a way as to reduce stress and strain on the rider’s hand and wrist. This makes them ideal for longer rides or for anyone suffering from joint pain or mobility issues.

Overall, while there is no definitive answer as to whether twist throttle is the better alternative on an ATV than a thumb throttle; it’s clear that they offer some distinct advantages that many riders will find appealing. 

Can You Switch to Twist Throttles?

Despite the safety, maybe the debate winner, for you, in ATV twist throttle vs. thumb throttle is the former. We understand, and if you are wondering if you can change your thumb throttle to switch throttle, the answer is yes, but there are limitations. 

The Law 

Some countries have laws that only allow you to use thumb throttles for safety measures, so you better check your local laws before changing them.

The ATV System 

If your ATV uses a drive-by-wire system, it will not be easy to change your thumb throttle to a twisted one. You cannot change your throttle type if your ATV has an electronic fuel injection system. This is available in every modern ATV, so unless your ATV is old, twist throttles are a dream of the past.

So, what can you do? You can buy a conversion kit (if your ATV is old) or a thumb-throttle extension to solve the problem.

Twist throttle for superior control

What is a Throttle conversion kit? 

A throttle conversion kit is an essential upgrade for all-terrain vehicles. It is a simple modification that replaces the factory-installed thumb throttle with a twist throttle, making it easier to control and maneuver the ATV. The kit includes all necessary components such as cables, grips, and mounting hardware.

The benefits of installing a twist throttle conversion kit or a thumb throttle conversion kit are numerous and let’s focus on the major two. 

First, it provides better control of the ATV because riders can easily maintain their grip on the handlebars while accelerating or decelerating. 

Second, it reduces rider fatigue because twisting the grip requires less effort than pressing down on a thumb lever. Lastly, it enhances safety by allowing riders to react faster in emergencies.

In conclusion, if you own an ATV and want to improve your riding experience, consider installing a throttle conversion kit. Not only will it make controlling your vehicle easier and safer, but it will also reduce stress on your hands during long rides. With its affordable price point and easy installation process, this is an upgrade you won’t regret. 

What is a Thumb Throttle Extender?

A thumb throttle extender is an attachment that can be added to any ATV, providing riders with better hold and relieving thumb fatigue. It gives the rider a wider range of motion, offering them better control over rough terrain.

The extender makes the thumb rest further from the grip than usual and gives a wider area to control the throttle. It also supports the thumb, so riders can maintain a steady hold on their ATV without gripping it too tightly.

This provides more comfort for the rider and makes it easy to navigate any terrain. Overall, this thumb throttle extension is an affordable and simple way to improve the performance of any ATV.

What Can I Do to Prevent Thumb Pain?

Thumb throttle has numerous benefits but not without thumb pain as a natural by product. How to prevent it? Here you go:

  1. Make sure that your thumb throttle is properly adjusted. This will help to reduce any strain on the muscles in your hand and make it easier to grip the handlebar.
  2. Avoid gripping the handlebar too tightly. This can cause fatigue and make it difficult to maintain a steady grip.
  3. Take regular breaks to give your hands a rest, which will help reduce any potential soreness.
  4. Consider using a thumb-throttle extender if you find it difficult to maintain a steady grip on the handlebars or are experiencing fatigue.
  5. Wear gloves while riding. This will protect your hands from wear and tear and improve your grip.
  6. Stretch and use your hands often to keep them from hurting and get better at using them.
  7. Ensure your ATV is appropriately adjusted to suit your size and riding style. This will help to prevent any strains on the muscles in your hand when riding.


How to convert Thumb Throttle to Twist Throttle?

In order to successfully install the twist throttle assembly, begin by detaching and removing the stock cable. Next, take away the old thumb throttle body and its handlebar grip. Once completed, slide in the new housing for your newly installed twist throttle system and make sure that everything is properly aligned so that it opens and closes with no restrictions or bindings along its path.

Is Throttle by Wire Efficient?

The answer to this question depends on what you are looking for. Throttle by wire (TbW) is a newer technology that provides more control and precision when it comes to throttle response. This gives the rider improved control over their ATV and allows them to adjust their acceleration better when riding.

However, it is important to note that TbW systems are generally more expensive than their traditional counterparts and may require specialized maintenance. 

Does Thumb throttle for dirt bikes work for ATV?

While it may seem that thumb throttles for dirt bikes and ATVs are the same, they differ prominently in design and functionality. 

One major difference lies in design. Dirt bike thumb throttles usually have a shorter travel distance than ATV thumb throttles. This means that the rider only needs to move their thumb slightly to adjust the speed of their bike, while an ATV’s throttle requires more movement.

Another difference would be how they function. Dirt bikes generally require quicker acceleration and faster response times, making their thumb throttles more sensitive compared to those on ATVs which prioritize power delivery over immediate responsiveness.

Why Don’t Motorcycles Have Thumb Throttles?

The hand throttle or twist throttle has always been a crucial component of their design. On the other hand, thumb throttles are commonly used on ATVs and snowmobiles. So, why don’t motorcycles have thumb throttles?

Safety over convenience should be the principle in powersports. A thumb throttle can be dangerous when traveling at high speeds, as it requires riders to remove their hands from the handlebars to change gears or brake.

Another reason could be ergonomics. The position of the hand grip on a motorcycle is different from that of an ATV or snowmobile, making it more challenging to operate a thumb throttle effectively without sacrificing comfort and control. Conversely, hand throttle allows motorcyclists to maintain a secure grip on the handlebars while achieving precise acceleration.

Difference between thumb throttle vs finger throttle?

Thumb throttle and finger throttle are two variants of the throttles used in ATVs, snowmobiles, and e-bikes. The thumb throttle is a push-button located on the right-hand side handlebar, which can be easily controlled by using your thumb. On the other hand, a finger throttle is a trigger-like mechanism that helps you control the speed of your e-bike using your index or middle finger.

The main difference between these two types of throttles is their design and functionality. While thumb throttles offer more precision and require less effort to operate, finger throttles provide better grip and allow for quicker reaction times. On its top, thumb throttles tend to offer more consistent speeds as they can be locked in place while riding.

Choosing between a thumb or finger throttle ultimately comes down to personal preference and riding style. Some riders prefer the ease of use offered by a thumb throttle while others enjoy the tactile feedback provided by a finger throttle.

ATV Thumb Throttle or Twist Throttle: Which One is Better?

There are two main types of throttles for quads: twist and thumb. Twist throttles work by twisting the grip on the handlebar to adjust speed, while thumb throttles are pushed with the thumb to control acceleration.

Some riders prefer twist throttles because they offer more control over acceleration and can be easier to use with gloves on. They also allow for a more natural hand position while riding. However, others argue that thumb throttles are safer since they require less wrist motion and allow for quicker reaction times in case of emergency braking.

Ultimately, the choice between twist and thumb throttle comes down to personal preference and what feels most comfortable for each individual rider. 

Having said that, in the debate about ATV twist throttle vs. thumb throttle, the latter is superior in terms of safety. But if you are also a motorcycle rider and prefer the twist throttle, you can opt for a thumb throttle extender to get the best of both worlds. However, checking your local laws before changing your ATV’s setup is always better.

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