Wrenching on your ATV is not only a great use of a free afternoon, when not riding of course, but to find new ways to get your quad faster and more comfortable.
Regular maintenance is more about extending the life of your ATV and while fresh oil certainly contributes to optimum horsepower levels upgrading to an expensive synthetic doesn't necessarily give you an extra punch when the gates drop. Same goes for coolant and transmission fluids.
However, like any riding machine, specific tweaks and the addition of aftermarket parts often provides the extra edge that gets you around the first turn in front or makes blazing down trails an exhilarating roller coaster. Unfortunately these tweaks and add-ons often come at a burdensome cost most riders don't bother considering.
But a number of cost effective modifications just might give you that extra edge needed to step on the podium or keep you riding for hours on the trails. We've covered inexpensive adjustments to dirt bikes so what can ATV riders do to improve the performance of their quads without breaking the bank?
Upgrade Your Gas
Car, dirt bike, lawn mower or ATV. Anything that requires gasoline to run performs better with higher octane fuel even if it's not required by the manufacturer. You'll also get better gas mileage. Of course with the smaller fuel tank on an ATV miles per gallon is negligible but you'll feel the power difference as soon as you roll the throttle.
So if your competitors can afford the expensive race juice but you can't make it a battle and spend the extra buck or two on premium fuel at the pump. Also avoid ethanol-based fuel. It's bad for your engine and offers no performance gains.
If you're still riding on stock wheels or somewhere along the way added on steel wheels you can save some serious weight by replacing what you have with aluminum wheels. It's not all that expensive either - depending on your ATV model four wheels cost about $200. Check out DWT Blue Label Wheels.
Save your hands, save your arms. A set of new high quality grips can absorb a lot of the shock that otherwise resonates into your hands and through your arms. Reducing fatigue is central to staying in a race and grips are the first line of defense plus it makes riding much more enjoyable. One of the best reviewed grips on our site is also the most popular ATV grip from ODI. Check out their Rogue Lock-On Grips. $24.
Add a Slip On
If upgrading your ATV's exhaust system is out of the question, try adding a slip on to your current configuration. A slip on is easier to install and provides a boost in horsepower plus you'll get a nice throaty sound. FMF gets you going from less than $200 to just more than $300 depending on ATV model.
Wheel spacers add a wider stance to your ATV thus improving handling and reducing fatigue. Steering is also easier and cornering less sharp thereby providing a higher sense of safety and increasing overall comfort. Wheel spacers are must-haves to accommodate larger tires and wheels. Cost ranges from $70 to nearly $200.
We can totally assume you've already got a tire pressure gauge and tire pump in your garage somewhere. Therefore inflating your tires to the right pressure is 100 percent free. But if you need a new gauge and pump check out the Accugage Dial Tire Pressure and Oxford Track Pump.
If you're looking for performance gains on your ATV then you're likely racing on the weekends not out for a relaxing stroll with the family. Therefore you know how important physical fitness is to riding these beasts of the track. It takes strength and finesse to get these fast machines where you want them to go. You must ride A LOT but you need to run, hit the weights and even work out on a road bike. This is all free (excluding gym memberships, etc.) but for less than $200 you'll recover and get stronger faster using the Ryno Power Complete Supplement Fitness Package.
iBOOSTER Spark Amplifier
We mentioned the iBOOSTER Spark Amplifier in the dirt bike version of inexpensive tweaks and since the set up works for quads, we think it'll work for you. It's new and even newer on the 4 x 4 front but it works and if no one else arrives with one it might be your secret weapon. It installs easy and gives better start-up, fuel mileage, torque and power. The iBOOSTER costs less than $100.
New Spark Plug
Hopefully, if you're wrenching as much as we think you are, then you constantly check your ATV's spark plug. They don't wear down fast so a lot of riders tend to forget until problems arise. Whether you're good to go for now or need a new one make your next one the NGK Offroad Spark Plug. $15 or less.
Air Filter System
Two options exist for your ATV air filter system but it can get expensive when adding both. If you've been riding long then you might already use a K&N Air Filter. A lot of ATV owners tend to upgrade to this lifetime filter first thing. It offers better horsepower and acceleration but optimum filtering. Spend a little more now and you'll save a lot in the long run. Price range varies from just under $40 to $150.
Now checkout the Loudmouth High Performance Air Filter Intake Kit. If you're running the K&M filter it's already a pretty easy install so the time savings the Loudmouth offers on changing your air filter won't make much difference but its ability to seal out dirt and debris is better than anything on the market. Cost is around $200 depending on bike model.
There you have it. If you're a veteran rider it's likely you've tried some of these suggestions already and probably included others as part of routine pre-ride checks anyway. But as you can see, even a few hundred dollars can greatly improve not only the performance of your ATV but also the riding comfort which for some is a significant boost in horsepower.
Written By: AndrewT