Any venture worth getting into requires preparation and work. ATV racing is no different.

Taking your ATV to the races requires commitment as much as it does talent. Hopefully, you've read our Beginner's Guide to ATV Racing and followed the suggestions to get into racing. But there's more to be done. You may be the fastest rider among your group of friends but unless you've done some serious upgrades to your 4-wheeler don't expect to win the holeshot or anything for that matter.

First order of business! In order to race, your ATV needs Nerf bars and a kill switch. These add-ons don't add power rather most, if not all sanctioned races, require them. The Nerf bars keep your feet and legs protected and the kill switch shuts the engine off in the event you come off the ATV. Plus, don't forget the front and rear number plate. We cover additional rules in the Beginner's Guide.

All photos - onethreeracing.com

The following product suggestions for Nerf bars and kill switches should give you some ideas based on your budget.

Nerf Bars

Economical Nerf Bars

Mid-Range Nerf Bars

High-End Nerf Bars

AC Racing Nerf Bars

Rock Pro Series Race Nerf Bars

Houser Racing Pro Bounce Aluminum Nerf Bars

Price: $144.77 - $311.77

Price: $209.99

Price: $445.95 - $583.95

Features:

  • Built with 6160 T6 aluminum
  • Durable nylon webbing cushions impact
  • Constructed using a ball burnished process for durability
  • Stylish look

Features:

  • Durable, lightweight and stylish
  • Foot peg design keeps feet planted
  • Integrated heel guards
  • Made from lightweight aluminum tubing

Features:

  • Rubber ball with progressive shock absorbing abilities
  • Convex shape foot pegs with large mud clean outs and rubber isolation mounts to reduce frame vibration
  • Tree hugger design allows you to pivot round trees
  • Aluminum tubes bolt to steel mounts preventing aluminum weld cracks caused by frame flexing
 

Kill switches

Economical Kill Switch

Mid-range Kill Switch

High-end Kill Switch

BikeMaster Kill Switch

Pro Armor Pro Series Kill Switch

Ride Engineering Billet Kill Switch

Price: $22.46 - $26.96

Price: $34.99

Price: $49.95

Features:

  • Available in both normally closed and normally open modes
  • Works with any type of ignition circuit
  • High quality, heavy-duty contact surfaces and durable construction
  • Color: Black

Features:

  • Designed making it easy to pull when needed
  • Constructed with an internal O-ring for proper sealing and prevent contamination
  • Mounts on any ATV for ultimate compatibility
  • Includes an adapter for use on either race style or stock handlebars

Features:

  • Replaces and relocates the stock kill switch or starter button to the back of the clutch or brake lever perch
  • Replaces the stock kill switch on all carbureted models
  • Replaces the starter switch on electric start models
  • Works on Electronic Fuel Injected (EFI) models
 

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Now we can get into what might give you an edge over your competitors. If you're budget conscious and want to see if racing is something to invest in then you may be better off sticking with your current set-up even if that means going with stock. But, in the long run it never hurts to upgrade and if you really want to make a mark in the racing circuit, it makes sense to invest in the following:

  • Racing tires
  • Wheels
  • Handlebars
  • Suspension

ATV Racing tires

Racing tires or Motocross ATV tires use a tread designed for loose track conditions common in racing. These tires have stiffened knobs to provide consistent cornering and a wide-spaced tread patter for better bite and clean-out. A combination of strong lugs without significant grab is the ideal tire for ATV MX racing.

Economical Racing Tires

Mid-range Racing Tires

High-end Racing Tires

Artrax MXT ATV Tires

ITP Holeshot ATV Rear Tire

Maxxis RAZR XM Motocross Rear Tire

Price: $37.99-$47.94

Price: $80.06 - $83.24

Price: $78.99 - $109.99

Features:

  • Two types of shoulder knobs gives extreme bite and maximum traction and control
  • X-dog bone tread pattern and the concave center relief allow for flex during aggressive turning
  • Heavy duty tire carcass for maximum shock absorption and durability
  • 4-ply

Features:

  • Special rim guard provides protection to the wheel and an air tight seal
  • Patented split-knob tread pattern that offers exceptional all-around performance
  • Beefed up side walls to provide tough puncture resistance
  • 4-ply rating

Features:

  • Brand new tread pattern with aggressive, pre-grooved knobs that bite hard and slide predictably
  • Motocross-specific soft compound for superior traction and precise handling
  • Designed for all motocross racing conditions
  • 2-ply
 

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Wheels

You'll need seriously strong wheels to take the aggressive riding and pounding jumps that comes with racing ATVs. One cracked wheel and you'll limp back to the pits. Upgrading both your wheels and tires is almost a must for racing. Upgrading one over the other is more or less a waste of money.

Economical ATV Racing Wheels

Mid-range ATV Racing Wheels

High-end ATV Racing Wheels

Rock Aluminum Wheel

DWT Ultimate Conventional Beadlock Wheel

Hiper Tech 3 Dual Beadlock Wheel

Price: $39.99 - $49.99

Price: $149.99 - $169.99

Price: $299.99

Features:

  • Straightforward aluminum wheel with straightforward durability
  • 160" (4MM) thick spun aluminum wheel provides a great balance between toughness and weight
  • Front wheel measures 3b + 5n

Features:

  • Light enough for the sand yet strong enough for the trail
  • Specifically engineered for heavy-duty ATV racing
  • A Load Rating much higher than the competition
  • Wheels use an integral ring and integral beadlock back-to-bac

Features:

  • Rubber O-ring recessed into the wheel halves allows for full serviceability in the field
  • True modular design with no need for welding, silicone, or any unique tools
  • Beadring is designed with self-tightening feature
  • Offset: 4+5
 

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Suspension

Don't upgrade to any suspension, the best suspension for racing is built to your riding style and weight. You can get some great performance by rebuilding your stock shocks however not all shocks can be rebuilt. If you go the rebuild route, ensure your current setup can be rebuilt otherwise go the replacement route.

Economical Suspension

Mid-range Suspension

High-end Suspension

Pivot Works Swing Arm/Shock/Linkage Bearing Combo

Progressive 512 Series Front Shocks - Pair

Houser Racing Slicast Regular Travel A-Arm Kit

Price: $141.90 - $233.85

Price: $269.96

Price: $688.95 - $1044.95

Features:

  • Restores handling and suspension control due to worn or rusted swingarm component
  • Complete kits contain bearings, pins, collars, and seals manufactured to O.E.M. specifications for a perfect fit
  • Shock kits rebuild both ends of the shock absorber
  • Complete kit for suspension bearing replacement

Features:

  • Progressive rate springs for a comfortable ride and improved load stability
  • Five position pre-load adjustments
  • Velocity sensitive damping for a smoother ride
  • Equipped with "Shock Sox" to help keep springs and adjusters clean

Features:

  • Easy to install without having to purchase new shocks
  • Constructed with 4130 chromoly steel, fully TIG welded for maximum strength and durability
  • Easy maintenance
  • Adjustable cambers allow you to adjust to your riding style
 

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Handlebars

ATV handlebars come in several sizes none of which are right or wrong. The best handlebars tend to be what feels best for you. You may prefer the smaller 7/8" handlebar but most tend to gravitate towards the 1-1/8" bar. The bottom line when deciding comes down to preference, but just as important, is what can take the punishment of racing. Find a bar that feels good that also stand up to the rigors of racing. The last thing you want is to crack your bar after landing a jump.

7/8" ATV Handlebars

1-1/8" ATV Handlebars

1-3/8" ATV Handlebars

Moose Competition Bars 7/8

Renthal Twinwall Handlebars - Oversized 1-1/8

Fasst Company Flexx Handlebars - Oversized

Price: $54.95

Price: $107.99

Price: $359.99

Features:

  • T-6 alloy provides high strength yet reduces fatiguing vibration
  • Knurled clutch side helps reduce grip slip
  • Oversized crossbar for greater strength
  • Stealth crossbar pad included

Features:

  • Twinwall construction - consists of two aluminum alloy tubes one within the other
  • Outer tube is 7010 T73 aluminum; Inner tube is ultra-high strength 7010 T6 aluminum
  • Offers 50 percent more flex than steel handlebars
  • Laser-etched positioning grid eases installation

Features:

  • Dramatically reduces vibration
  • Less arm pump and fatigue
  • Tunable to your needs
  • Controlled and consistent
 

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Now it's race time! Remember, check up on the rules of whatever race you're planning to compete in and wear all the right gear. Most of all, have fun and grab the holeshot!

Written By: AndrewT