Photo by: Ken Hill
Motocross isn't just for 2-wheelers.
It should be no surprise that a growing movement in racing involves ATV riders. The Mtn. Dew ATV MX National Championship held its first ever ATV Supercross race at Daytona to open the 2015 season which concluded with one of the most exciting Championship battles in recent memory. Plus, more and more Motocross tracks hold practice sessions for ATV riders. It's a good trend that's following the current growth spurt in dirt bike riding.
Lots of people find ATVs easier to ride especially for younger kids since the learning curve isn't as steep while falling off and getting hurt is a less likely scenario than someone riding a dirt bike for the first time. But ATV racing isn't a new sport, it's been around for year, and many riders spend their weekends wrenching on their bikes looking for the edge to win the holeshot and grab the checkers.
Like dirt bikes, modifying ATVs can offer significant weight reduction, better handling and overall riding comfort that powers you through a day at the races. Obviously, ATVs have a different set-up than a dirt bike but the necessary modifications to be competitive are not too much different.
1. Wheels and Tires
It's a wonder that ATV manufacturers bother delivering sport ATVs with tires and wheels because the majority of riders (and all racers) replace those immediately. Wheels and tires represent the most important component to competitive ATV racing. You can change everything on the bike but nothing comes as close as modifying the wheels and tires.
- Check out the ATV Wheel page and the popular Hiper Tech 3 Single Beadlock Wheel
- Racers gravitate towards the ITP Holeshot ATV Front and Rear tires but also check other selections from ITP, Maxxis and Artrax.
Second only to wheels and tires, modifying the exhaust is a must if you're to compete. Right off the gate, a new exhaust system drops significant weight from your machine which gives you a boost at the start for the holeshot and once you're in the thick of things helps you glide through everything else rather than roll along the track like a tank. An upgraded exhaust system also cranks out more power and you can target low-end or high-end performance.
Find your comfort zone! The best way to do this on an ATV is installing the right handlebars. Modifying the handlebars to reach a bit higher than the stock bar is a step in the right direction whether you use the traditional 7/8 bar or oversized 1-1/8. Choose one specific to ATVs or "High."
- Check out the ATV Handlebars page.
4. Chain and Sprocket
The rigors of ATV racing require a strong chain and sprocket setup. Remember, ATVs weigh probably twice that of a dirt bike so equipping your 4-wheeler with a durable set is one less worry come race day.
- Check out the ATV Drive page.
5. Controls and Levers
You'll find after changing your handlebars especially if you opt for a higher setting you'll need to replace some of the controls but more specifically the brake and shift levers. An uncomfortable reach or cumbersome grasp changes from a slight annoyance to unbearable after a 30 minute Moto.
- Check out the ATV Levers page
You might be wondering, "Where the heck is suspension?" Modifying the suspension on your ATV is also a crucial component to competing, however it's costly. So costly that suspension changes alone typically sell for more than the Top 5 listed here, combined. Weekend warriors and even riders who race weekly in local competitions don't usually fork out the money to modify the suspension.