All-terrain vehicles (ATVs) are incredibly fun to ride. Whether riders prefer utility models or sports ATVs, they don’t have to stop at purchasing a high-quality vehicle and living with whatever they get. Avid riders often customize their ATVs for improved performance, utility, and appearance. Read on to find out about a few of the best custom mods.
Tires and Wheels
Tires are the first thing to upgrade, regardless of what type of ATV riders have. Stock tires almost never hold up to hard riding or off-roading. The aftermarket tires and wheels sold by Offroad Power Products are designed to withstand heavy use.
It’s important to take riding style and context in mind when purchasing tires and wheels. Most sport ATV tires are designed for racers, so they’re lighter than stock tires and typically provide better grip. People who use their ATVs primarily for off-roading or as utility vehicles on rural land don’t need to worry about speed. Instead, they should look for tires that offer excellent traction on rough terrain even if it means adding some extra weight.
Good aftermarket rims are more durable than lightweight stock models. They’ll be better able to hold up to the stressful conditions found on trails and tracks. Most aftermarket ATV rims also weigh less than stock models, so they can also give ATV racers a speed boost. Plus, they turn heads everywhere riders go.
Upgrade the Exhaust System
Upgrading to a better exhaust system won’t just shave weight. Doing so will also offer a power boost for added speed and targeted gains in both the low- and high-end power. Adding horsepower and reducing weight are the best ways to give a sport ATV an edge. They are also a fantastic way to impress other ATV riders out on the dunes or trails.
Install a Performance Clutch
Installing a performance clutch kit will offer immediate improvements when it comes to torque and acceleration. It will also make shifting smoother and put less wear on the transmission when changing gears. An ATV with a performance clutch will perform better for longer than one stuck with the stock model.
Upgrade the Intake Air Box
Combustion engines like those found in all ATVs need plenty of air to run smoothly. Keeping the fuel-to-air ratio at its optimal level is the best way to achieve maximum horsepower from any engine. In most cases, that requires upgrading the intake air box.
The good news is that upgrading the intake airbox is one of the least-expensive mods around. Combine it with a performance air filter and this upgrade will offer plenty of bang for a rider’s buck, especially if he or she installs the new intake airbox at home. Given that this is also one of the easiest ATV mods, most mechanically inclined riders should have no problem handling it as a DIY job.
Riders who are more concerned about performance under extreme conditions may want to go one step further by installing snorkel air intakes. These types of air intakes are designed for serious off-roaders, but they’re popular among most ATV riders.
There’s one caveat worth mentioning here. Replacing only the air intake will not have as large of an impact as combining this mod with an exhaust system upgrade. Without upgrading the full exhaust, and possibly doing some work on the fuel system, the ATV will take in more air than it needs without providing measurable performance gains.
Handlebars and Hand Grips
Not all custom mods are about increasing power or performance. Some focus more on handling and comfort. Since even the best-quality ATVs don’t come straight from the factory tailored to each rider’s needs, people who want to improve their handling will need to replace the handlebars and grips themselves.
Some riders with larger hands opt for large-diameter handlebars. Others prefer the stock ⅞” bars found on sport ATVs and just want new hand grips. Either solution is fine as long as it allows riders to maintain their grip even when riding through rough terrain.
Chains and Sprockets
Riders who make mods that affect horsepower and torque will also need to upgrade their chains. The more power the ATV has, the more pressure it will exert on the chain, and stock chains rarely hold up well to all that extra wear. The best thing for riders to do is to upgrade to a thick, sturdy chain at the same time as they make other power upgrades. Most serious riders prefer O-ring chains.
It’s also wise to replace the sprocket at the same time. An ATV’s sprocket propels the chain, so make sure it’s heavy-duty enough to accommodate the heavier chain. Riders can also install larger rear sprockets with extra teeth to improve acceleration at the low end. A smaller rear sprocket with fewer teeth, on the other hand, can increase top-end performance.
Install Skid Plates
Installing skid plates will add some extra weight to the ATV, but it’s worth the slight decrease in performance to protect the underside of the vehicle. Riders will have three options for skid plate materials:
- UHMW plastic
Steel is the heaviest of these materials, so it’s a good option for serious off-roaders who care more about durability than speed. Ultra-High Molecular Weight (UHMW) polyethylene plastic is very light and durable, but it’s also expensive and hard to repair. Aluminum skid plates provide a comfortable middle ground for budget-conscious riders who don’t want to sacrifice too much speed since it’s lighter than steel and cheaper than UHMW plastic.
The Bottom Line
Some custom mods are easier to perform and more cost-efficient than others. Before making any modifications to an ATV, think about how they will affect weight, power, handling, safety, and appearance. Every rider has different goals, so a mod that’s worth the money for a sport ATV racer who needs to shave every possible millisecond off his or her track times won’t necessarily benefit a casual off-roader who cares more about durability and longevity. Make sure every mod serves a distinct purpose.