Once you’ve mastered the basics of off-roading, you might be eager for greater thrills. Whether you want to compete in off-road races or just want to have fun, one way to get your adrenaline pumping more is to alter your four-wheeler or side-by-side for maximum RPM. You could go to a mechanic, but there are ways to dial up your off-road vehicle yourself, helping you save money in the process. If you’re ready to take your off-road riding to the next level, ATV Trader has six ways to customize your ATV or UTV to go faster.
1. Install a Big Bore Kit
A big bore kit is one of the most efficient ways of enhancing the horsepower and torque of any off-road vehicle from home. These kits typically include a cylinder, piston, rings, pin, clips, and gasket to fit your ATV or UTV’s engine. The larger cylinder and piston in a big bore kit provide the engine with more power, while also increasing compression.
Big bore kits can be purchased online and are fairly easy for a new owner to install on their own by following the kit’s instructions. You’ll experience an immediate boost in your off-road riding after installing a big bore kit, so it’s a good idea to test out your upgrade in a safe riding area.
2. Add a Slip-On Exhaust
Upgrading your ATV or UTV’s exhaust can mean an expensive trip to the mechanic. Adding a slip-on exhaust is a cost-effective way to increase your four-wheeler or side-by-side’s power and help reduce weight by allowing more air to leave the engine.
This simple installation can often be completed by bolting the combined muffler and tailpipe to your vehicle’s existing mid-pipe. Check out this video for a quick tutorial on how to install a slip-on exhaust.
3. Adjust the Speed Limiter
Most ATVs and UTVs are equipped with a speed limiter, also known as a governor, that caps the amount of gas that goes to your engine while you’re riding.
To take your four-wheeler or side-by-side to the max, turn the screw on the speed limiter that’s located near the thumb throttle. You can either loosen it to extend the screw or completely remove it to achieve the highest RPM. Check out this helpful video that shows how a speed limiter works, along with a tutorial on how to remove it to get more speed out of your unit.
We recommend adjusting your speed limiter gradually so you can get a feel for how your quad rides with the increased RPMs.
4. Upgrade Your Fuel
Many four-wheelers and side-by-sides guzzle regular 87-grade gasoline, which is the manufacturer’s minimum octane recommendation. However, using a higher octane fuel can help increase the performance of your engine. This is especially important if you’ve made any modifications to your off-roader’s engine that require increased compression.
Some ATV and UTV models, such as the Polaris RZR Turbo, require a minimum of 91 octane fuel for maximum performance for the four-stroke, turbocharged engine. While higher octane fuel can be more expensive, it will be more than worth it when you’re going full throttle on the trails.
You can find the fuel recommendations for your specific unit in your vehicle’s owner’s manual.
5. Check the Air Filter
Checking your ATV or UTV’s air filter should be a regular part of your pre-ride inspection. A dirty or clogged filter makes it harder for air to pass through. The cleaner your air filter, the more horsepower your off-roader is able to produce. Some quad racers will even upgrade their air filters to high-flow filters that boost performance.
6. Change the Gear Ratio
The gear ratio refers to the amount of times your ATV or UTV’s front sprocket will rotate per every complete revolution the rear sprocket makes. If you change the gear ratio, you’ll have to decide if you want more acceleration or more top speed. Off-road riders often talk about two situations: gearing up and gearing down.
- Gearing up means adding teeth to the front sprocket to gain higher top speeds. However, this can often result in decreased acceleration.
- Gearing down is the opposite. You will add teeth to your rear sprocket to achieve more acceleration, with the risk of lower top end speed.
Experts recommend changing the gear sprockets gradually and not removing more than one to four teeth at a time from the rear sprocket, as well as one tooth at a time from the front.
When you’re ready to start tinkering with your off-road vehicle, grab a few tools and get to your garage. With just a few adjustments, you could be maximizing the output of your ATV or UTV and reaching top speeds.
Note: Be sure to follow all manufacturer guidelines, owner’s manuals, and directions for these products before, during, and after making changes to your vehicle. In order to avoid overpowering your vehicle, only add one customization at a time. When adding customizations, we recommend having any upgrades or changes performed by a professional mechanic. If you perform any upgrades or changes yourself, have them inspected by a mechanic before use. When using your vehicle after customizing, use extreme caution and wear full protective gear. If your unit is under a factory warranty, be aware that these alterations will likely void that warranty.
If you have a need for speed and are ready to feel the rush of a new or used ATV or UTV, browse the nationwide inventory on ATVTrader.com.