Tips To Improve Your Sport Quad For Trail Riding

Sport ATV — on February 19, 2010 at 9:45 am

We’ve done it in the expansive sand dunes, desert washes and on twisting fire roads – even non-racers get it; just squeeze it and smile. While it¹s fun to wick it up, it’s also enjoyable to take in the scenery and tackle rugged terrain at a leisurely pace. Whether you’re a trail cruiser out for a joyride or a rider looking to crawl through a rocky challenge, there are ways to make your sport ATV more versatile. Here are few tips to improve your sport quad’s abilities. Make it worthy!

winchIn A Pinch? Winch!

A winch doesn’t seem like the “performance” thing to add to a sport quad, but trust us, it

Warn's XT15 winch

Warn's XT15 winch

 makes perfect sense. Warn’s RT/XT15 winch and mounting system turn an ordinary sport machine into a versatile trail explorer. With its 1,500-pound pulling capacity and 40 feet of synthetic rope, the XT15 ($399) can rescue your quad and other machines if need be. Check out



Bolt-on Rack

One way to add function to your sport quad is adding racks. Although a heavily weighted rear rack could slightly alter the machine’s handling, it more than makes up for it in hauling capability. You could go with a rear six-pack rack (or grab bar) or explore adding an entire rear rack (like those on utility ATVs). Fuse Powersports ( offers rear racks for around $80, complete with mounting kits. PRM Products ( and AC Racing ( sell six-pack racks.

Instant Feedback

When it comes to LCD displays and speedometers, only a few of sport quads (Raptor 700R/Renegade) come equipped with these electronic devices. We think adding a computer like the Trail Tech Vapor ( and/or a GPS from Garmin ( is a good idea. For starters, you’ll have much more information flowing your way. And if you go with a GPS, you should be able to pinpoint your favorite sites and not get lost, which is especially important.

Tire Savers

One great way to ensure your ATV is ready for a trail excursion is investing in new tires. The best bet is replacing stockers with a tread pattern and size that will let you conquer the terrain at hand. Read: added ground clearance, puncture resistance, improved traction. Another way to improve your chances of riding longer and farther is to purchase some sort of flat tire prevention. From the expensive and rugged Tire Balls( to an affordable internal sealant like Slime (, you have a few choices. The most economical option is carrying a tire plug kit. Try one from Extreme Outback Products ( or Safety Seal (

Thumbs Up

For those who enjoy long rides but hate to continually push the thumb throttle, consider replacing your throttle assembly with a twist throttle or have both styles in one. Motion Pro ( has an assembly for most sport models. Moose Racing ( and Terry Cable ( each offer the combo throttle controls that let you choose between a thumb and twist operation for roughly $150. An even more cost-effective method is to explore a throttle extension that bolts to the stock lever or add an extended billet unit from Mod Quad ( for around $30.

genericSave Your Arse

Sport quads are quick, nimble and lightweight. They usually have a lower center of gravity and smaller mid section that lets a rider hug the narrow fuel tank with their legs. The closest way to add utility seat comfort to your sporty is with a new desert seat from Quad Tech (

Designed with a 1-1/4 inch higher replacement seat foam, the Desert seat adds comfort for long rides in every environment. For larger sport ATVs (Scrambler, Renegade, etc.) you can also add comfort with the Gel-Tech Seat Cover from Kolpin Powersports (

Handy Parts

Hand guards, whether simply a bolt-on, flexible style or a complete “bark buster” assembly, add ruggedness to any sport quad, look great and, above all, protect your hands. They can slow cold air, keep mud off your hands and the quad’s control levers and protect your knuckles from flying debris. Try PowerMadd ( Another option for hand protection and warmth is hand covers. These fabric parts slide over the handlebar grips and keep your hands dry and toasty. A few key tips to remember: they can be too warm when used with heated grips. Also, be certain the levers and thumb throttle can operate without catching on the covers.

It’s Nerfs or Nothing

Nerf bars are usually reserved for racers but, trust us, it’s for the average rider, too. Pro Armor (, Rath Racing( and a host of other companies can add style to your machine and save your legs, too. Nerf bars are essentially

ProArmor Pro XC Nerf Bars

ProArmor Pro XC Nerf Bars

 floorboards for sport quads. The integrated netting and heel guards prevent your legs and feet from touching the ground and being run over by the rear tires. Many racers see nerfs as a must-add item, and we like them for the added protection and looks.

Belly Dance

If your quad doesn’t have underbelly protection, consider adding a full-length skid plate. Options include composite plastic skids, carbon fiber or something thicker, like aluminum. A swingarm skid plate is also a good idea to protect the chain, sprocket and rear brake assembly. Although A-arm guards add weight, they can be a smart add-on, too, if you play in the rocks. Key parts to look for are rubber-lined mounts for reduced vibration, drainage holes, recessed hardware (to prevent sheared bolts), wrap-around side and front sections (smoother transitions) and oil drain plug access.

REM Performance ( and UM Racing ( offer frame plates and other hard parts to fortify your ATV.

Light ‘Em Up

Improved lighting makes a big difference. You never know when your ride could be delayed due to a mechanical problem or someone in your riding party getting lost. A day ride could become a night ride faster than you think. We like to know our machine has better visibility for riding in the dense woods and improved warning for blind corners. Whether it’s upgrading to a stronger bulb or adding more lighting, check out PIAA (, Baja Designs (, Bluhm Enterprises and Trail Tech for options.

Wheels Down

Some stock wheels will fold faster than a poker champ holding a pair of twos. If you’re one those riders who always seems to ding a rim or break stuff, you may want to improve your ATV by adding new wheels. You can choose between steel, carbon fiber and aluminum and also explore a design with beadlocks. Basically, a beadlock will hold the low-pressure tire’s bead on the rim and not let it unseat or lose more air pressure.

Related Posts


  • Stoney says:

    How about taller tires. Going from 18 to 20 inch tires to 22 inch ones, gets an extra 1 to 2 inches clearance. Might save on some repairs.

  • Matt says:

    What sort of mount did you use to mount the winch?

  • Mike says:

    I have a YFZ-450 with a XT-15 mounted but can’t find a bumper like the one pictured in the article. Who makes the one pictured? Do you know of any other companies who make something like that for a YZF? I checked with Pro-Armor and they do not offer anything for a YZF even though they make others and have teamed up with Warn for just that.

Leave a Reply

Refresh Image


Leave a Trackback
  1. Vintage Mini Bikes » Blog Archive » Kawasaki 3010 Trans Diesel Mule Power Steering New - 29 Apr 2010
  2. Top 10 ATV Stories Of 2010 | ATV Mag Blog - 31 Dec 2010