Through the years we’ve worked on just about every ATV or Side x Side ever built. In that time we’ve also collected quite a few tools, but there are a few that we use all the time. If you’re planning on doing much riding you can expect to use a few tools also, and we’ve put together our list of the “dirty dozen” tools we recommend you include in your tool box. Own these and you can do just about any job in the off-road world.
Five Challenges (and Solutions) to Optimum Engine Life & Performance
ATVs and UTVs used for racing, trail riding, heavy hauling and nearly every other application share at least one trait: they pose significant challenges to the fluids that protect them. Despite spending thousands to purchase and modify their machines, some enthusiasts mistakenly see no reason for premium fluids when servicing their ATVs and UTVs. Synthetic motor oil, grease and other high-quality lubricants, however, are formulated to meet the challenges posed by ATVs and UTVs better than lower-cost conventional fluids.
Ever had that feeling your ATV or Side x Side didn’t know where it wanted to be on the trail, darting from one side to the other like a beagle chasing a rabbit and you were just along for the ride? You’ve most likely got a front end alignment problem, but luckily a quick and easy adjustment can keep you on the straight and narrow.
If you’ve got either a dirt toy or a band with an Axle in it, sooner or later you’re going to have problems. Just ask Slash and the other guys from Guns-N-Roses. Recently, when we came limping back to the shop with our Can-Am Commander, we had a dysfunctional axle of our own. Luckily for us, our axle problems were much easier to solve than those of Slash and the boys, and the only therapy needed was a little help from the guys at Gorilla Axle.
If you’re the owner of a Can-Am Commander you have a lot to be happy about. In all of our miles and testing with our Commander we haven’t found much negative to say about them. They have great power, excellent ergonomics, and over-the-top features that put many other UTVs in the runner-up position. The handling of the Commander is also very good, but several times we did wish that the base and XT packages had the precise steering and flat cornering of the X package. Fortunately, that flat handling is only as far away as your local dealership.
So you’re riding along on your favorite off-road toy, whether it's your ATV, motorcycle, snowmobile or watercraft, when suddenly things take a turn for the worse. Maybe you start to lose power and hear a rattle before the eerie silence, or maybe it just up and quits with no warning. Either way, you’re left powerless in the middle of the track, trail, or water. You’ve just become a victim of bad gas… and all the “Bean-O” in the world isn’t going to help you now!
Advice on Suspension Setup from Industry Professionals
There are many very good ATVs and Side x Sides on the market today, and they truly are amazing vehicles, capable of taking us through some of the toughest terrain on the planet. With a little experimenting and adjustment, they can be made even better. One of the areas where the largest improvements can be made and immediately felt is with the suspension, but sadly, many riders overlook any suspension changes until after they’ve installed an aftermarket exhaust, air intake, or a larger set of tires and wheels.
We’ve all seen riders pour buckets of money into their ATV or Side x Side, yet they never think twice about what keeps it running. Along with a clean air filter, clean, high quality oil is vital to keeping your engine running smoothly for many years, and just like your relationship, it all comes down to chemistry.
Making a TRX450 into a better all-around trail & dune quad
How good is the stock Honda TRX450R? Good enough to be a perrenial top choice for off-road racers and trail riders all across the country. But even good machine can always be made better, right? As Bill Murray in Stripes would say, "That's a fact, Jack. "
So, to prove this theory right, we took a 2007 model 450R, which we had access to, and set about transforming it from a 'standard' looking and 'standard' running TRX450 into a veritable roost-rocket, fully blinged out 500R dunster!
Simple bolt-on Upgrades to make the Honda even better
In a way, Honda’s voyage into the world of big-bore, IRS sport ATVs could be compared to Christopher Columbus’ voyage to the New World. Both embarked on a journey that few others had the courage to attempt, and for the most part, both journeys were a success. Columbus stumbled onto the New World, but then had to live with the problems that came with it. Honda developed an all-new engine and a unique chassis that could rock your world on two tracks, dunes, or desert …typical conditions on the western side of the country.