Improving your ATV Performance

April 2nd, 2019 by

Whether you’re on the track racing, doing some light farm work or merely wandering around back-country trails, ATV riding proves an excellent source of fun for the enthusiasts and for all those who use it to do chores. ATV ownership is similar to owning a car. ATV negligence in service and upkeep can slow down and alter the ATV performance and eventually its life.

Unlike cars, some ATV’s don’t come with odometers to gauge the distance and mileage covered to calculate the number of miles required for service accurately. But generally, after a while of riding and depending on the prescribed recommendations, you will need to change a few things like engine oil.

Handling the maintenance and doing service to your quad is the best way to get longevity and life out of it. It could also be of much help in addressing issues that could have arisen in your quad. In this segment, we talk in detail about factors that could influence ATV’s maximum performance the most.



Tips to Optimize ATV Performance:

  • Throttle limiter screw
  • New grips
  • Upgrade your gas
  • ATV bore kits
  • Lighting
  • Add a slip on exhaust
  • Monitor tire pressure
  • Look after your
  • Drive belt
  • Air filter care
  • Replace the spark plugs
  • Tires
  • Grease it
  • Lighter wheels
  • Oil checkup
  • Wider stance
  • Intake, fuel systems& air filters
  • Reprogramming the ATV engine
  • Exhaust
  • Controls
  • Brakes
  • Fluids
  • Suspension lubrication
  • Nuts & bolts
  • Drivetrain
  • Hoses & cables
  • Clean it



Throttle limiter screw

The easiest way to tune up the speed of your quad is through adjusting the throttle screw. How the throttle works is simple; the throttle lever joins to the throttle cable and sends power through leveraging on the screw thus pulling the cable and busting the throttle wide open. Most dirt bikes and quads have a throttle limiter screw, which regulates the amount of movement in the lever. When the screw is twisted clockwise it drives it into the throttle lever housing, putting a limit to the extent to which the lever can be pushed.

Turning the screw counterclockwise does the reverse as the screw will now back out of the housing, allowing the lever to be further pushed and thus allowing the vehicle to achieve higher revs. Higher revs equate to more power, and this means an increase in the horsepower.



New Grips

The grip gives your arms and hands better handling with less effort. If you install a set of high-quality grips, they absorb a lot of shocks that would typically creep into your hands. To enjoy the ride and race it is imperative that your arms stay fatigue-free to allow you to continue racing. ATV Grips are your first line of defence against shock.



Upgrade your gas/ petrol

Any appliance that uses fuel to run a generator, lawn mower, dirt bike, car or even ATV will perform best if it uses higher octane gasoline.

Fuel with a higher-octane gas will combust better, burn more efficiently and have more explosive and rapid properties that further allow you to close the gap or further widen it when you’re on the track racing opponents.


ATV bore kits

To all those riders who want a little bit more edge over the competition and feel the time suits it, then put into consideration purchasing a bore kit that will significantly add to horsepower and torque in your quad. How this works is easy. Installing a bigger bore kit pumps more horsepower to the quad through increasing the surface area on top of the pistons, which adds a higher volume of air and fuel combustion to give more power. When the air and fuel combust in the cylinder chambers, the force being driven down on the pistons is greater and that which gets distributed to the wheels. An increase in the bore means an increase in engine displacement.

A new ATV bore kit should include a new cylinder, piston, head, and gaskets and also comes with all the bolts, clips, washer and o-rings.



The inclusion of lights to an ATV spells out only one thing, adventure in the dark. Occasionally the bulbs might suffer burnout or get cloudy, meaning the ride won’t be enjoyable as desired. Fortunately, stores that sell spare parts also sell plastic headlights refinishing kits for less than 20 dollars. Whatever the case is, you can easily get those lights and cruise comfortably in the dark.


Add a slip on

Those who feel like upgrading the ATV exhaust system is out of the options, then they should consider trying a slip on to the current system configuration. Not only will you be getting a deep thunderous sound, but also a slight increase in the horsepower as well.


Monitor the tire pressure

As insignificant as that may sound, it’s actually not the case. Round in nature, they should be kept that way and observed at all times. Failure to do that will result in a driving experience characterized by hobbles and wobbles. This can be irritating, to say the least as it might also vibrate other components out of their natural positions in the quad. The old tire might also end up getting spoilt or worse something disastrous while driving.


Look after your drive belt

Belts naturally cannot take in water or heat. Properly mounted belts take a relatively long period to wear out, and it delivers a smoother ride compared to improperly fixed belts. Riding the machine into an unfamiliar terrain wears the belt down at an alarming rate. Be sure to frequently check the position of the belt and occasionally drain the CVT box. It could contain water or not, but rather be safe than sorry right?


Air filter care

To run effectively, engines need fuel, air, and fire. These factors combined deliver the power required to tow your quad around the trail, but when the air filter gets clogged, things can change in an instant. When the air filter gets clogged, the engine is starved of air, meaning the engine’s life will be short-lived starting with the spark plugs.


Replace the spark plugs

As mentioned above, the engine in your ATV needs fire to provide the necessary combustion required to give the quad power. The engine can be harmed if low-quality fuel is pumped into the engine, clogging the air filter and in turn killing the spark plugs. Many are the factors that could end up harming your spark plugs and in the long run the entire engine block. Fortunately, spark plugs are relatively cheap to replace with prices getting low as 10 dollars for a single one.


ATV Tires

It goes without saying that riding on tires that are worn out is hazardous. However, it is important that a driver checks the ATV tires and picks the right set of tires for the given occasion. There are different ATV tires for different tracks. Racers should be keen to pick the ones specially designed for the track they are using. It is advisable to get a reasonable size, especially when buying larger tires.

Grease it

It would be ludicrous to say that parts of the ATV do not require occasional greasing. Any pivot place requires some kind of grease to make sure they function freely and without creeks, hence improving ATV performance. This helps out with places like suspension and wheel bearings. The steering is also one that you should properly grease to ensure handling is not affected.


Lighter wheels

Racing individuals will tell you weight is everything. By replacing the stock tires on your ATV with aluminum wheels, you can be seriously cutting down the weight on your quad. This also goes for those who might have changed to steel tires.


Oil check up

It’s simple. An engine with clean oil is a happy engine. This doesn’t just apply to the engine alone but any other part that might require oil. Keeping the engine oil clean and filled to the required levels saves you costs of repairing while ensuring the longevity of your engine, hence great ATV performance.


Wider stance

A wider stance enhances your handling and reduces fatigue through wheel spaces that give the ATV a wider wheel stance. Steering is also improved, and cornering is not as sharp as it was before, and thus it rubs off to the racer, a feeling of heightened safety and relative comfort.
For racers and riders to have larger tires, wheel spacers are quite compulsory.


Intakes, fuel systems, and air filters

All these factors combined make the ‘creme’ of the engine. Acquired together, these factors work together to ensure that the engine is firing on all cylinders and optimally performing to deliver acceleration and general ATV performance. If one aspect is not properly working, then the rest are affected as well. Fine tune these three variables to ride for hours on end.

If your ATV model runs on an electronic fuel system, you have a better shot at a performance by adding a fuel controller to tune your fuel system. If you have ATV models that run on a carburetor and have parts that are of low quality then be rest assured to feel the pinch in the drive. Head out with a toolbox and be ready to fix issues related to this front and ensure that the ATV performance is at its best.

Racers who have been in the game for a while know how important it is to keep an air filter clean and well oiled. There is another way a racer can add to the air filters life. This is through adding a filter skin which is mandatory to those riders whose predominant track is filled with sand or is dusty. A fact that is not known by many about the AVT is that you can increase the power by adding a filter kit that eliminates leaks and in turn channels more air for more power.

Individuals with racing experience know that sometimes it boils down to the little details and this could be your small silver lining.


Reprogramming the ATV engine

By now it is distinctively clear that ATVs are relatively fast machines. Having said that, it is still very much possible to up their engine performance by reprogramming the engine.

Depending on the level of optimization you might desire, there are three stages of ATV engine reprogramming. For instance, you can settle for stage one which involves improving the power and torque of your engine without necessarily exceeding the manufacturer’s limits and standards. This method generally involves modifying the engine mapping electronically.

For those interested in more power, they have the option to perform a level 2 or a level 3 stage of ATV engine reprogramming. In both cases, there is an involvement of electronic modification of the engine mapping as well as replacement of some parts of the engine. If this is the case, then you would want to see a great deal of professional counsel, as professional drivers mainly do this.


Why should you reprogram the ATV engine?

Well, for a host of reasons. The obvious one being an increase in the horsepower and torque without necessarily damaging your engine.

Damage is the least problem that could present itself, as on the contrary, the engine will become more resilient and more efficient. This, in turn, makes the engine more durable prolonging its life. This procedure is also beneficial to your wallet as it reduces a lot of fuel consumption and thus saving you a lot of money.

Nevertheless, it is important to consult the help of a professional in reprogramming the engine to achieve the results mentioned above. You could also purchase and have in your custody tuning files that have great knowledge on how to maneuver this process and carefully execute the reprogramming for better engine performance.



If your exhaust is not functioning well, the quality of your ride will be affected. The same can be said about the power band. If the power band is faulty, then you should consider purchasing and fitting a new exhaust to your quad. Those riders who are looking for raw and brute power, be sure to check out FMF powerbomb, but be advised it is quite loud and not considered to be used while riding on the trail. Big Gun, however, manufactures a slip on that won’t cause a ring in your ears after a while and is absolutely trail legal.

Underrated is the power of the exhaust which is directly connected to the intake system. If you tune both up, the hike in performance will be significantly noticeable. On the other hand, a failure to properly take care of both is a fast road down the trail of your ATV’s demise.



The controls are literally mounted onto the bar and are at your fingertips. If you’re not comfortable with the bar and its controls, your ability to race suffers a huge blow. What you need to do first is check the position of the ATV steering stem height to see if you need to adjust it. Changing out your current bar to an oversized version like the Flexx is a good idea for racers and ODI X-Treme grips offer adequate traction that is combined with extra comfort. But ultimately the choice comes down to you, as what might work for a while might be short-lived requiring another change or vice versa.



Every racer knows the importance of having a good set of brakes. Brakes affect your ability to effectively stop and slow down when the situation demanded of it. Brakes that bite into the inner wheel could slow your momentum when compared to difficult corners or off-road derailment scenarios. An average change in the brake system involves replacing worn out pads, warped rotors, the master cylinder and calipers, which ultimately affects the ATV performance.



Do fluids improve ATV performance? Oil coolant and other engine fluids do. If you ride in the winter, go easy on yourself and go with a combo coolant/antifreeze to guard your quad against both extremes in temperatures.


Suspension lubrication

The ATV suspension system features a-arms and swing arms that are loaded with bushings and bearings that occasionally need lubrication. Greasing and lubricating the entire system is always a positive thought and changing worn or damaged a-arms and swing arms happens from time to time. Be sure to keep an eye on seals and bearings; replace as required.


Nuts and bolts

Just before embarking on a ride, tighten every bolt and nut for maximum ATV performance. Neglecting this can cost you dearly when a major component loosens when you’re caught up while racing. Use a torque wrench to ensure tightness at the manufacturer’s specifications.


Drive train

It is important to clean and lubricate your ATV’s drive chain and sprockets after every ride. Check for broken teeth or wear and tear to your chain. A chain and sprocket kit is your best chance, in this particular case if you do it remember to replace all the drive train components together and not individually.


Hoses and cables

Important to the ATV performance as well you should check for dry, cracked or otherwise damaged hoses and if any replace immediately. Lube all the cables as well.


Clean it

Cleaning this machine often will not only keep it visually appealing, but it helps to indicate faulty parts. Be keen to remove heavy mud or dirt before spraying the quad with the hose filled with water.



The factors mentioned above aim to address the technical aspects of the ATV’s maximum performance. Sometimes we lose focus and get caught up forgetting to take care of our ATV’s properly. Check before and after every ride to ensure quality ATV performance every time you are out on the track or trial.


Posted in ATV, Quadding, Summer, Tips