If you’re looking for ways to make your quad go faster, this is where you want to be. I will show you the most common ways riders make their ATVs faster, I’ll also offer some helpful tips along the way.
Here’s The Best Ways To Make Your ATV Faster
- Use Better Fuel
- Upgraded Air Filter
- Adjust The Throttle Limiter Screw
- Change Tire Size, Weight, And Pressure
- Add A Nitrous Kit
- Upgrade The Exhaust
- Change The Gear Ratio
- Install A Big Bore Kit
Are ATV Upgrades Safe?
With more horsepower and torque, you will notice better acceleration and a higher top speed from your quad. But with the engine working harder, are these upgrades safe for your ATV?
Yes, they are. Anytime you ride your quad faster or harder than normal you are increasing the wear and tear that happens over time. You can limit these effects by performing routine maintenance though.
Be careful if you have factory warranty though. Many alterations will void a warranty, so first check to make sure if you don’t want your warranty to voided. If you do have a warranty, and want to keep it, it may be best to just not modify the machine at all until the warranty has expired.
Overall, these upgrades are considered safe and many riders have been making these changes to their quad for years and years. Lets start by looking at the easiest and cheapest ways to make your ATV faster.
Use Better Fuel
A quick and easy change you can make, is to start using higher octane fuel. A lot of quads don’t require that you use higher octane fuel from the manufacturer, but it can help increase the performance of your engine.
If you can, don’t use ethanol based fuels and opt for the higher octane. It will cost a few more bucks than the cheap fuel, but you’ll certainly notice the difference when you hammer on the throttle.
Higher octane fuel burns cleaner, giving you better gas mileage and less corrosion to the mechanical parts of your fuel system. Sure the better mileage isn’t really noticeable in a quad, but the performance differences are there.
Some riders want even more of a boost than the fuel sold at a gas station, so they will add more octane to their fuel themselves. Here is a link to Boostane Professional Octane Booster on Amazon. This is one of the most popular and widely used octane boosters out there, but really any octane booster will work.
You can just add a little bit to the gas in your quad and mix it up a bit by rocking back and forth on the machine. I like to pre-mix it in a gas can before putting it in the gas tank, that way I can get the measurements exactly right.
Upgrade The Air Filter
You should be checking your air filter regularly and cleaning it when necessary. If the air filter starts getting clogged up, it will affect the amount of air the engine can use to run. Riding with a clogged air filter is almost like choking your engine. Check out this article on How To Properly Clean An ATV Air Filter if you need a guide.
A lot of riders will also upgrade their air filter to a lifetime replacement air filter like this K&N Replacement Air Filter on Amazon. Just make sure you type in your make and model and get the right one for your machine.
The increased air flow these filters allow will let your engine receive more air. More air fuel mixture means more power. This is one of the easiest ways to get more performance out of your machine.
Adjust The Throttle Limiter Screw
On most ATVs, if you look on the right side of your handle bars where your throttle is, you’ll see a governor. On the governor, there will be a screw sticking out, that’s your throttle limiter. The throttle limiter will limit the amount of gas you can give your engine while riding.
Make sure the screw is turned all the way out, if you want to be able to give max throttle. To adjust this, simply loosen the lock-nut holding the throttle limiter screw in place, adjust the screw, and tighten the lock-nut back down.
A lot of people will screw the throttle limiter in if they have children that might be able to ride the machine. Double check the throttle limiter screw to make sure you’re getting the max your engine will allow.
Change Tire Size, Weight, And Pressure
Of course tire pressure will play a role depending on the type of terrain you’re riding in. When riding in sand or snow, a lower tire pressure will make you faster, but on flat hard surfaces, a higher tire pressure would help more.
I would suggest riding at around 5 psi as a good all around number. But to find an exact tire pressure for you and your terrain, check out my ATV Tire Pressure article where I go into a lot more detail about tire pressure and terrain differences.
As far as tire weight goes, you’ll really be looking at changing out the wheels to help with that. I mean sure, don’t expect big heavy mud tires to make your quad go faster, but really the biggest issue I see here is people with steel wheels.
You’ll want to get yourself some light weight aluminum wheels if you want to make your quad faster. A nice set of performance tires won’t hurt either. Tire size might make a difference too, depending on what you’re going for.
Check out these All Terrain ATV UTV Tires made by SunF here on Amazon if you’re in the market for tires. Make sure to get the right tire size for your ATV and your rims.
If you want faster acceleration, go with a smaller tire. If you want more top speed, go with a larger tire. Tire size is very similar to changing out your sprocket for gearing. A larger tire will take more power to turn it, but will cover more ground per revolution. I usually don’t change the tire size unless I am trying to Increase My ATV Ground Clearance.
Add A Nitrous Kit
Adding a nitrous kit to your ATV can give you a good boost of speed when you really need it. They aren’t really all that hard to install or use either. Sure every machine is different, and you’ll want to get a setup you feel safe with. But a lot of people have getting some extra speed this way.
There are a few different types of nitrous setups you could go with, for example, wet or dry. To learn more about nitrous check out my How And Why To Use Nitrous On An ATV article. In that article I walk you through the process so you can decide if it’s right for you.
Upgrade The Exhaust
Upgrading the exhaust on your ATV can get expensive and require some work. But it’s a sure fire way to increase the performance of your quad. With more air being able to leave the engine, it can pull more air in. This setup is great to do in parallel with a high flow air intake system.
If you can’t afford to do the entire exhaust system from the headers on down, you could always get a performance slip-on exhaust. This won’t increase horsepower as much as an entire performance exhaust system will, but it will give you a bit more horsepower.
Here’s an example Performance Exhaust System For A Honda TRX 300EX to give you an idea of what you’ll need. You are looking for a kit that has the exhaust parts coming from the engine all the way to the muffler and exhaust tip.
Usually the performance exhaust systems will be a bigger diameter than stock, or will be cone shaped to increase in diameter slowly. This allows more airflow through the engine. With more air fuel mixture, you will feel more power and speed when riding.
Change The Gear Ratio
To change the gear ratio you would need to buy a new front or rear sprocket and replace your existing one. A lot of riders do what is called ‘gearing down’ which is when you get a larger rear sprocket to increase acceleration. This will cause your top speed to drop though. To learn more about gear ratio and how to adjust yours, check out my Complete Gear Ratio Guide.
To ‘gear up’ you would get a smaller rear sprocket which will increase your top speed but decrease your acceleration. You can find most sprocket sizes front and back online now for a pretty good price.
The thing you have to decide is, do you want an acceleration increase or a top speed increase. I don’t typically mess with the gearing of my quads, but I have for particular ATVs that I only ride through trails and never reach top speed. In those cases, gearing down makes sense to give you a quicker jump from the start.
If you decide you want to change a sprocket to adjust your gear ratio. I wrote an article with step by step instructions for you, showing you exactly How To Change The Chain And Sprockets On An ATV.
Install A Big Bore Kit
Installing a big bore kit can be a lot of work, but will give you a huge boost in performance. Acceleration will be quicker and top speed will increase as well. You’re basically upping the cc of your engine.
With most big bore kits, you will be replacing the piston and the cylinder with a larger size. This allows for more air fuel mixture to enter the combustion chamber resulting a huge performance boost to your quad.
Here’s an example Big Bore Kit For A Honda TRX 400EX on Amazon to give you an example of what you’re getting yourself into. You will most likely get all the piston rings and gaskets needed to do the swap with any decent kit.
Sum It Up
There you have it, the most common ATV upgrades to increase performance and get some more speed out of your machine. If you’re looking for the cheapest and easiest way to increase performance, I would suggest checking your limiter screw, upgrade to a K&N air filter, use octane booster, and get a slip-on performance exhaust.
Even though you could make all these adjustments to your quad, a lot of riding faster has to do with skill. When you’re racing on track, being able to brake and corner properly is a big deciding factor in most races. Check out my How To Corner On An ATV and How To Brake Properly On An ATV articles to get some tricks and tips on how to ride better.
As always, wear proper safety gear when riding, especially if you’re modifying your quad for speed. To check out some safety and riding gear that I’ve tried and tested for you, visit the Recommended Gear section of this site.