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What Is an Aftermarket ATV?

By Lori Kilchermann
Updated May 17, 2024
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The aftermarket provides the necessary parts and components to create an entire all-terrain vehicle (ATV). The aftermarket ATV is often more rugged than a commercially available unit due to the increased quality of the aftermarket pieces. Built on an aftermarket ATV frame equipped with an aftermarket engine, the ATV is typically similar to a commercially manufactured machine, however, built with superior parts. Usually built for competitive use, the aftermarket ATV takes advantage of lighter, yet stronger, materials to create an ATV that is visually the same as the original version, but with the benefits of a custom, one-of-a-kind racing machine.

Although many racing teams appear to be using original factory-produced machines in competition, they are actually racing an aftermarket ATV. Beginning with an aftermarket frame manufactured from lightweight chromium-molybdenum, or chromoly, steel, the aftermarket ATV is fitted with aftermarket suspension components designed using improved geometry and materials to result in a better handling ATV. The aftermarket ATV is also equipped with an aftermarket engine, commonly as much as twice as powerful as the original factory engine design. This power is made possible by using a more advanced, lightweight rotating assembly consisting of pistons, connecting rods and crankcase, while also using more exacting tolerances during assembly.

Using shock absorbers designed to allow extra suspension travel, smoother rebounding and dampening as well as improved heat resistance, the aftermarket ATV is better equipped to endure the rigors of racing and competition than the factory-built original. Typically, wider and stronger rear axles adorn the aftermarket machine to provide a more stable ride when negotiating sharp corners. Improved rear swing-arm mounting positions provide the necessary bite into the track to allow the ATV to accelerate out of turns and off of jumps. The aftermarket transmission also provides a better gear ratio and closer range between shifts to improve acceleration by not allowing the engine to bog down between gear changes.

One of the most noticeable changes to the ATV is seen in the improved riding position. The aftermarket ATV places the rider in a better position of balance, allowing for improved control and ease of riding when attempting to extract the utmost in performance from the machine. A taller handlebar position allows the rider to use full body and shoulder strength when riding instead of simply using arm strength to steer the machine. While many teams choose to use the original, factory plastic body panels on the aftermarket ATV, aftermarket plastics are also available to improve aerodynamics as the machine flies over the tallest jumps.

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