How involved are you in your own UTV handling?
Including Polaris, Can-Am, Yamaha, Honda, Textron.
Suspension Handling = Shocks, springs, & Ride heights working together.
Ride heights are determined from the factory, and they have set guidelines. This is because all the suspension geometry from the factory works best when within their specifications.
What is changed when ride heights are outside of specs?
- Factory angles for the trailing arms
- Suspension full travel limited
- Excessive camber angle engaged
- Bump Steer
- Spring & Shock Angles
This is why I highly suggest that several times a year you go back to a flat surface, and set your ride heights to the recommended factory settings.
You will be surprised that it could very easily be out of measurement from when you initially set it.
Obviously, you will have to make some adjustments for certain additions, like oversized tires- measure the difference in height of the tire and divide this in half, then add or subtract to the ride height measurement.
Have the ride heights set to the recommended heights, along with a complete set-up sheet for all your weights, measurements, alignments and spring rates. I believe, with this information you can make a better decision on the suspension upgrade you choose.
You will be making the decision based on what your sport UTV is needing to make you ride smoother for the conditions YOU drive.
I believe there are many suspension shops that know and work their shocks and springs well, to optimize your UTV riding experience, you should know how your vehicle is set up and know all the measurements on the set-up. While driving your Polaris, Can-Am, Yamaha, Textron UTV, you can now start to think about what and where your vehicle could improve in terms of handling better.
After you get more seat time, consciously think about and adjust your UTV suspension settings (which all the high-end shocks that come on UTVs, including Fox, Walker Evans, and King Shocks). Now you will test drive to see how much better or worse it is after you have made a big enough adjustment to feel the difference. This will start giving you the seat of the pants feel.
The first adjustment I would start making is your shocks adjustments. That comes on most of the UTVs now. Start with just one main adjustment, but make it big enough so you will know what the particular change felt like.
For example, adjust your compression knobs in or out ¾ of the total possible turns. Then after testing it out, you might make a rebound shock adjustment, if your shocks have this option.
Get to know your ride- how it handles bumps and whoops- why you should change settings and how much improvement is made, will make a better and fun experience for you.
Once you have set up your UTV to specs and have driven it enough to know that you want even better handling… now it might be time to make a bigger investment into your shock and spring packages.
I have gone through this exact practice on my own 2017 Polaris XPT, and then will be purchasing upgraded springs, along with rebuilding my IBP Fox shocks. Follow me at my blog post.
I believe you will be amazed at my research and findings of the spring ratings for the different companies out there and how it will affect who I buy from.