Each year we attend the biggest event of the mud riding season, the High Lifter ATV Mud Nationals in Jacksonville, Texas. At this event we will see many products that make the fun of mud riding possible. With the invention of things like huge tires and lifts the once-nonexistent industry has soared to new heights. With bigger tires and suspension that’s tweaked for deep bogging the engine also needs some additional modifications to hold it all together. In no particular order, we name a few items that many mudders consider essential to really enjoy the art of muddin’.
With the need to dig through the sloppy muck in a good mud park or ride area most riders turn to a taller tire that has well-spaced lugs to trench their way to the other side of the swamp. Having a tire that is comfortable on the trail is another item to consider.
Lifting an ATV or side-by-side has become the norm in the dirty part of our industry. Getting ground clearance and the room needed for the gnarly oversize tires is the reasoning for the lift. Getting into really deep water with stock height suspension can leave you bailing off the submarine!
If you stick your head under the water in the pool, I believe you’ll find it hard to breathe. Your ATV or SxS encounters this very same problem when getting in deep water and mud. Using an airbox snorkel keeps the intake air clean and dry and also keeps down the engine repair bills.
The belt drives on most ATVs have an intake and exhaust for air coming into the CVT enclosure. Using a snorkel here on both the intake and exhaust will help prevent water and dirt from getting on the belt, which could cause it to slip and eventually break leaving you stranded.
Just like the snorkels included in the top of our list, it is sometimes required by Murphy’s Law that we snorkel the exhaust as well. The worst thing for any engine is water and mud. As soon as you drop off the throttle in the deep stuff the engine can suck nastiness in the backside. So don’t be lame and finish the job with a good swamp exhaust snorkel!
Using a lift that is more than two inches requires a change of the axles on some ATVs. Using an axle that is made to pivot in much more of a steep angle than the stocker will be required as the wheel gets farther from the differential. Stronger axles are always a consideration as well with huge tires.
Romping through the swampy marshland is great fun and getting muddy is part of the game, but if keeping somewhat clean while enjoying the ride is your favorite part, then look for good-quality fender flares to help deflect the majority of the flying debris.
Keeping the ATV under control is important when riding in heavy mud or very wetland-type conditions. The use of a handlebar grip that helps maintain control is extremely important. Some manufacturers have wet-riding-specific grips that are made to help shed water and are still comfortable for a long day on the trails.
Just like everyone we try too hard sometimes to impress the friends around us. Going into the deepest bog and screaming out, “Hey man, watch this!” has left plenty of riders wading to shore only to wonder how they’re going to get their machine out. Do yourself a favor and buy a quality winch just for those times!
Mounting a winch on the front bumper of your ATV is good insurance for the mud-minded rider. But what happens if you get in where no others have ventured and need to be pulled out in the direction you entered? This is where a good strong Bubba rope is important. At least the smart guy in the group needs one!