Massively Increased Comfort and Performance
Story and Photos by: Kyle Callen
Customers are often unhappy with the performance of any UTV right out of the box. The main focal point is generally based around the suspension. Why isn’t it set up better for the desert? Why is it so stiff or firm? Why aren’t the shocks better? These are all the questions we have heard many times over the years with no real answers from the manufactures. My conclusion is that each manufacturer is trying to make each chassis perform “OK” in all segments, instead of making it great in one area and lackluster in another. They also have to pass some specific government-regulated driving tests, and those specific setups hinder the results. Providing better UTVs for us to choose, I say let the manufactures keep doing what they are doing and let us fine-tune things to our liking.
If you are one of the many unsatisfied with the ride quality of your UTV, there is a supportive aftermarket industry waiting to help. It’s common knowledge that wheel and tire selection plays an important role in ride quality, but shocks are often overlooked. Eibach is developing spring kits for the UTVs as fast as new chassis are hitting the market. For most applications, the internal valving of the shock is pretty close. The springs, on the other hand, are a different story. Most major manufacturers use a dual-rate spring set up, but unfortunately, the upper spring which controls the first portion of the travel is more of a tender spring—collapsing and stretching just enough to keep the bottom spring seated in the cups.
Switching to an Eibach spring kit fixes this problem. In most cases, changing out the upper spring to a longer and stiffer spring helps the ride through a larger portion of the shock stroke. This allows the lower and stiffer spring to work better in the larger bumpers. If you are looking to improve the ride quality of your UTV, this is the best bang for your buck, in my opinion. There is a noticeable change that will allow you to drive your car harder and faster or longer and smoother than the stock configuration. Installation is quite easy, and in reality, does not require any special tools, allowing it to be easily installed and adjusted in a few hours. The kit includes well laid out instructions with all the measurements you need to get your base set up dialed in.
In the big whoops of the southwest, we have noticed significant increases in ride quality and handling. This allows us to stay on top of the bumps and in control, instead of the point-and-pray method of the stock springs. With a massive influx of SXS traffic through the years, the Lake Havasu City trail system has some of the worst washboard bumps that I have seen. The increased length of the upper Eibach spring allows the shock to soak those up before getting into the lower spring. Keeping your teeth from rattling out of your head is worth the investment alone.
With any off-the-shelf kit, there are variables: the weight of the UTV and the occupancy inside, driving style and terrain. The off-the-shelf kits can be dialed in to meet your needs. Or if you are looking for that custom touch and can get the needed information, Eibach is an easy phone call away to get you set up with the right spring rates for your vehicle.