Racing ATVs

ATV Dyno: The Ponies to Prove It

Racing ATVsPeople with an interest in motorsports are partial to “boasting,” if you will. There is a constant, yet formally unspoken competition between friends to see whose quad is faster, or stronger or overall just…better. However, making an actual determination about who has the “best” ATV is largely based on personal opinion, and let’s face it: your personal opinion is that whatever your butt is riding on is best.

While racing is a fun way to square up some competition, it should typically be done on a closed dirt course for safety reasons, and that can just be difficult to coordinate. However, what racing and personal opinion may not prove, specialized machinery can.

Dynamometers, commonly known to gearheads as “dynos,” are simply stated a machine used to measure torque and horsepower. Or at least that’s their purpose in the motorsports world. While dynos are wildly popular in the racing world to perfect tuning and win bragging rights, there are also smaller models available for people to get some hard numbers in relation to the torque and horsepower output of their ATV.

Let me be completely honest: the overview of exactly how a dyno works is a full on science lesson interspersed with long drones about mathematics. So, let’s go with the short version for our purpose: chassis dynos work by measuring the power applied to two rollers that are positioned under the drive wheels of the vehicle. As the throttle is applied to the vehicle, in this case a quad, the rollers turn and measure horsepower, torque and RPM via a series of pressure and rotation calculations. After a “run” on the dyno, owners are left with a printout that displays horsepower and torque readings at variable RPM’s, allowing drivers to recognize power bands within the performance of their vehicle and get a pretty accurate idea of an ATV’s max horsepower and torque output.

So where can you find one of these awesome machines to test your ride? Dyno manufacturers, like DynoJet for example, typically advertise locations with different types of dynos directly through their website. These links will point you to an ATV or offroad center in your area with a dyno on site. Additionally, portable ATV dynos may be available at offroad events. A “pull” on the machine will typically run you between $25-$100 depending on where you do it, but for bragging rights over your buddies, a hundred bucks may be well worth it.