For ATV owners, riding is a passion. It’s an escape from the day to day, but also a way to connect with the outdoors and also a way to compete for skill.
To have your ATV give you the exhilaration and joy you are looking to get out of it, you’ve got to give it the means to do so. Power is usually one of the ingredients in that equation and one way to get more of it is through your exhaust system, but how would you know which one is the best if you don’t have much experience and if you are not familiar with how exhaust systems work?
If you still have that silly, puzzled look on your face, then bear with me while I explain the different types and some popular brands of exhausts systems.
Different Exhaust Styles: Slip-on vs. Full System
There are two popular exhaust styles on the aftermarket that are suitable for the ATVs and those are the slip-on exhaust and the full exhaust system.
An exhaust system is constructed of three parts: a header, which collects the gases and is connected to the mid-pipe that is supposed to transfer the gases to the back of the ATV. The last part is the muffler that is connected to the mid-pipe which in the end modifies the engine sound.
With all of that said, the slip-on system will replace the muffler, while the full system replaces all of the three parts.
The slip-ons will cost you only a few hundred bucks and for that price you get much more in return. This system has all the sound and style benefits of the full system and their installation is a piece of cake. All you have to do is to slip it on and tighten some clamps.
On the downside, the slip-ons won’t contribute much to the overall performance of the exhaust and won’t be able to achieve large horsepower gains.
The full system style is pricier than the slip-on with a most common price of $1000, but what you are really paying for are the performance gains in addition to the sleek noise and look. Due to the obligatory air-fuel tuning, the horsepower can be improved by up to 15% and shave approximately 20 pounds off the overall weight of the exhaust system.
However, there are downsides with the full systems too. Most of the time you might need a fuel controller to get the ATV to function properly and its installation is quite more complex than is the case with slip-ons, so you might need to hire an experienced mechanic to get the job done properly.
Difference between a 2-stroke and a 4-stroke ATV exhaust
Chances are, you have probably heard about these two terms, a 2-stroke and 4-stroke engines. But do you know what a stroke actually is and what the difference is between these two types of engines anyways? If the answer is ‘No’, then go ahead and keep reading to find out.
A stroke, in the case of the engine’s combustion cycle, is the movement of the piston within cylinder from point TDC to BDC and vice versa, with TDC being ‘top dead center’ and BDC being the bottom dead center. The combustion cycle is the process of gas and air being sucked into the piston and then igniting it and, in the end, expelling the exhaust.
So, with all of that being said, the difference between a 2- and a 4-stroke engine is the speed at which the whole cycle occurs, depending on the number of movements of the pistons.
With the 4-stroke engine, the piston makes 2 strokes during each cycle, while with the 2-stroke the piston completes one stroke during the cycle. In addition, on the 2-stroke exhaust, there is an expansion chamber that is supposed to enhance the power output and to economize the fuel by volumetric efficiency. By using this tuned pipe, the 2-stroke engines back in the day were able to produce far more power than if working only with a normal silencer.
2-stroke ATV exhaust brands
FMF is one of the most famous US companies that produces great performing exhausts. It has several editions of exhausts and in continuation we are going to outline the three most successful ones:
Focused on the everyday man, with its raw metal finish signature, these series date from the ‘70s. They are characterized with a smoother linear power curve, allowing for a better experience by not forcing the usage of the stock pipe.
Price: Approx. $250
Compared to the Fatty, the Gnarly pipe has a thicker construction as it is made of an 8-gauge steel. Also, it has a better bottom-end and a quicker transition to the midrange. It is designed for drivers who prefer tight trails, deserts and woods as well as bottom-to-midrange power.
Price: Approx. $250
The SST exhaust system is designed so that it improves the whole capacity of the vehicle. The reason for it is the patented shape of the exhaust system and its capability to increase the horsepower. The pipe has several bulges and tunnel shapes where the rear chamber meets the stinger section. In overall, the benefits of this system is that it changes the sonic waves, the exhaust gas temperatures and back pressures that influence the engine performance.
Price: Approx. $250
The MXe Slip-on is of premium quality and as such it increases the horse power, acceleration and torque. Also, it is made of lightweight aluminum and durable stainless steel and because of it saves up to 3.5 lbs. of the overall weight. Because of its exact/OME type fit, there is no need of additional frame or pipe modifications.
Price: Approx. $200
Pro Circuit Brand
Pro Circuit designed the Platinum Pipe according to their famous Work Pipes. While the performance characteristics are the same, the platinum finish of these pipes contributes for lower maintenance and it protects the pipe from the nature’s harsh conditions. It is suitable for extreme conditions and it is available in numerous editions for different models, such as the Beta, the Cobra, the Honda, the Husaberg and etc.
Price: Approx. $250
4-stroke ATV exhaust brands
FMF brand it is as famous for its 4-stroke exhaust models as it is of its 2-stroke ones.
Factory 4.1 series incorporate the latest FMF resonance chamber internally and externally and it is designed so it unleashes the full potential of the power and is quite light weighted. This is the exhaust type that professional racers are fond of and so am I.
Price: Approx. $800
Powercore 4 series is another great series from the FMF brand. It is also a race-inspired design that performs at an economical cost. It has an improved torque and high quality muffler, increased horsepower and outstanding durability due to its aluminum and stainless steel construction.
Price: Approx. $370
Pro Circuit Brand
Pro Circuit steps again in its superhero’s shoes and delivers two great series of the 4-stroke exhaust models than have been tested by their race teams and support riders.
These series represent a more tunable version of their famous Ti-4R system. They developed a new RC-4 Resonance and added it to the head pipe in order to reduce the noise. You have to be careful though, because depending on the model, this resonance chamber may not be included with the system.
Price: $250 – $750
The T-6 system is somehow an extension of their Ti-6 Titanium Exhaust System, since it is made of stainless steel and aluminum for increased durability and overall strength. Designed as such, it is also a more affordable version than the titanium one. In addition, it comes with a USFS Approved Spark Arrestor, which makes it quite easy to change between off-road riding and closed course.
Price: $350 – $950
Big Gun Brand
Big Gun didn’t disappoint either with its exhaust systems and you may fall in love with their sophistication.
These EVO series are designed specifically for UTVs and ATVs and if you are a fan of the raw and powerful sound, then this is the one for you. It has a deep tone and you can finally let go of the tingy-sounding exhaust that you have. Also, it is very lightweight with a stainless steel construction and overall sleek design.
Price: $300 – $1000
The EXO system is designed for them big and powerful motors. They came just in time when the market for side-by-side and ATV expanded, offering fresh and unique exhaust design solutions. As such, they deliver a loud and deep sound, while decreasing the heat and it is the largest, most durable exhaust ever made by Big Gun.
Price: $300 – $800
The Yoshimura RS-2 Comp series have evolved from the original TRC series, designed so that it can increase the power and the volume, due to the different pyramidal shape. Also, it is a quieter system with a bigger core and it contributes for an outstanding performance for an affordable price
Price: $330 – $690
As we have already said, this one is the predecessor of the RS-2 series. This system is specifically designed for racing and it is characterized with aluminum sleeve that maximizes muffler volume while providing outstanding ground clearance and a unique exhaust tone.
Price: Approx. $570
Getting familiar with the numerous brands of exhausts can be quite time consuming and confusing for most of you.
Therefore, I hope that the products in these article will help you in the decision making process and you will end up buying the one that suits you and your vehicle the best.
If you have any other suggestions, let me know in the comment section.