What a-arms are right for me?
It seems there are dozens of different aftermarket a-arm configurations on the market these days, but does one really work any better than another? While there is no easy answer to that question, you can start off by asking yourself a few questions.
1. What type of riding will I primarily be doing?
2. How aggressive of a rider am I?
3. What kind of a rider do I want to become?
These three questions can really help you narrow down your choices quite quickly. For starters depending on what type of riding you will be doing, different a-arm designs are suited to different environments. For instance, if you are racing motocross you probably want to go with at least a +2 wider setup which will make your front end 4 inches wider total.
Most motocross racers opt for a long travel setup in combination with an aftermarket suspension setup. A little known secret about “long travel” is that long travel a-arms don’t always provide more actual total wheel travel. Most importantly a long travel setup provides a more appropriate leverage ratio for large jumps and smooth suspension action. Sometimes this equates to more overall wheel travel, sometimes it doesn’t. But its not always about how much wheel travel you have, its what you do with the travel you’ve got!
“Long Travel” a-arms can vary in price from $500 to upwards of $1500. So what is the difference between the cheapest and the most expensive? While there are many factors to pricing, it most often boils down to quality of components. Depending upon your level of aggression and type of racing, durability and components such as ball joint design, and pivot design are worth considering. Naturally the more expensive “Long Travel” a-arms such as the Laeger Pro-Trax with integrated spindles with unmatched hardware quality will withstand years of abuse when maintained properly. However, an average weekend rider may not need to spend the extra money to upgrade to all of these fancy components.
For those that aren’t racing hard-core motocross, and are just aggressive trail riders. Often times a standard travel +2 setup paired with a nice set of re-valved or aftermarket shocks will make an amazing package for a fraction of the cost of the high end “long travel” setups. However, it is very important to have your shocks setup to match your riding specs to receive maximum bang for your buck. The best set of A-arms in the world won’t do you any good with an improper shock setup.
Finally, before making any sort of investment to your ATV, it never hurts to ask yourself “What type of rider do I want to be?” Often times talented amateur riders can become fast riders very quickly, and a low budget setup will leave you limited relatively quickly if you are on the fast track to the national ranks.
Do your research, ask questions, and look for package deals. Often times a-arm and shock combos are great way to save money, and get a setup that is a perfect match right out of the box.