Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: Ojibwe Gichigami
Liked: 3154 times
I run with slight toe-in on every 4 wheeled vehicle no matter what its purpose or configuration is. I learned on the racetracks many years ago that there is a sweet-spot for toe-in and almost every vehicle requires those same settings. Every vehicle becomes terribly upset whenever ya try tricks with tracking.
Tire/tread design, tread depth and rubber compound durometer are the only variables ya' have available to tweak, an' you're dealing in 64ths of an inch (or finer) increments on every 4 wheeled vehicle when fine tuning. Toe-out is a bandaid used for hiding other problems and employed to inspire owners to spend on mods and replace tires more often... both a waste of effort and $$$.
Honda ATVs are no exception. Toe-out absolutely destroys all hopes for good handling control, causes excessive weight transfer (steers/rocks about like a boat) and over-sensitivity to small steering angle changes, slows the vehicle down due to friction (tires must push/plow/slip rather than roll freely along the surface), heats up the tires excessively and wears them out much faster. Attempting to control a vehicle like that becomes a piece of work!
I found that 1/64" toe-in was almost perfect on my Rancher initially. But after the tires got a few miles on them and I played with the inflation pressures a bit I found that 3/32" toe-in is now the ideal sweet spot. I've got a couple hours invested in alignments, but it was definitely worth those extra tweaking efforts, especially when riding through the woods and creeping overtop of obstacles and in tight turns between trees where there are no trails cut.
When setting up a Honda ATV I like to find deep, dried out hard ruts and hit them at a pretty fast speed (careful here, you'll wreck if you get too aggressive), then adjust until those ruts stop tossing me into the ditch when I'm steering into/out of them. Then I'll play with tire pressures and tweak some more while riding across a steep hillside or bank (careful there too, rollovers can/will occur if you get too aggressive crossing steep embankments) until I'm satisfied that the bike is the most stable that I can get it. Then I'll go back to the ruts and see if I can take them any faster. :-)
Once a stock bike is setup right it no longer feels top-heavy or tippy... its a much safer bike to ride in my opinion. Its a lot less work to drive... and a lot faster through the woods & mud holes too. :-)