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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been fairly candid in my criticism of what I perceive to be nasty handling characteristics of my Arctic Cat '06 500 Auto. I've done some modifications and I wanted to share my experience after finally having an opportunity to wring them out yesterday.

First - The Swaybar Kit
I did this mod several months ago. Any of you that have followed the swaybar threads have probably seen my enthusiastic endorsement. This is a great mod for those seeking better handling. As has been stated previously, you do loose some independant articulation and some suspension travel, but IMHO it is a more than satisfactory tradeoff for the benefits in improved handling - less body roll, more stable, better cornering characteristics and I believe a tighter turning radius.

Second - ITP C7 14" Wheels and 27" MudLite XTR's
The swaybar kit was a great improvement and the one mod I believe should be the first step for anyone searching for better handling - best bang for the buck. But, the addition of this wheel/tire package made this quad into a totally different beast. I chose the 14" versions, not because I wanted more ground clearance, but because I was searching for the stiffest sidewall package available in this particular tire. I was told (and now believe) that the 14" x 27" combination is a better performer in sidewall stiffness than the 12" x 25" or 26" combinations. After having ridden these for a day through swooping bobsled-type runs, lots of deep sticky mud (see my other post on electrical problems), steep climbs out of deep creek beds and lots of off-camber stuff I have to give a hearty thumb's up to this combination.

The only concern I've got is that I'll probably have to do some clutch tinkering to get better engagement, as these tires and wheels certainly take more horsepower to get them moving.

BOTTOM LINE: This machine has been reborn! It now winds through tight trails lightyears better than before. It still isn't the tightest turning bike out there, but who would reasonably expect that of a machine this big. I couldn't be happier with the performance of this combination.

If, like me, you have hesitated about shelling out your hard-earned dollars on a $600-$800 tire/wheel package because you weren't sure whether it would really make a difference, take it from me; at least where this combination is concerned, IMHO you will not be disappointed.

Now, I've got some winch problems and electrical issues to sort out.

stellarpod
 

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Another down side with the rims and tires besides cost is that you will be about 5 inches wider than stock. That makes it harder to fit down trails and takes up more room on the trailer. The handling and terrain ability are awesome though. Just add an exhaust to it and get back your low end power you need! Great write up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hoopie:

You are absolutely right about the wider footprint. This can be problematic in extremely tight quarters. But, it also adds stability to this already rather tall quad.

Good observation, and one people need to know when buying aftermarket wheels. The offset on the ITP C7's does result in an additional 2-1/2" to 3" per side. This also means that they absolutely will sling more mud in the air (and what goes up must come down - usually on your own head). I'm considering fender flares now.

stellarpod
 
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