With summer coming, so is the heat. For some who live in milder climates, summer riding doesn’t require much additional prep. Riding in the desert or the South during hot summer months can be a whole other animal. Riding an ATV is an athletic performance that burns calories and creates exhausting heat. With extreme summer heat, dehydration becomes an important factor as well. Staying hydrated and cool is the biggest obstacle to summer riding. Along with plenty of water intake, there are plenty of cool products out there to help keep you cool.
Next to keeping your body cool and hydrated, you must also be sure to keep your ATV operating at a reasonable temperature. Water-cooled ATVs circulate a water-based coolant through your engine to extract heat, just like your body passes water through sweat glands to keep your temperature where it needs to be. We would like to share our favorite tips and products to keep both your body and your bike cool and hydrated.
1. HYDRATE IN ADVANCE
For extremely-hot-weather riding or racing, you will need to start hydrating long before the race or ride. Drink plenty of water for days before the race. Clear and often urination is a good sign that the body is properly hydrated for hot-weather riding. Lack of hydration can be dangerous, as well as causing extreme muscle cramping. For extreme heat situations, it is also good to drink Pedialyte the day of the race or ride. Pedialyte is designed to help dehydrated children, and it has the benefits of added electrolytes without the negatives of the sugar found in most sports drinks.
2. KEEP HYDRATED
Once you are hydrated, you will need to keep a water reserve through your ride or race. The best way to do this is with a bladder-type hydration system. If you are riding for long periods of time, you will need to add ice to keep water at a drinkable temperature. Ogio’s Dakar 100 hydration pack combines with all the high-end-riding backpack features you want, like multiple pockets, mesh organizers and raised air-mesh POD back panels to keep air flowing with a 100-ounce Microban antimicrobial water bladder. The Dakar is perfect for longer races and rides, or you can check out www.ogio.com for many smaller hydration-pack options.
3. HANDS-FREE HYDRATION
If you don’t want to remove your hands for drinking during a race, Leatt has you covered with the H2 harness system and SP1 system with HHF. HHF is Leatt’s Helmet Hands-Free kit. The HHF mounts a bite valve in your helmet right at lip level. The H2 features a 2.5-liter reservoir capacity, while the MX-friendly, lightweight SP1 holds 0.5-liter (or about 18 ounces), just the right amount of water for a 20-minute moto. You can check out all the Leatt Brace hydration systems at
4. COOL YOUR CORE
Keeping your body’s core temperature cool is important for physical performance as well as safety. A few different companies have developed high-tech vests or under-shirts that use cool water and super-technical materials to keep the rider cool for hours. The Coolit evaporative cooling vest by Leatt uses Hyperkewl material to help the rider feel up to 15 to 20 degrees cooler. The tee/vest is soaked in cool water for as little as 2 minutes and will keep you cool for one to six hours depending on weather conditions. Initially the cool water keeps you cool and then continues to keep you cool via the evaporation process. EVS also makes a cool-core vest, and Leatt’s vest can be recharged throughout the day by dropping it in the cooler or other water source. Visit www.leatt-brace.com.
5. FLY QUICK-FIT HYDROPACK
If you wear a chest protector, you might have experienced what a pain it is to wear a drink system with it. The Fly Quick-Fit is a water pack/backpack that mounts directly to the back of your chest protector. It features a 50-ounce bladder and is comfortably worn in conjunction with most any chest protector. Multiple strap options allow for easy mounting in most any situation. See www.flyracing.com.
6. VENTED RIDING GEAR
There are many companies selling vented riding gear that will help keep you cooler in hot conditions, like Moose Racing’s Sahara line. Klim is very well-known for their cold-weather, technical riding gear, but what might even be cooler is their fully vented Mojave gear line. It’s super-breathable, lightweight, airflow-inducing, vented gear that is not only vented, but also durable and as technical as it gets. Klim also offers an extremely vented, high-airflow F4 helmet. See www.klim.com for more info.
Price: $155 (Mojave pant), $400 (F4 helmet)
7. KEEPING THE BIKE COOL TOO
The number one thing that kills a motor is heat, and the main cause of overheating on today’s liquid-cooled engines is dehydration. You gotta keep an eye on the radiator coolant level; without water, it can’t extract the heat, and friction builds to the point of mechanical breakdown. There are all kinds of good engine coolants out there, and we’ve had really good results with Maxima’s Coolanol. Coolanol fights corrosion, prevents boil-over, as well as keeps it from freezing in the winter. See www.maxima.com.
8. KEEP IT COOLER WITH MORE COOLANT
A larger radiator can from CBR Performance holds more coolant and has increased radiator core surface for increased cooling capabilities. A race-quality, oversized CBR radiator costs about $450 and can be seen at www.cbr-performance.com.
9. FLOW MORE COOL LIQUID
A Boyesen super cooler can flow more coolant through your motor, keeping it cooler and making horsepower at the same time. The Boyesen Super Cooler uses a special water-pump cover and larger water-pump impeller to increase flow. The Boyesen cover design reduces hydraulic friction and cavitation, allowing the engine to run up to 10 degrees cooler. The Super Cooler can be found at www.boyesen .com.
10. KEEP THE OIL COOL
Jagg makes an automotive-style oil cooler that will increase oil capacity, as well as drastically lower operating oil/engine temps. Jagg makes oil coolers that are larger than the stock ones on equipped models, or they also offer adapter setups to add a cooler to ATVs that never came with one. This is a great option for the later-model 2006-plus Honda TRX450Rs.