SuperATV is all about innovating—pushing the envelope, thinking outside the box, bringing new ideas to the table, however you want to say it. We currently offer thousands of different parts and accessories on our website, all designed to make your ride better. So you could say we have a little experience when it comes to giving off-roaders what they want.
Here’s how we do it.
The original idea for new parts can come from almost anywhere. Often times our president, Harold Hunt, will think of something he wishes he had on his machine that would make his rides more fun. (By the way, that’s basically how SuperATV got its start.)
Sometimes an employee here at SuperATV will make a suggestion internally. Other times, you guys call us and email us asking for specific parts.
We also get inspiration from what everybody else is using. When we go to parks, it’s hard to miss some of the cool stuff people have on their machines. Every once in a while we say, “Hey, we like this thing, but we think we can do it better.” That’s how we ended up making parts like the GDP Portal Gear Lift, which is now, undoubtedly, the best gear lift the off-road community can get their hands on.
And then there are the annual vehicle refreshes. We regularly tweak existing parts to fit new model years. And when there’s a major year-to-year redesign, like with the Maverick X3, we have to start from scratch. With a new vehicle, there are new problems that we can fix with the right parts. This is in addition to all the standard parts we make, like windshields and A-arms.
When a new part or idea gets on our radar, we’ve got to do some research. Do people actually want this part? How many people? How much would it cost to make it? What price are people willing to pay for that part?
As an example, let’s say we’re making a new 10″ lift kit for the Maverick X3. (For the record, we’re not announcing anything new. It’s just a good example!)
Before we commit to designing this lift, we’ll stop and think about who would use it. We know the X3 is super popular, so you’d think there would be plenty of buyers. But is the Can-Am X3 more popular as a race machine or a mud machine? After doing some research, we learn that the X3 is plenty popular with the mud guys down south. Knowing that, we would move forward with designing this kit.
Once we’ve committed to making the kit, our engineers get into the nitty gritty of designing and building every last inch of it—including axles—in CAD. First and foremost, when making a 10″ lift kit, they have to make sure it will actually fit to the X3 and give it 10″ of lift. Then they have to make it incredibly strong and durable. They’re also responsible for making it look really good.
They start by scanning the relevant portions of the vehicle with our CMM arm. For our example kit, that would mean scanning the suspension all the way out to the hub and scanning all the shock and arm mounting points.
Once they’ve got every last bit of that lift kit designed down to the last micron (we really are that precise), the lead engineer checks for any problems and makes sure it looks good aesthetically. It always helps to have a second pair of eyes on it for this important step.
Once that’s done, we move the 10″ lift kit to the prototype phase.
Prototyping is the fun part. That’s when our prototype shop brings all those ideas and drawings to life. A big 10″ lift might require a lot of help with this, though. The prototype guys have to fab up all of the A-arms, trailing arms, radius arms, axles, and brackets. We keep basic parts like brake lines and hardware in stock, but we have to make everything else from scratch.
For tube designs like A-arms and radius arms, our guys bend and cut raw material to specifications using our tube bender. They use our CNC to make ball joint holes and the laser to make gussets and shock mounts. We keep adjustable pivot blocks in stock for manufacturing. These pieces all come together on the fixture (also designed by the engineer) and we weld them together.
We repeat this process for the trailing arms (using the laser CNC, lathe, and tube bender), axles (they cut an existing axle in half and weld in a length of steel), and radius arms. This process looks different for parts like windshields, skid plates, portal lifts, and clutch kits, but you get the gist.
This part of the process takes a couple of days. When it’s completed, the part is precisely measured to make sure it matches the original CAD design and then gets tried on the vehicle.
We check everything during try-on. It has to install easily. The axle can’t bind at full drop, at full compression, or at a full turn with steering stops. It has to fit the desired tire size without rubbing anywhere.
If it doesn’t meet all those requirements, we back up to tweak the design and rebuild the part. If it does meet those requirements, it goes out for a test drive. We have our own test track on the property to make this as efficient as possible. We also have access to a few properties in the countryside for some more diverse riding conditions.
If the prototype passes muster, it gets approved. That’s when we start making the parts to be sold.
This is when we start work on the final, polished product. This is what we’ll eventually box up and ship to you. But first we have to make sure our final touches and processes are holding up. So we make a complete powder-coated kit, box it up, and send it to our quality department.
They make sure every last part measures to print and everything is fully accounted for, including each bolt and thread pitch. They also make sure it’s boxed properly (per the packaging engineer’s instructions) and the paint looks good. Once everything is OK, we try on the part again to make sure the production part is still perfect and ready for mass production.
Then we’re done! We kick off large-scale production, performing standard checks throughout the manufacturing process.
Finally, we box up the finished product, put it in the warehouse, and put it up for sale on the website. When an order comes in, our shipping team gets it out the door as fast as possible using an advanced picking program.
And that’s how a part goes from an idea to your garage here at SuperATV. We’ve been doing it this way for years, and it’s the same basic process that produces everything from new portal lifts to ball joints. Now head over to SuperATV.com to see what we’ve come up with to improve your favorite machine!