You’re covered in filth from your eyelashes down to your toes. There’s so much mud caked on your machine that it’ll surely take weeks to scrub it clean.
If this sounds like your idea of a good time, we’re hoping you have the machine for the job. Without the right quad, you run the risk of getting stuck, swamped, or both.
So what are the best mudding ATVs? There are lots of four wheelers out there but not all of them are equipped to take on the mucky stuff.
Today we’ll talk about what it takes to dominate the bogs and then look at some machines that are laser-focused on maximizing your performance in mud. So sit back, relax, and gear down—it’s about to get dirty.
As a rule, four wheelers are fast and powerful. That’s what makes them so fun. But some machines are better suited for mud than others.
Here are some factors to consider if you’re looking for an ATV that’s in its element in pits, bogs, and bounty holes:
Mud is thick—like, peanut butter-level thick. It takes a powerful ATV to pull itself through it. The best mud machines deliver maximum torque and horsepower.
When you’re diving into those holes, swamping your machine is a real concern. That’s why manufacturers are strategic about designing mud-focused ATVs. High-mounted radiators and shielded components are just a few things that can keep you from flooding your quad.
Most riders would agree that having the right tires is key to a successful ride through the mud. It’s hard to gain traction when you’re in several inches of sludge, but the right tire can do it. Mud tires have high tread depth and wide lug spacing to maximize pull.
To learn more about what SuperATV has to offer, check out this overview of our top 3 ATV mud tires.
Four wheelers that are designed for mud tend to have more ground clearance than those intended for trail or dune applications. After all, the higher you are, the easier it is to cross mud pits without getting stuck or hitting a hidden rock.
Polaris took what is arguably one of the best all-around ATVs on the market and added specs that make it totally geared toward mud with this High Lifter Edition. It features a front-mounted radiator, routed twin fans to keep everything cool, and high bumpers for extra clearance. The clutch and intakes are shielded to keep mud and water from getting in and the CVT transmission has an extra-low gear to maximize your torque.
Getting filthy has never been more fun than it is with this Can-Am Renegade. Mud-focused attention to detail makes this ATV a game changer in the bogs. Every part of this thing is designed to ride fast and hard through the messy stuff. The newest models have upgraded tires, a snorkeled engine, and bulletproof underbody protection. A unique locked diff gives you unyielding traction to prevent slippage on softer surfaces.
The Textron Alterra MudPro is unique because it has an engine that was designed exclusively for mud riders. It’s also lighter than other full-size ATVs, which gives it an advantage over competitors. The Maxxis Zilla tires feature a slop-slinging tread pattern and deliver quicker acceleration, great braking power, and a smooth ride. If you’re looking at the specs, the MudPro isn’t the fastest or most powerful machine out there. But based on price and performance alone, you can’t beat it.
We will note that these are no longer in production as of 2019, so if you want one, you’ll have to buy it used. But since every part of this machine is geared toward mudding, we couldn’t leave it off the list.
The Yamaha Grizzly isn’t a mud machine by definition. But when you look at its power and handling, you’ll see why it’s on this list. It has one of the best CVT transmissions on the market and is just an all-around quality machine. If you’re okay with foregoing certain specs and you want to go mudding on a budget, you can’t beat what the Grizzly has to offer.
Can-Am takes mud more seriously than anyone else—hence the reason you’re seeing two of their quads on this list. The Outlander differs from the Renegade in that it’s longer, which gives you even more leverage when churning your way through that wet concrete. It has tall dimensions, a durable wheelbase, and aggressive tires to make every mud-riding experience better.
Let’s say the quad sitting in your garage isn’t what people would consider “good for mudding.” That doesn’t mean you have to go out and buy an all-new machine just to hit up the next bounty hole you see.
There are things you can do to make your ATV handle better in bogs and bounty holes. Here are some ideas:
One of the best things about mud machines is that they’re designed to get buried. If your air intake isn’t strategically placed to minimize the risk of getting swamped, you can always add a snorkel.
Your ATV can have the most mud-focused setup imaginable, but without the right tires to pull it through, you won’t get very far. Massive tread depth and extra-wide lug spacing will help your tires cut through even the thickest clay.
Like we mentioned earlier, clearance is a big part of mudding. The higher you can get off the ground, the more fun your ride is going to be. Adding a lift kit or portal gear lift will make any quad more capable in the mud.
If you’re serious about mud, chances are you’re going to get stuck once… or twice… or five times. It’s an occupational hazard if you like burying your machine and it happens to the best of us. Make your next rescue mission easier by installing a Black Ops Winch on your ATV.
You’re never too old to play in the mud. Whether you’re 5 or 45, there’s something universally appealing about a pool of thick, sloppy sludge. And when you throw an ATV in the mix, things get even more fun.
Looking for somewhere to test out your muddin’ machine? Check out our overview of the best ride spots in the South. It’s chock full of places to get down and dirty.
*All prices mentioned in this article reflect what was current as of March 2021.