Since there’s been mudding, there’s been people modifying their ATVs to go deeper and ride harder. You might be surprised at the lengths people will go to all to enjoy a little slop!
Do you know who goes above and beyond to dominate mud and sludge? Honda Rancher owners. Seriously.
At SuperATV, when we released our Honda Rancher Depth Finder Snorkel Kit, we couldn’t keep them on the shelves! We knew there would be demand (duh), but we never expected the Honda Rancher to be one of our best-selling snorkel kits.
Today we’re going nail down what makes the Rancher such a quality bog machine—and show you how to build your own.
The Honda Rancher 420 may be an unexpected contender in the swamp, but once we’ve hit all the key factors, it’ll seem like a no-brainer. It’s lightweight, budget friendly, and it’s been around forever. How can you beat that?
First things first—the Rancher is lightweight. That means it’s less likely to sink straight down to the bottom of the mud hole. Never underestimate the advantages that a low-weight ATV can offer when it comes to wet rides.
Secondly, the Honda Rancher is light on the pocketbook too. You can land yourself a brand-new 2024 Fourtrax Rancher for just $6,000 (before taxes). There’s a few other quality ATVs in that price range (like the Can-Am Outlander 500/700), but if you’re shopping based on price, you’ll have a hard time beating the Rancher.
Used Ranchers are also readily available. And with Honda’s reputation for reliability, a late-model used Rancher might be the perfect choice for you.
Lastly, the Rancher has been around for a long, long time. There are a ton of people who have been customizing and modifying these machines for years.
That means there’s plenty of advice and inspiration just waiting for an enthusiastic mudder to dive into.
There are also plenty of parts available to make those modifications. Tires, winches, and more are all readily available. Speaking of which…
Here’s how you can transform your own Honda Rancher into a mud machine!
We’ve got tons of parts and accessories you can use to transform your Rancher into a bog-beating beast. Here’s a few of the essentials.
A winch is vital for mud riding with any machine—ATV, UTV, Jeep, whatever. You can pull yourself out of deep pits or rescue a friend. We won’t kick a dead horse here, but a winch should be considered a requirement for any mud machine.
We’ve got winches between 2,500 and 12,000 lb. capacity—and all the accessories you need to get it set up. Trust us, this is one of those “better safe than sorry” upgrades.
Now we’re getting to the good stuff. If you want to tackle the deepest peanut butter mud, you need a Depth Finder Snorkel Kit from SuperATV. Our snorkel kit raises your engine air intake so you can drown your machine without worrying about destroying your drivetrain.
If you’re serious about building a mud machine, a snorkel kit is a non-negotiable. Otherwise you’ll be stuck to the kiddie pool.
A mud-clogged radiator doesn’t do anyone any favors. And one with a hole in it is even worse.
SuperATV’s Radiator Relocation Kit for the Honda Rancher 420 moves your radiator up and out of harm’s way. It gets better airflow too, keeping your machine cooler when you’re really working it hard in deep muck.
We surround the radiator with 1/8” thick steel. That means it’s fully protected from punctures and dents.
Don’t fear the bounty hole—dominate it with this radiator relocation kit.
Most stock tires are low ply and tend to be easily damaged. Exactly the opposite of tires you want to sink down in the mud where you can’t see them.
Honda isn’t known for equipping their machines with great stock tires. Their stock tires are fairly middle-of-the-road when it comes to quality—and definitely not cut out for deep mud.
You’ll want to ditch the OEM tires as soon as possible. New tires will make a huge impact on the way your Rancher handles on all types of terrain.
Upgrading your tires might seem simple, but it can actually be a little tricky with the Rancher. For one, the Rancher uses 11” rear rims, which is somewhat unusual. It can be tough to find ATV tires in this size. You may want to get new wheels in a different size if you’re serious about going big with your tires.
And, of course, keep in mind that there are other limitations when it comes to equipping bigger tires.
You want to avoid rubbing, so the biggest tires you can reasonably fit on the Honda Rancher 420 are 27”—at least in our experience. Bigger than that and you’re going to have a hard time steering the machine.
Big tires will also steal power from your Rancher’s tiny little one-cylinder engine. Larger tires are heavier (duh) and they’re going to make your Rancher work harder to make them roll.
All that extra work can lead to premature wear and tear on your differentials, transmission, CV joints, and more.
And don’t forget that it’s going to be harder for you to turn the handlebars too. Of course, you can always get one of SuperATV’s EPS kits to help with that!
And that, kids, is the easiest way to build a pretty cost-effective mud machine. All-in, you’re looking at a pretty sweet little bog dog for around $8,000 (or less) with a brand-new Honda Rancher 420 and all the upgrades. And with a used machine, you could do it for even cheaper!
If you wanted to, you could go even crazier with a small lift kit, gear reduction, and monster tires—and people do—and you’d probably still be in the ball park of $10,000 or less. You could do a lot worse than that!
The best part? You’re going to have FUN making memories. Doing your own modifications and building your dream ATV for half the cost of a new side-by-side? That’s unbeatable.