You can expect a top speed of around 80MPH for the higher 1,000cc ATV and Side By Sides. There are modifications you can make to go even faster, but this is about where manufacturers set at from the factory.
The average speed overall is about 50mph. This is the golden number and plenty fast for the average adult. Trust me, 50 on an ATV “feels like” 80 in a car.
The slowest ATVs are going to be the ones made for kids, but these and even some adult ATVs have throttle limiters. With a kids ATV you could get speeds where its barely moving (1mph) to very fast running speeds (25mph). Just make sure to follow the laws when it comes to kids ATVs and warning decals posted on the machine.
Here is a list of the cc engine options and their top speeds. Keep in mind these are the average numbers; some ATV manufacturers can go faster or slower.
|cc||ATV||Side by Side|
|110||30 MPH||10 to 25 MPH|
|150||35 MPH||15 to 30 MPH|
|500||60 MPH||45 MPH|
|570||65 MPH||45 MPH|
|800||75 MPH||60 MPH|
|1000||80 MPH||80 MPH|
The 50, 70, and 90cc ATVs may seem lower than people expect. The numbers are based on models that ship to the US. You can get models that do go faster, but the US has stringent laws when it comes to ATVs marketed to kids. I can not stress this enough, make sure to follow the laws and warnings for children’s ATVs!
Most ATVs have throttle limiters that are easily adjusted with a screw and wrench. This is great for someone new to a machine that you don’t want to go too crazy.
It’s not meant as a full stop because anyone with a screwdriver can adjust it. But if the person doesn’t know about this, most don’t; then you could have a great way to limit an ATV’s power.
Another way manufacturers can limit the speed of an ATV is with the keys.
Can-Am is big on this with their DESS keys. You can have one key that is full power, another one that is limited on the top end, and another one that is a ‘work’ key where it’s slow but has a ton of torque.
Digital keys are becoming rare especially on the more affordable ATVs. But the more affordable ATVs are also, the slower of the bunch.
This is something to keep in mind when you want to get an ATV that you think might be too much power. You can always get one with different keys with different power levels. This way you have the option of more power just by changing out the keys. Keep in mind that some manufacturers don’t support this option.
If you ask me, ATV speed and cc size have become one big pi$$ing contest. I’m using the $ sign on purpose because it means big bucks to manufacturers.
Whatever. That is all I can say about it. My days of racing and going fast are over. I rather have a machine that is just ‘enough’ and won’t kill me on gas. This is why I like the 570cc and 650cc engines. They’re fast enough and better on gas than the 800 or 1,000’s.
I honestly don’t know why anyone wants the 1,000cc engines and even wrote about it here.
ATVs don’t have enough weight to them to use all of that power for hauling. The only thing that it’s good for is just plain old going fast. Unless you race them for a living, I don’t see the need. Call me an old man but after riding every cc size ATV I’ve come to value the ~600cc range the most.
Will They Ever Go Over 80MPH?
I don’t want to save never, but I don’t think they will. 80mph has become the limit that manufacturers will push. Where they will go from here is pushing the 0 to 60 numbers. Top speed is over, but who gets to the top speed quicker is still underway.
Overall it’s a legal issue. Riding ATVs is dangerous, and the manufacturers don’t want to add any more top speed to that factor.
Make Your ATV Faster
You can make your ATV faster; it’s not hard to do. But I must state that ATVs are dangerous so wear proper gear and ride understanding the dangers. I’ve seen horrible things happen so please be responsible.
The easiest modification is to get a new exhaust. The standard pipes restrict flow and thus power. Keep in mind this will make the quad louder, but many pipes are not that bad and give the ATV a nice sound. Speed aside, a nice-sounding pipe is a must.
Make sure you get the correct pipe for your ATV. I’m a fan of HMF, here is one example – Can-am HMF PERFORMANCE PERFORMANCE Series Slip-on Exhaust (Amazon Link Ad).
You can also get an engine remapping module.
This will reprogram the engine to give you more power and might even be needed for some pipes. Keep in mind this might void your warranty with some manufacturers.
The biggest thing that can slow your ATV or side by side is the tires. You need to get tires that fit the situation you’re most likely riding in.
If you ride in muddy and rough areas, you need a bigger/aggressive tire than someone who races in the dunes. Keep this in mind if you’re concerned about speed.
If you want to make your ATV faster make sure you’re not already limited. I’m not talking about the governors that the manufacturer has to install but things like user available settings.
Earlier I mentioned you might be using a digital key that is limiting the power. Other manufacturers will use a fuse in the fuse box to determine your speed settings.
Read your owner’s manual to see if your ATV has any speed limiters built-in. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen someone complain about their slow ATV and come to find out they were using the wrong digital key.