Mud Riding and Honda ATVs
Graham Adams, otherwise known as LITMMPRO Films on YouTube, lives and breathes mud riding. The one-time racer has stopped chasing the checkers in favor of producing videos to promote the sport he loves. He tells us what damage he’s done to his ATVs over the years and why they’ve all been Hondas. –Editor
Growing up in a hunting and fishing family, ATVing was a big part of my young life. My dad would take me up to Mattawa, Ontario to our hunt camp at least three times a year. We would drive down a twisty logging road where we would park our truck at the trailhead and unload the ATV. We would trailer all our gear, generators and food by ATV over rocks, water and mud to our designated hunt camp. The trail was very abusive and stressful on equipment, but our machine never left us stranded. It could take a beating, bottoming out on rocks over and over again. It wasn’t afraid of water or mud, pulled like a diesel it felt like we just couldn’t destroy it. That ATV was the 2000 Honda Rancher 350 and I’ve been riding Hondas ever since.
I bought my first ATV in 2007 – the newly developed Honda Rancher 420 FM (Foot Manual Shift). I had it for two years and the only time I ever got off of it was to gas up or sleep. I put on more than 4000 miles in those two years and they were some of the best times of my young life.
Still new to the mudding scene, I decided to take my Rancher 420 on one of the sketchiest trails in Ontario – affectionately known as the 666 in Mattawa. Since I was still green, I didn’t know how deep the holes where and I sunk my bike up past the handlebars. This led to the moment every mudder fears – hydrolock! I filled the motor with water and very fine sand. We tipped the bike up hoping to get it all out, checked the oil and seemed to be fine. I was unaware that the water got down in the oil cooler just sitting there waiting to enter my motor.
After driving 30 miles filled with water and sand, the motor finally gave out, emitting a blue and white smoke show as I finally limped home. When I broke into the motor I discovered the ATV had no business making it as far as it did, but it carried me across those miles of hard trails with sand and water swishing around inside the motor, turning the pistons and rings into Swiss cheese. A very costly lesson learned.
Fully impressed with the abuse my Rancher 420 could take, I decided to buy another Honda – my dad’s 2004 Rancher 400 AT – which I decided to modify strictly for mud riding. With its lightweight design and small size I knew it would be a good fit for me. I bought an HMF Penland exhaust, with a K&N air fIlter. With a friend I ran three PVC snorkels up through the front plastics. I used three different sump pump hoses along the side of the bike, allowing maximum amount of air into my air box. As well, I designed a 2.5-inch lift kit, allowing for good ground clearance. Finally, I picked up some 26-inch ITP Mudlight tires to complete the package, which were provided great traction while being light enough to not rob too much power.
Determined not to destroy another engine, Graham set up his Honda Rancher 400 AT to handle even the deepest mud pits.
This ATV felt pretty much unstoppable to me in the deep stuff because of how light it was, so I decided to try my luck in mud racing. My first race was in the 400-499 class where I managed to come home with a second-place finish – losing to a modified Yamaha 450 by milliseconds. The next three races I entered I was put in the 400-599 classes and I never lost a race. The bike has carried me over 6,000 hard miles and it still works to this day!
Thanks to its light weight, the modified Rancher 400 AT could get through just about anything.
Eventually I started to gravitate towards producing videos and began shooting events and rides. I didn’t have time or money to do both race and film, so I decided to give up the racing part of it and help promote the sport. I needed a bike that was a little more powerful and comfortable to keep up with the bigger bikes that I was filming, so I decided to buy a 2009 Honda Rincon 680 with independent rear suspension and a bigger engine than my Rancher.
A Honda Rincon is Graham’s newest ATV, which he uses to help carry him and his camera equipment to remote locations.
This is the ATV I use to haul my camera equipment around. I have kept it pretty much stock with minor upgrades such as a K&N Air Filter and 25-inch ITP Mudlite tires. I’m confident this ATV will last me for years to come. I just recently rolled over the odometer past 3,000 miles and it has taken some serious abuse. It has been battered and knocked around countless times and it still keeps on ticking.
If you think Graham takes it easy on his equipment now that he’s not racing in the mud, you’d be dead wrong.
To see some of Graham Adams’ video work, click here to check out the LITMMPRO YouTube page.
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