Elka Shock review
|ELKA UP GRADE
Better Handling Improved Response!
The shocks arrived wrapped in a protective coating of bubble wrap; they are great looking shocks with a professional design. We removed the factory Kawasaki shocks and installed the Elka’s without any problems, because the front shocks are piggyback style they did not require us to search out a location for the canisters and the rear was an easy fit mount reservoir which came with its own mounting hardware. We found that jacking up the center of the ATV gave the ability to remove the shocks easily. Remove the upper and lower mounting bolts, at this point the stock shock can be removed. Since the Elka shocks do not come with new shock bolts install the Elka performance shocks with the original bolts, this is a very easy process when the weight of the ATV is supported by thejack and the suspension is in a full relaxed position. Most stock ATV shocks are installed with bolts that have some sort of locking nut whether it is a nylon locking nut or a crush nut. Make sure that these nuts are replaced if the locking capability is no longer able to hold strong. Next let the jack down and check the stance of the ATV, we found that Elka did a nice job of presetting the shocks to our machine and riders specifications. Test ride the ATV at a slow speed interpreting what if any adjustments may be needed, small jumps or a medium speed whoops section should be adequate to set compression and feel.
Elka has been in business since 2000, the designers have been working with suspension for years, building suspensions for the majority of all race quad and also sport utility quads (V-force, prairie 650, Grizzly 660 and soon for the Rincon). So you may ask, what is involved in purchasing an Elka suspension? Elka recommends contacting the closest Elka dealer, for a dealer near you contact Elka by phone or though their web-site for a phone number of the closest dealer. Since all of Elka’s shocks are custom built each set must be custom made, Elka will need information on any after market parts you have installed already. This information will help with set-up. Aftermarket products thatcan affect the geometry or handling of your ATV include A-arms, Swing-arms, Specialty wheels. The Elka technicians will need to know what type of primary riding the user will be doing (XC, MX, TT or recreational) also the weight of the rider and their preference on ride (more on the stiffer side or very plush). The Elka suspension we installed retails for 5.00US (65.00 Canadian) front and 5.00US (80.0 Canadian) rear.
The front Elka suspension consists of a triple rate spring set-up with zero-preload, these are adjustable in compression and include a piggyback reservoir. We found that the stock suspension will give you 8.4 inches of wheel travel, installing the Elka suspension will increase the wheel travel to 10.5 inches. Overall length of the Elka performance shocks are 16 ¼ inches from bolt-hole to bolt-hole. The rear suspension consists of a dual rate spring set-up with compression and rebound adjustable and a remote reservoir. The stock rear shock gives you 8.4 inch of wheel travel by installing the Elka shocks rear suspension is increased to 9.9 inches. Total length is 17 3/8 inches from bolt-hole to bolt-hole. For those of you that don’t know much about zero-preload, the system is a soft spring on top that compresses when you put the weight of the ATV onto the suspension, this also lowers the center of gravity by around 2 inches and provides the rider with better handling, cornering and improving weight transfer.
Our test of the Elka suspension would be done with aside by side trail ride of a stock Kawasaki V-Force and a V-Force model with the Elka performance shocks installed. Both units took about the same stance with Elka unit sitting just a bit lower. The test ride started out with a fast paced run down a fairly smooth wooded trail and it did not take long to feel the handling difference found on the modified V-Force. Zero-preload does more than lower the center of gravity, the real difference is felt when encountering bumps, whoops, ruts and accelerating into turns! The stock unit had just a bit less control and we noticed more of a leaning effect in the turns. The Elka shocks proved that a better hole shot could be obtained from the low squatting action and that more speed could be carried through the rough stuff. The extra wheel travel enabled each wheel to stay down and give tractability far greater than the stock unit. Don’t get us wrong, the stock V-Force is a great handling machine and can be raced right out of the crate. Most riders would say the stock suspension is first rate but whenyou have the opportunity to ride a stock unit next to a unit modified with the Elka shocks you will see and feel a difference!
Some riders just can’t get enough jumping, long jumps, high flying jumps what ever you find the Elka shocks can handle the test. As time goes by even expensive performance accessories show wear. That’s what is so great about the Elka shocks; each product is completely rebuildable!
After market products are at a premium now, some of the best designed accessories are available. Race ready ATVs are becoming much more affordable, we admit performance shocks may not be the first accessory sport enthusiasts will purchase but in the case of the V-Force power is not an issue. Suspension is the 700’s strong point and adding a premium set of shocks could make a great handling ATV all the better! Most riders may not have the chance to do an actual comparison test of a stock shock compared to the performance package but if you do take full advantage. Feel the way each wheel tracks the uneven trail, notice how the performance shocks will give the better hole-shot and plant more traction to the rear wheels. Riders will feel less arm fatigue and more control, jumps will be absorbed so much better. Elka produces a shock package that is affordable and will make everyday on the trail more enjoyable. Elka tells us that it takes about three weeks to produce a pair of their shocks and assures us all their suspensions are custom built to the function of the individual riders needs. Based on riders weight, geometry, riding style and the type of terrain most ridden.
Elka provides a limited warranty covering any manufacturing defects, valving and spring set-up, also customizing can be done within 30 days from purchase if the customer is not satisfied with original set-up.