Let’s face it, stock sucks. Most everything stock is created from the idea that we have to mass produce parts to maximize profit and the first things that cost cutting effects are aesthetics and performance. Now if the idea is that the vehicle you are driving should be an extension of your body than nothing is more important than a good steering wheel. Especially in UTV’s which come with those awful toy like steering wheels usually made from hard plastic with no grip at all. Once you have used an upgraded wheel, you never want to go back.
We have been installing custom steering wheels in our machines since day one here at UTVUnderground.com. We have ran them all and most made some level of improvement while others fell short. We prefer our wheels to not only improve our driving experience but also improve the looks of our interior. Some of the things we look for in a wheel is strength, size and materials used. Be wary of reducing the diameter of your wheel from the stock dimensions, you will find it will feel funny, it will reduce your lock to lock ratio when turning the wheel and overall reduces the appearance of your interior.
We love a nice quality wheel and have become fond of suede wheels with a quick disconnect hub. In the early years suede wheels were limited to high end companies like MOMO and SPARCO and you would spend a small fortune to buy one of these wheels. Now companies like Grant have found ways to reduce the cost on suede wheels while maintaining the quality and durability. We have been running the Grant wheels now for well over a year and have been thoroughly impressed with how well the wheels are holding up despite repeated use in the dirt and being washed frequently. The suede is holding up as is the color tone which is a huge plus. In addition, the Grant quick disconnect has performed flawlessly. It has not corroded and has maintained its tight fit since the day we first began installing them.
A quick note on the quick disconnect. Many people ask us if you have to run one and the answer is no. Grant will provide you with a simple hub to firmly mount on your machine just as your stock wheel is and there is nothing wrong with that at all. We prefer the quick disconnect for many reasons. First is it acts as a theft deterrent when on trips. We are able to remove the wheel and take it with us making it difficult for a would be thief to drive off with the car. Another reason is it makes for easy access in and out of the vehicle if you build a race car type machines. Lastly, it’s nice when working on the machine to be able to remove it and get the steering wheel out of the way.
You’re going to spend a ton of time with the wheel in your hands so it might as well feel good and perform better. Grant steering wheels offers a huge variety of options from the classic old school style foam cushioned wheels to the modern race style suede steering wheels, all without breaking the bank. You don’t have to buy a steering wheel from italy to get quality and performance. Grant Products was founded in 1922 and has been making quality products ever since. In fact they were the first company to introduce the first steering wheel for dune buggies in 1962.Today Grant manufactures a complete line of custom steering wheels and accessories including the new Gripper and Suede Series, perfect for all your off-road vehicles. We recently installed a Gripper wheel in one of our machines and loved it!
Selecting a wheel can be a challenge if you do not know what you like. We prefer to stick with the standard diameter wheel to keep the steering ratio as the factory intended. Grant does offer deep dish wheels or a regular no dish wheels and we like both depending on the use. If you are a shorter person or if you are a guy who likes to keep the wheel closer to you then you may want the deep dish wheel. In our RZRs we have found that the deep dish wheel works great and because of the adjustable seats allows us to get into that perfect position. Some people prefer to have their arms almost fully extended when driving and we will tell you it’s a comfort thing and each person is different. However, there is a reason NASCAR drivers are all up on the wheel and that is because it reduces fatigue and improves your steering reactions so keep that in mind also. We do also run a standard dish wheel in some of our cars and we love them just the same. A good example of when not to have a deep dish wheel is when you are in a smaller vehicle. Our Polaris General for example does not allow for much movement of the seat and it’s a smaller cab so we have found that the deeper dish wheel for the bigger guys is not very good. From there the wheel you choose will be about style and color options and Grant has both of those on lock. They make wheels in all shapes, colors and patterns. We have stuck primarily with black suede wheels and then chose the accent color based on our vehicles color. If no color matches then we always go with red for that race car look.
Grant wheels are easy to install and come with all the parts necessary to install the wheel on your machine. You will need to have your own steering wheel puller to remove your stock wheel so make sure you order one ahead of time if you plan to install the wheel yourself. We use one from UTV Inc. for our RZR that you can PURCHASE HERE. Our Can-Am we had to use an automotive style puller and it was a challenge. One thing to keep in mind is to be patient and careful when removing the steering wheel. You do not want to use an impact gun if you can prevent it and you never want to beat it off with a hammer or mallet. Too much impact and pounding and twisting the wheel can cause irreversible damage to your vehicle’s power steering so be mindful. From there you will need an allen wrench and some loctite to put the wheel and hub together. Its an easy process when having the right puller so make sure you have one of those.
We will leave you with this. While a steering wheel is only a small part of your overall build, it is the only part you will touch and hold on to every single time you drive your machine. Until you modify and change your wheel you won’t ever realize what a big difference a good steering wheel can make to your driving experience. So hit the guys up at Grant and take your driving experience to the next level!
see more at: www.grantproducts.com