Designing quality functional UTV parts
As a kid in the 80s, when Honda was "the leader", ATVs have always fascinated me. My family was all Honda back then and to a degree still today. Growing up, all we ever had were utility/hunting ATVs. If you couldn't use an ATV for work you didn’t need it. But this little boy always dreamed of having a legendary TRX250R or the mighty ATC350X with those super cool dual headlights and skinny front tire. By college age, the only sport machine Honda offered was the TRX250X and I wanted one so bad. Once finished with college I was able to buy a brand new 1996 TRX300EX! Life got great! Then it got greater when I met my would-be wife who also rode a TRX300EX. And still greater as our two daughters have grown to ride along with us!
As you can see, I’ve been involved with the ATV scene since I was a kid. The machines have evolved, new manufacturers have entered the market, and I’m still fascinated with the endless trail adventure possibilities these machines provide access to.
Sport side by side vehicles have revolutionized the way families play together in a good way because now parents can take their kids riding with them, safely buckled in, and surrounded by a roll cage.
In 2019 I finally realized the influence I had on purchases that friends made for their choice of UTVs and accessories for those machines when, needing air filters, I contacted R2C Performance and inquired about their air filters. Once I mentioned this to some friends, they all wanted to order whatever I thought was a good product. The result was becoming a dealer with R2C, placing a rather large order for friends and family and this business was born.
For the next year I researched quality vendors who would sign me up as a dealer only having a webstore, not a brick-and-mortar storefront. During that time, I connected with All Balls Racing, Automatic Distributors, and someone who ended up becoming a great friend, Bert with Jemco RZR cargo boxes. We were both just getting started in the UTV parts game and he took me on as a dealer for his terrifically designed cargo boxes.
Over Easter weekend of 2020, I decided to try heating and bending some UHMW plastic for a pair of a-arm guards to fit my Talon. Never having much fabrication experience, these guards took the entire weekend to design with cardboard then build out of plastic. The process was exciting and I found that I enjoyed figuring out how to make something.
In June of 2020, I began tinkering with ideas to solve the Talon intake problems. Originally I wanted something discrete that remained in the fender. That didn’t pan out so I paused on this project. During the pause I had a design in my head for a new Talon shifter plate that retained the notches but was faster and more intuitive to use than the OEM part. That one part opened a whole new world for me! Thanks to the help of a local shop that was able to produce my design, I was able to economically produce these in low quantities. My Talon shifter plates have sold well on the market. That one successful design was then implemented later for the Pioneer 1000, which has also sold well despite a tedious installation requiring the dash removal.
From shifter plates, in January of 2021, I moved on to my most ambitious challenge at the time to design under seat storage for my Talon X2-d. That grew into two more boxes for the Talon X4 front seats, all of which no one else has yet offered. These boxes required some serious cardboard design models that were turned into cad models that were then manufactured out of aluminum. This also forced me to buy an AC TIG welder and learn how to TIG weld! In late Spring of 2021, the cargo boxes were rolling out as a finished product.
Late in 2021 I got back on the Talon intake project. It took several months to work out a design that I liked but in February of 2022 I had a working concept of my Talon intake tube and pre-filter. This is still my best-selling design! Although the finished product took some serious welding jig design to enable repeatable accurate builds.
The focus of 10-80 Dirt Sports has changed a little since starting the business. Currently I focus my 28 years of CAD experience more on design and manufacturing of Honda Talon parts where there is more aftermarket space than other brands.