There’s no question off-road vehicle manufacturers are increasingly using strongly branded aftermarket components to add appeal to their products.
Can-Am likes Brembo brakes and KYB Shocks. Polaris likes Walker Evans shocks and Maxxis tires. There’s real value for the SxS and ATV buyer in these brands. All are perceived as higher quality, higher performing parts than what an OEM might otherwise supply.
Arctic Cat more or less freaked us out with the announcement it would be supplying hand-built, serialized Stage 5 Elka adjustable dampers on selected Wildcats. Okay, we know Fox is a respected name and so is Walker Evans… and there are other shock builders with a strong market presence.
Here’s the difference: In our books Elka smacks of Mercedes/BMW quality, Ferrari performance and exceptional tuneability. Our experience with high performance off-road vehicles has convinced us Elka makes a premium product that adds tangible value to an already good vehicle.
So why do Elkas impress us? We’ll let you in on something the company does that makes a huge difference: Elka field tests its products before selling them. The company doesn’t just replicate a valve code or a damping spec from a computer aided design and performance program.
Elka’s suspension engineers participated with Arctic Cat to achieve ride quality that extracts every bit of the performance and control each chassis can deliver – not theoretical performance but real world performance.
Quality is a hallmark of the Elka brand. It ensures quality by building shocks one at a time, then testing every one of them on an MTS machine to ensure the valve codes perform the same every time. This is a painstaking and quite frankly, costly way to do anything in todays off-shore dominated, mass produced, high-volume-or-nothing, world.
Elka shocks are made in Montreal, Quebec, Canada pretty much every day of the year. The company’s first business is to supply the aftermarket with fitments for hundreds of ATVs, motorcycles, snowmobiles and SxSs through an expansive dealer network across North America.
If you order a set of Elkas on a Saturday the company is often able to deliver your custom built, individually valve-coded shocks to your dealer by the following Saturday.
The attention to detail is evident when you hold an Elka shock in your mitts. However, the proof is in the ripping. Try a set on a new Wildcat Sport and see for yourself what we’re talking about.