10 Things You MUST Know Before Buying A UTV!
UTVs, also known as Side-By-Sides, have been the rage for several years now, with dealerships all over the country reporting record sales. And if you are one of those who is looking to join the side by side craze, then there are a few things that you really should know about them, so that you can know what to expect!
UTVs Are Fantastic For Families
The first things to know if you are interested in getting a side-by-side is the fact that they are great for families. There are many Side-By-Sides on the market with seating for 3, 4, and even 6 passengers, making this the ideal outdoors activity for anybody looking to spend quality time with their loved ones. I personally love to ride with my wife and kids on the back!
Anyways, if you are looking for something that the whole family can do together, then UTVs are going to be your cup of tea. I talked a little bit more about the best UTVs for families in this article, but to keep things short, The most popular models on the market for families include the Polaris RZR S4 1000, Yamaha Wolverine X4, and Can-Am Maverick, and they all feature 4 bucket seats so that you and your family can ride comfortably.
And if you are thinking of riding with 4 full-size adults, then let me tell you that the backseat area isn’t a cramped space reserved for kids. actually, most UTVs these days will give you a lot of legroom and cabin space, especially on the back seats, which is something that bigger UTV riders like myself will really appreciate.
Anyways, If you have a sizable family, or you just want to go on an offroading adventure with all your friends on board, then you definitely will not regret getting a side-by-side!
They Are Super Loud!
This is definitely one of the downsides of UTVs and something that I particularly hate: why exactly are they so damn Loud?? I mean, when you compare UTVs to cars, they have much bigger engines and they generate more power, but they do not make near as much noise as the typical UTV engine.
So, if you are going to be buying a side-by-side, you need to tolerate the fact that they are very noisy, no matter if you are just idling or are revving the engine. this can also be seen with ATVs. because of the noise that they make, they might not be a good idea for the hunter that needs silence as to avoid scaring away his prey.
Thankfully, there are several easy ways to quiet down a side-by-side. I made a more comprehensive article on how to do so, but to keep things short, the best way to silence a UTV is by using an exhaust silencer. companies like The Silent Rider has been providing quality mufflers for those riders who really want something more subdued.
You Have A True Offroading Beast
Out of all the ways that you can cross through a trail, I think that the best way to do so is with side by side. the first reason is because of the ground clearance. everybody knows that the average UTV frame is really high up in the air, something that improves ground clearance and makes offroading a breeze. There are even some manufacturers that sell offroad oriented versions of their UTVs that feature even MORE ground clearance than normal.
One of the other reasons UTVs are so great as an offroader is the combination of comfort, capability, and an open-air cabin. riding a trail in an SUV might be comfortable and easily done, but it’s simply not the same as riding in a UTV. I personally feel overassisted and way too disconnected from the trail itself when doing so. And when it comes to ATVs, they might be just as capable as side by sides offroading wise, but they are much rougher than UTVs. While I started with and still ride ATVs to this day, they are definitely not for people with bad backs!
UTVs combine the comfort and size of an SUV with the visceral feel and capability of an ATV. combine this with affordable pricing and it’s obvious why UTVs is the ride to get if you are an offroading aficionado.
A Few Mods And You Can Even Ride On Public Roads!
Many Side by side owners are disheartened when they hear that UTVs are not street legal, but that is only when stock though. there’s actually a way to ride UTVs legally on the streets, and it consists of modding your UTV so that It conforms to the regulations of motor vehicles. I even made a complete article on how to do so with all the steps required and all the things you need.
That article also lists the states that will actually permit the conversion to street legal. if you live in a state like Arizona, then you are pretty lucky since UTVs have been riding around in their streets for a long time now. But In a state like California, it’s going to be significantly harder to ride legally, if not impossible.
But if you already have a UTV and are interested in Riding UTVs in the streets legally to go grocery shopping or what not, then I recommend that you check that article out.
Different Types Of UTVs Available
As you probably already know, UTVs were originally only used on farms to haul fertilizer and other farm materials. sport side by sides have only recently been introduced to the market, and there is also another type of UTV being introduced to the UTV world: the sports utility side by side.
In short, there are different UTV classes available, and the one that you get will depend a lot on what you are looking to do with the machine. Are you going to be riding aggressively and need something with torque? then a sports UTV is your best choice. Do you need the side by side to work or are going to be using it for utility purposes? then a utility UTV is on the books. Do you need something that does everything? then a sports utility UTV is what you are looking for.
There are also obviously different UTV sizes available, depending on whether you are thinking of riding alone or with your friends or family. you can find from 2-seater to even 6-seater UTVs, perfect for family trail riding on the weekends. There are also different engine sizes available, which will satisfy those customers that are looking for a more powerful UTV.
UTV Racing Is A Thing. Seriously!
Just like dirtbike competitions and ATV racing, there are UTV competitions taking place all over the country too. long considered something only done by dirtbikes, and ATVs, side by side racing is gaining popularity very fast, which coincides with the recent spike of the popularity of side by sides.
And there are many UTV racing competitions, all of which have different rules. There is the LORORS and LOOORRS series, which share pretty much the same rulebook. the rules indicate which UTVs you are allowed to race, the engine CCs, and they also talk about safety measures you must take if you want to race, among other things.
UTV racing is quite expensive though. many riders who start competing need to spend extra money not only on the mandatory safety gear, but also on the performance mods needed to be relevant on the races.
We are talking about new suspension shocks, possible mods to the engine, and new steering wheels and tires, plus all the fees that you need to pay to compete. In short, this can get expensive real quick, but the experience is completely worth it in my opinion.
UTVs Are Expensive To Buy And Run
This goes hand in hand with what was mentioned above. It’s no secret that these babies aren’t exactly the cheapest rides on the market. Like I explained in this article, unless you buy a used model, you are going to have to bite the bullet and be ready to spend over 15 grand for a new UTV. While they are completely worth it in my opinion, there are some other folks that might balk at the price, which is completely understandable.
So if you really want a UTV but aren’t very happy with the pricing of new models, you are going to have to go to the used market. just like cars, this is a great way to get something that is like-new, at a very accessible price.
Just like cars, UTVs tend to depreciate rather sharply in the first few years, which means that the best time to actually get one is when it’s 2-3 years old. in that time frame, the UTV has probably depreciated over 50%, while still being in great condition.
Another way to save some money is to simply buy the UTV on holiday season, spring break, or on Black Friday. Dealers tend to come up with some goods deals by these times. it’s not uncommon to see thousands off MSRP in Black Friday.
Electric Models Are Available Too
If you didn’t know, there are also a bunch of models that will appeal to people who want something as subdued as possible. these UTVs are battery powered, and just like a Tesla, you just plug it into a wall socket to charge them up. these UTVs generally accelerate very well because of their electric nature, and their handling resembles their gas-powered cousins.
Electric models are also very popular with hunters, given that they need a method of transportation that is as quiet as possible as to avoid scaring potential prey. Most of the people that I have seen with EV models in real life are hunters, and if they are not, they just want something that doesn’t produce the typical drown of a gas powered UTV.
I also think that the federal government is providing 5 grand tax credits if you buy an electric UTV, just like in cars. If you are thinking of buying an electric UTV, It might be wise to talk with your dealer about that federal credit.
Make Sure Your Vehicle Can Haul/Tow It!
Since UTVs are not street legal when stock, you are going to have to look for a way to transport it to your trail or track of choice. Since UTVs are so damn massive, most full-sized models will not fit in a truck’s bed. the only way you are going to fit a UTV in one is if you have a really massive truck bed or you made mods to extend the bed. Youth models will fit in many truck beds though. anyways, I made this comprehensive guide on which UTVs will fit on the truck beds of several pickup models and which ones won’t, so if you are interested in that, go and take a look!
So since most UTVs will not fit on your typical truck bed, the only option is to tow it. the first that you are going to have to know is how much your UTV weights. In the future, I will be preparing a list of the official weight numbers of all popular UTVs, but to generalize, most UTVs are going to be about 1,000 pounds.
1,000 pounds will be easily towed by most Pickups, even compact ones like for example a Colorado or a Tacoma. crossover SUVs like for example a Honda CR-V, a Toyota RAV4, a Ford Escape, will also generally be able to tow 1,000 pounds. Please check with your car manual to really make sure how much it can tow though.
UTVs Have Exploded In Popularity Recently
This is something that you probably know. in fact, the reason that you might be reading this article is because of the aforementioned rise of popularity of side by sides. anyways, this newfound popularity means several things: not only are UTV going to get cheaper in the future, but there is a new wave of enthusiasts that are going to be joining the community.
This means more people to ride, to sell and buy UTVs from, and to plan trail rides with. UTVs becoming a more common hobby is benefiting everybody because of that, including myself! it means that more and more people are going to be reading my blog.
To really understand a little bit more why UTVs are getting so popular, check this article out.
Safety Is Numero Uno
We have to keep it real with side by sides: they aren’t exactly super safe, and neither are other offroad oriented rides like for example ATVs or dirtbikes. since most UTVs have significant amounts of ground clearance, that means that they can rollover rather easily. Most Modern UTVs do not provide stability control yet, and so, you really have to be careful when riding at fast speeds, especially on rocky or uneven terrain.
Because of all of this, wearing safety equipment is warranted. You should get AT LEAST a helmet and a chest protector. this is because head, spine, and torso injuries make up most deadly injuries incurred while riding side by sides. you should also get yourself a good set of boots, a riding jersey and pants, a pair of gloves, and goggles to go with the helmet.
Staying safe when riding doesn’t all have to do with protective gear though. making sure your tires are in good shape, avoiding hard cornering, and trying not to overload your UTV is also important so that you can avoid an accident.
They Can Tow More Than Your Typical Crossover
This is a fact that might amaze you: you can tow more with a UTV than with your typical crossover, like a CR-V. the average UTV will be able to tow over a thousand pounds, which is perfect for farmers who might want to tow manure or other produce down a farm or even the hunter that wants to move a big animal back to the camp.
So even though they might not tow as much as a pickup, towing a thousand pounds is a respectable amount, which will serve you for lighter stuff like for example towing dirtbikes on a trailer, hunted animals as I said above, and even other UTVs.
And so because of this UTVs are a good buy for anybody who needs light towing capacity but doesn’t have the budget to get a big truck.