It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that Side-by-Sides are taking over the off road vehicle industry. Everywhere you look on the trails, the dunes, and even on the road, you see big, wide wheelbases and roll cages. In fact, SxS sales are carrying some manufacturers through tough financial times, and the manufacturers with the most going for them right now, not coincidentally, have at least one SxS model in their lineup.
Lead acid batteries aren't what they used to be. Before restrictions on the use of lead in many consumer products, we rarely replaced our powersports batteries. When we did, they would seemingly start a tractor in the dead of winter.Just like your glory days on the high-school football team, those days are long gone. There is an excellent alternative though; lithium-Iron batteries from Shorai.
At first glance most goggles seem pretty similar, and many riders don’t look for anything more than the ability to keep grit from the trail or track out of their eyes as their primary concern. If it fits in their helmet and doesn’t make everything in front of the bike look like a carnival house of mirrors, they’re good to go! Experienced riders want something much better however. Try a couple different goggle types and you’ll quickly come to appreciate the differences between brands. Recently we tried an all-new goggle technology and the performance is eye opening.
Lifted vehicles always get people’s attention and they’re common in the off-road world. Jeeps are lifted, trucks are lifted and so are ATVs & Side x Sides. There are two big reasons for lifting your ride; a macho, ready for anything style, and trail function. Lifting a vehicle gets about as much attention as anything else you can do, and huge tires, bead lock wheels, and a custom paint job always draws a crowd, especially when combined with a throaty sounding exhaust. It’s performance that counts most though.
Of all the ATV and UTV accessories, covers have one of the most important jobs but get the least amount of attention. They’re practically the Rodney Dan-gerfield of the powersports world. A good cover can make a huge difference in protecting your machine from everything from pesky birds, to road salt, and even sun fade. Recently we tried a cover called the GUARDIAN from DOWCO which, in our eyes, paints the impression of an armed sentry standing watch over our machine, ready to fend off all attackers.
Regardless of how much dust is on your dash, how many tools are rattling away in the door pockets, or important papers sprouting from the center console of your truck, when riding in nasty weather, it doesn’t take long to appreciate the comfort of a windshield and roof. Side x Sides can be down-right miserable in cold or wet weather. Unlike an ATV where body movement helps to keep you warm, with a Side x Side, you simply sit there and suffer through the misery as best you can.
Kawasaki's Trail Taming, Overachieving Brute Force 300
It’s easy to overlook smaller displacement machines in favor of much larger, more powerful models. The old saying, “Good things come in small packages,” certainly applies to ATVs as well, and one of the best examples is Kawasaki’s Brute Force 300. It not only looks great, but after our last ride on the 300, we knew it was something special. We needed to get one on our turf for some extended weekend trail time.
Polaris likes to get a jump on the competition each year with an early release of a new model. Usually that means a high performance machine meant to set the pace for the rest of the season. This year though, they opted to bring out not just one new model but two, and they couldn’t be more different. Get ready for the all-new Sportsman ACE and the Scrambler XP 1000.
There is a bit of a renaissance going on with ATV development lately and rather than all R&D being concentrated at the top of the food chain, this work is squarely in the middle. We call it a “back to basics” movement and a few progressive manufacturers have been concentrating their development on mid-sized machines that are versatile, capable, and offer great features in a very value conscious package.
Almost every rider loves to explore new trails and get up close and personal with Mother Nature. Sometimes though, it’s just about the rush. The thrill of making it to the top of a huge hill, flying over a jump, or conquering a watery mud pit where others have failed always delivers a shot of adrenaline to the spine. We’ve all been there, and once tasted, you’ll never get over the addiction. As we said, sometimes it’s about the rush. Recently we found a new riding area capable of delivering those thrills but also much more. Its name, appropriately: RUSH OFF-ROAD.