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UTVs: Another Insane Industry

I am at it again: questioning the sanity of a large industry. But this time, at least, I heard similar thoughts from other people.

I recently took a training course on handling a UTV (or ROHV) safely. (Those are the car-like "ATVs", typically with side-by-side seating.)

For the life of me, I can't understand why anyone would waste their money on something that just isn't that much fun. Fast motion is fun for a human being -- but for how long?

Because of accidents, regulators have now smothered the machines in safety equipment. I felt panic when I first put that damn full-face helmet on. In fairness, that went away pretty quickly, and it was not as hot as first thought.

But my prescription bifocal sunglasses could not sit on my head right, because of that bloody helmet. The bifocal line obscured my vision. (Only a government safety regulator could design something that ruins your vision, and then call it "safety" equipment.) 

Almost every aspect of this infernal machine was unlikeable to me. I would much rather go four-wheeling in a narrow 1995 Toyota Tacoma pickup truck. And yet people put these silly UTVs on flat bed trailers, and drag them from Texas to Colorado, so they can do the Alpine Loop through the San Juan mountains.

Why? Why spend 15,000--25,000 dollars of your hard-earned money on something that isn't that much fun, at least after the novelty wears off? 

Sports like this are only fun because you ARE taking risks. Once they make you hermetically sealed in hot, uncomfortable body armor, it is no longer fun. So why waste the money?

But it is becoming a normal thing in modern America: government safety nazis raise the complexity and cost of machines, and the corporations rake in the extra revenue. The consumer dutifully takes out a loan to pay for the infernal machine, which helps the financial sector thrive.  The individual consumer's job is just to submit to advertisements, and not ask embarrassing questions about the entire racket.


Unknown said…
I'm not 'with ya' on much but, this subject we see eye-to-eye. They are WAY overpriced for what they are. Then you have to buy the trailer and have a tow vehicle. Nope not me.

Curious, why didn't you pick up an electric mountain bike? Weight? That disappears soon as the power is applied. Range anxiety isn't an issue any longer. Price? Not considering what you paid. I'm really curious. I use the road going electrics. I find that I can just travel further.

Just because I am not 'with ya' on your viewpoints doesn't mean I don't enjoy reading your posts. Keep it up.

Be well.
I think e-bikes have a great future and I'm 100% behind them. For the moment, they are still pricey. It has served me well to be a late-adopter during most of my life, and e-bikes are probably just one more example of that principle.

And as an RVer I am not really eager to add one more battery-operated gadget to my life.
Anonymous said…
Yes I could understand the appeal of a motorized two wheeler, but those overpriced monsters are for the easily amused.
sooperedd said…
I occasionally ride in a friends UTV and it kinda sucks; it isn't much fun to drive or ride in. They kind of annoy me anyway because we go to the mountains to get away from the noise and people for a while.

I test rode a few 3 wheel Tadpoles bikes a couple of months ago and one had an electric assist and I thought it was pretty cool. I was checking them out thinking I could ride in the snow when my mountain bike would just not work. They make some with 4" wide tires and would work great in the snow. The ICE Full Fat with the electric assist was like $6,000, but that was the most expensive one I rode and certainly the nicest.
Unknown said…
My wife and I have been riding our Kawasaki 650 Brute Force ATVs since 2003. We drive on everything from narrow winding dirt trails in the local hills, wide open dirt roads and (my favorite) large sandy washes. We have logged 8,000+ miles on both ATVS over the 17 years we've owned them and the only thing we've had to do to them is, change the oil, clean and re-oil the air filters and replace the belts, maybe 2 or 3 times! They have been bullet proof and a blast to drive!

It seems like EVERYBODY these days, wants to own a SXS. So, a couple of weeks ago we wanted to see if we were missing out on something, so we test drove three different UTVS, Talon R, YXZ 1000 and KRX 1000. What we noticed right away was it felt totally disconnected from the driving experience in all three UTVS. Yes, they have 20+" of travel and can blast through the whoops at 60mph, but something was missing. On my ATV, I'm SO much more involved in the driving process(shifting my weight etc) In a UTV, you basically sit in a comfortable seat, grab the wheel, step on the gas and let the SXS do just about everything else. Kind of like driving your truck down a dirt road........can get boring real quick!

Another thing that REALLY turned me off after driving them off road a bit, was ............they all seem to be very loud and dusty (even at low speed) in the cab. I also didn't find them really that much smoother when driving over small rocks, ruts, and washboard roads at low speeds. I'm sure if you rocket over small rocks, ruts and washboard roads at 60+ mph, SXSs will offer a much better ride than any ATV. An ATV is kind of like a Wave-runner on, the quad and the trail.......a UTV is like driving a ski's very fast, but you feel like you're detached from the TRUE driving experience that you get on a wave runner.

And the price!!! $20,000 for a SXS with 1/2 doors???, no windshield??? and no top......are you kidding me! Add a couple of options and you're easily up to $25,000+ after tax and license! Wait , I forgot the "Turbo"! You can't let someone beat you up that sand dune. Now we're talking some coin. Ok, now you have your amazing, go anywhere, $25,000 rig, how am I going to get it to that special place where everybody goes, to show off there ?"Indestructible"? machines, climbing walls of granite or trying to ford a river full of thick sticky mud. You need to buy a trailer....crap, more money!

I never could understand why people spend $10-$30,000 on ATVs or UTVs and risk destroying them trying to climb up a steep mountain full of boulders, or drive them into a river of mud! Damn, my suspension isn't strong enough, I bent my A-arms on my last mountain climb.........I need bigger steel if I'm going to be able to stay up with the "Jones's"on these mountain climbs......More coin!.......It really never ends does it?

We don't drive our ATVs to see how much abuse they will take. We drive them to see how much fun they can provide!