In OR, we've called side-by-side ATVs the Next Big Thing. They're compact, able to handle a variety of off-road terrain, and the two-up seating lets both driver and passenger enjoy the same view. Oh yeah, they're also a lot of fun.
Ridge Runner of Idaho bills its side-by-side as a Rugged Terrain Vehicle, and after a testing session at the Hungry Valley OHV area, we think the moniker makes perfect sense.
The Ridge Runner's tube chassis has a low step-in height that makes getting on board easy. The seats sit low in the chassis, sandrail-style, and keeps the Ridge Runner's center of gravity low and stable. The Ridge Runner is a ground vehicle but has its roots in the air. The Ridge Runner is produced by the same design team that designed and built the Kitfox and Thunder Mustang kit aircraft.
Once in motion, we pointed the Ridge Runner at whoop sections and jumps. The four-wheel independent suspension is sprung and damped via a quartet of Fox Air Shox and can be adjusted via air pressure changes. We used a fairly soft setting and were rewarded with a buttery smooth ride.
The Ridge Runner is two-wheel drive, and the rear axles are locked in synch for maximum traction. We found that a motorcycle or ATV driving style works best, meaning that momentum and suspension are the key ingredients to conquering the trails. There's plenty of grip: Ridge Runners have passed muster in Moab. In between the whoops and jumps, we sampled steep hillclimbs and descents. The Ridge Runner's track width is sufficient for stability in the corners but still narrow enough to fit on tight trails and to be transported in a fullsize pickup bed.
The Ridge Runner has a cargo section aft of the seats big enough for a full cache of camping gear, and additional cargo can be secured in an optional overhead cargo rack. Ridge Runner has a full line of available options to personalize the side-by-side to individual customers' needs and tastes.
The Ridge Runner Rugged Terrain Vehicle is one more reason we're still calling side-by-sides the Next Big Thing. Check it out.