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UTV & Side By Side Trends - Limited Articulation

Posted in Features on August 1, 2008
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From the Archives, May '62: It was only the second-ever issue of Four Wheeler, but even then we were all over the latest ATV craze-two-wheelers. This Cushman Trailster-"the huskiest of all trail scooters," in our words-ran an 8hp kick-start motor and two-speed tranny, and you could have one in your driveway for the princely sum of $350.

We'll admit, we were more than a bit befuddled when we first saw them, these oversized vehicles known as UTVs. "ATVs on steroids," one staff member opined. "Quads for retirees," another quipped. One skeptic among us, looking at a price tag, asked, "Who the heck is gonna shell out 10 grand for a gas-powered golf cart?"

Needless to say, we were, uh, just a little wrong.

Side-by-sides, UTVs-whatever you call them-have become one of the hottest tickets in four-wheeling in the past couple of years, and because of that, we thought it was high time we devoted some space to them. You see, we've been covering Bed Toys of all stripes from the earliest days of Four Wheeler: Trail scooters, go-karts, sand rails, Myers Manxes-you name it. If it goes anywhere in the dirt, we've probably driven it, at one time or another. And we know that a fair number of our readers (and their kids, too) own BMX'ers and quads, and increasingly, the bigger Rhinos and Razors too. So this month, we're spotlighting all of these rigs, which happen to represent one of the fastest-growing segments in the off-road market.

For starters this month, our own Robin Stover recently acquired a Yamaha Rhino as a personal project rig, and in the coming months, he'll be using it as a showcase for a lot of cool aftermarket parts and products that are available for it. This month, he kicks off the project with a look at some gotta-have basics, such as a rollcage, that any trailable UTV needs.

Our man down in Dixie, Bruce Smith, sent along a guide to the latest products that are out there to transform your quad or UTV into a more capable racer, rockcrawler, or hunting and camping rig. We hadn't even heard of a number of these companies before, which ought to give you an idea of the scope of the fast-growing aftermarket in UTV and ATV products. In the future, we'll try to get a hold of a few of these goodies and test them ourselves.

And as we do every year, we've compiled an assortment of the newest cool quads, dirt bikes, and other Trail Toys that you can load in your bed and haul down to the trailhead, riverbank, boat landing-hey, it's your pick. And with gas at $4 a gallon these days, a lot of us may all be doing a little more Rhinoing and Razoring on the trail in the future. Whatever your ride, get out and have some fun in the dirt this month.

-Douglas McColloch

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