— By Joe Kosch —
A lot of UTV enthusiasts I’ve talked with seem convinced that there’s only one route to more UTVing fun—a new UTV that performs better than the one they have. I like that route, and I can say from experience that it works, no matter what category of machine happens to be your favorite. Sport models with more power and better suspension won’t just let you drive faster, but you’ll have more control and be able to conquer obstacles you may have never mastered before. That extra performance has a way of making you feel like a better driver, which is a good feeling to have. Some of your riding friends or competitors may find that you’re suddenly more effective on the trail too. A new recreation utility machine with more power, room for more friends, more hauling capacity or more comfort features just makes life better. New machines are great, but they aren’t the only way to enjoy UTVing more. Here are a few other ways you might want to try.
Try different tires, or different suspension, engine or clutch tuning. Most machines come with good all-terrain tires that work well in a variety of conditions. If you do most of your driving on hard terrain, soft terrain, mud or sand, terrain-specific tires can help your machine accelerate, brake and handle better. Today’s machines have better suspension than ever, but I’m surprised how often drivers that have machines with adjustable suspension don’t try different settings. Don’t change the adjustments blindly. Find the stock settings in your machine’s manual and start there. These settings usually work well, and some machines aren’t delivered with the correct adjustments. Then, read about suspension tuning in UTV Action or on UTV Action’s website—www.utvactionmag.com. Tune the suspension for how and where you ride, and you’ll be more impressed with your machine than ever. Clutch tuning calls for a clutch kit, but this often-overlooked area of performance tuning can greatly improve a machine’s acceleration and responsiveness. It’s especially important for extreme conditions like duning, mud riding or running tires that are significantly larger than stock. Engine-tuning changes, even basic mods like an exhaust and fuel tuner, can also wake your machine up in a big way.
Try riding with different people. Machines are great, and just being out on the trail can be amazing, but the experiences you share with the people you ride with are really what makes UTVing so much fun. When you get out there with a different rider or a different group, you’re bound to learn something new about driving, where you’re riding or even ideas on loading machines and gear. I’ve been in riding areas I thought I knew well, and when I went riding with someone new, I learned about trails I never knew existed. I also remember another rider showing me that having a twist in tie-downs keeps them from vibrating in the wind, which can protect your vehicle’s finish. One guy I went riding with proved that you can drive for miles with a wheel completely missing from a trailer. There was some destruction, but less than the disaster I expected, and I don’t recommend it, but it can be done.
Try a new location. For me, riding in a new place can add as much fun to riding as having a new machine. When you’re experiencing new trails, new obstacles and new things to see, you get fresh new opportunities to see what your machine can do and what you can do with it. Any change of location can be good, but if you have an opportunity to try different riding conditions for the first time, like dune riding, woods or desert, don’t pass it up.
Try a different UTV. You don’t have to buy a new machine to drive a different UTV. A friend may be willing to let you try their machine for a ride or two. You can also rent machines at many riding locations, and many UTV tour companies, like GoBajaRiding.com and Zero1.vegas, let you ride their machines on their tours.
Like I said, a new machine isn’t the only way to have more UTVing fun, but nearly all the alternatives are even more enjoyable with a new UTV.