Today’s UTVs come pretty well equipped for the task at hand and you can have a ton of fun by leaving them stock. Why would you, though, when there are so many great modifications and aftermarket goodies available? Some mods can up the rad factor of your ride, but more important are the ones that improve overall safety.
No matter what brand or type of side-by-side (utility, sport or high performance) you own, here are some of the most important improvements you can make to your machine:
Aftermarket roll cages aren’t just for racers and hardcore riders. Although UTV manufacturers equip their vehicles with roll bars, designed to protect the driver and any passengers from injury, most SxS owners feel that factory cages aren’t enough—especially if the vehicle were to land on its roof. Most riders don’t go out with the intention to roll his or her side-by-side, but it can and does happen. Look for an aftermarket roll cage with a roof and you’ll be protected from the elements and overhead dangers as well. An aftermarket roll cage can also enhance the look of your UTV and increase the resale value.
Upgrading your UTV seat belt to a four- five- or six- point harness is one of the best ways to keep yourself safe, whether it’s in a race or on the trail. There are numerous choices on the market, and some companies even design harnesses for the younger ones in your family. Comfort also comes into play with a harness as it will help keep you in place when cornering and tackling rough terrain.
Depending on what brand and model you own, doors may not seem like an important modification as many OEMs have added this feature to their stock machines. It is still felt that aftermarket doors are a worthwhile purchase as quarter doors or suicide doors offer limited protection from mud, rocks and branches. Look for sturdy or full metal doors that will keep you and your passenger(s) in and the debris out.
Over the years, UTV manufacturers have improved the ground clearance of their machines, but they can only do so much. There will always be that rock sticking up in the middle of the trail. Or a pothole that catches you off guard. Protect the undercarriage of your machine with a skid plate. Full skid plates will also help you glide over obstacles rather than get hung up on them.
When you’ve spent upwards of $15,000 on a side-by-side, you’ll be wanting to do everything you can to protect that investment. One of the most inexpensive ways to do that is by equipping your machine with a good quality fire extinguisher. There are several companies on the market that sell UTV fire extinguisher mounts and complete packages.
Most of the items on our list are designed to keep you safe, because after all, that’s what we all want: to come home after each ride, happy and healthy. With that in mind, here are some additional items that are important to have with you on UTV rides:
- Spare tire
- Tire plugs
- Tow rope
- First aid kit
- Tool kit
- SPOT or a satellite phone
- Extra snacks and water