Category Archives: Adventures

What is the best UTV on the market today?

The short answer: No UTV is “the best one” for all terrain types and rider preferences. Each has strengths and weaknesses, and it boils down to personal preference in most cases.

Deciding which UTV should be your first is a very tricky decision, and most people get it wrong. A common mistake is to buy an older, used model, or a knockoff brand that is less capable than the market leaders, to keep the initial cost down. Those people almost always end up wanting more within a year, and it ends up costing more than if they had bought what the really want to begin with.

In WA you have single track, ATV, 4×4 trails, and service roads. There are no trails designed for UTVs and probably won’t be anytime soon.

Even a 50″ UTV will have extreme difficulty on most ATV trails, and simply won’t fit on others (48″ bridges at Tahuya, for example). A 50″ UTV will be tippy and uncomfortable on most 4×4 trails in this state. Also they are not allowed on DNR trails that are designated for ATVs (50″ or less).

If you’re going to take it out of state a lot, you might still consider a 50″ trail model because there is a lot of stuff in Idaho and Utah where such a machine will do very well and anything wider will be very limited.

But if you plan to stay mostly in WA, then it really doesn’t matter much which UTV you get in terms of which trails you’ll fit on. Yes, an S model is more nimble with its shorter wheel base. But people go on those same trails with 4-seaters. It’s just harder, and they go slower.

My suggestion: Think about the kind of riding you want to do (dunes, mountain forest, rock crawling, open desert, etc), and think about what features you want your UTV to have, and find the machine that most closely fits that profile and you feel is badass. Then go sit in one.

See if you can find someone who will take you as passenger in a few different UTVs in a few different types of terrain. THEN spend your $20K or whatever.


Tahuya State Forest on 3/3/2019

Today I visited Tahuya State Forest with Ethan, Graig, and Thomas. It’s been a while since I was out there last. On the way, I met a fellow NW UTV Trail Riders member at a Park n Ride and sold him a set of springs to replace the sagging stock ones on his RZR. Thanks again, Mike!

The 4×4 clubs have been busy at Tahuya. I’d like to say they’ve been improving the place, and they probably feel that they have been. I like some of the things they’ve done, but I also feel that they’ve seriously damaged some of the trails. Current trail planners seem to have an aversion to any trail that you can just cruise on and enjoy some smooth rolling. So they seem to have taken an excavator and scooped huge chunks out of the trails. So it’s TILT WAY LEFT! NOW TILT WAY RIGHT! NOW LEFT! NOW RIGHT! So you feel a bit like you’re in an agitate cycle in a washing machine. One or two trails like that is one thing but when they start giving the entire place that treatment, it gets old. I understand that they are trying to make the place more interesting, but I feel they need to change it up a little instead of just digging holes on alternating sides of the trail every 50 feet and piling the dirt on the other side.

But overall, it was an enjoyable trip. We went across the top of the North loop, met a jeep guy who was kind enough to flag me down and tell me there was a busted Cherokee ahead so we could take an alternate trail around him. We headed down past the main entrance onto 55 Trail, and we were pleased to find that it was NOT choked up with stock pickups so we made good time. After that we cut over to the South Loop and hooked around to the West Loop. There is a more challenging qualifier gate there which we had fun with. After checking out the West Loop a bit we decided to give the rock gardens a miss and head back North. We were in a mellow mood and didn’t want to break anything today. We worked our way up to the mud holes and watched some bikes play around while we figured out CTCSS privacy codes on our radios. After that we headed back up to the parking area.

Due to theĀ  hard packed, melting and slippery snow & ice, we decidedĀ  it would be a better idea to back our trailers out BEFORE we loaded up the UTVs, and that worked out great.

On the way home we stopped at The Airport Diner in Bremerton, where I have always found good food and good service.
All in all, a mellow but satisfying day!

Here are some pics from today’s adventure:

We had a little trouble with the icy parking lot. Fortunately we had shovels and some help.

There is a qualifier to go through on the way from parking to the trails, to keep the riff-raff out.

And a couple of short videos!

Honda Talon First Look

Today I went and checked out the Honda Talon at Lifestyles Honda in Mount Vernon, WA.

I was impressed by how easily accessible some engine components and filters were to reach. Starter motor replacement would probably take a half hour!

I had way more leg room than in my XP 1000, and had to reach a little for the dashboard controls with the seat all the way back.

I took both the X and the R out for a spin in their back yard. It’s a big grassy field with a big mound at one end and a huge deep drainage ditch in the middle.

The biggest thing I noticed was the direct instant power. Throttle control is going to take some getting used to. There’s no CVT lag. You get all the power right away.

I think there will need to be some work on the shocks for a plusher ride. In stock form, the suspension is a little rough. I set them both to the softest setting, and they weren’t that much different in a bumpy grassy field with some curbs to run over and some mounds of dirt to climb around on. The R was softer, but still not as plush as my XP1K with stock shocks on it.

The shifts felt a little hard to me, but I’m told that gets better with break-in. I guess that’s your trade-off for not having a CVT belt system. Maybe some 30″ 8-ply tires will tame that throttle and shifting some.