Blogs are everywhere nowadays, and that's just on the ATV Television site!
If you visit our website I'm probably telling you something you've already noticed, but I'm not gonna let that get in the way of me continuing on — we've got new blogs!
Here's what's going on - or so I think.
The ATV Television site will continue to be the mother ship for all things ATV Television. All our videos will be there. All the Latest News we put up will be there. Pretty much everything as you've know it for years.
We needed a place where I can be less, ah, 'politically correct' and just be myself, so-to-speak. Someplace where I can unload, step over the line occasionally, and perhaps earn your hatred (or respect;-) I'll apologize now for everything that doesn't work like I hoped and hope the rest of you find it entertaining.
The blog for ATVTV Latest News is simply another avenue to get the latest news out to you as fast and as easy for you as possible. By subscribing to our Latest News, you can have it installed right on your front page and see it right as we put it up.
Of course because all Blogs work this way you can also subscribe to the ATV Television Blog and the Paiute Trail News.
And that brings us to The Paiute Trail News. We just added this blog (to our blog collection) as a way to get more information out about one of our favorite riding areas, and one we hope to spend an overwhelming amount of time on this summer. In these strange times I've made the decision to spend more time riding this summer. I know many of you think I spend too much time riding already, but those that know me well know that I spend far more time on a computer than I do on an ATV. And now, with the industry rather slow it gives me the time to do this that I've always lacked (of course that comes with a lack of money I've always feared). Money is a good thing, but it can't buy you time.
We have plans to put together a forum for the trail where we can all share our experiences as well as (during prime riding times) the trail conditions. Plus, as some go to the forum to show us the new trails they've ridden and shown us the pictures they've taken, we can then put those trails on our list of trails to do.
But until then we'll use the Paiute Trail News as a way to get inside information out about the trail.
The Paiute Trail News may also be a way to share some additional information I come across as I continue working on the different trails for an up-coming Paiute Trail Guide.
But I get ahead of things here. Just stay tuned and hopefully something of value will follow...
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Friday, March 26, 2010
Shop at Amazon - watch a new video!
I hate to even get into this but in case you didn’t know it fewer people are buying new ATVs right now. We have a lot of people to thank for this including a whole slew of folks that overextended themselves. I know of way too many people in Southern California that actually refinanced their already over-leveraged homes so they could buy $70,000.00 dune buggies and toyhouse trailers! Of course the Communist residing in the White House doesn’t seem to be helping the situation much either. But whatever the case, we’re where we are so we’ll deal with it!
The ATV industry is currently only selling about 30% of the units that they sold back in 2007 and 2008. That means that their income is down considerably, and we all know what happens when your income is down, you cut back on your spending!
I’ve lost a lot of good friends in the industry due to the cutbacks and it’s really a sad thing to see. Several big-name magazines have closed their doors. Even some websites have curtailed their operations due to the cutbacks in the industry’s advertising budgets. Basically the bottom line to all this is that if only a few people are buying new machines, why spend any ad dollars to promote sales, or even PR dollars for that matter to send out any units to test.
And this is where we too become victims of this downturn in the economy. For over 10 years our television programming has been supported by the big players in the industry – the ATV manufacturers. Their support of our television show is also what funded making all our videos available on our website and You Tube Channels. Now with the huge budget cuts in the industry we struggle to make the proverbial ends meet.
Enter the new look of the website, You Tube Channel, and even the blog. After many years of working so hard to keep our Internet content free from outside advertisers, we have finally opened our doors to their access.
So first off, please bear with us if some less-than-desirable ads sneak through. Although we (think we) have pretty good control over the advertising, because it is so new to us we still worry what might happen ;-)
Secondly, and hopefully more important is the fact that all our Internet advertising is based directly on your response to it. That means it is beneficial to us if you browse the advertising you find on our site. Not to mention that it’s a good way to find out what’s out there!
Thirdly, as part of a new type of promotional advertising we have entered into an associate agreement with Amazon.com. What this means is that any time anyone purchases anything (and that is truly anything at all!) from Amazon that is accessed through our website, we get a small cut. So any time you shop for any products on Amazon through our website you are helping to keep our videos coming. (and our groceries too!)
Thanks my friends -
Your support is greatly appreciated.
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
If It Was Up To Me!
For years on ATV Television we would run a year-end special of “The Best of.” There we would name the best ATVs in class and the best products. We would also occasionally include a “Best of” some other items that caught my fancy – so to speak - my favorite place to ride, or my favorite trail, or even my favorite off road vehicle. But probably my favorite “Best of” that we did was to put together a list of the best parts and pieces of ATVs.
In testing so many different ATVs over the years I’m always amazed at how many incredible features on one brand of ATV or UTV are completely ignored by other manufacturers, either by oversight, or maybe by just plain stubbornness. I wonder how one ATV have such a great shifter and yet another one have a horrible, notchy shifter? And that applies to thumb throttles, 4wd systems, engine sounds, and even seats! Don’t they ride the other brand ATVs?
So, I was recently thinking once again about those best individual features and even some of the suggestions that I’ve made over the years that seem to just get shrugged off by the manufacturers. It got me to thinking, “What if the red phone rang and the design of a new model was up to me. What would I make?” Well here’s what I’d do if it were up to me.
I’d start with a layout that is 50” wide overall and has about a 75” to 80” wheelbase. That seems to be a really good size. Sure, wider is more stable, but for me, 50” wide is hugely important as it can fit on the 50” wide ATV trails that are so prevalent (and the most beautiful) on the Paiute Trail system. While wider may have some handling advantages in Moab and the sand dunes, I think the machine can be designed to handle those situations well enough.
Out back would be the bed (look at the Manx again), but with a lockable aluminum cover over it for all-weather storage as well as a place to lash bigger items for camping.
Now comes the power. My preference would be for a slightly larger version of the Teryx 750 V-twin. Although 950cc would be best, even the 750cc version would work fine. And here’s why. Rather than run the heat-producing, power-robbing, and all-around stupid CVT transmission, my SxS would run a centrifugal clutch 5-speed like used to be on ATVs. And the short shifter would ratchet back and forward to shift through the gears. And if we really wanted to get even more trick, why not put a set of paddle shifters on the steering wheel?
Here’s another item that’s a bit off of the traditional. I think in this case, that the engine and transmission could sit in front of the driver. Behind the front axles, but in front of the driver. This not only would make a tighter and more space efficient package, but may prove to make the machine more stable. Not sure how well that would work but I’d certainly test one that way.
Next up is suspension. There’s nothing better than the trailing arm suspension found on the rear of Can Ams. That would be the perfect set-up. Compact. Long travel. No scrub or caster gain. And since that system is so good, why not put a similar system on the front as well?
Of course it would have to come with a set of tires designed to help the handling and stability, so I’d put a set of 27x8x14 radials on the front and 28x10x14’s on the back.
The drivetrain would be the proven, 2wd, 4wd, with a ratcheting front and rear locker set-up. Each locker would have its own lever. And of course we’d have high and low ranges in the transmission and a nice cable-operated hand brake for emergency and parking. Perhaps we’d even have two separate rear e-brake levers. That way they could also be used as turning brakes when the rear differential was open.
Well, dreaming is fun, but work is calling…
Stay tuned, my friends.
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Thank you everyone for all your support. I apologize for not getting this up sooner but I’ve been out of internet reach for a while. Unfortunately it wasn’t because I was out for a week-long ride.
In the time since I wrote “Is it Just Me?” I received some great comments on the blog that are well worth reading and more than a few emails I thoroughly enjoyed. Here’s a sample of just some of the others of us regular folks trapped out in the “ATV world of ridiculous.”
No its not just you, Doug. I thought you were speaking directly to me. I feel 100% as you do on this subject. It’s all about marketing bull and the bottom line is big money. Let's get back to common sense. I feel that if it wasn't for ATV Television, the ATVTV Blog, trip videos, product reviews, gear to take on trips, first aid and safety gear etc. people would be at a loss. Doug, you and your crew do such a great job and we all are looking for more trip videos, great product reviews and always your ATV Blog page.
Doug, God Bless As always on a wing and a prayer.
Very kind words Girard. We are indeed working on more trip videos, and more focused adventure preparation stuff.
This is a follow up letter to the letter I sent responding to your frustrated blog. I get ATV.com news by email and just read a review of the 2010 Honda Rubicon. Your review of the Razor is also there, though I saw that review on your website. I told you in the previous letter that many of us rely on you for accurate reviews and let me add the term "complete" to accurate. Just compare the review of the Honda to your review of the Razor and you will know why I am saying that. I learned almost nothing about the Honda. Could it be the writer was afraid to write anything negative therefore he didn't write much at all?
Well Gary, it is very easy to tick off the manufacturers when you tell it like you see it! Especially if you see it different from the way they do! We rely on the manufacturers to supply us with the test units and it’s only natural that if they don’t like what you say that they’ll just not give you any more. After all, as they’ve told me, why send you anything to test if you’re just going to say negative things about it? I’ve mellowed in my reviews over the years as I’ve learned that everyone’s expectations and desires are a little different. Imagine that! Actually, as I’ve grown older and spent more time in Utah rather than Southern California I’ve learned that so much of what people look for in an ATV depends on where they ride, how they ride, and what they do with the ATV. But, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t better ATVs than others ;-)
I couldn't agree with you more about your recent blog post. My wife and I have ridden in Wyoming, Colorado & Utah the last two and a half years since we've taken up the sport. As older riders we spend lots of time on the trails and enjoy the low speed scenic trail rides in all the places we go. I think the problem you point to is two-fold.
I believe most of the advertising and magazine features are aimed at the testosterone-driven crowd because that bunch will spend more money solely on their ATV or UTV emulating the hot-rodders. The trail riders I am familiar with will also spend a fair bit of discretionary money, but it is more diverse. Since we spend a lot more time on the trail in no hurry, we concentrate on long lasting reliable equipment but not all of it is focused on the ride. I've ridden with hunters, people with high-end camera gear, geocachers with GPS units, and people who spend a lot of time hiking from where their ATV can take them.
The latter group tends to spend more on ancillary items and riding to see historical features, something the magazines seem to miss, perhaps you want to start the first publication to focus on the vacation trial riders? I believe that its a large group you mention.
And the Bighorns? We have wide-open spaces where there is nobody for miles and miles. Sacrifice a little in the ride department for a tire that reputedly won't leave you stranded because of getting cut up on all of our sharp rock, and yet is an effective tire in most all terrain. Reputation among our friends is that it will last us several thousand miles too. That's why this year a stock size tire with that kind of reputation will be replacing the OEM tires my wife and I are running.
Check out the websites Offroading Home and Nyrocatv. Trailriders are out here. It's a big and diverse group. We research our purchases by surfing web sites like I mentioned as well as yours and following them a lot prior to purchases.
For a future review think "ground anchors". Used in the 4x4 community when your winch comes up short of a tree or fixed object or personal locators.
Your site is great and I've been following it for a long time. Thanks
Tires like the Bighorns are certainly known to be bullet-proof! I think I mentioned that two close friends have over 5000 miles of problem-free riding on the Bighorns. Unfortunately I struggle with wanting to spend 5000 miles of riding with that type of handling. But, as I said in the reply to Gary above here, so much depends on how and where you ride. It can also depend on what you ride as well. One of my before-mentioned friends switched from Bighorns to ACTs and would never go back. The other wouldn’t switch out his ‘Horns’ if I gave him a set of other tires for free! I respect both their opinions and neither are wrong. So what’s the answer? What you like best.
All good topics for another time.
Stay tuned as more’s coming soon.
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
I need some help here!
There has been several times in the past that I have gotten depressed over the ATV (and UTV) market. I am again! I look around at the various stuff the industry sells, and at the weirdness of what the magazines cover and wonder to myself, “Am I the only, uh, ‘normal’ person out here?”
Here’s what I mean. Pick up a copy of most print magazines and the test riders pictured are wearing full-face helmets, racing jerseys and motorcycle boots. Excuse me, but do you ride like that? I’m not talking about testing race machines or being at the sand dunes shooting bowls. I’m talking about riding a utility quad through the woods! And the pictures of the action are equally out of place – in my opinion. They show big berm shots, jumps, and even wheelies! Wheelies for Pete’s sake. Now there’s how I ride my utility quad!
So then I turned to the UTV magazines. They were no closer to my reality. If picking one those mags up was your first glimpse of the UTV market, you’d think that every UTV cost over $20,000.00 and had long travel suspension with the inside of the 27” tall tires sticking well beyond the fenders. And that every owner either raced their UTV or installed 4 seats (complete with 4-point harnesses!) and pretended to race it with their kids in the back! Yeap, that’s not how I use my UTV.
Then look around at the industry itself. There’s some pretty strange stuff out there. I’ve been very close to ITP over the years and have thoroughly enjoyed many of their products. But trying to get them to make a wheel without added offset was impossible! And when I whined about why they don’t keep working on improving the ATR — possibly the best trail tire ever made, the answer was quick and to the point! “We probably sell 10 times as many mud tires as we do trail tires — nobody buys that stuff but you!” I can’t argue because when I look around at what ‘trail tire’ seems to be the most popular, I see the Bighorn. It is a big, heavy, and very hard-compound tire. Sure it wears well, but it handles like and ATR with about 50 pounds of air in it and your shocks drilled out so you’re riding around with no damping. And of course all the wheels (other than the stockers of course) stick out beyond the fenders so should you ever dare ride in snow or mud (or even wet dirt!) the tires will fling more of the trail on you than it leaves behind for the next rider!
And then there’s 14” wheels! Sure they make sense on a UTV where the weight of the thing is closer (or more even) than a dune buggy. But I have just not found any 14” wheel and tire combo that worked better on an ATV than a 12” set. They are just too stiff and too heavy!
I won’t even get into roll cages, window nets, stereo systems, lift kits, or any of the many other products not designed with me in mind.
And that brings me to the other source of information I find. It seems that nowadays many folks look to the internet forums for education, information, and direction. And there you’ll certainly find lots of input from a wide variety of riders. Perhaps too much so. While I have a couple very good friends with many, many miles on the trails that continue to provide me with valuable information, it is difficult to say the least, to sort through all the ‘posts’ on a forum and find information not weighed down with huge amounts of personal preference. It’s there that I all too often see the “This is the best because own it” syndrome. “Sure the Outlander 800 got so hot that the plastic melted to my leg, but so what?” Or one of my favorites is a question I actually asked a RZR owner. He had 3000 miles on his RZR and I wanted to know if he’d had any problems with it so far. His answer was “None. It’s great. I’ve replaced a CV joint, I replaced the air filter cause the stocker was sanding my engine, and a rear shock went out. But other than that, it’s great! No problems!” Considering I know two ATVers (referred to above) that have over 7000 miles and 11,000 miles on their ATVs and have only changed the oil and cleaned the air filters I don’t think the RZR owner fully understood the concept of “No problems!” I would have hated to rely on his perception as a basis for my decision.
Where’s that leave me? Or us? The magazines don’t help me understand which ATV is best for exploring the trails. Most of their product reviews only focus on racing or mud products. And then even when they cover events, the pictures focus not on the trail rigs, but the ‘silly stuff’ that you wonder why it’s even there. The forums seem to be home for self-promoting chest-beaters trying to rationalize their purchase. And the industry doesn’t help us very much as they only go where the money is.
So, I realize that I’m in the minority, obviously. Every time I’ve looked around like this in the past I’ve come to the conclusion that if I didn’t cover the real world of ATVs and UTVs then who would? If I wasn’t ‘in’ the industry, and was out in the real world looking for the best ATV to go exploring the mountains and the deserts, where would I find that information? If I wanted to find out which UTV was best for doing the chores around the farm and yet could me up into the high country exploring, or scouting, where would I look?
So help me out here. I need your input. Where do you find the best information on ATVs and UTVs. Where do you find the most information on where the best places to explore are? And where’s the best place to find out what the best stuff is to take along when you explore the back country?
To help, make a comment below or send an email to me at DougMeyer@ATVTV.COM and let me know where you find ‘your’ best information. Then I’ll put them all up here for everyone else to check out. Assuming there is anyone else out there that doesn’t wear motocross gear while racing their 70” wide UTV along the trails with their stereo blaring louder than their twin exhausts!
As always, Thanks —