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Thursday, February 9, 2012

What do you mean it's not 50 inches wide ?

Here's an interesting (and saddening) picture.

Even on stock Polaris wheels, even the least wide tires of our test group, the Carlisle Black Rocks make the Touring over 50" wide - thereby making it  technically illegal for the 50" ATV-only trails.

Oh my.

What happens now?

What will we do?


  1. Polaris ATVs probably have the highest width of any of the machines out there, that doesn't help much.

    1. You're right, Polaris, Arctic Cat, and almost all UTVs from any manufacturer....

  2. Polaris' website says that the 850 touring is 47.6" wide with the stock 26x8 and 26x10 tires. I guess we'll have to start bugging the tire manufactures to offer more tires in that size. What I'm afraid of is that those of use who want to retain a 50" or less width are few and far between. I continue to be amazed at how many people care more about looks than usability!

    1. I never thought we'd be trying to make tires fit the 50" width on ATVs! The bright side I suppose is that whatever we find fits the ATVs will also work on the RZR ;-)

    2. I measured my RZR one day with the stock tires and it measured wider than 50" when the suspension is loaded heavily, and under or right at 50" when drooped more. Now with the 27x9 black diamond xtr's it sits at 50 1/2" in the front when the suspension is where it normally rides. If I lift it up so the suspension is drooped a bit more it will drop down to like 50 1/8". The rear on the other hand, with the 9" tire instead of the stock 10", now sits normally at about 49 3/4". Drooped a bit it measures 49 1/2".

      It is interesting because the radial 27x9 leaves a wider foot print on the ground than the stock 25x10's did. That just shows the fact that a radial tire has a much better design, which improves traction.

      On a separate part of the issue, I am torn on my feeling here, but I sway to the side that if a machine fits through the gate it should be legal on the trail. There are so many places in the trail where people take different lines over obstacles which widens the trail a bit anyway.

      Just my two cents...or would this be like my ...ten cents

    3. I agree with the gate thing, but if they want the trails to be 50" maybe they should make the gates exactly 50". That's a tough call. I know my RZR oftentimes sits at around 51" with weight and lower suspension.
      And it was at least 10 cents worth ;-)

    4. I've helped the USFS put in several 50" gates (as a volunteer on the Paiute). Trust me when I type that its tough to get the gates exactly 50" wide. Case in point: The 2nd gate above Sam Stowe (01).. Far too many huge boulders in the ground to dig fence posts by hand, so that gate is probably closer to 60".

  3. "what will we do?" Buy Honda LOL

    Here on the Paiute Trail just over 13% (I believe 13.4%) of the 850+ miles of trails are 50” inch trails; that’s roughly 115 miles of 50” trails.

    50” trails without question are the most desired trails to ride. These are the trails that people dream of riding when they come here to experience the greatest ATV trail system in North America.

    In one of Doug’s other blogs “50 inch ATVs” I pointed out the real rule regarding 50” trails;

    “Did you know that the law allows up to a $5000.00 fine for operating a machine wider than 50" on a restricted trail? Is it worth the risk?

    Although you might "fit" through some of the gates you’re still not legal and the gates are not there as a measuring device. The 50” trails are restricted to 50" vehicles whether you fit through the gates or not.

    Please respect the Paiute Trail and the laws that protect it.”

    Depending on the LEO that catches you could also lose your machine, permanently.

    Speaking on behalf of the Paiute ATV Trail Committee I can tell you that we are currently discussing ways to increase the enforcement of illegal ATVs on 50” trails.

    1. First off (pin intended;-) I'm pretty sure that all ATVs when left stock are 50" wide machines and even Hondas could be over 50" wide with a set of aftermarket wheels and tires. So maybe the solution really is not that we all need Hondas, but that we all need to keep our ATVs stock!

      Leaving an ATV stock has some major advantages - like stock exhausts, and, well, ah, stock exhausts. But stock tires? I shudder at the thought! Of course it's possible that some folks could point out the damage that aftermarket tires can do to the trails - especially when wet - the trails I mean, not the tires. Not that the tires wouldn't be wet when the trails are wet. Oh, never mind ;-)

      I was going to go on about how I see a lot of damage to the trails from heavy-lugged tires, but then I'd have to add that I believe the damage is caused by heavy-lugged tires being operated under hard acceleration or high cornering forces but maybe that's a discussion for another time.

      So what do we do? I agree with Dan that it would be a shame for some guy in a RZR that measures 50 1/2 inches to get a ticket for being on a 50" trail, or even some poor sap from ATVTV doing some tire testing on a Polaris that measures 51" !!!

      But yet I wouldn't want to see the trails opened up to wider vehicles because where do you stop?

      I suppose the answer lies in the gray area, and for that matter, the gray matter - something called common sense. Discretion. Hopefully those are used by the people that use the trail as well as those that enforce the trail's rules.

    2. All Forest Service ATV trails are 50" requirement in Colorado. The width restrictors are made 52" wide for clearance. The rule of thumb around here is if you can get through the restrictor you can go. Pretty hard to enforce. Even the stock trail RZR is tight.

  4. Now that's a great idea, post a guard on each trail head and shoot the offending rider if they're not on a Honda! The only ATV riders left will be guys that never got past the 3rd grade and go by the name of bubba!!! (Just Kidding!!!!, Seriously, I'm just kidding!!! I couldn't resist)

    If the 'Letter of the 50" Law' is that exact, the ONLY way they will ever be able to adequately enforce the 50" trail laws is if they build the gates at exactly 50" and then put up trail cameras to catch those people who drive around the gate! The FS and BLM are way to busy WASTING millions of tax dollars trying to put out forest fires to ever get enough man power on the ground to properly patrol the trails!

    But the truth is that it is completely impractical to build gates at exactly 50". If a vehicle was 49" that would only leave 1/2" on each side for the machine to sqeeze through. With the uneven terrain these gates are usually on, most riders would have to try two or three times before they finally got lined up good enough to fit through without tearing off their fenders!

    What we really need is something to measure each rider's 'gray matter', as Doug put it. Let's call it a 'COMMONSENSOMETER', at each trail head!!!

  5. We will be focusing on the gross offenders.

    The larger SxS that are forced thru the gates or damage the surrounding area by trying to go around the gates and the folks who like to ride their too wide machines on clearly marked 50" trails that are not gated.

  6. What we need at each gate is a 'Commonsensometer' with a gun ;-)