ATV Television's Blog

The Latest News and Doug's Ramblings & Ravings.
Including Doug's "Here's what I think!" and "What were they thinking!"

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Why Aren’t There More 50” SxSs

I recently was a bit overwhelmed by the misunderstanding on my take on wanting more 50” trails on the Paiute Trail system. Most people took that to mean I was some kind of an anti UTV nazi – or in this day an age, maybe a worse name to be called than nazi is a Christian! But I’m getting away from the point here. How some folks got from me wanting more 50’ trails to that I’m anti UTV is still perplexing.

Equally amazing to me was the way many 'haters' referred to the great number of UTV tests we’ve done as ‘simply pandering to the market for money.’ Wow! The extent some people go to try to justify their hate is incredible…

Of course, being anti UTV is anything but the case. All you have to look at are the machines I’ve had around me for that last couple of years - almost all UTVs! In fact, if the secret would be known, if I could only have one machine sitting in my shop it would be, wait for it now, a RZR!

The RZR is fun! It hauls, it works (some), and it’s fun! Oh, I already said that. And it's the best way I have to haul my special daughter Katy out into the great backcountry. Oh, and did I mention that it also fits on those 50” trails that I think we should have more of? It’s like the best of all worlds, the safety of a UTV, and the ability to ride on those incredible 50” scenic trails!

The real point here is why are there no competitors to the RZR from the other manufacturers? The RZR, by the way, is the best selling of all (any, anywhere by anybody) UTVs (Or side by side, or RUV, whatever you want to call them). I personally don’t even have a problem calling them ATVs – after all that does stand for All Terrain Vehicle – which I believe they are!

Trust me I’ve asked all the manufacturers the ‘question.’ Several times even. Oddly enough, most of the manufacturer’s are all-to-quick to give me an answer, “Never. They’re dangerous. We don’t believe in them! They’re not what the market wants.” And this is where I say ‘again’ that the 50” RZR is the number one selling UTV. Period.

So why? Here’s my take. We live in a litigious society where the fear of liability in this day and age is a big issue, after all nowadays who wants to be responsible for their own behavior ;-) And to be honest, a 50” machine will roll over easier than a 60” machine. But then again a 60” machine will roll over easier than a 100” machine. It all comes back to us. Imagine that.

Take a look at the hit Yamaha took with all the lawsuits against them. People were amazed when they discovered that a Rhino could actually turn over and possibly harm the occupants when operated by an inexperienced person while driving too fast on the blacktop and then turned sharply. Can you believe it ;-)

To quote Pogo, “I have met the enemy and he is us!” Remember that as I will use it again!

Here’s the sad and amazing part, Yamaha had plans to be the first out with an incredible, short, nice, 4-seat, higher-powered UTV, but when they realized we, as a group were idiots they decide otherwise. The bigger lose was that they also had plans for a killer, Grizzly-based 50” Rhino – or so I was told by a whisper in my ear.

And Suzuki – and you know how much I love the King Quad, also ‘supposedly’ had a super 50” machine in the works only to put it on hold after the Rhino lawsuits and the downturn in the economy.

So, there you have it. We could have but we don’t have. And what we do have is what we now have.

Why? “I have met the enemy and he is us!”

But, we do have Polaris, a company that somehow seems to continue to prosper in spite of everything that shouldn’t be. They build high-powered UTVs capable of shooting the dunes and winning Dakar, and they build electric powered UTVs for stealthly silent farm work. But more importantly (to me) is that they build the only UTV that is capable of going on my absolute favorite trails – those 50” two tracks!

And what was the point of all this?

I love UTVs. Especially 50” UTVs that can I can take my daughter on to explore those incredible 50” trails.

I just wonder why no other manufacturer has had the courage to stand up, tell us we’re idiots, and then build the UTV we want.

Oh yeah, we’re lawsuit happy idiots.

I even had plans for building 50” UTV kits to convert Suzuki King Quads and Yamaha Grizzlies into cool 50” buggies, but guess what, I was afraid of the liability.

When will we ever grow up and accept responsibility for our own actions? It sure would make life a lot better for those of us that do!


  1. Why wouldnt Yamaha or Suzuki rev up there plans again since Yamaha won most (or all??) of their lawsuits. I thought maybe it had something to do with Polaris having their patent on the engine behind the seat. Any chance that is part of the reason too? Just wondering, but I dont think Polaris will be the only one forever. Sooner or later other manufactures will realize the potential and lost revenues and eventually have to enter that market. Suzuki just needs to get something out to even be in the UTV conversation!


  2. We are idiots. Here's a good story for you, Doug. A few years ago I worked at Rexburg Motor Sports, in Rexburg Idaho. I oversaw the rental department (I don't think they do rentals any more). Anyway, I was sitting at my desk and watched as a salesman and an interested buyer took off in a Yamaha Rhino. The customers wife and child waited in the building near my desk, and when they had been gone for quite a while, she asked if anything was wrong. Thats when we heard the sirens from afar off.

    Anyway, long story short, the salesman was show boating the Rhino's capabilities in an adjacent field, caught an edge during a "cookie" and sent the machine on its side. This was before doors were used, and of course the customer tried to stop a rolling machine by sticking out his leg to stop it. Break.

    Based on the massive success of the 50" RZR, I don't buy the manufacturer's concerns. Is there a crazy amount of suits related to the RZR?

  3. AMEN! Don't agree that often with you, but in this case you could not have said it better.

  4. Doug,Thanks for all you do for ATV sportsman been a follower for some time.After reading your last story surprised to hear the negative comments from your readers.sorry about that.fill sorry for some that just don't get It.We are planing our 2nd trip in Sept.We will be staying in wicklemans cabins nth of Marysvale.Just a word of THANKS FOR THE videos that you have done for our viewing in the area. I have found the videos to be helpful in teaching others about the trails.If I had a negitive statement it would be Jealousy,every atv rider wish they had your Job.I know it is a lot of work but sure look's fun from our recliner's.We recognize our sinful ways and repent!God Bless, David

  5. Thanks David. I appreciate the comments...
    It's always more work than just riding. In fact, I'm looking forward to retiring and getting to ride just for fun ;-)

    1. Retirement, huh? If you're looking for a replacement when the time comes, I'd be happy to send you my resume.

      The reviews from ATVTV are (in my opinion) much more thorough and detailed than what the major atv magazines provide. ATVTV must go on.

    2. Thanks! I appreciate the words of encouragement!

      I've continued on this long with the driving purpose that if I didn't do what I do, then who would. I get extremely tired of reviews of utility ATVs driven at incredible speeds by younger riders in full sport gear ;-)

      Somewhere there needs to continue to be a mature voice in this mad world. Oh whoops, didn't mean to go 'political' there.....

  6. My first and only ownership experience with a Polaris machine was a 1995 Magnum 425 4x4. I purchased it new in the spring of 1995. Needless to say I was thrilled (at first) with this machine. A few months later I had grown tired of the quirky problems that seem to be inherent with Polaris. I quickly started wishing I had followed my instincts and purchased a Yamaha Big Bear 4x4 instead and my ownership ended in 1997. Looking at the newest Polaris machines some of the quirks are still around today though a lot of the issues I had with that early machine have been greatly improved, there are still lingering quirks with Polaris machines. Though Polaris has pioneered so many advancements that credit must be paid.

    I swore I would never own another Polaris machine after that Magnum. Although the introduction of the new RZR 570 had me pondering a Polaris again. Now after your review and my own initial test rides I am seriously re-thinking the validity of my Polaris ban and taking the plunge on one. What a neat machine it is for trail use that I enjoy. Now if I could just add in a Yamaha Ultramatic transmission, EPS, and 4wheel drive system then it would be UTV perfection!

    Oh and Doug, I enjoy the reviews, trips, tests, and projects quite a lot and so I am afraid retirement is out of the question..

    1. Cody,
      Any of the old 2 Stroke Polaris atvs were crap. We owned a 250 Trail Boss and 300 Xpress and neither lasted very long. Almost gave up on them but bought the Sportsman 335 in 1999 and they were a much better built machine and have only improved since. Still some quirks like you mentioned (way too many revs to get it moving). Now we have a Ranger and RZR and still very happy with these units.


    2. Speaking of taking a while to spool up to speed, my '01 Prairie 300 4by takes a bunch to get going but stays with bigger quads when it gets up to top. I traded the old gal last year for a KQ 400 and am sorry to say i will be trading it off for another Kaw in the future. It just doesn't have the ride quality that I'm looking for. I ride mostly on sand trails and the tires on the KQ are way less than I anticipated-zero traction in 2 wheel drive!

  7. I had good luck with a 350. two stroke Polars. I got 6,000 miles out of it.

  8. Like I said the 350 two stroke ran well to bad the rest of the machine didn't stand up as well. I have had good luck with the big Can Am's though one last 16,000 miles and is still pulling KQs out of the snow

  9. Don't let the jerks get you down, Doug. There are plenty of us out here that appreciate your work and your candor. And for the record, I agree completely with your assessment of the Paiute.

    Stephen Lawson

  10. Thanks Stephen. I appreciate your comments....It amazed me how many foul-mouthed comments I had to remove and how many angry people never even stood up and signed their name!

  11. Referring to this blog and the blog that originally started all of the arguments, Doug to me was just simply stating his opinion about some things he would like to see done, while others have to take it in a negative way and totally out of praportion. Where did all of the anti-UTV stuff come from? Doug obviously likes UTV's and I don’t know why people argued with that for so long. In my opinion though, it doesn't matter what's driven, it's usually the drivers fault. It's fine if you don't agree with him, but that doesn't mean you have to start a huge argument and state things that aren't even true or say that his OPINION is wrong like a few did.

    I find this site extremely helpful and would hate to see it go. Doug, you can’t let the few people that take a conversation too far get to you.

  12. Thanks for your comments. I was indeed amazed at how hateful some people were regarding my 'opinion' on something, especially considering the fact that I've promoted this industry for around 20 years now! I later realized that it was really was just one guy that got angry and posted his skewed view of my blog on several UTV forums and that many people just took what he said rather than read my blog. Of course the fact that those people could be turned against so easily was also a bit perplexing.

    BTW: The main point that probably should have been discussed rather than garner the hate-mail was my claim that I feel that there are a larger percentage of non-responsible users that have UTVs over ATVS. Hey, maybe that's another blog I can write to get everyone riled up!

    Oh well, life goes on and I continue to enjoy UTVs ;-)

  13. I own a 2011 50" RZR and love it, but it has some flaws that are just plain blood boiling! I didn't pay over $12,000 for a trail machine that needs at least another $4000 worth of accessories in order to be trail ready! Polaris, here is my list of required improvements for the next 50" RZR you build:

    Better springs and shocks that don't go flat and lose their load carrying ability
    At least 12" of clearance
    Skid plates that actually protects the undercarriage
    Transmission with great ALL WHEEL engine braking
    4x4 diff lock system like Yamaha's
    Good radial tires
    An air intake that lets in air and not the dirt
    Fender liners that actually keep mud and dust out of the cab and off the engine
    Build tolerances that belong on YOUR product, not some made in china knock off

    PLEASE stop cutting corners with cheap parts that don't belong on your products! You know what I mean!

    1. It seems as though Polaris is at least listening to its customers!!! The 2013 rzr limited edition 570 and 800 will have engine braking and the 800 will have better springs to increase loaded ground clearance! Thank You Polaris! Now if only they would give owners of older model year machines the ability to upgrade their machines with these components at a discounted rate......

    2. You can buy the one-way bearing that is what Polaris uses for it's 'engine braking' but it's surprisingly expensive! As for springs we can only hope for something aftermarket that's reasonable.

  14. I have one xplorer 400 4x4 2001 was great rider about near 13,000 milage now. I had only rebuild engine and few parts new "chain and teeth" tire 2 time replace. But great ride just keep care atv like tools and fluid everthing fresh.I know most people did not about care atv.

  15. Well...sitting here many months after this was published, it seems that at least one other manufacturer(Artic Cat) agrees that the 50" segment is worth looking into.
    I love the concept of the RZR570...but it's "Polarisness" means i will likely never buy it. I've often said that if it were made by Yamaha(EBS, real, full-time 4X4), it would be perfect. The good news is that Yamaha may soon be fielding a 50" of their own.
    Yes, rumors go around every year...but this year they are stronger than usual, and my dealer says expect a 50" and other SxS's to augment the Rhino. If this is true, expect the RZR to lose it's position as sales leader.
    I'd like it to be a scaled down Rhino...perhaps with the rear engine placement of the RZR. I don't see any other way to get the center of gravity low enough to make a 50" stable.
    On that note, i don't see how Polaris could patent "engine placement" that VW and Corvairs had decades ago (and arguably some Suzuki and Kawi ATV's). I know their web site implies as much, but its vagueness leaves me to believe that this claim is smoke and mirrors.

  16. Well, at the last Arctic Cat intro I was at I asked them about a 50" and they said "Absolutely Not. Liability and there's no reason." I know Yamaha 'had' plans for a 50" but the Japanese companies have been rather timid lately.

    But man wouldn't I love to see a RZR done right by Yamaha or Suzuki!

    1. I guess AC changed their minds (I am assuming you've seen the teaser video for the new 50" Wildcat?).

      Agree about Suzuki. Love to see the KQ engine(s) in a SxS.

      Of course...if Polaris wants to admit that their 4WD system lost its advantage when other MFG's started putting in select-able lockers, and implement the Yamaha/Suzuki/Kawasaki type of 4WD system (and the superior constant-belt-tension-type CVT), then the RZR is a viable option. I ain't holding my breath though...

    2. Interesting change of plans....And renews my faith in their lack of honesty ;-)

  17. Doug, I tend to agree with you; the success of the RZR has been remarkable as I see more RZR’s than any other UTV. Perhaps the perception of UTV’s falls under the same thoughts of SUV’s, the bigger the better.
    Now I don’t know what patents Polaris has on the RZR, but from what I see the RZR is the only UTV that you sit-down-in as all others you sit in; which might explain why no one else have designed a UTV like the RZR.
    The only UTV that comes close (my opinion) is the Can-Am Commander, but the Commander is a large UTV thus the width of the UTV exceeds the 50” threshold. So Can-Am has missed the mark as it has marketed the Commander as a glorified Rhino.
    Now that the economy is gaining strength, maybe someone will come up with a RZR killer, because right now Polaris doesn’t have to be good with the RZR, as there is no competition. Although I think if one of the UTV manufactures designed a UTV similar to the RZR, I’m sure Polaris would take notice and make improvements to the RZR.

  18. Nothing improves the products like competition.

  19. Well, the 50" RZR has competition...