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We have a UTV Problem

We have a problem in off-road. Well over a million UTVs have been sold in the United States since 2011 alone thus creating an influx of new off-road enthusiasts. Admittedly, many of today’s UTV enthusiasts have come into the sport with great knowledge of off-road, but there is a large segment of UTV enthusiasts that are entirely new to the off-road culture and that's a problem for those of us concerned with our sports culture and heritage. Having said that, this is a very positive problem for those of us involved in the industry and business of off-road.

Now, don’t get me wrong we love growth and welcome all into our sport but the problem with “newbies” in any sport or culture is how they affect the existing user base and how they themselves are perceived by the hardcore or veteran members of the sport. Often, the “newbie” doesn’t know where to ride, how to behave, who are our sports heroes are, what to eat, or what to wear. They are essentially like off-road newborns and unfortunately many are like orphans with no one to teach them the ways of our culture.

When the UTV was introduced and began to gain in popularity in the mid 2000’s, I like many others involved in off-road likened them to the rollerbladers of the action sports culture. I know it sounds harsh, but it's not so much about them dorking up the sport as it is about them coming into our culture and causing a boom and crash affect, just like the rollerblading industry did. The solution? It’s clear, we must embrace them and we must indoctrinate them into our ways and teach them the tenements of off-road culture. The UTV boom has already begun, it started many years ago. Either we choose to embrace it and use it to grow our culture or we make the same mistake we made in action sports and treat them like rollerblader outcasts, causing ill will and tension all around. This will only result in a boom and a crash, something ours or any other sport should never want. If we choose to spend our energy embracing and guiding them, rather than outcasting and insulting them, we will all be much better off.

I have already seen this narrative rear its’ ugly head with off-road veterans calling UTVs “Golf Carts” drawing a figurative line in the sand. How stupid are we to do this? Polaris, Can-Am, Arctic Cat, Kawasaki, Yamaha and others are pouring millions of dollars into off-road and off-road racing. Why would we not want that? I will take responsibility and admit that I too was guilty of this idea that because I had driven and raced all sorts of different high powered off-road vehicles I wasn’t going to go “rollerblading” in a UTV. That is until I drove an Arctic Cat Wildcat at Barstow main in 2012. I couldn’t believe how fun and capable the vehicles were! What’s funny is that many of the veterans in our sport who have adopted UTVs as their favorite form of recreation all share the same sort of story. We all doubted them until we drove one, immediately we got it and like any good drug wanted more of it! But driving that UTV also gave me a light bulb moment, when I realized most of the world could now afford to have a capable off-road machine for a couple hundred bucks a month. This is a game changer I said to myself. Never before has our culture had a line of vehicles that come off-road ready and are sold from dealerships worldwide.
 

AZ7000'

Well-Known Member
Just like fat girls and mopeds, fun to ride till someone sees you...


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bin04

Well-Known Member
i agree 100%.

At our local races, the UTVs are separated out and race in the morning, with the 'conventional' vehicles in the afternoon. The 'conventional' racers don't watch the UTVs, and the UTVs pack up and leave before the next race. In other words, not a lotta cross-pollination.

Given that the number of UTVs showing up is increasing while the number of usual racers isn't, we HAVE to pull our new UTV companions into the culture.

I've not yet driven one, but have been a passenger- SUPER fun. Still not used to how they look, but i am sure all of us are less shocked by The Golf Carts than we used to be.

Only problem? Growth creates visibility. Visibility comes with detractors. Detractors complain and get us in trouble with the people that make policy. That's inevitable though, i suppose, and not a reason to be nonplussed by a new kind of participation.
 

Peter Alesi Jr.

Well-Known Member
I see no problem, and there are many off-road racers willing to help. What ever it takes to keep off-road in a manufactures good light. I bet there are many of us off-road car & truck teams willing to take them into our pits and help, don't see a down side...
 

Bro_Gill

Well-Known Member
They have increased the number of OHV by over 1 million, yet the Gov't continues to reduce the legal land for them to operate on. I see a planned problem with that.
 

nimrod

KOOK!
It just takes time, like body boards and stand up surfers or snowboarders and skiers. We just need to get to know each other so if promotors worked a tiny bit harder on cross-pollination so to speak that would help.

Pab you're still a sponger and a speed bump. ;);) :p:D
 

RYAN COHEE

Well-Known Member
The wave runner of the dirt!


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It just takes time, like body boards and stand up surfers or snowboarders and skiers. We just need to get to know each other so if promotors worked a tiny bit harder on cross-pollination so to speak that would help.

Pab you're still a sponger and a speed bump. ;);) :p:D
I think it's up to all of us to do this. Not just the promoters.
 

ACME

Well-Known Member
What exactly is "The Off Road Culture"???? Sounds like this whole "cultural" thing, is a marketing strategy.

Who really cares? If they integrate or not it won't affect the sport and the core racer/enthusiast will gain little, if anything in the big picture; as the marketeers are the only ones really benefitting from it.

Now if these "newbies" and their benefactors added value through integration by say: Financially and numerically supporting land use issues and the various obstacles we face as a "sport", they would add significant value to the community.

Great analogy: "The waverunner of the dirt!"
 

Goatpoker

Well-Known Member
It just takes time, like body boards and stand up surfers or snowboarders and skiers. We just need to get to know each other so if promotors worked a tiny bit harder on cross-pollination so to speak that would help.

Pab you're still a sponger and a speed bump. ;);) :p:D
Hey, we are not speed bumps! We just like late take offs and putting our board in the trunk ;)
 

snoreracer

Well-Known Member
We have a problem in off-road. Well over a million UTVs have been sold in the United States since 2011 alone thus creating an influx of new off-road enthusiasts. Admittedly, many of today’s UTV enthusiasts have come into the sport with great knowledge of off-road, but there is a large segment of UTV enthusiasts that are entirely new to the off-road culture and that's a problem for those of us concerned with our sports culture and heritage. Having said that, this is a very positive problem for those of us involved in the industry and business of off-road.

Now, don’t get me wrong we love growth and welcome all into our sport but the problem with “newbies” in any sport or culture is how they affect the existing user base and how they themselves are perceived by the hardcore or veteran members of the sport. Often, the “newbie” doesn’t know where to ride, how to behave, who are our sports heroes are, what to eat, or what to wear. They are essentially like off-road newborns and unfortunately many are like orphans with no one to teach them the ways of our culture.
Very well said I try to go out twice a month and ride my Razor and find a lot of Newbies do not know rules and respect and I think the dealers need to educate them more. Just like Jet-skis 20 years ago , you can't turn a person loose without some training or someone or something gets hurt.
 

AZ7000'

Well-Known Member
Polaris, Can-Am, Arctic Cat, Kawasaki, Yamaha and others are pouring millions of dollars into off-road and off-road racing. Why would we not want that? I will take responsibility and admit that I too was guilty of this idea that because I had driven and raced all sorts of different high powered off-road vehicles I wasn’t going to go “rollerblading” in a UTV. That is until I drove an Arctic Cat Wildcat at Barstow main in 2012.
I'd bet the checks from Polaris don't hurt....;););)
 

BigBlue&Goldie

Well-Known Member
We have a problem in off-road. Well over a million UTVs have been sold in the United States since 2011 alone thus creating an influx of new off-road enthusiasts. Admittedly, many of today’s UTV enthusiasts have come into the sport with great knowledge of off-road, but there is a large segment of UTV enthusiasts that are entirely new to the off-road culture and that's a problem for those of us concerned with our sports culture and heritage. Having said that, this is a very positive problem for those of us involved in the industry and business of off-road.

Now, don’t get me wrong we love growth and welcome all into our sport but the problem with “newbies” in any sport or culture is how they affect the existing user base and how they themselves are perceived by the hardcore or veteran members of the sport. Often, the “newbie” doesn’t know where to ride, how to behave, who are our sports heroes are, what to eat, or what to wear. They are essentially like off-road newborns and unfortunately many are like orphans with no one to teach them the ways of our culture.

When the UTV was introduced and began to gain in popularity in the mid 2000’s, I like many others involved in off-road likened them to the rollerbladers of the action sports culture. I know it sounds harsh, but it's not so much about them dorking up the sport as it is about them coming into our culture and causing a boom and crash affect, just like the rollerblading industry did. The solution? It’s clear, we must embrace them and we must indoctrinate them into our ways and teach them the tenements of off-road culture. The UTV boom has already begun, it started many years ago. Either we choose to embrace it and use it to grow our culture or we make the same mistake we made in action sports and treat them like rollerblader outcasts, causing ill will and tension all around. This will only result in a boom and a crash, something ours or any other sport should never want. If we choose to spend our energy embracing and guiding them, rather than outcasting and insulting them, we will all be much better off.

I have already seen this narrative rear its’ ugly head with off-road veterans calling UTVs “Golf Carts” drawing a figurative line in the sand. How stupid are we to do this? Polaris, Can-Am, Arctic Cat, Kawasaki, Yamaha and others are pouring millions of dollars into off-road and off-road racing. Why would we not want that? I will take responsibility and admit that I too was guilty of this idea that because I had driven and raced all sorts of different high powered off-road vehicles I wasn’t going to go “rollerblading” in a UTV. That is until I drove an Arctic Cat Wildcat at Barstow main in 2012. I couldn’t believe how fun and capable the vehicles were! What’s funny is that many of the veterans in our sport who have adopted UTVs as their favorite form of recreation all share the same sort of story. We all doubted them until we drove one, immediately we got it and like any good drug wanted more of it! But driving that UTV also gave me a light bulb moment, when I realized most of the world could now afford to have a capable off-road machine for a couple hundred bucks a month. This is a game changer I said to myself. Never before has our culture had a line of vehicles that come off-road ready and are sold from dealerships worldwide.
No offense dude, but Mad Media sends me 3,458 emails a year about the Mint 400 and UTV's trying to bring offroad to the masses..........save us Mint 400 racers a few spam emails and spend the same time and effort on a marketing campaign educating the masses you just brought into our sport. Not all of us think it's a good thing that our favorite trails are being shut down because every Dick, Sue, and Harry can get a loan on a UTV. I like what you guys do, but if you wan't to push UTV's so hard, take charge in addressing this "culture" problem.
 

Ol' Curmudgeon

RDC's resident crackpot
Just like Jet-skis 20 years ago
...and three-wheelers forty years ago.

As well as guys with more money than experience and TT's today?

(In AZ, the titling of OHV's created issues due to the boom in ownership with banks then willing to finance OHV's, may not apply in all states)
 

ht racing

Well-Known Member
our local trails are getting so beat up by the sxs population i don't even use them anymore. there is chatter bumps for miles and miles. not fun getting your teeth and liver knocked out trying to have a good time. 10 yrs ago these same trails were perfect so i know its not the quads and jeeps doing all the damage!
 

UTVUGRUSTY

Well-Known Member
My $.02. I don't think this is a problem. The UTV market is not following the "True Culture" of Off-Road. The 4 wheel desert rat is a DIY user base. The birth of the thing we love started with an idea and mass produced vehicles. They were made stronger to hold up to the punishment. Still to this day the average 4 wheel enthusiast is a DIY user. I think off-road has this whole "I build the best and your stuff sucks" vibe. Whether you're in the desert with your buddies or racing its all about your stuff vs theirs.

The UTV entered the market in 2004 as a 2 seat option for quad riders. This gave them a machine capable of doing most of what a quad would do but with a steering wheel and a cage. It wasn't long before a new market was created. Cages, Long Travel kits, Power Adders and more started being produced. The aftermarket manufactures loved these new machines because they were massed produced and easy to build parts for. This has turned into a massive market. The OEMS pour money into marketing and events geared towards the users. The large majority of users are not DIY people. They buy a machine, order some parts online and take them to the dealer for service. I think this alone costs the UTV "Desert Cred".


Today the average Joe can walk into a showroom and pick up a SXS with 16"+ of wheel travel, 4wd and 150hp for $25k. This market has opened up a ton of opportunity. New businesses, new money pouring into off-road, increased user base (power in numbers) and 5 OEM's battling for a desert racing championship. UTVs are simply writing a new chapter in our story and its up to us to make it a good read one day.



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nimrod

KOOK!
Hey, we are not speed bumps! We just like late take offs and putting our board in the trunk ;)
Sheeze dude I was just messing with a friend who was a professional body boarder and he knows I have great respect for him. I guess I should have known better than to play around on the Internet. Thanks for the dislike.
 

Bdub 1020

Well-Known Member
Off road racers have always said , putting our sport in the public eye to much can hurt more than help in many ways. I personally don't like all the attn.brought to our deserts. It gives the libtards and greenies ammo for twisting things around in DC and get land closures or restrictions UTV or Race vehicles.
 

Goatpoker

Well-Known Member
Sheeze dude I was just messing with a friend who was a professional body boarder and he knows I have great respect for him. I guess I should have known better than to play around on the Internet. Thanks for the dislike.
I know, I was just playing around. Not a real dislike ;) Still love the PAB article in Bodyboarder from 1977 I think it was.... race suit and fins!
 

nimrod

KOOK!
I don't get the dislike for Utv's. 150 hp. 16" of travel factory stock. You buy factory parts over the counter, easy to prep or take to a dealer who gives you a real quote with a real time table for return of your UTV. Not drop it off and pick it up 8 months later because the guy was busy racing and hope when you do pick it up its less than 10 grand for the bill. I think Utv's are amazing, there's very few peeps calling them go-karts that truly mean it, it's like being called a buggy dork. Yep, so what of it!

PS. Except maybe fish and that's just because he thinks Ford still makes the Ranger. ;):p:):)
 
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