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Nice Article............ Why UTVs you may ask, what's the hype?

Pop quiz for you: What is the name of the little in-line, jet-propelled boats that became popular in the 1990s?

For awhile, the generic term for these little craft was “water scooters.” Then industry insiders referred to them as “personal watercraft.” Aside from the official names, however, brand names became the most popular forms of reference. Folks talked about their “Jet Ski” or “Wave Runner” or going “Sea-Dooing,” even if they didn’t own a Kawasaki Jet Ski, a Yamaha Wave Runner or a Sea-Doo from Bombardier. But under whatever term, the little boats became very popular in the ’90s.

Flash forward to today: By far, the fastest growing segment of the powersports market is UTVs. Or Side-By-Sides. Or Recreational Utility Vehicles, Recreational Side-By-Side, Utility Side-By-Sides, Off-Road Utility Vehicles, Rhinos, Rangers, Mules or whatever else you want to call them.

Advertisement Whatever the name, the category is generally defined by the seating capacity (two across) and the fact that the machines use a steering wheel and foot pedals instead of handlebars, a thumb throttle and brake handles.

At the end of the day, most dealers and consumer don’t care what the machines are called, as long as the manufacturers keep building them!

UTVs are white hot. Folks from major manufacturers tell us they can’t keep up with the growing demand. Our Buyer’s Guide in this inaugural issue of UTV Magazine includes 16 different companies that currently manufacture UTVs, and well-placed rumors say that Suzuki, Bombardier and Honda all have working prototypes and may join the market in the next 18 months.

So why are they so popular? It starts with their usefulness. A properly equipped UTV can take workers and their tools across a huge ranch to get to a jobsite or into rugged backcountry to service a powerline. A UTV can take a couple hunters, their dog and their gear to their remote hunting land or it can be used to patrol the beach by lifeguards. We’re also starting to see UTVs on trails, at riding parks, in sand dunes and also at some race tracks.

Why else are people turning to UTVs? Some folks prefer the stability of a UTV over an ATV. Increased hauling capacity is another reason. The ability to carry a passenger is huge — surveys tell us that many men would never ride front-and-back, 2-up on an ATV but have no problem sitting beside another guy in a UTV. The utility-based UTVs still control a large share of the market, but increasingly folks are taking the sporty UTVs and turning them into high-performance off-road carts or sand rails.

That said, there are many things the UTV market doesn’t have — aside from a commonly accepted name. There is no industry organization that all the manufacturers belong to; in many states there are no official rules or laws that determine where or how these things can be used. And, until now, there is no true national magazine dedicated to letting consumers know more about the UTVs, the products that can be placed upon them and the places you can use them at.

With all of this in mind, we present this first issue of UTV Magazine. This year it’s a section within ATV Magazine, but in 2007 it will be a stand-alone product 100 percent dedicated to the UTV market. We’ll continue to have some UTV coverage in every issue of ATV Magazine, but the UTV market deserves its own outlet, and it will get it in 2007.

Courtesy of ATV Magazine

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