Woods & Mountains
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Sharing the fun

These ATVs let you enjoy the ride side by side!
By Mike Walker
Published: November 1, 2009
Photo by Yamaha
Side-by-side ATVs, like the Yamaha Rhino (above top) and Polaris Ranger (above bottom) let you work, play and explore together, while providing the same offroad experience you’ve come to love from your standard ATV.
Photo by Polaris
My wife and I have a cabin in the high country of Arizona. Fall is our favorite time for exploring and getting away from the crowds to glimpse elk or other wild game. And as it is with many cabin owners, ATVs are our vehicle of choice to hit the trails.

But, while the single-rider ATV is a great way for me to hunt, explore, see the back country or just get around, my wife and I prefer another type of off-road vehicle: side-by-sides, or SxS, for short.

Two is Better Than One

The design of side-by-sides give the outdoor enthusiast options for more enjoyment. First, SxS are more sociable than a single-rider ATV. For couples or hunting buddies, only one vehicle is required, which makes in-transit conversations possible — and it’s cheaper than buying two ATVs.

Second, many feature a small storage bed, not unlike a small truck bed. Some SxS models function as utility vehicles where compost, firewood and other materials can be easily unloaded by tilting the front of the bed up.

Making Room

But where the SxS reigns is simply improving the outdoor experience. Single-rider ATVs lack storage and often have to be accessorized with storage boxes or gun racks. The SxS models have plenty of space, making for an enjoyable outing and an easy way for the hunter to bring home wild game. Some can be configured for a second pair of seats.

The ride of the SxS is comfortable and roomy and handles as easily as a golf cart. By not needing two single-rider ATVs, storage is a breeze and expenses are less. Other cabin owners tell me they like the convenience of running to a store and exploring a little bit on the way, maybe stopping to visit with neighbors or campers.

If you are considering an ATV to keep at your cabin or bring on your trips, you might find the side-by-side models more to your liking than a single-rider model.
Photo by Ski-Doo
What About SxS Snowmobiles?

The last side-by-side snowmobile that I know of was the Ski-Doo Elite by Bombardier in 2004 (pictured at left). Why are anufacturers making the SxS ATV and not the SxS snowmobile? It boils down to the marketplace and costs. The two-passenger snowmobile costs more to build. Additionally, the retail price (some as high as $20,000), plus a shrinking user base due to unreliable snow conditions, were factors. Others say its weight made it difficult to transport and the wider footprint brought its own problems on trails and with storage and trailering. Front-back tandem seating is more popular with snowmobiles than SxS because storage is easier and the models cost less.

Mike Walker is a life-long outdoorsman and plans on retiring to a cabin. For now, he explores the wilds of Arizona on his ATV.
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