It's not that long ago the only thing I wanted to buckle into or swing a leg over was a 1000cc monster quad or pure sport SxS.
However, as time rolls by, I'm becoming aware of what my real off-road vehicle needs are - and guess what: I'm discovering it's not the biggest displacement, fiercest big bore I really need!
I'm surprising even myself by saying these words but reality can be shocking. I don't need 1000cc's to have fun. In fact I don't even need 800cc's to have fun and get the work around the house and property done. The fact is, even a 500-class SxS has proven itself to be invaluable to me on more than one occasion.
I'm certainly not saying there isn't a place for big bore SxS's. Sure there is, and in those targeted disciplines they're great. What I'm talking about is a reality check, or maybe more truthfully, an ego check, where we look at what we're doing and what we need to get it done and start being honest with ourselves about how much power we actually need.
Vehicles like the Polaris General and what I can only imagine will be the next generation Can-Am Commander are proving to be hugely practical, loads of fun and a very solid blend of work and play.
Sure right now you can't get a 570 General but I can only imagine one's coming very soon.
I'm not sure what your household looks like but in mine it's a lot easier to sell the Significant Other on a vehicle that's practical. Don't get me wrong, my wife loves taking out the Maverick X3 and drifting a good corner, but when it comes to laying down our money for a "Multi-purpose" Side x Side - and that includes fun, too – we're always going to need to tick more than just the "fun" box on the list.
This is why I see vehicles like the General taking off so quickly and building such a following. I mean lets face it, we don't ride just for fun all the time, and if I'm being honest, those weekend ride getaways with the buddies are fewer and farther between than they used to be now with a growing family. When those times come, though, I need my dual purpose ride to be more than just a workhorse.
Practicality doesn't have to be boring and I believe a vehicle like the General proves that - its sporty prowess just waiting to be let out from under the rugged and workmanlike exterior.
Really, at the end of the day I can sell that at home. My wife understands the need for fun, but she also knows it makes no sense whatsoever for me to pull a trailer around the yard with a turbocharged SxS, while raking leaves.
A tilting box, low range and even turf mode have more value to me than ever before, and I'm guessing if we lay aside what we’ve been told we need and take a good hard look at what we actually do with our Side x Sides, the work/play ratio would be a lot closer together than we initially thought it was.
I don't blame any of us for loving the highest powered, most hyper performing stuff. Heck, they had me at "turbo" too. Sure, we in the media are partially to blame for getting so excited about big displacement engines, trick shocks with incredible travel and pricy electronics.
However, when we peel back the layers and reveal the actual usage our Side x Sides see, I'm willing to bet a look at a lower displacement 50/50 work and play unit makes more sense for the greater majority of owners who are now only riding the ultra performance stuff.
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