ATV vs UTV: Which One is Best for You?

ATV's vs UTV's

ATV vs UTV: Which Off-Road Vehicle Is Right For Your Needs?

If you’re in the market for a new off-road vehicle but aren’t sure which one is right for you, you’ve come to the right place! ATV’s vs UTV’s might both have four wheels, but they’re pretty different animals when you take a closer look at them.

So let’s take a little dive into the world of off-road vehicles and see what exactly is the difference between ATV’s vs UTV’s. And most importantly, deciding which is the correct vehicle for your needs.

What Makes an ATV vs a UTV?

All Terrain Vehicle

ATV stands for All-Terrain Vehicle. It is also sometimes called a “quad” or “four-wheeler”, of course referencing the wheels. The tires tend to be filled to a lower pressure than UTV’s or cars. With a little effort and money, you can make your ATV street-legal, but it is really designed to handle many different kinds of outdoor terrain.

Characteristic ATV Features

Handling

ATV’s are controlled by a set of handlebars, much like a motorcycle. Similarly, it is also straddled like a motorcycle. It has a smaller body than a UTV and is designed to handle more acutely in dicey situations.

Seating

Most ATV’s are designed for a single rider, although there are double-seaters as well. If you prefer to ride alone or to test your skills against other riders, the ATV might be the right choice for you.

Safety

All motor vehicles are made safer by following safety guidelines. This means wearing proper protective gear such as helmets and gloves. However, ATV’s are generally a little less safe than UTV’s. According to data published by the National Trauma Data Bank, ATV’s are more dangerous than dirtbikes and about as dangerous as motorcycles.

No matter what vehicle you choose, it is extremely important to get one with an engine and size that meets your physical size and handling abilities so as to ensure optimum safety.

rip it up on your ATV

Uses

ATV’s are mainly used for recreation, sport, and for getting through a tighter situation than a UTV can handle. Professional uses for ATV’s include farming, land surveying, emergency medical services and many more.

ATV vs UTV Advantages

The biggest factor for some people is money, and if that is your deciding factor, an ATV is probably right for you. Quads are generally cheaper than UTV’s, although this can vary, of course. Remember, when factoring out your costs you always need to think of additional costs, like safety gear and insurance.

What Makes a UTV vs an ATV?

Utility Task Vehicle

The acronym UTV stands for Utility Task Vehicle. It is often called a “side by side”, and written as SXS for shorthand. UTV’s are the workhorse of the off-road vehicle world and are built to be tougher, sturdier, and more stable than an ATV.

Characteristic UTV Features

Handling

While an ATV is very much akin to a motorcycle, UTV’s are much more like a car. They are controlled by a steering wheel. They are not always made for the most extreme terrains but are fully capable of handling them, depending on how your UTV is set up.

Seating

Seating in UTV’s tend to be one of two styles. Most use either bench seats or bucket seats. UTV’s were designed with more than one rider in mind (hence side by side). SXS’s are usually 2 or 4 seaters, but there are also 6 seaters available, and they usually have some sort of storage compartment for additional belongings, tools, etc.

Safety

One of the best safety features on the UTV is the ROPS or Roll Over Protective System. In layman’s terms, it refers to the roll-cage overhead. Many of the reported injuries from ATV’s vs UTV’s are caused by rolling the vehicle over. This UTV roll cage provides the extra protection on top to keep you from being crushed or flung across the field like a rag doll.

Other safety features include seat belts, a windshield, and lights on the front and back of the vehicle. If you want to get an off-road vehicle to safely enjoy with your family, the UTV might be the right choice.

rip it up on your UTV... with friends aboard!

Uses

They don’t call it a utility vehicle for nothin’! One of the biggest differences between ATV’s vs UTV’s is that there is ample storage space. One of the main uses of UTV’s has always been agricultural. However, they are now more often popping up in different environments. It isn’t uncommon to see them at schools to transport athletic equipment or by landscapers to transport tools.

UTV vs ATV Advantages

There are a few deciding factors that might make the UTV a better option for what you need. It’s a better option for riding safely with friends and family on the same vehicle. The extra storage space also makes it superior for hauling and transporting. While it might be more expensive than an ATV (on average), it’s pretty well justified in the additional safety features and uses as a tool in your arsenal.

Deciding on the Best Utility Vehicle For You: ATV’s vs UTV’s

which is best? the ATV's vs UTV's?

While an ATV might be more geared towards fun than work, it can get some heavy-duty jobs done, too! Similarly, UTV’s are designed to be your workhorse, but they can also be used for fun. There are so many different modifications that can be made and activities that you can use both kinds of vehicles for.

Both ATV’s and UTV’s have their strengths and weaknesses, however. Hopefully, this outline of some of the bigger differences of an ATV’s vs UTV’s will help you choose which vehicle is right for you and your own needs.
If you want some additional information on ATV’s vs UTV’s, what they’re used for, and how they work, make sure to check out our blog for all sorts of interesting and informative articles!

adventure time  ATV's vs UTV's!

Dirt Bike Size Chart: Picking the Right Bike for You

dirt bike size chart

Get Yourself A Dirt Bike That’s Juuust Right

There’s nothing like the feeling of hitting the berms and flinging dirt. That’s why we want to share our love of dirt biking with our friends and family. It’s also the reason why we want to pass along this love and tradition to our kids. No matter what your reason, we’re here with a handy dirt bike size chart so you can be sure you’re buying the right bike for you or your family.

For instance, maybe you bought your daughter or son their first dirtbike. You can’t wait for them to get the hang of riding and starting to really explore what they can do on two wheels. Except they’re not getting the hang of it because their feet don’t touch the ground.

When we get excited buying a dirt bike for our kids or even for yourself, we can often overlook something as simple as buying the right sized bike. Or maybe you didn’t realize there were different sized bikes for different sized people. Take a look at this guide to get a better idea of where you or your loved one fits on the dirt bike sizing chart.

height of the bike

Height of the Bike, Not The Size of the Engine

Most often when we talk about the size of the dirt bike, we talk about the size of the engine. 50cc dirt bikes, 250cc dirt bikes, and the whole array of other engine sizes can come in just about any bike height when you think about a dirt bike size chart.

“CC” stands for cubic centimeters and literally describes the volume of the cylinders in your bike’s engine. A bigger volume means more air can be taken into the engine, and it can run more quickly than cylinders with a smaller volume.

In a very basic sense, this means that the higher CC your engine is, the faster it will go. But this does not necessarily translate to size. Big frames can be homes to small dirt bike engines and vice versa. So if you’re a tall person and a new rider, don’t be intimidated by the big bikes and end up getting something too small for you. Getting a properly sized dirt bike is directly going to affect your riding experience and how much fun you’re having.

proper bike height

Proper Bike Height

So, if having the right sized bike is so important, how do you figure it out? Well, the best way is to simply sit on the dirt bike. The height of the dirt bike doesn’t matter so much as how you rest on top of it.

At the proper size, both of your feet should touch the ground. However, your feet should not be flat on the ground. You should be able to touch the balls of your foot and your toes on the ground. The reason you want that extra room is that it is indicative of your shocks.

With the extra room, your shocks are going to absorb any of the impacts you might feel if you go over a big rock or hit the ground coming off a ramp. Without that extra room, you’re going to be taking all of that force directly into your groin, which we don’t need to tell you can be very painful.

dirt biking is dirty

The Right Seat Height

A Taller Body Doesn’t Mean a Taller Seat

Moreover, while bikes are sized differently, you also need to think about the height of your seat. But, it can be more complicated than you think. Your height does influence what seat height you should be at, but it’s not an exact science. The reason for this is that people have differently shaped bodies. Longer legs, taller torsos, there are lots of things that can affect how tall you need your bike vs. your seat to be.

So there’s no way to exactly tell you how tall your seat should be based on your height, but the folks at Dirt Bike Planet came up with this handy guide to give you a ballpark idea:

  • 6′ (182cm) Tall and Taller – 37.5″ or taller seat height
  • 5’10” (178cm) Tall – 35 to 39″ seat height
  • 5’8″ (172cm) Tall – 34 to 38″ seat height
  • 5′ 6″ (167cm) Tall – 34 to 37″ seat height
  • 5’4″ (162cm) Tall – 33 to 36″ seat height
  • 5’2″ (157cm) Tall – 31 to 35″ seat height
  • Kids 10 to 12 years old – 26 to 31″ seat height
  • Kids 8 to 9 years old – 24 to 28″ seat height
  • Children 3 to 6 years-old – 50cc dirt bike

Again, this is not the end-all, be-all list when it comes to your height and your bike height. But it’s a good place to get an idea from when you start to think about your place in the dirt bike size chart.

get the right sized dirt bike for your kids

The Right Size for Your Kids

Getting the best dirt bike for your daughter or son can be a little bit trickier than your teenager because they have to overcome the intimidation. Also, just like with their clothes, you have to think about not spending a lot of money on something they’re going to grow out of next year.

For kids, you want to stick pretty hard by “the balls of your feet on the ground” rule. Your kids might think they feel more comfortable with their whole foot on the ground, but it’s going to have you going back to your dealer to get them a new bike much sooner than you’d like.

Get your kids something that they feel safe and comfortable on, but make sure that they can continue to grow into it.

help your kids out by reviewing our dirt bike size chart

DIY Dirt Bike Size Chart: Adjusting Your Bike Height

So maybe you’ve already got your bike. But, reading this you’re realizing that maybe it’s not the right size for you. Well, if you can afford to, you can always go buy a new one that is the proper size. On the other hand, for the rest of us, you can think about ways to adjust the height of your dirt bike.

Lowering the Bike

The easiest way to make your bike lower to the ground is to fiddle with your seat foam. You can easily slip the foam out entirely, or make some holes in the foam so that it sinks more easily. You can also think about replacing the foam with softer foam. This will allow your body to sink more and put you closer to the ground.

Keep in mind, however, that softer (or no) foam will mean you hit the ground just a little bit harder. Another route is to set the sag for your rear suspension to it’s lowest level. Again, you need to think about the impact of making contact with the ground as well as your ability to steer.

Raise the Height

Again, the simple solution resides in your seat foam. Replace your seat foam with a thicker one. You can adjust your height this way by a matter of a couple of inches. It can greatly affect your comfort levels without compromising how your bike handles.

Also, think about your handlebars. You can adjust your handlebars to set them forward, or just get taller handlebars. This will allow you to lean further forward and stretch out your body. This can give you more of a comfortable fit without adjusting your seat or suspension. And it can affect how well you can maintain control of your ride.

make your dirt bike a ride for life

A Ride For Life

We all love dirt bikes. That’s why you’re reading this article, and that’s why I’m writing it. But just imagine for a moment, if you will, all of those poor souls who think they don’t like dirt biking because they rode one that wasn’t the right size for them. (Where the heck was this dirt bike size chart when they needed it?!)


Dirt biking is a sport with so much to offer the people who partake in it. So, don’t let your kids or your partner go through the rest of their lives without riding a properly sized dirt bike. You know how much fun it is, so make sure they do, too! In short, share this dirt bike size chart with all your friends, TMS Parts loves to be loved. Also, if you’re looking to buy an ATV, be sure to check out our handy buyer’s guide.

have fun in the sun on your dirt bike

ATV Tune-Ups for the Springtime

ATV Tune-Up time!

Have You Done Your ATV Tune-Up Yet?

If you saw our blog on snowmobile repairs you can do at home and thought “where’s my article for my ATV”? Well, the wait is over! You’ve been patiently waiting all winter to get your ATV back out on the trail and start flinging some mud, and it’s finally time. Time for a ATV tune-up that is!

The longer you keep your ATV sitting, the more it’s going to be in need of a little TLC when the spring comes around. But before you get out there and start raising some hell, read on to find out how you can maximize your engine performance without giving the repairman the keys to your house.

Consider this your owner’s manual for the ATV tune-ups you’re going to want to perform this spring to make sure you’re riding hard with the best of ‘em.

pre-season tune-up check

Pre Season Tune-Up Check

You don’t leave your Corvette sitting in the garage all winter and take it out on the first sunny day with the top down without doing some work to it, right? Wait, you don’t have a Corvette? Neither do I, actually… Well, we wouldn’t do that with our Corvette if we had one, and we shouldn’t do it with our ATV’s either. So what sort of things do we need to check for when it comes time for your ATV tune-up?

The Pre-Season ATV Tune-Up Check List

change the oil

Check the Oil

Oil is the blood of your ATV. Are your oil levels appropriate? What about the quality of the oil? Is it grimy or chunky? Oil is one of the first things you want to check when you’re starting out for the season. It’s also going to be one of the things that help prolong the life and health of your ATV’s engine. Visually inspect the oil to see if it looks healthy. Take a look at your mileage as well. While we always think we can get away with our oil a little bit longer than we actually can, it’s much better for your ATV to have it changed on time.

check the tires on your

Check the Tires

Are they starting to wear down? Your tires are one of your keys to safety on an ATV. Your ability to grip the terrain is your lifeline. Being able to take off down the trail at top speed is great, but how about stopping? Can your tires grip into the ground and stop you before you hit that tree? You better hope they can. Think about replacing your tires if the tread starts to wear low, and don’t hesitate when the tread wears away.

Here are some more useful tips to keep in mind when checking your tire health to keep in mind as well. Regularly check your tire pressure. Properly inflated tires are just as crucial as your tread to your ability to grip the terrain and maintain control. Also, make sure to replace leaky valves. While this may not seem so important, it will snowball into a much bigger problem if you don’t take care of it. Keep an eye out for dry rot, and remember, it’s just as important to rotate your ATV tires as it is to rotate the tires on your car.

inspect the brakes

Inspecting Your Brakes

Just like we said with your tires, being able to stop is probably even more important than being able to take off. That’s why you need to be aware of the health of your brakes. We’re talking pads for ATVs with disc brakes, or shoes for ATVs with drum brakes… the whole nine yards. That means brake fluid, too. If you notice that your pads are worn away, or you feel like you’re not able to stop as well as you used to, take your ATV into a local mechanic and have them replace any parts necessary.

check your ATV's air filter

Got Dirt?

ATV riders love dirt. It’s part of the reason we want to get out there. I mean, if you don’t come home covered in so much mud that your kids don’t recognize you, did you really even go out riding?

While we might love getting dirty, your air filters definitely don’t, so this is one of the most important parts of doing an ATV tune-up. A dirty filter is going to decrease the flow of air through your engine and cause your engine performance levels to go way down. While you are able to clean your air filters, you need to think about just how much dirt is getting in there. Cleaning is fine, but always make sure to regularly replace your filters to get top performance out of your vehicle. It might not be the most glamorous thing to tune up, but trust us, you will notice the difference immediately.

make sure there are no loose screws on your ATV!

A Few Screws Loose

When I was young, my dad would tell me that he thought I had a few screws loose. I always thought he meant I was a troublemaker, but it turns out he was actually talking about my ATV! Every year I like to go over my ATV with a fine tooth comb looking for any nuts and bolts that are starting to come loose.

Meanwhile, check your wheels and handlebars, but don’t forget the undercarriage! Your suspension system is going to be the biggest culprit of loose nuts and bolts. Just make sure to check your owner’s manual for the torque values before you do more harm than good with this portion of your ATV tune-up.

be sure to check everything when you do your

A New Pair of Boots

No, we’re not talking about riding boots, we’re talking about CV boots. The constant velocity boots on your ATV are crucial to a smooth ride. In a very basic sense, it keeps the lubricating oil inside your joints, and it keeps the dirt out. Look out for any cracks in your boot while doing your ATV tune-up. This will allow dirt and other debris inside of the joint. Once it’s in there, it’s going to start grinding and damaging the metal inside the joint, which will require total replacement of the joint. It might not be the most expensive repair, but it’s one you can avoid with proper tune-ups and maintenance.

Have Fun This Spring (Not Sitting in a Mechanic Shop!)

Nobody wants to be sitting at the mechanic’s shop when there are birds chirping and dirt to be flung. So if you want to stay out of the shop and get yourself on the trails, make sure you regularly take a look at the moving parts of your ATV.

A vigilant ATV tune-up care routine is going to be your key to maximizing your springtime fun and the money in your saving’s account.

ATV Safety: 7 Tips to Make Your Ride Safer

ATV safety

What You Can Do to Stay on Your ATV and out of the ER

There isn’t a gasoline-powered vehicle on wheels that is completely safe. We all know this, and unfortunately, ATV’s are in this group. Each year between 300-400 deaths occur that are related to ATV use on United States roadways. While it’s probably also true that we don’t ride ATV’s because they’re the safest, there are still things we can do to ensure ATV safety.

There’s nothing you can do to guarantee that you’ll never get hurt or injured riding your ATV. But there are things you can do to significantly reduce your risk and the risk of others around you. So strap on your helmet and slip on your best pair of riding gloves. Oh, and some boots with good ankle support while we talk about some great ATV safety tips to have a safe experience on the trail.

ATV Safety Tips for a Safe Ride

ATV safe trails

1. Get Safety Certified

There’s no better offense than a good defense. That’s why it’s a great idea to get ATV safety-certified on your ATV before you even get on the trail. That is to say, trail systems are unpredictable and change all the time due to natural forces. So before you head out into the woods for the first time, check out some classes for yourself and the little riders in your life at the ATV safety institute.

You wouldn’t take the SAT’s without studying, so why get on a gas-powered workhorse that’s liable to buck you off without the right training? Getting ATV safety-certified is going to save you a lot of physical and mental headaches. Best of all, it not only makes riding safer for you… but also everyone you ride with.

get the right sized ATV before you ride

2. Select the Correct Size ATV

There is a wide array of different sized ATV’s, engines included. Engines can be as small as 50cc and reach upwards of 300cc and weigh more than 600 pounds. Obviously, this isn’t the ATV you want to put your teenager (under 16 years old) on. The bigger your ride is, the harder it will be to control. That’s why it’s important to get yourself and your loved ones an ATV that is appropriate for the age and size of the rider.

You might be tempted to buy your kids an ATV that’s a little larger than they can handle so they’ll grow into it, but trust us, it’s not worth it. The hospital bills you’ll pay if they take a serious spill are going to cost you more than buying that second ATV.

always wear a helmet when you ride your ATV

3. Wear Appropriate Protective Clothing

Maybe your teenager will try to convince you that they look cooler riding their ATV without a helmet. But, you can let them know that the really happenin’ look this spring is having your brains inside your skull. That’s one cool-lookin’ ATV safety tip, right?

However, protective gear doesn’t stop at a helmet. Essential ATV safety gear includes eye protection, gloves, long pants, and long sleeves while riding. ATV’s have a naturally high center of gravity and tips happen. When that tip over does happen, though, you’ll be glad you have long clothes to protect you from scrapes and scratches.

Also, make sure to get shatter-proof eye protection. Your mirrored aviator glasses look nice, but they won’t stop a piece of debris flung up from your buddy’s tire from hitting you in the eye.

ATVs are not meant for riding on a paved road

4. Don’t Ride on a Paved Road (except…)

You read our statistic earlier. That number was only for deaths that occurred on the road systems. You might have four wheels on your vehicle, but that doesn’t mean you should be riding alongside the road, it’s an accident waiting to happen.

Above all, you shouldn’t ride your ATV over the roads except to cross where it is indicated and appropriate to do so. It’s called an All-terrain vehicle, but it’s not meant for driving on the road, it’s meant for tearing up off-road terrain.

We aren’t forgetting about Street-Legal ATVs, don’t worry. There are some places where you can make your ATV street-legal, read more about where and how to do that here.

never ride your ATV while under the influence of alcohol or drugs

5. Never Ride Under the Influence

You should never operate an ATV (or any vehicle) under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. That is a simple fact and it’s illegal. Alcohol is involved in more than 30% of ORV deaths. Please note as well that ATV riders are subject to all of the same drinking and driving laws as car drivers are. ATV safety should also include common sense and responsible handling.

Drugs and alcohol are always going to affect your ability to operate any motor vehicle. However, ATV’s, unlike cars, don’t have a windshield, seat belts, and most don’t have a roll cage. When you got knocked off your ATV because you weren’t paying attention, you’re definitely going to feel it. This ATV safety tip may seem obvious, but the stats seem to say otherwise. Don’t become a part of that statistic!

ride your ATV at a safe speed and go the speed limit

6. Always Ride at a Safe Speed

Yeah, your ATV can go upwards of 80 miles an hour on a straight stretch. That’s cool, but so is not being wrapped around a tree! Speed is a top contributing factor for any accident that involves a vehicle with a motor; ATV’s definitely included.  Never push your limits when you’re riding, especially in an unfamiliar environment or you can end up like these folks. ATV safety saves lives.

ride your ATV on designated trails

7. Ride Only on Designated Trails

Okay, maybe you’ve seen a strange trail in the woods on your way home from work. You think, “man, that would be a great place to go for a ride!”. Sure, it might be fun to flex your adventurer’s muscle. But, when it comes to ATV safety, you have to consider that you just don’t know what kind of condition a non-designated trail is in.

Bad terrain or sinkholes, for example, just show that you don’t know what is in store for your ATV. Designated trails are regularly traveled and you don’t have to worry about coming up against something you and your ATV can’t tackle. Not to mention this is where people know you’re going to be and you won’t accidentally hit a pedestrian going for a hike.

Something To Think About Before Your Next Ride

keep your ATV safety tips in mind whenever you ride

ATV Safety Affects Everybody

Are you guilty of breaking one of these ATV safety rules? Probably. Most of us are. Likewise, for those of you reading that aren’t, congratulations! Meanwhile, for the rest of us, keep these ATV safety tips in mind the next time you go out for a ride. Not just for your own safety, but for the safety of everyone else on the trail, too.


And if you’re looking to explore some of the best ATV trails in the U.S., be sure to check out our blog. While ATV safety is very important to us and should be taken seriously, the TMS Parts family LOVES to have fun. But, you know, safely.