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Old 04-20-2014, 06:38 PM
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Question Trail widths

From a safety perspective, I believe trails wider than 60 inches would be safer to ride on. Just wondering what everyone's thoughts were on this subject. I am not talking about allowing jeeps etc on the trails, but with the advent of wider machines like the Can-Am's and the new Yamaha Viking exceeding the 60 inch defacto standard, it would be a shame to exclude them. Hatfield McCoy trail system has taken the lead by allowing them, in fact any commercially manufactured vehicle essentially designed as a Side by Side ATV is allowed. Not vehicle essentially designed for on highway use i.e. Jeeps. So what is happening elsewhere. I'd love to ride one in Idaho, and Utah.
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Old 04-20-2014, 10:13 PM
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Jeeps wouldn't stay off the trails if they would fit. Most of the trails I ride are 50" but where one widened out I came head to head with a dune buggy. Nothing but ATVs and motorcycles were allowed but it fit so they rode the trail.
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Old 04-21-2014, 09:25 AM
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On some of the road width trails where the club I joined is located there has been a lot of truck and jeep damage. 2' deep ruts, etc. There is a class 6 road where it is legal for jeeps and trucks but they go off of that and damage wetlands and trails where they're not supposed to be. Gates have been torn down. I think if you make wider trails, at some point you're going to start getting small jeep-type vehicles on the trails. Some of the bigger UTV's were meant to be only used on farms, etc. Others like the RZR were made specifically for tighter trails systems.

Was out on the Paiute Trail last August and it's a mix of trails from 50" to trucks and jeeps allowed. On our last day of riding we were doing the southern end of the trail. All the maps and trailheads are clearly marked if there are restrictions. We came down a tight twisty set of switchbacks that was a single track 60" or less trail heading down to Circleville. As we were going down another larger group was coming up. Mix of quads, RZR S models, and some of the wider XP's that should not have been on that section. We had to balance our quads on the edge of the trail where there was 100-150 foot drops. As they went by, complaining about the situation, we had to push on their roll bars to keep them from hitting our rental quads and sending them over the edge. Took about an hour to get them by. Talked to the owner of the inn we were staying at and he said they had widened that section from 50-60" capable and it didn't change much as far as how many accidents there are in that area.

I don't think trail width is as much of a trail safety issue as it is opening the door for heavier jeep-type vehicles to wedge their way in. Honestly, if a trail is wider people are going to go faster with the increased visibility and room to maneuver.
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Old 04-21-2014, 09:29 AM
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From what I have heard from others, you have a lot of that out in MI and enforcement is not real good. Sorry to hear that. I know on the Hatfield McCoy they are policed fairly well. Also, starting last year, they opened a very few trails to 4x4's so the big boys would stop complaining. But the off road community has many places within a day's drive that they go play on and the HM trails are pretty low key for them, so you don't see many of them. You can't really have a lot of fun with all that horsepower riding on logging roads. Not much of a challenge. My biggest worry is that with wider trails comes faster speeds, and meeting someone head on is a recipe for disaster. On the HM, there are plenty of trails that have steep drop offs with no margin of error on them. Those trails are usually reserved for ATV's and single trackers. The SxS's are usually limited to the easy and more difficult trails. I guess we will have to wait and see what the numbers are going to be for the year before we can say what is going to happen. Right now the biggest problem is with single trackers and the speeds they attain. You come around a blind corner and many times I have had "moments" with them. Typically they ride off into the sunset before you catch your breath to yell at them. At least they all have to wear helmets and eye protection. And have a season sticker on their helmets.
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Old 04-21-2014, 09:38 AM
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Moose, you you think 60 inch is a big difference from say the new yamaha that comes in around 62? Ditto for the Can-Am's. I know they have come out with a narrow track model, but I am not so sure there is much of a difference. I can recall at one point where they didn't allow SxS's at all on teh Paiute trails, so I guess we should not complain too much. I guess from the perspective of the guy who only uses his SxS once in a while for trail riding, but really needs the size of the Yamaha/Can-Am for working around the farm, it seems like it would be a shame to exclude them over 2 inches. I believe that only having a couple of inches to spare is going to keep the speeds of the SxS's way down and that is always a good thing. But you are correct, the wider trails are going to allow the ATV riders amongst us to fly like the wind. One good trend I see is that you have a combination of both riding on trail rides and clubs seem to welcome everyone. So if you mix a SxS in with the ATV's, you are going to slow them all down.
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Old 04-21-2014, 10:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dragginbutt View Post
Moose, you you think 60 inch is a big difference from say the new yamaha that comes in around 62? Ditto for the Can-Am's. I know they have come out with a narrow track model, but I am not so sure there is much of a difference. I can recall at one point where they didn't allow SxS's at all on teh Paiute trails, so I guess we should not complain too much. I guess from the perspective of the guy who only uses his SxS once in a while for trail riding, but really needs the size of the Yamaha/Can-Am for working around the farm, it seems like it would be a shame to exclude them over 2 inches. I believe that only having a couple of inches to spare is going to keep the speeds of the SxS's way down and that is always a good thing. But you are correct, the wider trails are going to allow the ATV riders amongst us to fly like the wind. One good trend I see is that you have a combination of both riding on trail rides and clubs seem to welcome everyone. So if you mix a SxS in with the ATV's, you are going to slow them all down.
I don't think the 2" is much of a difference. Yamaha did that to address some of the issues they had with people rolling the Rhinos over. It does add stability. My thought is that if the makers see trails being opened up more they'll start making them even wider.

As far as the trails go, widening a trail even just two inches can be a lot of work. Out on a trail like the Paiute you'd have to dig away 2 inches of rock times the height of the wall times the distance, and the costs of changing the gates. It adds up to be very expensive. Out here, it would be widening the gates, cutting down trees and removing the stumps. Lot of time and effort involved.

I don't mind UTV's at all. It's changing existing trail systems to make it so they can fit that's tough.
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Old 03-06-2015, 09:46 PM
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i think they should be kept narrow,if you want to be on them have the right equipment,you want something bigger stay on the bigger trails
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Old 03-07-2015, 09:10 AM
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Mother nature dictates the trail width up here not people. Some are to narrow for ATVs let alone jeeps or trucks.



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Old 03-07-2015, 02:30 PM
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we have two wheel only trails here also and i can respect that and have no issues when i cant go somewhere,i enjoy and respect where i can go
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Old 03-09-2015, 06:44 AM
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McGhan, my question isn't related to respect for single track versus ATV etc, or jeeps for that matter. What i have noticed is a trend to include all the various Side by sides on the trail systems, or at least as much as feasably possible. Way back in the day, we found that competition between dirt bikes, snomobiles, ATV's and now Side by sides was actually defeating the purpose of trail building and aquiring legal riding areas. This was due to infighting and trying to protect what each group had. I think some pretty forward thinking people and manufacturers have figured it out that to survive, we all pretty much need each other and fighting to remain exclusive is the wrong argumant to make to government agencies that are living on very limited budgets. The smart dollar is spent on building a trail system that meets the needs of the biggest amount of taxpayers. So wider in this case is better. Also consider that many of us with a long history in the sport, do care about things like rider safety, which logic also says that a wider trail is a safer trail considering the majority of deaths occur due to speed and hitting an object on the trail. Also we know that most trails out there are bi-directional and contain blind corners. So having a place to pull to the side and safely pass an on-coming rider is advantageous as well. All of these point to wider trails. I get it that many systems do not have the funds to widen the existing trails, but new trails could and should be wider for the simple fact that they are safer and accomodate the most available riders. The manufacturers have a responsibility in maintaining a maximum allowable width as well. With Yamaha and their design trend to go to a wider is better mentality, at some point, a MAX width standard should be adopted. What that is or should be is the question posed. It has nothing to do with respect for trails, or acknowledging that there are places where wider trails just are not possible. Anyone who has ridden the Hatfield McCoy can attest to the fact that there are trails out there that a normal ATV has trouble fitting on. I get it, and those should be closed to Side by sides, BUT, I also feel there is a responsibility to accomodate them whereever possible so they become one of many and not singled out for failure when we need as many voices as we can get when talking to those that hold trail system purse strings. JUST when 60 inches looked to be the accepted standard, Yamaha builds the Viking and we have a machine that is too wide. They recognized their miscalculation and have pulled out a new model that is now poised to compete with the Razor in a smaller footprint, but the fact remains, does Yamaha expect to sell enough of the Vikings to force our hands? I think not. I believe although it is a unit well suited for work around the ranch, it is doomed because it just cannot be sold in numbers that can compete with those that do fit within the 60 inch width defacto "Standard".
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