Side-By-Sides by Storm
Latest trend in ATV industry outselling standard four-wheelers 5 to 1
Brian Fisher says side-by-sides, like the Can-Am Maverick he runs in the canyons of Nevada, are taking the industry by storm. (Courtesy Fisher's ATV World)
With the rise of the all-terrain vehicle industry, people and families everywhere are looking to buy their first ATVs.
Brian Fisher of the “Fisher’s ATV World” on Outdoor Channel said a purchase of an ATV -- or of a side-by-side, the ATV’s off-road cousin -- can be an intelligent family-entertainment investment.
“One thing about ATVs and side-by-sides, it’s like buying real estate,” Fisher said. “If you take good care of it and service it regularly, you’ll get darned near (in return) what you paid for it. Then you just re-sell it or trade it in or whatever and get the next size up as you grow into it or your experience level grows.”
Fisher’s ATV World appears on Outdoor Channel on Mondays at 9:30 p.m. Eastern through November. Check out the show page for complete listings.
Click image to view Fisher's ATV World reunion photo gallery
Fisher has hosted the show throughout its 10 years of existence. Fisher and his crew travel across the nation, searching for ATV adventures and vacation spots, while also delivering industry tips and trends.
The newest and most popular trend in outdoor and off-road vehicular entertainment is the side-by-sides, the larger four-wheeled vehicles on which the driver and passenger sit side-by-side.
“They have absolutely taken the market by storm,” Fisher said. “They’re outselling the standard ATVs 4 or 5 to 1. When we go on trips now, all you see is side-by-sides.
“Now they’re making them in four-seaters, so you’ll pass them out on the trail and there’s a mom and a dad and there’s two kids in the back or four friends out there on the trail enjoying it.
“That’s just like taking a jeep adventure out there in the middle of nowhere on a utility vehicle that’s capable of climbing stuff like a mountain goat. So it’s taken the industry to a whole new level.”
As it has always been since their inception, all versions of the ATV remain immensely popular with all types of outdoorsmen. And for those who can have their hunting or fishing experience hampered by a physical handicap or advanced age, an ATV or side-by-side can be a great benefit, Fisher said.
“They could never dream of getting back into the woods or the mountain, and setting up and hunting,” he said. “That was never even a thought to them, but now with these utility vehicles and side-by-sides, they can get back in the middle of nowhere, set up camp, set up treestands, do everything that a hunter needs to do.
“If they harvest a deer or an elk or whatever it is, they can throw it on there and get it out of there. There are game racks where you don’t even have to pick the deer up. Scoop that thing right up and put it in the back of your side-by-wide and get out of there. It’s really, really come a long way from back in the day when that wasn’t possible with your standard ATV.”
But, Fisher said, there’s also nothing wrong with using the ATVs for simpler purposes -- sightseeing or just family time.
“(They’re helpful for) your hunters, your fishermen, your farmers, your ranchers,” he said. “But then the recreational side of it, just families getting out there and doing what they love to do on the weekends, getting the kids away from the video games, computers and cell phones.
“That’s one of the best things about this: A lot of the places we go riding, there’s no cell phone coverage. You’re out there in the middle of nowhere and nobody can get ahold of you.”
In August at Rock Run Recreation Area in Patton, Pa., Fisher will host the Fisher’s ATV Reunion for the sixth year. The event will attract around 5,000 ATV and off-road enthusiasts.
“We have a 6,000-acre park that we shut down for a week, and it’s amazing the amount of kids and families. It’s just kids everywhere,” he said. “I do a kids ride each year. Three years ago, I had 35 kids. Last year, I had 170 kids. The numbers are just phenomenal. They’re growing like crazy. The family side of the sport has really, really taken off.”
Fisher’s event, as well as most other ATV gatherings, jamborees and conventions that are held around the country each week, play host to a variety of manufacturers who usually provide demo rides.
“That’s really taken off big time,” Fisher said. “You can go to almost any event now, and there will be manufacturers there, demoing their vehicles. The days of going in and looking at on the showroom floor and saying, ‘Well, I wonder how that thing would handle?’ -- those days are over.
“You can go to almost any event, a large event especially, and you can drive any vehicle from any manufacturer. They’ll take you out on a couple-mile trail, whatever they have, and you can go from manufacturer to manufacturer and see which one is best for you before you even buy it.”
It’s a perfect way to determine your next -- or first -- off-road vehicle purchase, whether it’s an ATV (50cc to 1,000cc) or a side-by-side (two- or four-seat variety). Finding which vehicle is the right fit for you is key, Fisher said.
“You don’t want to go out and get a 1,000cc machine and it’s the first machine you’re ever getting into,” he said. ”You want to make sure you grow and your experience level grows with the machine. Don’t start out too big. If you don’t respect that machine and you start out too big, you can get yourself in trouble real quick.
“Some people think an ATV is like riding a couch. That is totally wrong. It takes some body English, it takes some common sense and it takes knowing your machine -- knowing what it can do and it can’t do.”
Fisher's ATV World Show Page