Features Great Machines for Your Next Desert Ride

Great Machines for Your Next Desert Ride Hot

Great Machines for Your Next Desert Ride

Great Machines for Your Next Desert Ride
Great Machines for Your Next Desert Ride
Great Machines for Your Next Desert Ride

When I'm asked about what bike or four-wheeler is best for riding in the desert, there is no short answer. One size does not fit all, because there are many great machines well-suited for desert terrain.

A purchase decision should take into consideration experience levels, where you plan to go, how you like to ride, how much effort you are willing to use to stay upright and whether or not you are interested in bringing along others inside your off-road vehicle?

Not all deserts are the same. The consistency of the sand can vary from one part of a trail to another. Sure, sand is the common denominator, but are we talking hard-packed trails, soft deep washes or a mix of soft, hard, rocky, silty and/or super technical trails with large rocks to navigate over, around or between?

Personal Preferences

What's most important is that you find the vehicle that best suits your experience level and needs.

Some people prefer four wheels over two. When you have four wheels under you, you are static stable when not moving and some people prefer that. Some are even coming out with one of the new super cool four-passenger side by side vehicles, complete with cup holders, XM radio, beach chairs and drink cooler in the bed.

Others won't even consider four wheels. They want a bike that is a purpose-built race ready motocross or off-road machine complete with the latest graphics kit or special upgraded suspension.

While some groups go out to the desert and race around like there's no tomorrow, others take their time and cruise around at a leisurely pace.

In the end, it's more about the fun, the smiles, the laughter, ample positive energy, support for each other and animated discussions about which way to go.


I recently rode with a group of women in the desert and here's some information about the machines we enjoyed...

Dirt Bikes

Kawasaki KX250F motocross-style bike: The "F" means "four-stroke" and for novice riders, that translates to a smooth power band and predictable outcomes. First-time riders will greatly benefit from the Motorcycle Safety Foundation's Dirt Bike School.

Operating a motorcycle on sand takes a little getting used to. Just remember to relax and give yourself time to get accustomed to the shifting terrain under you. If you are a street rider, this may feel very strange and unsettling at first.

All the dirt bike makers also offer a wide array of models for youth riders between the ages of 6 and 16. It is a wonderful feeling to share the magic of desert riding with the next generation.

Yamaha YZ450F dirt bike:Yamaha makes just about every type of desert-capable vehicle there is. Check out their goods on-line where you'll find over a dozen ATVs, 2 side by sides and 12 dirt bikes. If blue is your color, then Yamaha is your brand.

Side by Sides

Kawasaki Teryx side by side: This adventure-seeking machine now comes in a two and four-passenger version. Its best qualities include lots of grunt from a big V-twin 750cc engine, room for full-size passengers, and plenty of carrying capacity for cargo. The bright yellow four-passenger is my current favorite. We had a blue two-passenger on this trip.

Polaris Razor side by side: Think sand toy with four wheels. This Razor had no trouble keeping up with the two-wheel machines. It's low to the ground and static stable. But don't confuse static stability with "can't be flipped." Any motorized vehicle, regardless of its configuration or built-in safety features, can be dangerous if not ridden or driven with care.

Suzuki RM-Z250 dirt bike: All of the Japanese manufacturers make great motocross-style machines and Suzuki's offerings are no exception. Don't take my word for it. Just ask anyone on a yellow dirt bike.

All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs)

Yamaha Warrior 350cc all-terrain vehicle: ATVs are the preferred ride for a lot of desert enthusiasts. It's a great idea to enroll in the ATV Safety Institute's Basic Rider Course before launching your ATV career.

Honda 400cc ATV: Honda offers a wide variety of sport and utility-style ATVs. They have at least ten different models and that means a size and style to suit just about every rider. Honda's two-wheeled offerings are famous for their dependability, performance and bright red color of course.

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Great Machines for Your Next Desert Ride
Great Machines for Your Next Desert Ride
Great Machines for Your Next Desert Ride

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