Every time you go out to a big ride event, you spot loads of people with wide suspensions rolling around. Some of those are straight from the factory—like the Maverick X3 X RS—others are using aftermarket suspension kits.
What’s the deal with those? Why would anybody want such a wide suspension, and what, if anything, are you missing out on by sticking with your 64” or smaller ride width?
Let’s take a walk through the world of the wide, and see what a long travel kit can and can’t do for you.
A long travel kit is a complete suspension replacement for your side-by-side. It comes with longer A-arms, axles, tie rods, and radius arms (if your UTV uses them). It’s designed to make your suspension wider by some amount.
The actual increase in width varies from kit to kit, but at SuperATV, we offer everything from 3” per side increase to a 6” per side increase depending on the vehicle.
When you put a big long travel kit like that on your RZR, Maverick, or other UTV, it sure does look cool. But what’s the point?
The extra width from a long travel kit is almost like upgrading to a whole new side-by-side. You get more stability, more travel, and room for bigger tires.
The stability is easy to understand: being 6 to 12 inches wider makes it harder to tip over. And when your machine is harder to tip over you can ride faster and turn harder. That right there is why most people want to get a long travel kit. Cornering at high speed is so much fun that people shape their whole machine and ride community around it.
But that’s not the only thing they do.
More suspension travel keeps your shocks from bottoming out as easily, which gives you smoother rides over rough terrain. Once you fly down your favorite trail and feel like you’re floating on a cloud even though you’re really plowing through ruts, you’ll see the difference suspension travel can make.
Going wider provides you with another benefit: your wheel hub is further away from your wheel well giving you more clearance. What can you do with more clearance? That’s right—bigger tires! We’re guessing that no matter what upgrades you’re thinking about, bigger tires is a part of the equation. A long travel kit will get you more room for bigger tires and a big lift kit depending on the vehicle.
A better question is: Who shouldn’t get a long travel kit? The advantages are numerous, but there are a couple reasons why a long travel kit might not be for you.
If you like tight trails that enforce vehicle width, chances are you won’t be able to ride there once you get a long travel kit. Some trails enforce a 50” maximum width, and considering that new side-by-sides today are built with a minimum width of 64 inches from the factory, going any wider is not an option.
We’re seeing some trails loosen their restrictions somewhat though. So if you like trails that enforce a 64” maximum width, and you’re running an older 50” machine, a long travel kit might just breathe some life into your old buggy.
The other primary reason you wouldn’t want one is if you really want to lift your machine. Long travel kits provide zero lift. That’s just not what they’re for. Now, if you install larger tires, you will naturally get some lift, but if you’re looking for a big lift kit, this is not for you.
If you’re not lift hungry and you don’t ride width-restricted trails, then you will love having a long travel kit.
And if you ride in the dunes or the desert, there’s no reason not to get a long travel kit. All that wide-open space lets you pin the needle more often than not, and the stability and smoothness a long travel kit affords comes in very handy.
So basically, unless you’re married to your tight trails or building a monster truck, you should get a long travel kit.
We’re going to go out on a limb here and say yes, a long travel kit is right for you! Aren’t you happy you’ve learned this about yourself? You’re about to open up a whole world of possibilities. All you need to do now is pick the long travel kit you want, install it, and ride.