Are you a trail rider looking to expand your horizons? A novice rider looking to get your feet wet in a contained area before heading off to the wilds? Regardless, you definitely are new to the practice track—and wow, it looks intimidating! The noise, all those machines racing around, all those strangers who look so much better at riding than you do… should you even go for a spin?

We at CFMOTO, as an ATV company and side by side manufacturer, are here to say relax! We’ve all been a newbie on the practice track at one time or another; anybody who says they haven’t is lying. However, just because you’re new to riding on the track on your side by side gives you no grounds to be completely ignorant. Your vehicle will no doubt be quite a bit larger than many of the motorcycles and ATVs there; it’s your job to ride conscientiously.

If you don’t know what that means yet, don’t fret; we’ve got all you need to know about side by sides and practice tracks below.

Only Ride at Tracks Where Side by Sides Are Allowed

We know, we know, this seems obvious—but it’s a rule too often ignored. Many tracks don’t allow utility sport side x sides and are strictly for two-wheel vehicle use. The reasons for this vary, one of which being that four-wheeled vehicles impact the terrain differently than do bikes and thus make it harder for bikes to ride.

You might find that side by side practice tracks are thus relatively scarce, and yes, this can be frustrating. But please don’t be the jerk that goes and ruins a motocrosser’s day by intruding on their territory. Stick to tracks where you’re allowed. Not only will you not make anybody grumpy, but you’ll generally find them much more fun to ride from a handling standpoint anyway; they tend to be beginner-friendly.

How Can I Tell if Side by Sides Are Allowed?

If you arrive at a practice track and see no side by sides there, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re forbidden. Usually, you can tell what sorts of vehicles and engines are allowed on a track via nearby posted signs. Otherwise, scoping out the track online beforehand can also prove helpful.

Another thing to keep in mind: side by sides aren’t always referred to as side by sides. Government websites and tracks that cater primarily to motocross racers might call them

  • ORVs (Off-road vehicles)
  • UTVs (Utility terrain vehicle)
  • ROVs (Recreational off-highway vehicle)
  • SxS (Side “by” side)

Unfortunately, other vehicles are often called the same things, too. A CFMOTO ATV, for example, might be called an ORV, as it is, technically, a machine made to go off-road.

As you can imagine, this makes finding tracks for your side by side a bit confusing—all those acronyms! The best approach if it’s ever unclear is to phone ahead of time and ask word-for-word about side by sides. Using the most specific name you can makes sure everyone is on the same page and that you don’t drive an hour, side by side in tow, only to discover you can’t ride.

Stay in Your “Lane”

While your practice track might not come with painted lines like a road will, it’s imperative that you avoid sudden swerving. Not all vehicles are as agile as your CFMOTO Side by Side, and you can easily cause a chain reaction that leads to an accident.

You don’t need to be perfect at it—sometimes, for example, swerving to avoid debris is unavoidable. But as much as you can, try to maintain a consistent course from side to side, simply for safety’s sake.

Watch Other Riders Before Trying the Track

How do they pass? Where do they speed up and slow down? Are faster vehicles on the inside or the outside, generally speaking? Though everyone’s machine will behave differently from yours, it’s a great idea to get a feel for the general vibe of the track before putting the rubber to the road—er, dirt.

You want to behave in a way that’s expected by other riders so as to assure everyone’s safety, and the best way to do this is to learn what’s predictable for yourself. The unwritten rules of every track can’t be accounted for here, as to do so would be unfairly generalizing, but the more tracks you visit, the more you’ll notice consistencies that you can tuck away as reference for your next side by side adventure.

Plus, by watching more experienced riders, you’re bound to learn a thing or two!

CFMOTO Side by Sides: Fun at a Variety of CCs

Whether you’re looking for a speed demon, a workaholic, or a beginner-friendly first toy, our line of side by sides has you covered. Use our CFMOTO Dealer Locator now and slide into the driver’s seat of the machine of your dreams.