How Fast Do Side-by-Sides Go?

Flying through the trails with the wind in your hair and adventure around the next bend is easy when driving a UTV. UTVs are different from ATVs and give you the comfort of familiarity with gas pedals and a steering wheel similar to a car while allowing you to move as you wish on smaller trails and with additional loved ones.

You might not even know it, but with the ever-increasing demand for UTVs – you’ve likely seen one or two of them by now. So, instead of going the more traditional road and using an ATV, why not take a chance on a UTV and let your adventurous side take the reins! This article will help you learn more about UTVs to decide whether this is the ‘off-road’ vehicle for you.

What are side-by-sides?

UTVs are defined as “Utility Terrain Vehicles” or “Utility Task Vehicles”. In short, UTVs are recreational ‘off-highway’ vehicles. These vehicles are of a similar size to ATVs, but in which the passenger and driver can be seated ‘side-by-side’ and next to one another when driving. That is why UTVs are also called ‘side-by-sides.’

UTVs can take up to 6 passengers at a time and additional luggage, making this vehicle the go-to vehicle when exploring any kind of terrain with family and friends. However, there is a slight difference between the regular UTV and a side-by-side.

The more average UTVs look close to that of ATVs; they have a slimmer frame that allows them to travel in more narrow pathways.

Is a UTV Street Legal?

UTVs have a similar, albeit more petite frame, to regular cars, and because of this, many people want to use their UTVs on the open road. And who wouldn’t?! UTVs have a steering wheel, use the same gas pedals, and can already travel on roads with a speed limit of 45mph. It’s like driving a smaller and less expensive car!

The average UTV has the following features:

  • Gasoline engines
  • Side-by-side seats
  • Seatbelts
  • A roll cage framework
  • A standard cargo area in the back

Even more surprising is that laws have been recently passed making it legal to drive your UTV on the open road! Several states have recognised that UTVs are similar to your average car, but they are missing a few essential items. To address the growing demand for UTVs, many States have now recognised UTVs as vehicles on the open road as long as they meet the standard safety requirements.

The most common requirements needed for you to take your UTV on the road are:

  • Department of Transportation approved tires
  • Adhering to the speed limit of your State and county
  • Installing headlights
  • A windshield
  • Seatbelts
  • Installing a horn
  • Install turn signals
  • Install mirrors
  • Pay for and register your UTV
  • Get a valid license plate

It’s important to remember that the requirements to use a UTV on the open road are different for each State. So, if you’re looking to get your UTV roadworthy, you will first need to check your State’s requirements, as other States require different things to register your UTV as a vehicle road-ready vehicle legally.

Types of UTVs

The side-by-side UTVs are almost endless, with newer models being released rapidly to meet the ever-increasing demand for UTVs. There are so many brands and companies that have joined the bandwagon of UTVs, and who can blame them?! But when it comes to UTVs, there are three types of UTVs you can choose from, namely:

  • Sport
  • Recreation
  • Utility

Sport Side-By-Sides

Sport UTVs are in significant demand and are very popular among side-by-side users looking for a vehicle that suits their adventurous side! Sport UTVs generally have excellent and powerful engines to ensure that you have maximum horsepower, innovative and clever suspension set-ups, and fast-working traction systems.

In short, sports UTVs were built to tackle the more challenging terrains. These UTVs are the perfect companion for those wanting to take a ride on the wild side, from rock climbing to racing. With a sport side-by-side, you’ll leave everyone in the dust!

Recreational Side-By-Sides

Recreational side-by-sides are typically used for recreational activities such as hunting, family, and even trail riding! The slimmer frame of the UTV allows the rider to go on trails not easily accessible by other vehicles.

Recreational side-by-sides are usually models that contain a solid and reliable engine. These models are perfect for a leisurely ride when going on different activities with your loved ones.

Utility Side-By-Sides

Side-by-sides are not only used for fun and epic activities. They can also carry heavy cargo and can have impressive towing capacity. Utility UTVs have been designed to deal with higher workloads and heavier payloads, making them ideal for farm use!

The typical UTV can host up to 6 passengers and has a bucket seat or a bench for passengers to be comfortably seated. Utility UTVs have additional components, like larger cargo boxes, and some even have front and back seating.

How Fast can a Side-By-Side Go?

How Fast can a Side-By-Side Go

The speed of a UTV or side-by-side is determined by the size and strength of your UTV’s engine. The make and model of your UTV can also impact the speed at which it runs. For example, a UTV has an average speed of 45mph and can go up to 85mph.

45mph can seem slow at first, but UTVs are not regular vehicles, and when your riding down a trail or going on a dirt road, if you’re driving your UTV properly, 45 mph will seem fast for you! Bear in mind that side-by-sides were not built for speed but utility!

Side-by-sides are vehicles you can take anywhere, and rest assured that you will have a mode of transportation, whether it is rain, snow, or just challenging terrain. Your side-by-side can go wherever you go. However, there are models of UTVs that can run at a faster pace, and if the speed is a drawback, there are ways that you can increase the speed.

Is There a Way to Make Your Side-By-Side Faster?

If your need for speed is holding you back from purchasing your own UTV, these tips are perfect! The average rate of side-by-sides can go from 45mph to up to 80mph. However, if you want your side-by-side to go faster, you can do one of the following:

Larger tires

In the appropriate size, getting a larger tire will help you gain more traction and get more speed out of your UTV.

Adjust the sprocket size

Making your UTV go faster is to adjust the sprocket size. You can either increase or decrease the sprocket size according to your model. It is best to go to a mechanic to do this to make sure that nothing goes wrong.

Turn The Throttle Limiter Screw

A quick and convenient way to raise the speed of your UTV is to simply turn the throttle limiter screw counterclockwise. Doing this will take your UTV out of housing mode, and you will be able to move at a faster pace.

Increase Your Exhaust Airflow

Another way that you can make your UTV go faster is to simply replace and upgrade your exhaust system. By upgrading your exhaust system, you are making the exhaust flow of your UTV increase, and this allows your engine to move at a faster pace, increasing your speed.

Buy A Turbo Engine

Turbo engines are a more costly way in which you can increase the speed of your UTV. Although it is a bit pricey, turbo engines are relatives of the same size as the standard engine the side-by-side comes with. However, it does require additional components to make sure that the UTV will run smoothly.

Will Bigger Tires Make a Side-By-Side Faster?

When it comes to modifying and customizing your UTV, the first thing many people change is the tires. The big question is whether or not having bigger tires actually improves the speed and permanence of the UTV or if it is solely for aesthetic appeal?

Larger tires do improve the speed of UTVs. UTVs can go faster with bigger tires because the larger tires help the UTV gain better traction, irrespective of the terrain you are driving on. However, the catch here is to get larger tires that won’t negatively impact the safety and longevity of the UTV.

When it comes to UTVs, ATVs, and other vehicles with an engine of 500cc, it is better to follow the rule of thumb law. To put it simply, if your car has an engine capacity of 500cc or less, then it is better if your tires are only one size larger than the standard tires the vehicle comes with. On the other hand, if your vehicle has an engine of 500-100cc, it is okay to get tires up to two sizes larger than the standard size.

So when it comes to bigger tires, yes – bigger tires will help your side-by-side drive faster. However, it would be best if you remembered that vehicles like UTVs had been manufactured and engineered to perform in specific ways. If the tires are too large, instead of making your UTV faster, it will make it unsafe and significantly cut down the vehicle’s shelf-life.

The Benefits of Having a More Powerful UTV

There are many benefits to owning a more powerful UTV. These benefits rank in the top 3:

Efficient Driving

Using a more powerful UTV can be intense at times, but they have excellent efficiency in driving. In addition, UTVs are reliable vehicles capable of handling most, if not all, kinds of terrain safely and stably. This is a massive pro to owning a powerful UTV, and in the right hands, UTVs are the preferred vehicle.

Power Riding

Rugged terrains put a considerable strain on your UTV, but using a more powerful UTV will keep your engine from overworking. In addition, when you use a more powerful UTV, the vehicle can navigate trickier terrains easier and with more minor wear and tear on the UTV overall.

Power riding will allow more aggressive riders to plow through any terrain without worry.


Whether you have chosen to have a turbo engine, modified the UTV to go faster, or kept your UTV at its original specs, UTVs are known for their speed. With new laws being passed, it is now possible to drive your UTV on the open road, and it’s not surprising that speed is a huge benefit to owning a UTV.

The Drawbacks to Making Your UTV Faster

Having a super-charged or more powerful side-by-side can be fun at first, but it also takes a lot of hard work to maintain. Likewise, having a faster UTV can sound like a good idea, but there are drawbacks to making your UTV run at a more rapid pace, and they are:


It can be pretty pricey when upgrading or changing your UTV, and UTVs can be expensive on their own, and when you couple in the added cost of upgrades, the price can skyrocket!

Having a faster UTV means changing the engine, ensuring that you have the right components, such as proper tires. Additional features to ensure that your vehicle runs smoothly, a new frame to incorporate all of the new elements your side-by-side needs, etc.

These new parts, including the maintenance needed to keep your side-by-side running in good or even pristine condition! A faster side-by-side means you will have to fork out extra cash to cover the considerable amounts of gas you’ll use to make your baby go at such high speeds.

Maintenance and Repairs

When making your UTV faster, you’re likely to face some problems further down the road. How you choose to make your side-by-side faster will impact the difficulties you may face.

Whether you are changing the frame to add more components or adding a bigger engine, or even just turbo-charging your engine, there are drawbacks to each method. First, you would have to pay more to replace them with bigger tires. If you decide to add a turbo engine, you will constantly have to repair your vehicle.

A significant drawback to making your side-by-side faster is being more expensive to repair and maintain.


The unfortunate downside to making your UTV faster is that it will experience wear and tear much faster and slightly heavier than regular UTVs. In addition, when your UTV runs at a higher speed, the components begin to experience some damage.

Your engine will be running faster, which will force the corresponding components to run faster, which can cause a problem. The quicker your UTV goes, the more wear and tear the vehicle will sustain, and in the long run, it might just be better to opt for a standard UTV instead of a powerful one, especially if you want to use your side-by-side long-term.