UTV Vs. ATV Vs. Dirt bike: Which one is the best?

Are you in the market to get a basic and atypical vehicle for recreational purposes, off-road transportation, work, or racing? An ATV, a dirt bike, or a UTV are three different types of automobile choices you have.

Each of these machines has unique designs, performance, and prices. If you have been combing the web to know which of them is right for you, you have come to the right place. Read on!

Definition

What is UTV?

A UTV (Utility Terrain Vehicle) is a four-wheeled vehicle usually accommodating two to four passengers. For more specialized tasks, it could even have more wheels. To control a UTV, you will use a steering wheel, just like a standard car. 

UTVs can attain top speeds of 25-50mph, depending on their design. To accelerate and brake, you will use two separate foot pedals.

What is ATV?

An ATV (All-terrain vehicle) is a three or four-wheel car with a handlebar steering and a straddle sitting position. It is also known as a quad bike or a Light Utility Vehicle (LUV).  

This type of vehicle is known for its ability to maneuver on various terrains. Most ATVs come with a thumb throttle for acceleration and a foot pedal or brake handle for stopping.

What is Dirt Bike?

A dirt bike is a lightweight motorcycle that is designed for use on rugged surfaces and unpaved roads. It is also known as an off-road motorcycle. 

Its hydraulic suspension system, coupled with spring shock absorbers, makes it suitable for racing, jumping, and flexible movement.

UTV Vs. ATV Vs. Dirt bike: Comparison Table

The table below summarizes the differences between a UTV, an ATV, and a dirt bike, based on specific features.

 UTVATVDirt bike
PriceAverage of US$20,500Average of $12,000Average of US$8,000 – US$9,000
SafetyIt contains essential equipment like seatbelts and rolls cages and provision to install a windshield.No significant protection provision. But some have roll bars.No safety features. You have to wear helmets and protective clothing.
Weight700 – 2000 pounds400 – 700 pounds215 pounds
When to useTo transport agricultural produce, animal feed, and hay, athletes, sports equipment, and industrial machines.To transport people over a rough area of land. Great for racingFor cross country riding over rocky, muddy, and rugged terrains. Ideal for racing.
Passenger capacity2 to 4 passengers1 to 2 passengers1 passenger
Fuel-efficient15-20 MPG15-20 MPG30-40 MPG
SpeedUp to 85mphAverage of 65mph for moderate-sized ATVs88 to 98mph
Longevity5000 miles10,000 miles20,000 miles
FunctionalityLess maneuverableManeuverable and suitable for unpaved roads.Fast and easily maneuverable, but requires more balance.

UTV Vs. ATV Vs. Dirt bike: Detailed Comparison

atv vs utv vs dirt bike

Functionality

A UTV has a large physique which makes it easier to haul heavy equipment and people. Despite that, the downside of this advantage is low speed and less flexibility.

An ATV stands on three or four wheels. This factor makes it stable and easy to control for a beginner. However, it can tip over if you drive fast while cornering or lean forward while braking on a downhill area. This vehicle is an excellent tool for fishing, farming, camping, and hunting.

A dirt bike is high-speed and flexible. You can turn it in different directions quickly. However, it gets more challenging to control at high speeds. The only way to haul something with a dirt bike is to wear a backpack.

Safety and Speed

The UTV comes with standard protective features like roll bars, a windshield, a cabin, and seatbelts. These factors make the vehicle perfect for off-road tasks. In addition, the top speed for a UTV is 50mph. This pace is good enough for transportation, hauling, and moving on rough terrains without compromising your safety.

ATVs don’t come with any major safety structures. Nevertheless, some brands come with roll bars. These roll bars form a cage-like structure around the ATV to protect the driver if it tumbles. 

ATVs have an average speed of 65mph. Therefore, you should wear protective gloves, boots, and helmets before operating a quad bike. 

The dirt bike is quite hazard-friendly. It has only two wheels with no safety devices. If you want to ride a dirt bike, you must wear goggles, gloves, knee braces, a helmet, long pants, and long sleeves. This dual-wheel machine is capable of hitting 98mph.

Weight and Passenger Capacity

4-seat UTVs usually weigh 1600-2000 pounds. 2-seat variants will be about 1,200-1,600 pounds. Also, the fuel tank of an average UTV has a capacity of 10 gallons.

With a full fuel tank, expect an additional weight of about 63 pounds. The conventional UTV design can accommodate one driver and another passenger. However, some models have a rear seat for two extra passengers.

The weight of an average ATV ranges from 400-700 pounds. The sport models could weigh about 350 pounds, while utility variants can be up to 700 pounds. Most ATV designs can only accommodate one rider. However, some can carry one driver and another passenger.

The weight of a dirt bike with a filled fuel tank is about 165- 215 pounds. The exact weight depends on the design of the bike. These dual-wheeled machines usually have a 1.6-gallon tank that can store about 10 pounds of fuel. According to safety standards, only one person can ride on a dirt bike comfortably without a risk of an accident.

When to use

A UTV is great if you need a vehicle to move heavy equipment, small industrial machines, and farm produce. Besides, athletes like golfers can use it.

Conversely, ATVs are suitable for camping, recreational riding, hunting trips, landscaping, and light cargo transportation.

Most people buy dirt bikes to race on rugged roads. Its design makes it great for hilly and unconventional routes.

Fuel-efficient

UTVs have an average fuel economy of 20MPG. Some models can do better. Aerodynamics, braking mechanism, and engine horsepower affect the economy of this type of vehicle.

A new or decently used ATV should have a mileage of 15 to 20MPG. Your maintenance culture and engine specs affect the kind of performance you can get from this quad bike. If you maintain low tire pressure, reduce the vehicle’s weight, and apply your brakes appropriately, you can further reduce fuel consumption.

As for the dirt bike, you can get 30 to 40 miles per gallon. By keeping your engine clean and riding calmly, you can get a better fuel economy from a dirt bike.

Longevity

UTVs usually reach 5000 miles on average. By maintaining your service schedules, they can even go more. If you use your UTV for heavy towing in rough terrain very often, the lifespan goes lower. This is because a UTV’s engine runs at high power almost every moment of its operation.

On the other hand, an ATV can hit 10,000 miles. With proper maintenance, this mileage can be extended.

A well-maintained dirt bike should be able to attain a maximum of 20,000 miles. But if you ride regularly in a rough, rocky, or hilly place, don’t expect too much from the bike.

Price

The dirt bike is the cheapest option. You will get a fine product of about US$8,000-9,000 from a premium brand like Yamaha or Honda, or KTM. If you aim for a fairly used bike, you should be able to get one for about US$4,500.

For sports and utility ATVs, you should be able to purchase them for an average of US$10,000-US12,000. Furthermore, the price of a new ATV depends on its engine capacity, brand, and overall configuration. For a used ATV, you should be paying about US$4,500 to US$9,000. The cost will be determined by the mileage, age, and state of the engine.

Unsurprisingly, UTVs come up as the most expensive. You can buy an entry-level model within the range of US$12,000-US$15,000. For high-performance models, you will pay US$20,000 to US$30,000. The presence of unique features and add-ons make UTVs more expensive.

Conclusion

If you have safety in mind and want to ride with three more people, go for a UTV. Moreover, It can transport gear and payload on rugged terrain. But bear in mind that this is a costly option.

If you want to drive alone, or need a machine for recreation and light hauling, go for an ATV. It is budget-friendly compared to a UTV. However, take your safety seriously.

Or perhaps, you might want the cheapest option for racing on a rugged road. Then, a dirt bike is the best option. But ensure that you are comfortable on two wheels.

Read more: How Fast Can You Drive in 4×4 High & Low?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *