Are you interest in buying a Canadian UTV? Or are you looking to start hitting the trails in Canada? The country has a long history with off-road vehicles, and if you want to get the best from them, you need to know everything you can about the Canadian UTV scene. From UTV manufacturers to the best trails, Canada has an awful lot to offer. Read on for our must-know guide on Canadian UTVs and driving in the country.
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Laws and Regulations for Canadian UTVs
Transport Canada has a set of rules and regulations regarding the classification of UTVs. This was in response to a need to classify the roadworthiness of many UTV vehicles. As some of them have enough features and are so safe they can actually qualify as roadworthy, this needed to clarifying in law.
Generally, UTVs get assessed on an individual basis to qualify as fit for the road, under motor vehicle safety regulations. A UTV falls under the category of a restricted use motorcycle, as it is a motor vehicle that has handlebars. As a UTV does not have handlebars, it is not regulated under the motor vehicle safety regulations.
UTVs that are not used on private property and undeveloped roads must then have declarations from the manufacturer that they are fit for the public highways. They must stick to the road guidelines set out by the Canada Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. If they can not provide this, or state that they are specifically for off-road use, then they are not allowed to be imported and sold in the country.
To determine if the vehicle is for on or offroad use, a number of factors get taken into consideration. The first is the manufacturer’s intent for use.
The next one is the features that show vehicle development for specific usage. If it has suspensions and driveline characteristics aimed at offroad use, then it is likely to get a classification as offroad. Finally, the methods of promotion and advertising the vehicle has will be considered.
One of the few remaining companies to make UTVs in Canada is Can-Am. They manufacture a wide range of both on and offroad vehicles. In the world of off-road, they produce both UTVs and ATVs.
The manufacturing is done by a company named Bombardier Recreational Products. It began its life as L’Auto-Neige Bombardier Limitée and changed its name to Can-AM in 1972 when they released their first motorcycle.
Their first foray into the world of off-road vehicles came in 1998. This first model was a utility-based ATV, and it was a roaring success. Subsequent models were all based around the Traxter brand name. In 2002 the Traxter Max by Can-Am was the first ATV approved as a two-seater ride and became the forerunner of the UTV we know now.
At this time, the companies all-terrain arm was still known as its older name, Bombardier ATV. In 2006 the brand would become unified under the name Can-Am. At the start of 2007, all off-road vehicles getting put out by the company would come under this term.
Can-Am Sporting Awards
Can-Am vehicles have won a number of high profile sporting awards. 2005 saw the company BRP DS 650X ATV win the Dakar Rally. The Dakar Rally is one of the most grueling off-road races in the world, so to even have a vehicle complete it was an achievement.
That competition would prove fruitful for them. In the next year, they would also take the first place spot, along with all the other positions. Their three riders, Juan Manuel Gonzales, Antoine Morel, and Alain Morel, traveled from Portugal to Senegal on a trip of over 16 days.
In the same year as the first Dakar win, they would also find victory in the GNCC Racing Series, in the Utility Modified Class. In the next four seasons of the contest, they would earn 12 championships in total.
The Canada Safety Council has a course on UTV safety. It is a training program put in place by a certified CSC instructor. The course lasts around 8 hours and is based on tried and tested UTV driving techniques.
This course aims to enhance your knowledge of the UTV vehicle. It deals with the capabilities of a UTV and whats its limitations are. It also teaches you how to stay safe when driving in a multitude of different conditions, operating the vehicle with good judgment.
The courses are operated across Canada. However, some areas may not have a UTV instructor and you may be required to travel some distance.
Canadian UTV Accessories
Although Can-Am is the only remaining UTV manufacturer in Canada, there are companies supplying aftermarket products. Many of these are extremely good, and one of the leading companies is UTV Canada. They are one of the leading suppliers of aftermarket UTV accessories in Canada.
Created in 2006 as UTVs were just coming onto the market, founder Reid Nehring spotted a gap in the market. He could see that the UTV industry was going to be big. However, all the aftermarket products existed in the US and it was hard to get them shipped into Canada.
Nehring decided that instead of having people order from the US and encounter problems with import tax, customs, and broker fees, he would get the product to dealers in less than a week and cut those problems out. By opening a store, people could see the products before they actually bought them.
While the company started supplying only a few products, it now sells over 80 manufacturers’ products. It has major brands such as Pro Armor and Warn alongside lesser-known, boutique manufacturers.
Best UTV Trails in Ontario
For anyone wanting to use UTVs for offroad recreation in Canada, they could not be in a better place to do it. Canada has a number of fantastic offroad trails that are highly recommended for the enthusiast.
The first place to head is Ontario, to the Seguin Trail. The path follows the route of an old railway, providing a great base for beginner riders and just enough challenge for experienced drivers. All you need to do is purchase a park to park pass trail pass, and all proceeds go to the maintenance of the park and trail.
Another Ontario trail that you must hit, purely for its stunning beauty, is the Pleasant Valley to Eugenia Falls run. It is part of the Dufferin Grey UTV Club trail system. As you run the trails, you can expect to see some outstanding natural vistas and even stranger marks left on the land by humans.
Elliot Lake also offers amazing views, though this time they are more wide-open expanses as opposed to dense forest and cliffs. All of the trails run in a loop so that you always end up back where you began. The area also has a number of sights, making it ideal for a daily getaway with some added off terrain action.
Anyone who plans on going offroad in the Ontario area should consider purchasing the Ontario Onepass. It allows you access to a number of popular trails in the area. This replaced the popular Powerpass put out by ATV Canada, and allows access for more motorsports on trails than the previous pass.
Trails in British Columbia
British Columbia also has some outstanding, beautiful trails to ride. The Blackcomb Mountain has trails that have adventures organized by the Canadian WIlderness association. As well as excellent trails, you will find a number of restaurants on the trail so you can have some great food while on your adventure.
If you want something more vast, then head to the Buck Hills. A route exists that starts at Lavington near Vernon, then crawls and winds its way through the woods and dirt tracks of the hills. It is a tough unchartered route for the experienced.
Trails in Quebec
One must ride trail exists in Quebec, and that is the Trans-Quebec 63 trail, part of the larger great trail. This larger trail goes from coast to coast and stretches over 15,000 miles. However, the 63 trail is a stretch that is so vast in itself, it qualifies as a highway.
That does not mean you will get an easy ride. In fact, it is littered with rivers and gorges. It is a great trail to run if you are thinking of stopping to camp and doing some fishing.
If you do take this trail, make sure to stop at the Auberge Beaux Rêves which lies at its heart. It has a lodge and is surrounded by natural whirlpools for you to recharge your batteries.
Hit the Trails
Once you know about Canadian UTVs and where to ride, you just need to get started. There are numerous dealerships and rental companies in every area. Get yourself into the wilderness and enjoy some serious UTV riding.
Are you new to the world of UTVS and need more help and advice? If so, then UTV Ride should be your first stop. Make sure to read our article on 10 common mistakes to avoid when driving a UTV, so you can get out on the trail in no time.