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ATVs, in general, are great machines that can be both fun and practical. If you plan to share the fun of off-roading, a two-seater ATV can provide fun for both people on the ride. But where do you even begin to look for the right ATV for your needs?
A 2up four-wheeler can come in different engine types, power, weight, and general build quality. You can buy a nice two-seater quad for around $6,300 to get your foot in the door up to powerful beasts with bells and whistles to boot for $15,000.
With so many makes and models, decisions aren’t easy! In this article, we will be going over the ins and outs of what to consider when purchasing a two-seater ATV in an easy-to-understand language. If you’d like to learn more, we encourage you to read on!
What Is a Two-Seater ATV?
So, you want to buy a 2-seater ATV, but you don’t exactly know what it’s for or what it even is. Two-seater ATVs are designed to carry both the rider and a passenger. When looking at photos of them, it becomes apparent that they try to offer both parties comfort. Sporting relatively large seats both in the front and back, they can get you over lots of different types of terrain without wearing both the rider and passenger out.
What do people use two-seaters for? A variety of things:
- Recreational riding
- Transporting cargo
These machines differ from sport ATVs, which are smaller, lighter, and designed for fast, extreme riding. Although you can do sporty riding on a certain two-seater provided, both parties consent to it and take the proper safety precautions, of course, such as wearing a helmet like this YEMA ATV Helmet. But if you plan on doing a lot of solo riding, they won’t be the best option for this purpose.
Two-seaters are usually purchased for their versatility. If you want something to hit the trails or transport things, they will offer solo or duo riding, making them an overall great value.
Like with any ATV, 2ups come in various price points that differ in power, features, weight, and build quality. There is a lot to consider when choosing a 2up ATV, but in general, you should consider these key factors:
- Ride quality
You might be thinking how a 2up four-wheeler compares with a side-by-side ATV; after all, both are designed to carry two people and are often compared to one another.
ATV 2up Seat Conversion
You can convert a traditional utility ATV into a 2up, but first, check to see if this is legal in your area. If you are clear, you can find many seats on Amazon, such as this Black Boar Rear Lounger. You’ll need some tools to install, such as a 5/16-inch drill bit, a 7/16-inch wrench, and a grease pencil for marking.
The seat should be as far back as possible on the rack. The mountain locations should be on the bars that go from side-to-side and on the ones that go from front to back. Mark the underside of the seat where you’ll line up the backing plates and mark the holes that need to be drilled.
After drilling, take a U-bolt and position it under the rear rack facing up. Place the backing plate over the U-bolt and tighten by hand. Repeat the process for the other U-bolts included, tighten them completely with your wrench and install the seat.
This is the process for this particular product, but seats and installation methods will differ depending on your ATV and seat.
2up Four-Wheelers vs. UTVs
We will briefly go over the differences between a 2up vs. an SXS and what purposes they fulfill.
The first and most obvious difference is the riding/driving experience will be drastically different from one another. An SxS is essentially a small off-road car. You get a steering wheel, pedals, and gear shifters like you would in a car. Some people may prefer this as it is familiar, and they immediately know what to do when they hop into their new side-by-side. Plus, they are generally pretty comfortable, even the sport variants.
Because of the very nature of a side by side, they are larger overall and can’t go into as many places as a quad ATV, which can mean less usage depending on where you intend to ride. They are also more expensive than an ATV and are not suitable for those looking to spend less than $10,000 on a new machine.
However, if you do have the cash to throw down, you’ll find out just how versatile and fun they can be. Sport side by side can comfortably fit two people and generally have powerful motors. In terms of social, recreational “extreme” driving, they are a blast.
If you are looking for a more practical reason to use an SxS, utility machines will be more comfortable sitting in for a prolonged time vs. sitting on a quad.
At the end of the day, there is no “better” choice overall. It entirely depends on your wants/needs and use case. A quad ATV is a unique experience, and you are getting more performance for the dollar in a smaller package that can go more places. On the flip side, a side by side is a familiar experience that offers great off-road capabilities and is more comfortable overall on longer drives for both the driver and passenger.
What Level of Engine Displacement Do You Really Need?
If you are going in with a specific budget in mind, you’ll naturally want to pick the best option for your overall needs. Many people instantly jump to how much power they can get out of their targeted price range because, after all, whether you are looking for thrills or towing, most people initially want as many horses as they can get. But do you really need a beastly 1000 cc engine?
There are a lot of factors that go into how much power you really need for an ATV. For starters, you should consider if you are a beginner or an experienced rider. You’ll hear this pretty much everywhere when it comes to ATVs, dirt bikes, and street motorcycles: beginners should start easy.
Why is this? Because the utmost most powerful ATVs are more difficult overall. It is easy to twist the throttle a little too much and get sent flying forward at a pace you did not expect, which can lead to disastrous consequences. This includes if you have experienced yourself but plan to share your ride with inexperienced people, you know.
We aren’t saying beginners should only buy the least powerful option – not at all. In fact, this isn’t a good idea IF you plan on pushing your vehicle once you get more experienced. We are just saying that someone new to riding hopping on a big 1000 cc quad isn’t the best introduction to riding. It can put you and your passenger in danger if you don’t respect the machine.
We will walk you through the different cc (cubic capacity) levels to give you an idea of what to look for based on your intended usage.
Two-seaters require more power by default than lighter ATVs since they are meant to carry 400+ pounds worth of humans plus any other cargo you are trying to haul. On the lower end of the price spectrum for two-seaters, you can expect approximately 400cc engines.
These are great for both beginners and people who are just looking to ride the trails casually. Not everyone is particularly looking for monstrous power to go fast; many folks want to unwind and enjoy the great outdoors. If this sounds like you, not only will you be saving yourself money, but you won’t have to be paranoid about throttle control as much.
These lower power two-seaters are also great for people who just need to get around and tow on a large land plot, i.e., a farm. And speaking of towing, it is worth mentioning that a bigger engine doesn’t mean it is automatically better at towing. If you are seeking this purpose out of an ATV, you will want to look at the manufacturer’s official tow capacity.
It is also important to keep in mind how much both you, your passenger, and the ATV itself weighs, however. A 400cc engine on a heavy quad with two heavy people while hauling cargo will feel lackluster if you are hoping for at least a slight amount of pep.
If you want more power, but not necessarily the fastest around, perhaps the middle of the road options are for you.
This is the range we recommend for most people, and we think this is where most people want to be in general. These quads are a little more expensive but usually stay in the range people expect to pay for a brand new two-seater ATV.
Naturally, these quads will offer more excitement overall if that is what you are after, but they can also carry more things and generally have a better tow rating to boot. If you are a new rider and wanting something you can grow into later on, we definitely recommend going for the upper end of this range; just remember to learn your machine and don’t go out of your comfort zone.
It’s also worth mentioning that more power helps when it comes to off-roading. ATV stands for all-terrain-vehicle, but not all machines are equal when it comes to their off-road capabilities. Are you looking to plow through mud and water? More engine power can seriously help when conquering harsher terrain, but this isn’t the only factor when it comes to off-road capabilities (more on that later).
If you want power and are confident you can handle it, then look no further. You are probably looking at closer to 850-1000cc in this power range, and this is going to offer you the thrills you are looking for. These powerful quads are not only fast, but they will be able to remain fast, even with 2 mid-sized adults on board.
As expected, you’ll be paying more for a powerful machine, as much as $15k if you are looking at an especially tricked out model with lots of bells and whistles. And speaking of that, that leads us into our next section.
What Features Do You Really Need?
ATVs are more than just 4 wheels, a seat, and an engine, these days. As computers are more commonly used in vehicles, many great advancements have been made to deliver a superior riding experience. What’s more, some quads offer extra storage, winches, and power steering.
Out of all the features, we will go through. We think power-steering is overall the most important for everyone.
A quality riding experience is important; after all, you might be on your quad for quite some time, and the last thing you want is to tire out from steering on treacherous terrain. This is where power-steering comes in to help. You pay a premium for it, but we think it is very much worth it.
How does power steering work? It essentially acts as a steering assistant. If the steering is electrically powered, an electric motor will assist your steering based on how much and how quickly you are turning. If the system is hydraulic, then the steering power is transferred from the engine to the steering wheel via hydraulic pressurized steering fluid.
Electric power steering or EPS provides superior fuel economy and less maintenance overall, but both systems are significantly better than not having any steering assistance at all. We highly encourage that you consider that the model of ATV you are purchasing has some form of power steering – preferably EPS. We think you’ll find the bit of extra cost is worth it in the long run – especially if you are using your quad as a work vehicle.
A winch helps those who are planning on doing extreme off-roading, and it can save you if you happen to get stuck in mud or water. ATVs are heavy, especially a 2up quad, which can weigh over 1000 pounds (454 kg) and so you are probably not pulling it out yourself once your machine has been locked in place at the mercy of mother nature.
Even if you don’t plan on plowing through knee-deep mud, a winch can still offer you peace of mind for light to moderate off-roading, but it likely isn’t going to be necessary. We can offer a safety tip to never blindly go into mud or water unless it is 100% obvious that it isn’t too deep. There have been countless people who come across a long stretch of muddy terrain and assume their quad can handle it and end up paying the price.
It is generally recommended to have a winch if your ATV is for work purposes. There are many use cases for a winch other than getting yourself out of sticky situations, such as:
- Falling a tree
- Dragging a boat to shore
- Moving wood
- Pulling fence posts
- Removing obstacles in your path
- Demolishing structures
As you can see, a winch can serve many purposes and so we recommend that you think about if there will ever be a situation where it might come in handy. It is better to have something and rarely need it than not having it at all when you do need it.
If you plan to use your ATV in a snowy climate, it might be worth it to invest in handy winter options.
A biggie is a snow plow kit. If you have ever thought to yourself that you wish you could get rid of excess snow, then an ATV + snow plow kit is an excellent way to solve your snow problems. 2up ATVs, in general, are excellent plowing machines as they are heavy and are equipped with enough power to handle the job.
We also recommend considering the quality of life improvements such as heated grips to keep you cozy. A windscreen can protect you from snow getting all over your body, leaving you soaking wet at the end of a ride or work activity.
What Tires Do You Need?
The majority of people purchasing an ATV will be fine with the all-purpose stock tires it comes with until a tire change is needed. These tires are designed for non-extreme conditions, and as the name of the vehicle itself implies, they will be able to handle all types of terrain.
But if you are going to be using your ATV in more specialized conditions such as snow and sand, you will want to think about what tires to purchase along with your quad.
Sand is a very loose terrain, and to ensure you aren’t going to be spinning your tires without going anywhere, you will need a set of sand tires. Sand tires can be recognized by their slick appearance and large, spacious treads.
If you plan on getting dirty, you will need mud tires to help you get through moderate to deep mud puddles. The grip is king when dealing with mud, and so these tires have a unique design that allows them to crawl through the slippery substance. Mud tires can also be used in the snow, making them quite versatile.
Off-road tires are essentially an upgraded version of all-purpose tires. These are great for those who want just one tire for every terrain – a jack of all trades if you will. It’s a great upgrade option for those doing a little more than what an all-purpose tire can handle.
If you’d like to learn more about this subject, we recommend checking out the video below:
What Are the Best ATV Brands?
The whole “X brand is best” is subjective but has merit if coming from a mostly unbiased perspective. In the car industry, you have brands known for their reliability and build quality and can be generally trusted not to be a maintenance nightmare. The same applies to ATV brands.
You have to ask yourself what you are looking for in a brand. Bang for buck? Top-notch build quality? The lowest prices on the market? All the bells and whistles you could ever want? It’s safe to say that you will eventually find an ATV that is calling your name, but it can take some digging and weighing your options before putting down your hard-earned money.
Below we will be going over a couple of our recommended brands and a few models that we feel will be great for most people. Keep in mind that these are recommendations that keep both power and features in mind. There are less expensive or similarly priced options that are also great, so we recommend shopping around these two companies’ websites.
If you are looking for technology, features, and power, Cam-Am is ready to show you what they can do with a utility ATV.
Suppose you are looking for a solid bang-for-buck 2up that offers a decent amount of power with very much appreciated features. The Outlander Max XT 570 is a great first choice.
Featuring a 570cc engine outputting 48 hp will offer plenty of power for most people while being friendly enough for beginner riders. It also includes bells and whistles that we feel are almost a must-have, such as dynamic power steering and a 3,500-lb winch. It even has nifty handguards, which are always a welcome addition.
Furthermore, suspension in the front and rear are independent, which offers a comfortable ride for both the rider and passenger. Can-Am lists this as a work ATV, but anyone can enjoy this quad whether you are hitting the trails with a buddy or gathering firewood.
At a respectable price-tag price-tag, you are getting almost everything you could want, although it doesn’t excel at any one thing. Sure, you can find a more powerful ATV at this price, but it probably isn’t going to be as well-equipped, which is why we think this will be an excellent machine for most people looking for a 2up ATV. Although, if you do need something more exciting, Can-Am has you covered.
One of the most notable aspects about Can-Am, in general, is that they offer the most horsepower in a 2up ATV thus far and so if that is what you are after, look no further than their 1000R models.
Essentially, the Outlander Max XT is simply a (much) more powerful variant of the XT 570 we talked about above. You can also get 650 cc and 850 cc engines, but our focus here is to showcase just how monstrous a 2up can be. Sporting a whopping 91 horsepower, the 1000R is certainly thrilling, but it also sports intelligent throttle control so you can have power when you need it and when you don’t.
It certainly is not a cheap ATV, but it is not the most expensive one you can find, either. If you don’t need all that power, there are also 650 cc and 850 cc variants.
Polaris can be seen as a direct rival to Can-Am and is just as enticing in our eyes. There aren’t many brands that sell 2up ATVs in general, so it makes choosing one a bit easier than other ATV categories. Below we will share two models that we think will cover many people’s needs for both thrills and work.
If you want value, it can certainly be found here. This 2up checks key areas that most people are looking for—power, features, and comfort. With electronic power steering, a 567 cc engine, independent front and rear suspension, and a towing capacity of 1,225-lbs ( 556 kg), this is a solid 2up all around. With a price of under $9,000, it makes for a relatively accessible purchase while not sacrificing key aspects.
Furthermore, you can add features as you desire. If you want bumpers, mirrors, windshields, handguards, and a winch, you can add it. This is a versatile ATV overall for those who just want to do recreational riding and those who need to get work done.
It wouldn’t be fair not to list one of Polaris’ models after we did it for CAN-AM. If you are determined that you want a powerful 952 cc engine that outputs 88 horsepower, this quad will certainly satisfy your off-roading needs.
Along with brute force, the touring XP 1000 also features electronic power steering, mirrors, and aluminum wheels. It’s definitely a winner in the 2up ATV landscape.
The quad is close in price to the outlander Max XT 1000R, and there is a very similar 850 cc variant that is identical minus included mirrors and aluminum wheels.
2up ATVs are excellent machines that can be used for recreation or work while taking another person along for the ride. Choosing the right make and model for your needs will be important to have the best experience possible.
To make your decision easier, key aspects that we recommend most people look for are power steering and engine size of at least 500 cc. You can also add quality of life improvements such as handguards and mirrors to make your riding experience more enjoyable. Furthermore, a winch can come in handy even if you end up using it only once or twice.
Lastly, ensure you are regularly maintaining your quad. Oil changes, changing tires, and cleaning are standard methods to keep your ATV running nicely.