TUBE STEEL is best known as “Mild Steel” or “Common Steel” is a lighter duty steel that bends easily. In the event of a vehicle rollover, this type of roll cage will bend easily and provide very little “bounce”.
CHROMOLY is a high carbon steel used for stronger and lighter components. It is brazable and weldable and commonly used in aircraft and solar cars. Chromoly is steel with chromium and molybdenum in the mixture. In a rollover, there will be a lot of “bounce” before it bends.
DOM STEEL (Drawn On Mandrel) is a process of electrically weldingcold drawingcompressed tubing through dies and mandrels leads to the manufacture of DOM steel tube. This process helps improve the uniformityof steel tubes, its properties and its surface finish. The high strength and yield of these tubes is attributed to the cold drawing step of its manufacturing process. You are ensured of uniformity in the thickness of its inner and outer walls, and the stable features associated with DOM tubes.
What is a Side X Side?
A Side X Side a is a small 2-person or 4 person usually 4 wheel drive vehicle, also called UTV (Utility Task Vehicle) or ROV (Recreational Off highway Vehicle). All are similar to my 2008 Yamaha Rhino used in this presentation.
Why would I modify my Side X Side?
As the enclosed pictures show, a Side X Side is not much more than a glorified golf cart. It is primarily used in for off road travel by families that wish to carry their children with them while out off-roading and barbecuing with the family. Families, off-roaders, and older people generally prefer Side X Sides because they are much slower, ride smoother, carry more people, can access very tough terrain and are generally safer to operate than other forms of off highway vehicles. However, although generally safe, the factory Side X Sides can and are made safer with some cheap to very expensive modifications. I have pictured some of these modifications that I have done on my own Side X Side and that are common modifications among off-roaders:
Picture #1 shows a stock 2008 Yamaha Rhino like mine was when new. It has a very basic tube steel roll cage made of “Tube” / “Mild” steel. There is no roll cage protecting the back of the vehicle. There are no grab bars for the passenger.
Picture #2 shows a “deluxe” model of the same 2008 Yamaha Rhino. This also comes with a factory installed roll cage made of “Tube” / “Mild” steel. This model also has no grab bars for the passenger. It does have a plastic non-reinforced roof for the front of the vehicle but not the back of the vehicle.
Picture #3 shows my non-factory modified 2008 Yamaha Rhino. As the following pictures will show, I have modified my Side X Side to be a much safer vehicle for my family to ride in. Among the many safety features I have added, notice the high quality chromoly roll cage that protects not only the front of the vehicle, but the back also. It also incorporates a steel reinforced roof and additional front “windshield” support bars.
Picture #4 shows the non-factory “windshield” supports and both passenger grab bars all made from high quality chromoly steel.
Picture #5 shows the simple ineffective and dangerous passenger grab handle that is standard with the factory Side X Sides.
Picture #6 shows the passenger must twist their back into an unnatural position to hold the factory grab handle. This position does not ensure a secure grasp of the grab handle and over bumps or emergency could potentially cause back injuries.
Picture #7 shows my non-factory passenger primary grab bar made from chromoly welded to the chomoly roll cage that when grasped with one or both hands ensures a firm grasp and keeps the back straight to reduce the risk of back injury.
Picture #8 shows my non-factory passenger secondary grab bar made again from chromoly that is welded to my non-factory chromoly roll cage. Again, grasping this bar ensures a natural straightness of the back and stronger grasp.
Picture #9 show non-factory rear passenger grab bars made of chromoly and welded to the non-factory chromoly wraparound roll cage. These are used when transporting young children in the custom child safety seats (not shown) that attach to a non-factory chromoly crossbeam bolted to the bed of the Side X Side.
Picture #10 shows the several non-factory chromoly reinforcement roof bars for the non-factory steel roof that would prevent crushing the driver and / or passengers in the unlikely event of a rollover.
Picture #11 shows my non-factory chromoly ice chest holder for storing water and food in the case of an emergency prolonged stay in the wilderness. Also shown are the non-factory spare tire and chromoly mount welded to the non-factory chromoly roll cage. Also incorporated into the non-factory spare tire mount is the custom non-factory custom bolt fastener / lug wrench in the case of needing emergency tire repairs.
Picture #12 shows the non-factory chromoly light guards that protect my non-factory HID emergency lights.
All of the above modifications are common among Side X Side owners. It would be cost prohibitive and impossible for the factory to produce modifications such as these. Each modification is generally designed by the owner for his own family riding needs. Even if the factory could sensibly price customizations such as the ones shown, there are already 100’s of thousands of Side X Sides already in existence such as mine that will be rendered illegal by AB 1595 on July 1, 2013. AB 1595 was simply not a well thought out law. It needs to be repealed and sent back to the proverbial drawing board. Why do I want to own a Side X Side?
Side X Sides provide a safe and enjoyable way for the entire family to enjoy the great outdoors in a wholesome and family fun way. As shown in the first set of pictures, there are tens of thousands of people that enjoy off roading with the family. These people include but are not limited to business owners and families. The comradery that exists among off roaders is very strong.
As picture #13 shows, literally thousands of people enjoy this wholesome family sport. These families bring much needed dollars into the communities they frequent and many sales tax dollars to the state via the purchases of motorhomes, off highway vehicles, and of course all the non-factory add ons.
Picture #14 show, many American families proudly fly our flag while out in the wilderness with their familes. These two families prefer the solitude of being away from others while many families prefer a large gathering of friends. Whichever is right for the individual families, they can find accommodations at an off road area.
Picture #15 shows a group of families that all band together (sometimes up to 40 people) and “circle the wagons” for big potluck meals and campfires that the entire family can enjoy.
Picture #16 shows a family with lots of non-factory add ons to ensure a fun and safe exploration of the open desert.
Picture #17 shows Lucas laughing up a storm after a fun ride through the mud.
Picture #18 shows Eli after a ride through the mud along with the non-factory 4 point harness, non-factory grab bars, non-factory seats, and non-factory chromoly roll cage all installed to make for a much safer vehicle.
Picture #19 shows the families gathered around the campfire after a fun day of off-roading, barbecuing, and enjoying the great outdoors.
Why would I NOT want to wear a helmet?
Wearing a helmet depends upon the riding conditions. For example: in very cold weather or when racing vehicles, it may be desirable to wear a helmet. However, in the extreme desert heat, it may also be desirable NOT to wear a helmet so as to avoid a heat stroke or worse.
With many children playing in the “pit” areas, a helmet may restrict your ability to see or hear a child approaching or behind your vehicle.
There are currently ZERO helmets on the market that are made for small children. Any doctor or motorcycle dealer will tell you that to put an oversized helmet onto a child will almost certainly cause a strain to his neck and at worse, could snap the young child’s neck.
The matter of the racing requirement mandating a helmet, a racer also is mandated to replace his helmet every two years because of stress wear to the helmet. Obviously, the typical rider or family is not going to replace their helmet every two years and IF there were such a mandate, who would enforce it and how? The California Highway Patrol (CHP) in Management Memo 08-071 (copy attached) clearly stated that “It is extremely difficult to cite mortorcyclists for wearing helmets not in compliance with FMVSS218”. Therefore:
Where and who would receive the training to determine what is or what is not a “DOT” helmet? (please see next section regarding DOT’s role of “approving” helmets)
The general public is not a professional off-road racer. The typical family out for an afternoon of quality time day with his family is not out racing his vehicle. In fact, that very argument could be made for professional race car drivers; does their mandate to wear a helmet when racing cars suggest that all people driving cars should be mandated to wear a racing helmet? Of course not.
Convertible cars, sand rails, dune buggies, and a host of other vehicles do not require a helmet, why would a Side X Side with generally not even 1/10 the power and speed of those other vehicles?
Likewise, golf carts do not and should not require drivers and passengers to wear helmets.
Who is going to be enforcing the helmet law out in the wilderness? The CHP, police, sheriff, and others do not have the manpower to do such a thing. BLM rangers are understaffed and do not have the time or resources to enforce such a law. And if they did have the time and resources to write the citations, do they have the time and resources to spend all their days in court proving their “case”? That proof may be hard to considering the following:
What is a DOT helmet?
AB 1595 mandates that as of January 1, 2013, all riders and their passengers regardless of age must wear a DOT approved helmet. There are problems with that mandated.
DOT does not approve helmets. (see attached letter from DOT).
The DOT has repeatedly refused to provide a list of approved helmets.
Court cases have already set precedent for costly court battles regarding what is legal and what it not legal. Does California not have better uses for their tax dollars than this type of court battle that they lost? (see attached letter ‘Municipal Court to Larry Pfaffly’)
AB 1595 does not specify what type of helmet is required i.e. a motorcycle helmet or a race car helmet. A Side X Side is neither a car nor a motorcycle so does a new type of helmet have to be created for Side X Sides? If so, how can one comply with a “not yet created helmet”?
The most recent study (copy enclosed) regarding the safety of helmets makes quite clear that the current standards for testing helmets are not sufficient proof to declare helmets “safe”.