Let’s Talk Stop: Why Are Most Side by Side Brakes Terrible & What To Do About It

It’s no secret that UTV’s are a ton of fun and even more fun when you go down the rabbit hole of upgrading it. Hell, that’s probably why you’re here, looking for a shop to build your side by side into the toughest, most resilient machine in your riding crew. Things like sound systems, lights, and bigger tires are some of the most common upgrades to your UTV for good reason. It makes the riding experience much more fun. But with that shiny new set of 35″ UTV tires can come with a world of unseen issues.

The most pressing issue is that running bigger tires makes it harder to stop…A lot harder to stop. We’ve all been in the scenario where you’re bombing down the trail at full speed and come across that sharp turn or the broken down rig that forces you to panic brake. And who can forget the gut wrenching feeling of not being able to stop in time due to brake fade or not having the proper stopping power to slow your machine down in time. These machines are usually designed to run a 28″-30″ UTV tire and the small caliper brakes are working hard as it is to stop that. Once the big mud terrains go on, it’s game over for stopping in a reasonable time.

UTV Brake Options For Larger UTV Tires

So we’ve established that these brakes are pretty sketchy and most of these UTV’s and side-by-side’s so what can we do about it. We’ll start with the least cost-effective option and make our way down to the most cost-effective options.

Premium UTV Brakes

First off, we can go to the extreme and install a big brake kit. These can cost thousands of dollars in parts and labor and be quite extensive but will provide the best stopping power in any situation whether it be in the desert on the trail in the mud or in the sand. They are most often used in Racing and extreme use applications where there is no room for failure. They are less common to see in the recreation category as the cost of them is very high and may require trimming and cutting to fit along with possibly upgrading to a larger wheel than the OEM provides.

Cost-effective UTV Brakes

Now let’s talk about more realistic options that most people can afford. Keeping up with maintenance and replacing your brake pads with the OEM manufactured pads are a great option and keep your machine with the same stock feeling that it was engineered with. However, these pads can be expensive when buying from a dealership and may be engineered with cost savings in mind. Upgrading to a set of aftermarket brake pads can be a really effective way of combating the poor braking on SXS’s especially when adding a bigger set of tires. Many of these aftermarket manufacturers take into account that a lot of riders add bigger tires and design their products around that. On top of that they can be cheaper and last longer than the OEM pads offered at the dealer. One great example of this is Gboost’s extreme duty brake pads. They feature an asbestos-free formula with steel material impregnated into the brake line and lining for added stopping power. They are specifically designed for oversize tires in severe duty applications; this would be a great option over an OEM product as the OEMs are not designed for larger and heavier tires.

Final thoughts on UTV Tires and Brakes?

At the end of the day, unless you’re willing to shell out big bucks on a fancy big brake kit for your build, being vigilant of brake fade and wear on your brake pads and rotors and maintaining accordingly is the best way to ensure a safe and enjoyable riding experience for you and your family. Learn more about our shop map to find UTV repair shops near you that can fix your brakes and protect your tires. You can also contact shops directly with a service request.


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