Driving on a bumpy and muddy road can be a nightmare for some. But for some this bumpy ride is good enough. In fact, for the adventurers known as off-roaders, driving on no road is the best experience.
Off-roading is often described as rugged and in the wild adventure which involves driving the truck on unpaved surfaces. It is navigating the vehicle on dirt, mountainsides or desert trails. There are different terrains to drive through depending on the location. It could range from sand, gravel, snow, mud, grassland, riverbeds or any natural unpaved terrain. Some drivers enjoy the natural scenery while others love the technical challenge in moving up the unpaved surface. Off-roading can be a great pastime for depending on the type of off-roader you are.
There are variants of off-roading which include dune-bashing as it is common in the Middle Eastern countries. Other types are cross-country, rally raid, green laning or rumbling rock trials.
Off-roading is not everyone’s game but it is a specialized art. It is done in all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) which can be two-wheel or four-wheel drive. Though you can drive through the terrain in every car, it is better to ride SUVs, trucks or ATVs to handle the unpredictable bumps and hurdles. If you are taking it up as your hobby, then your compact car is not the thing to play it out.
Today’s SUVs are meant for driving on all kinds of roads but it is not just safe to drive your car on the unpaved surface. Simply going off-roading is not as simple as it sounds. The challenge can be confusing and dangerous if you are not prepared to face it. There are some basics to be kept in mind while heading into the wilderness.
There are some key systems in the vehicle that is of utmost importance.
Traction Control: Most of the latest 4WD vehicles would have some degree of traction control which could be from simple on/off to a more complex system. Traction helps in preventing the tire from slipping and ensures that the torque is shifted from the tires to the trail. It monitors the wheel spin and ensures that the tires keep on moving forward.
High and Low 4WD: High and low speed refers to the gearing of the transfer case. When in day to day routine, it is better to use high speed whereas, in the difficult terrain, it is good to use low speed.
Locking Differentials: This usually locks the turning of the left and right wheel together. In the case of on-road driving, both the tires turn in one direction with speed variance. Whereas in off-roading the computer monitors the need for more power to the tire and adjusts it accordingly.
There is also a need for a special set of equipment for taking a ride on the muddy and rocky ride. It is always essential to have a good set of tires to match the type of terrain you are going to ride onto. Body suspension plays a key role and getting a cheap kit might save some money but it might put you in danger. Bull bars can be put on the front and rear portion of the car to protect the body from the rocks and trees. The winch is what everyone should carry as a recovery option in the toughest situations. Snatch straps and tow straps are handy equipment for the recovery.
Off-road racing is one of the kinds of motorsports organized on the mud, rocky, snow or desert trails. It includes the trucks and ATVs racing from checkpoints to checkpoints. There are numerous off-road circuits and races which are organized across the world. One of the famous off-road racing is Baja 1000 (now extended to Baja 2000) organized in the deserts of Baja, California.
Forget about the fancy crossovers or luxury SUVs, check out the tough and rough trucks which are capable of riding you through the wilderness. Some of the best brands of the off-roading truck are Ford, Chevrolet, Jeep, etc.
It is based on the standard Colorado with 31-inch Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac tires which makes it much bolder and tough. It has steel bumpers and underbody skid plates. With Multimac DSSV shock technology, it makes it easy to go through the rocks and desert terrain. It is one of the few vehicles with both front and back locking differentials.
It is one of the fancy pick-up trucks with four doors and is the longest Wrangler. Wranglers are not known for towing but it is capable of towing a lot of weight. It comes with 3.6 liter V-6 and six-speed manual or 8-speed automatic transmission.
One of the highlighting features of the truck is the jump mode. Whenever the tires are off the road and in the air, automatic compression damping starts which prevents the vehicle from cranking as soon as it touches the ground. There is an additional ‘trail-control’ which is kind of a cruise for off-roading. You can focus on the steering while the vehicle moves at a constant speed. It comes with 450hp twin turbo V-6 feeding power.
For the adventurer in you and the adrenaline rush junkies, it is a great pastime with perfect knowledge of the sports. Off-roading is a mature hobby which can be fun and dangerous at the same time.