Best Windshield for Your UTV: A Comprehensive Guide
Nov 6th 2023
A windshield can dramatically improve your off-roading experience, shielding you from the elements and adding an extra layer of safety. But when it comes to UTV windshields, the sheer number of options available can be overwhelming. Let's break down the choices to help you decide what type and material are right for you.
Styles of UTV Windshields
Your windshield choice should consider your regular riding environment and personal style preference. Here's a quick rundown of the main types: full, half, flip-up/tip-out, rear windshields, and complete cab enclosures.
Full windshields provide complete front coverage, protecting against dust, debris, and wind. They're ideal for cold-weather off-roading but can cause dust to swirl in from the sides and rear. This can be mitigated with a rear windshield or full cab coverage. While excellent for protection, they may not be ideal for mudding as they can obscure vision when muddy. Some models include adjustable vents to improve airflow, combating the possible overheating issues on warmer days.
Half windshields offer partial protection and airflow. They deflect most dust and wind upwards, making them suitable for terrains that accumulate material on the windshield. Their easy removal and open-air feel add to their appeal, offering a stylish option for riders.
For those seeking versatility, flip-up/tip-out windshields offer full protection when required and can be partially or entirely folded down for more airflow and unobstructed vision. However, the ease of adjustment and durability may vary.
A rear windshield cuts down on dust and debris entering the cab from behind, making them ideal for dusty, rocky, or muddy trails.
The ultimate protection comes from fully enclosed cabs. These can include soft enclosures made of meshed or plastic-paneled fabric, providing airflow with added protection. They're ideal for all-weather, all-season use.
Types of UTV Windshield Materials
Beyond style, the material used in construction plays a significant role in the windshield's performance. Mainly, there are three options: polycarbonate (“poly”), acrylic, or glass.
Polycarbonate windshields boast the highest strength and clarity. Uncoated polycarbonate is less scratch-resistant but affordable. However, a coated variant offers glass-comparable hardness and scratch-resistance, superior strength, and UV protection, although at a higher price.
Acrylic windshields offer high clarity and medium-level strength and hardness. They can polish out minor scratches and are generally less expensive, making them budget-friendly.
Glass windshields, being the hardest, resist scratches and maintain clarity over time. While pricier and potentially more prone to cracks, tempered or laminated safety glass windshields offer strength and longevity.
Adding a UTV windshield can transform your off-roading experience, offering greater protection against airborne debris and harsh weather. As you ponder your options, consider your riding habits, the conditions you typically face, and your personal preferences. Whether it's the robust polycarbonate, the clear and affordable acrylic, or the hard and resilient glass windshield, there's an option out there that will fit your needs and your budget. So, shield yourself, and take your off-roading to the next level.