Mike Young has been a friend for about a zillion years. Back in the days of his professional MX career he was a test rider for Dirt Bike and a riding buddy. He lost the use of his legs after a crash at a Four-Stroke National about 10 years ago. But nothing holds Mike back. He transitioned to truck racing for a few years, then tried to qualify for the Ironman Triathelon in Kona. Racers are racers.
For fun riding, Mike has a a super-trick Kawasaki Teryx that I got to drive last week. A company called Mobility Specialists set up the vehicle to be driven with hand controls. It's pretty tricky for someone not used to that. There's a big lever on the left that has a twist grip (with a knob stocking out for your thumb) and a pivot so that when you press it forward, it operates the brakes. The strangest thing about it is that it's a left hand control. You need your right hand free for the gearshift. So you end up with a left-side twist grip--people obviously have to get used to much stranger things. Mike tells me that most hand controls for autos are levers rather than twist grip. The problem with a set-up like that is that the lever ends up in your laps, and if you're jumping and doing some aggressive driving, that just doesn't work well. I got used to the set up rather quickly. It's a good thing the Teryx has a CVT transmission. If I had to shift with my right hand and gas it with my left hand, that wouldn't leave much for steering.
In every other way, Mike's Teryx was a very cool UTV. He used to own a Rhino but finds the Kawasaki much better. Mike wrote down some of his thoughts on his particular set up.
"My purpose was to get a hand control that I could use that would allow me to used more than half throttle. The typical controls like I have in my car can only be pushed half way until it hits your knee. Not cool. Easy to control but you can't pin it! And it's not comfortable to have the hand control in your lap all day on a ride. So this control came about. My friend Vince Fabozzi at Mobility Specialists in Brea came up with this control using pieces from a few others out on the market and fabbed it up to work easily and cost effectively for the end user.
"To build the rest of the Teryx I got help from many other people. Companies like, Lucas Oil, ITP, Young Gun coatings, Beard Seats/speed equipment really helped. I went with Beard on the seats because I need seats that have high backs and side support. They had the best! They also built the cage and bumpers for me using the stock cage. I had to strip the cage of the old powder and re-coat at my shop. It was a hassle but it looks way nicer this way! ITP got me the coolest newest wheels and I think it looks great! It runs awesome other than I have to turn up the idle. I put Lucas oil all around it has the fuel additive, oil and brake oil. I use their stuff because from my truck racing experience it works so well.
"I was totally impressed with this unit as it's so easy to get in and out of and to drive. Compared to a Rhino it's way better. The ride is more plush. The steering is so much more controlled--with the Rhino with one hand always pulled out of your hands and you sit really low and all it feels like you're doing is bouncing all over. My Teryx was much smoother and more controllable. It’s a unit I will keep for years to come as it's a blast to ride!
"Overall there are many people that I meet at the disabled shows that have no legs, or a weak lower extremities. These people are in need of vehicles they can drive as well as people like me or David (Bailey) that are actually paralyzed. I have a friend with MS who can not push the pedals because it's so painful for him. This is the best option for him. He has driven it and loves it! So it's not just for handicapped people--it’s a cheap and easy mod that can be used by many in this world and its available now! There is a kit made from Vince at Mobility specialist that will fit the RZR, the Rhino and most other popular side by side units."
ITP- New System Six wheel tire set
930-A S. Rockefeller Ave.
Ontario , CA 91761
Phone: (909) 390-1905
Fax: (909) 605-8885
Young Gun Coatings- (Mike's company)
Mike coated all the cage and bumpers for $250.00 and put a base coat on it to keep from rusting
Beard Seats, Red Art- Cage, Bumpers and seats and steering wheel
7353 Orangewood Drive Riverside , CA 92504
Tel: (951) 729-3320
Fax: (951) 729-3321
Mobility Specialists- Brea CA, Vince Fabozzi 877-777-LIFT