Comfort is required By the staff of Dirt Wheels
Imagine you are settling your UTV into a hard left-hander, the rear wheels chewing through tacky dirt as you depress the throttle for more power, sending the machine into a controlled pitch. All of a sudden the outside rear tire grabs a rut, and instead of staying in control, your body slides across the stock seat, the stock seat belt allows your upper body to lean, and your grip on the wheel is compromised. Instead of viewing the corner’s exit, you are seeing sky, dirt and sky again as your expensive ride rolls.
We got a tour of the Simpson factory, learned how they create their Vortex UTV seats and took a set home for our latest UTV project. They sent us away with a set of H-style 5-point harnesses, and we put them to the test in the roughest terrain the Southern California deserts could provide.
Simpson starts their seat-building process with a tube-style frame. They then use three different foam materials for the padding of the Vortex. Once the cushioning is installed, the seat cover is stitched together. You can get your seats in custom color options starting at $529.95 a seat, or Simpson provides some stock choices as well for a starting price of $479.95 each. Finally, they cover the seat and utilize multiple bonding processes to secure it all together.
The Vortex is designed with a lower cutaway bolster, so ingress and egress from the seat is easy. The cutouts also allow harness systems to secure your lap better if you have a thin build. You can choose the Vortex in three options: standard, wide body, which is 2 inches wider, and short cushion that provides a shorter cushion front to back. The seat cushion is removable to ease cleaning. Simpson offers the ability to install seat heaters and an adjustable lumbar support that utilizes a rubber hand-pumped balloon to adjust. You will have to purchase seat mounts for the specific machine you own, but the Vortex is designed to keep the stock seat height and work with the stock seat-slider system.
HOLD ON TIGHT
We paired the Vortex seats with Simpson Race Products’ 3-inch-wide Off-Road Recreational 5-point harnesses. They utilize a latch and link or D3 closure system, and can be ordered with padding on the shoulder straps for comfort. The belts are easy to adjust and start at $109.95 per seat.
Each test driver instantly felt more contained in the Simpson setup in comparison to a stock Polaris RZR XP Turbo S Velocity. The seats felt more immersive and minimized unwanted body movement. The padding is comfortable and well-cushioned. The only downside we found was that the seats felt like they took away some cab space for the tallest drivers. Simpson’s harness setup was a vast improvement over the automotive-style lap belt that the stock machine once had. Drivers felt much safer, more contained, and could focus on feeling the machine and going faster. Go to www.simpson raceproducts.com or call (800) 654-7223 to order yourself a set of Vortex seats and harnesses.