/Media/News/2014 Yamaha Viking SxS – Spec Sheet.pdf




By the staff of Dirt Wheels

   The most anticipated announcement in the off road world has been a new sport UTV from Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki or even Suzuki. We have been waiting nearly five years for one of the Japanese companies to introduce soothing capable of competing with any of the Polaris RZR’s and now the Can-Am Maverick and Arctic Cat Wild Cat’s.

    With the most recent announcement from Yamaha, it looks like big blue is concentrating more on the bottom line than the finish line. At least for now, a new pure sport UTV is not coming. What Yamaha did announce is an all new sport utility side by side that goes by the name of Viking. On the sport ATV side, the YFZ450 received some upgrade as did Yamahas flagship 4X4 the Grizzly 700.


    The Viking is all new from the ground up and will completely replace the Rhino in Yamahas line up. Instead of going directly at RZR sales, Yamaha’s new Viking will be offered to go after Polaris’ Ranger line and machines like the Honda Pioneer, Arctic Cat Prowlers and even the Kawasaki Teryx 4. You see the Maverick has a three person cockpit. Only the Arctic Cat prowler 700 HDX and the Ranger models have this feature. Yamaha uses separate bucket style seats for three across seating. Like on the Prowler 700 HDX, three point seat belts are standard on the Viking as is grab handles for all passengers. For example the Polaris Rangers use bench style seating with only a lap belt for the center passenger. It looks like Yamaha did spend a considerable amount of effort to make sure the center passenger was as comfortable as the other two.

  Power for the Viking is provided by an upgraded version of the Rhino engine. It’s a SOHC, 686cc, liquid-cooled, fuel injected mill with a new cam profile, higher compression piston and a new intake system. Yamaha also incorporated their Ultramatic CVT system that uses a centrifical clutch in the belt driven transmission for extended belt life and lower engagement speeds. Top speed will be a reported 50MPH.

 As with the previous Rhino, the new Viking features a locking front differential. Yamaha did not copy Polaris and add an unlocker for the rear axle. This is a feature we have grown to like on the Ranger models. Yamaha is offering the Viking with or without electronic power steering. That’s one feature the Rhino never had.

  As for suspension, Yamaha went for the standard, proven, dual A-arms system on all four corners. Travel numbers are only a little higher than the Rhino (7.3”) at 8.1 inches. A larger upgrade is the addition to much more aggressive Maxxis Big Horn tires. The old Rhino’s used a much milder Maxxis product in the past. An interesting note is that Yamaha went with 2-ply tires up front and 4-ply meats out back. This is smart because in our experiences, you do get more flat tires in the rear.

Important overall measurements of 122-inches in length, 61.8-inches wide will still allow the Viking to fit in the back of larger pickup trucks. The Viking is just over 74 inches tall and weighs 1342-pounds. Yamaha gave the dumping bed a 600-pound capacity and recommends towing limits out of the 2-inch receiver at 1500 pounds.

Yamaha claims those facts and figures plus other features such as a full steel bed, a stronger cooling system, high output stator will set the new Viking apart from its competitors. We will be the judge of that be putting them in a head to head test soon. Pricing for the new Viking is very reasonable starting at $11,499. Models with EPS will start at $12,499 and top out at $13,249 for the camo addition. Color choices are blue, red, green and camo.


   For 2014, the Grizzly 700 4X4 received some notable improvements. In the engine compartment, the big bear has a new camshaft and increased compression for a bit more acceleration and performance. This powerplant is still strong enough to get the chores done or have a blast on the trails. However, it’s still not going to be the weapon of choice for mud buggers or woods racers.

  Yamaha did increase the EPS assistance so owners who like larger tires will surely benefit. The tire construction did get some slight changes just as they did a couple years ago. 

    The largest change to the Grizzly comes in the suspension department. Yamaha made the A-arms 30mm wider on both sides. The shock stroke was also increased by about one inch in the front and 3/8 of an inch out back. These changes will only be made on the Grizzly 700 and will not yet trickle down to the 550 model even though in previous years it shared the exact same chassis.



   In 2014 only Yamaha and Can-Am are offering a wide track ready 450cc sport quad. Suzuki is still rebuilding their Quad Racer LT-R450 and KTM only sells their wide SX quads in Europe. Can-Am’s DS450X MX will be unchanged for 2014 while the Yamaha YFZ450R will get some improvements. Leading off that list is redesigned body work. The front nose piece is angle down more for better visibility and moved forward for more rider leg room. The side panels and rear fenders have been flattened out to accept sponsor logos better and the warning labels have been relocated for better number, graphic or logo placement. Now every YFZ450 model comes with quick release fasteners for easy bodywork removal. No other quad on the market offers that feature. A new orange color is available along with blue and the SE addition red option. The standard YFZ450R will list for $8,599 and the Special Edition model will fetch $8,949.

   Internally Yamaha gave more power and reliability to this engine by increasing the compression to from 11:1 to 11:8.1 They did this by installing a slightly longer (.25mm) connecting rod. A bigger rod bearing and new camshafts were also added. Outside, the EFI system was upgraded with a new throttle valve to give the engine a more powerful and exciting hit.

  More notably, the new YFZ450R now comes equipped with what is known as a slipper style clutch. Its function is to reduce hard engine braking which ultimately improves traction under braking. During acceleration the function holds the clutch tighter than a conventional system for less slipping. This should be a huge advance in sport quad performance. Aftermarket companies like Hinson have been marketing a similar system to top level dirt bike and quad racers for over five years with great success.

   Suspension upgrades on the 2014 YFZ450R include a slightly longer (55.6mm) front shock and slightly stiffer rear preload spring which were both no doubt the result of extensive testing with their top racers Chad Wienen, Dustin Nelson and Josh Row. Additionally, all new Maxxis tires were developed exclusively for the YFZ450R. The machine still comes with 20-inch rear tires and 21-inch tall fronts mounted on 9 and 10-inch tall aluminum wheels respectively.


  A full range of Grizzly 4×4 sizes will be offered from the compact 350 and 450 machines up to the full size 550 and 700’s (starting at $7,999 and $8,899) and dealers showrooms will be full of choices. EPS and non EPS versions of the 700, 550 and 450 (starting at $6399) will be offered as well as camo, red and blue color choices. The $5,599 Grizzly 350 4×4 is not available with the EPS feature. Yamahas 2WD grizzly 300 will be released later this year. The 350, 450 and 550 will not have any changes this year.


 As expected, the Yamaha sport line up is small this year. On a good note, the Raptor 700SE ($8,799), 700R ($8,099) and lower cost 700 ($7,699) will return and be unchanged for the new-year. The YFZ450R and YFZ450R SE are the only other sport quads offered in this early release line up. The Raptor 250, Raptor 125 and Raptor 90 will be released later in the year. Gone from the line up for now are the venerable Raptor 350 and the standard YFZ450 although you still may be able to find them in dealers for a year or so.



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