FIRST LOOK: Yamaha Wolverine R-Spec 700

Yamaha revolutionized the UTV world with the release of the Rhino in 2004. Off-roaders raved over the machine and instantly began upgrading parts on it to help it perform better. Once companies like Polaris caught on to what Yamaha Rhino owners were up to, they began improving their Ranger to try and outperform the Rhino. Eventually, their answer was the Polaris RZR, which took over the sport market. Instead of following Polaris’ footsteps, Yamaha went in the direction of the Viking. It is a trail-worthy machine but has the feel of a utility workhorse. Finally, Yamaha is seeking to take back their spot in the sport UTV market with the release of the 2016 708cc Wolverine R-Spec. Originally, the name Wolverine was badged onto a sport 4×4 ATV that Yamaha produced and has now resurfaced on their newest UTV.

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TACKLING ROUGH TERRAIN
Yamaha built the Wolverine UTV for off-roaders who want to ride through tough trails and terrain in comfort. It is compact, and unlike the Viking it has seating for only two. In the handling department, the R-Spec comes with Electronic Power Steering (EPS), or a non-EPS model is also available. One thing that impresses us right away is the KYB reservoir shocks on all four corners. Travel is 9.7 inches in the front and 10.6 in the rear, and you can adjust the high- and low-speed compression damping, rebound damping and spring preload. With an 81.3-inch wheelbase, a 61-inch track width and ground clearance of 11.4 inches, the Wolverine seems like it will be able to tackle tight and rough terrain well. With a twist of the dash-mounted selector switch, you can choose between 2WD, 4WD and 4WD with diff-lock for needed traction. The Maxxis Bighorn 2.0 tires assist in that department and are sized 26×8-12 in the front and 26×10-12 in the rear. In the brake department, the Wolverine R-Spec has hydraulic disc brakes on all four corners.

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WHAT ABOUT THE POWER?
The Wolverine R-Spec comes with an all-new, 708cc, double-overhead- cam, fuel-injected, four-valve engine that can pull up to 1500 pounds. Yamaha says that its power delivery is optimized for technical terrain and extreme off-loading, which we cannot wait to put to the test here at Dirt Wheels. The Wolverine includes a decently sized 9.7-gallon fuel tank for longer rides. To go along with the engine, Yamaha fitted their Ultramatic automatic CVT transmission into the Wolverine. The centrifugal clutch has a cooling fan integrated into it to keep the belt cool and keep its tension. They claim it will eliminate potential slipping of the belt while engaged or at idle and reduce belt wear. The transmission has a one-way sprag clutch in it that is boasted to provide a strong and natural-feeling engine braking without free-wheeling.

A new air-induction system helps produce less emissions. The R-Spec features a high-volume air intake that is elevated to keep the dirt and mud out. An oversized, reusable, dual-foam filter is located under the removable center console, which makes cleaning it simple.

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FINISH IT OFF
The Wolverine comes with multiple storage options. A fixed bed that can hold up to 300 pounds sits in the rear, a center console with different storage options rests between the seats, and it even comes with cup holders. Three-point seat belts secure the riders to their seats, and the passenger side has an adjustable dash hand-hold. Dirt Wheels has been waiting quite a while to see Yamaha introduce a sportier UTV. Stayed tuned for a full test on this machine, possibly in the next issue. For a starting price of $12,199 for the non-EPS version and $13,199 for EPS, we already have a good feeling about this machine. You should see the Wolverine on showroom floors this month, so head to your local Yamaha dealer and check it out!

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2016 YAMAHA WOLVERINE R-SPEC
Engine….708cc, DOHC, liquid-cooled
4-stroke, single cylinder
Transmission……….Automatic CVT w/
high, low and reverse
Bore x stroke…………….103mm x 85mm
Fuel system…………………………………..EFI
Fuel capacity…………………………9.7 gal
Starting system……………………..Electric
Final drive………………………………..Shaft
Suspension/wheel travel:
Front………………….Double A-arm/9.7”
Rear………………..Double A-arm/10.6”
Tires:
Front…………………………………….26×8-12
Rear…………………………………..26×10-12
Brakes:
Front…………………………Hydraulic disc
Rear…………………………Hydraulic disc
Wheelbase…………………………………81.3”
Length/width/height.116.9”/60.6”/74.2”
Ground clearance…………………..11.4 in
Total rack capacity………………….300 lb
Towing capacity……………………1,500 lb
Curb weight………………………….1,299 lb
Colors………………..Blue, Hunter Green,
Realtree Xtra Camo
Price…………………….Starting at $12,199

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