The Yamaha Viking is not just a new SxS model for Yamaha but an entirely fresh start...
The Rhino was plagued by rollover issues before it even reached production. During initial testing in 2002 at the Turkey Bay Off-Highway Vehicle Area in Kentucky the Rhino was coming down an average hill and at the bottom rolled onto its side. One of Yamaha's VPs was actually in the Rhino at the time and had his foot partially crushed.
But why was the Rhino prone to tipping? Well the Rhino is tall and narrow, 73 inches tall and 56.6 inches wide to be exact. Those dimensions coupled with the Rhinos ride height culminated in a higher than normal CG making it apt to tips. There were recorded instances of the Rhino tipping under low speed cornering in a flat parking lot outside a Yamaha dealer. The Rhino was responsible for 60 deaths and some serious injuries often involving amputations. Yamaha was inundated with over 800 lawsuits related to Rhino rolls.
The Rhino is dead. Long live the Viking
But what did Yamaha do to address the risks? Well for one they decided to focus on only 66% of the market, instead of trying to be the be all end all with the Rhino. Viking addresses the Rhino's dimension issues, 74.1 inches high and 61.8 inches wide. Although the Viking is taller than the Rhino its footprint it bigger thanks to a 84.1 inch wheelbase compared to the Rhinos paltry 75.2 inch base.
Other than that the Viking a Rhino are very similar beasts, using the same power plant and similar suspension set ups. As Yamahas come back machine the Viking was engineered to abolish the grim memories of the fateful Rhinos that used to roam our trails.
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