by Lazelle Jones - Tuesday, October 13, 2015
Starting with a clean slate, design engineers at Yamaha have developed a unit that is more compact than its bigger brother, the Viking, but nonetheless delivers what many sportsmen require. The two-seater Wolverine R-Spec is rugged, powerful and accommodates off-road enthusiasts who enjoy performance, and meets the needs of hunters who demand utility and prowess to work a food plot or set up base camp. It’s made to work in rough terrain.
The Wolverine R-Spec is built for expedition-length adventures with a 9.7-gallon gas tank and a lightweight and durable injection-molded composite, fixed-position cargo bed that can carry 300 pounds of gear. Roto-molded doors keep mud and water where it should be—on the trail. A standard composite sun-top provides protection from the elements. The tailgate can be slipped out of its rear slots and moved to slots farther forward to haul compact items without any jostling. The walls and floor of the box are fabricated from a rugged composite roto-cast material. Six steel tie-down points are anchored through the box to the steel chassis below so cargo can be secured. The Wolverine is rated to tow 1,500 pounds, plenty sufficient for cultivating a food plot. For maximum utility, a 2-inch receiver hitch accommodates a variety of towed implements.
For optimum center of gravity and balance, the 708cc single-cylinder four-stroke engine is located just slightly aft of mid-ship. The fuel-injected, four-valve, dual overhead cam engine is married (via a centrifugal clutch) to the spring-action, belt-driven, Ultramatic CVT transmission, which provides continuous belt tension for reduced belt wear. Yamaha’s On-Command four-wheel drive system features 2WD, 4WD and 4WD full differential-lock, putting control in the driver’s hand with a dash-mounted dial. Featuring high, low, reverse and neutral, the Ultramatic system with one-way sprag clutch is designed for durability and provides consistent and natural-feeling engine braking that eliminates “freewheeling” in extreme terrain. When additional traction is required, the operator can choose 4WD full differential-lock so both axles deliver torque equally to the left and right wheels, front and rear. When equipped with electronic power steering, even with 4WD differential-lock selected, rough terrain is transparent.
The chassis is tapered on the sides and bottom to minimize contact with objects on tight trails and rough terrain. An 81.3-inch wheelbase and 11.4 inches of ground clearance facilitate ease of navigation. The low hood maximizes driver visibility. Full underbody skid plates are swept up 2-plus inches on each side to maximize clearance at the wheels. Flares on the frame protect the rear wheels from obstacles.
Independent suspension fore and aft provides the kind of front and rear wheel travel required to take on backcountry challenges. Wheel travel fore and aft is 9.7 inches and 10.6 inches, respectively. Two inches of “sag” is designed into the suspension on each wheel to enhance off-road driving performance. This ensures a smoother ride when a wheel drops into, or comes back up out of, a rut. The driver will further appreciate this for it intercepts and assuages trail trauma, preventing it from being transmitted through the steering linkage, through the steering column and into the steering wheel. KYB ultra-long-stroke nitrogen gas-charged piggyback adjustable shocks (only a screwdriver is required to make adjustments) provide damping and bottoming resistance over a broad spectrum of riding styles, terrain and gross weights.
Yamaha didn’t forget about ergonomics in the cockpit. High-back bucket seats encapsulate occupants to prevent uncontrolled body movement. The driver seat is adjustable (three positions). The passenger side has a three-point adjustable dash-mounted handhold. Three-point seat belts are standard. The foot deck is textured to provide foot traction. Digital LCD instrumentation includes a speedometer, odometer, dual trip-meter, hour meter, 4WD status, transmission position, clock and fuel gauge. There also are two cup holders, two center console storage bins, a dash-mounted glove box and under-seat storage.
Gear heads will appreciate the high-volume air intake tucked below the hood, protected from the elements, and the reusable foam air filter. Coolant and engine oil drain holes are designed into the skid plates for easy maintenance. Front and rear brakes sport twin-piston (dual) hydraulic discs. The parking brake is a wet, multi-disc design. The tires are designed specifically for the Wolverine R-Spec. Standard wheels are steel.
Color choices include Steel Blue, Hunter Green, Realtree Xtra and an all-new Alpine White with aluminum wheels. Yamaha and after-market vendor accessories allow owners to tailor their units to their needs.
• Powertrain: 708cc, 4-stroke, DOHC, single-cylinder, four-valve, fuel-injected gasoline engine; Ultramatic CVT transmission; On-Command 4WD; differential lock
• Suspension: independent front/rear w/KYB ultra-long-stroke gas-charged adjustable shocks; wheel travel 9.7"/10.6" front/rear
• Brakes: twin-piston hydraulic discs
• Dimensions/Capacities: length 116.9"; width 60.6"; height 74.2"; wheelbase 81.3"; ground clearance 11.4"; fuel capacity 9.7 gals.; wet weight 1,311 lbs.; cargo capacity 300 lbs.; towing capacity 1,500 lbs.
• MSRP: $13,199 ($12,199 non-EPS)
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