Making Tracks: 2021 Yamaha Wolverine RMAX2 1000 XT-R

posted on February 20, 2021

The Yamaha Motor Corporation likes to call its newest side-by-side utility vehicle the “ultimate terrain tackler.” The all-new 2021 Wolverine RMAX 1000 is built with the rock-solid “terrainability” the company loves to put into all its off-highway vehicles (OHV), and it joins the Wolverine side-by-side (SxS) family as a Standard, XT-R or Limited Edition (LE). The line of two- and four-seat SxS units is aimed at the recreational segment of the OHV market, but hunters will find plenty to like.

2021 Yamaha Wolverine RMAX2 1000 XT-R Side View

All Wolverine RMAX 1000s are built on an all-new chassis and engine, a new Yamaha Drive-Mode (D-Mode) power-delivery system, a Fox suspension and driver-centric comforts at Yamaha’s manufacturing facility in Newnan, Ga. They all are touted to deliver the high performance Yamaha is known for while also delivering next-level comfort previously unheard of in the SxS segment. Best for hunters: The RMAX2 1000 features a bed capable of hauling as much as 600 pounds.

The RMAX 1000 drivetrain features an all-new 999cc, double-overhead cam, eight-valve, parallel-twin-cylinder gasoline engine with an aggressive 8,500-rpm redline. A throaty exhaust and high-volume air intake lets you know you’ve got some power at your disposal. A new steering rack and a speed- and torque-sensing Yamaha Electric Power Steering system creates light steering effort but balanced feedback. Yamaha’s proven Ultramatic continuously variable transmission, redesigned to accommodate the power of the 999cc engine, maintains constant belt tension while idling or engaged in high-rpm and high-torque situations to deliver power to the wheels. CVT belt concerns are eliminated with a 10-year belt warranty. Yamaha’s On-Command system includes two-wheel drive, four-wheel drive with limited slip and four-wheel drive with full-differential lock.

2021 Yamaha Wolverine RMAX2 1000 XT-R Tipping Bed

Yamaha D-Mode offers three optimized power delivery settings to match operator desires with terrain to deliver just the right balance of engine braking and engine power. Trail mode provides smooth acceleration, a linear throttle response and full engine braking for a relaxed ride. Sport mode provides powerful acceleration, a quick throttle response and smooth engine braking for a fun experience. Crawl mode provides smooth acceleration, moderate throttle response and full engine braking to methodically navigate extreme technical terrain. D-Mode is found on XT-R and LE models. It integrates the Yamaha Chip Controlled Throttle drive-by-wire system adapted from the company’s high-performance YZF-R1 super-sport motorcycle. (It may be installed on Standard models).

The suspension is heavy-duty but comfort-based. Class-leading ground clearance is 13.8 inches on the RMAX2. Fox 2.0 QS3 shocks are mounted to wide-arc A-arms, creating high-quality damping and maximum ground clearance throughout all operating speeds. The easily adjustable system allows operators to tune shocks without tools to match terrain. Three positions include relaxed, trail or aggressive. (LE models are equipped with Fox’s Intelligent Quick Switch (IQS) technology allowing operators to adjust the suspension from the cockpit.)

2021 Yamaha Wolverine RMAX2 1000 XT-R Wheels

Thirty-inch tires in a “square” setup (same size/width front/rear) are found on the RMAX2. The XT-R edition we like, and the LE edition, are shod in Maxxis Carnivore radials. All tires are mounted on 14-inch aluminum wheels.

XT-R and LE models feature Yamaha Adventure Pro GPS navigation powered by Magellan. The all-weather system features a 7-inch display pre-loaded with more than 115,000 trails and waypoints, Yamaha’s Timing Mode, social sharing functionality, vehicle integration and customization and more. It’s dash-mounted and fully integrated yet lockable and removable.

The cockpit is designed to maximize comfort and minimize fatigue for all-day fun. Seats are easy to adjust and include six-position seatbelts. A rubber over-molded, tilt steering wheel, a soft-touch adjustable passenger handhold, padded knee areas and a soft center-console lid soften the blows in the cabin while off-roading. Plenty of storage is found in a sealed center console box, sealed glove box, console cubbies, driver and passenger storage shelves with rubber mats to stop items from sliding and two cup holders.

2021 Yamaha Wolverine RMAX2 1000 XT-R Interior

A roomy cargo bed behind the cockpit is a good reason to pick the RMAX2. It’s work-ready with a 600-pound rating, hydraulic piston-assist tilting and a one-hand-opening tailgate. The four-seat RMAX4 can haul something besides hunters, though, thanks to sliding rear seats that create flexible storage/passenger solutions. Both vehicles include a 2-inch receiver and tow a maximum weight of 2,000 pounds.

The 2021 Wolverine RMAX2 1000 Standard with its brand-new 999cc engine, Ultramatic CVT and advanced suspension starts at $19,799. The Wolverine RMAX2 1000 XT-R with all that plus D-Mode, Maxxis Carnivore tires and a Warn VRX 4,500-pound winch in Covert Green runs $21,999. Every Wolverine RMAX is built in America and features a 10-year drive-belt warranty and six-month limited vehicle warranty.

Technical Specifications
• Powertrain: 999cc liquid-cooled, four-stroke DOHC, 4-valve, fuel-injected gasoline engine
• Drivetrain: Ultramatic V-belt CVT w/all-wheel engine braking; On-Command 2WD, 4WD, 4WD full-diff-lock; D-Mode power delivery
• Suspension: front independent double-wishbone w/anti-sway bar, Fox QS3 piggyback shocks, 14.2" travel; rear independent double wishbone w/QS3 shocks, 16.9" travel
• Brakes: front/rear dual hydraulic disc
• Dimensions/Capacities: overall length 119.3"; wheelbase 86.7"; width 66.1"; height 77.8"; ground clearance 13.8"; wet weight 1,876.1 lbs.; bed cap. 600 lbs.; tow cap. 2,000 pounds; fuel 9.2 gals.
• MSRP: $21,999;


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