It’s already a sizzlin’ summer, but Yamaha has a way to make your work and play more fun. Yamaha Motor Manufacturing Company (YMMC) has just released its 2012 line of 4X4 ATV and Side-by-Side (SxS) Rhinos and Grizzly 450, 550 and 700 models. But the news gets better: these are now being assembled in the good ol’ US of A in their 875,000-sq.-ft. manufacturing plant in Newnan, Ga. One of the largest motorsports manufacturers in the world, Yamaha is manufacturing and assembling one ATV for every 1.3 minutes of production time. That’s a lot of ATVs!
The Rhino model, originally released in 2003, became the vehicle that changed the SxS landscape forever. Winning many best-in-class awards, it is still the most reliable and versatile off-road capable SxS vehicle in the market, Yamaha claims. With a liquid-cooled 700 class, four-valve single overhead cam design engine, the Rhino can cover any type of terrain. The Ultramatic automatic transmission system features a centrifugal clutch that allows the drive belt to remain under constant tension so there is no slippage while idling. Add the On-Command 2WD/4WD system with differential lock that is switchable at the touch of a button, along with separate hand controls for the hydraulic front and rear disk brakes, and you can go where no man has gone before. 2012 colors are green, blue and camo, with a special model painted Metallic Sandstone. The special edition model also includes aluminum wheels, bed rails, LED taillights, a dome light, roof and overfenders.
The Grizzly 550/700 FI models are the No. 1 selling big bore utility ATVs on the market. The new models sport best-in-class electric power steering. Yamaha’s technology measures the speed and torque that is applied to the steering through the handlebars and impact with the front wheels. As speeds increase, the power steering function becomes less, resulting in very natural turning.
With smart engineering, moving much of the ATV’s weight to the center, the Grizzly is the lightest weight for full-featured models in the class, along with class-leading fuel mileage. Yamaha claims it has the best 4WD system in the industry with the On-Command system that mechanically locks and is always engaged: uphill, downhill, forward or reverse. These ATVs sport a very natural rider-friendly engine braking system: no buttons, switches or electronic controls.
With these 2012 Grizzly models, new gas-charged rear shocks and a five-way pre-load adjustment improves ride quality at all speeds. The new Maxxis tires provide more aggressive tread and flatter cornering.
While we can’t say that the 2012 models are a major departure from the 2011 lines, the Japanese are known worldwide for their manufacturing efficiencies due to their constant improvement processes, helping Yamaha to earn the respect of everyone in the industry for producing improved, reliable and quality ATVs. It’s this improvement process that keeps these hardworking off-road machines popular right down to the aesthetics, quality and function found in the details. Some of Yamaha’s basic improvements on the 2012 models are a fender paint job that is now textured for durable scratch resistance and extended "new look," a more accessible oil dipstick and new metal hardware added to key wear and safety areas. Colors are blue, green, camo and a special edition Metallic Sandstone with cast aluminum wheels.