The Yamaha Motor Corporation has been revving our hearts since 1955. They’ve innovated everything from motorcycles to snowmobiles to wheelchair power assist systems, but the machines most near and dear to our hearts are, of course, the quads and side-by-sides.
Two of the most popular Yamaha creations are household names for a lot of us. One is the Viking, which was introduced in 2013 as a robust and high-capacity utility-focused UTV. It boasted distinctive features, like a third seat, and wasn’t only hardworking—it was fun to drive, too.
Two years later, another new UTV sped onto the scene. The Yamaha Wolverine side-by-side (not to be confused with the Wolverine ATV that came before it) featured a long-travel suspension and fully adjustable shocks. It was intended for thrilling trail riding and rough country exploring, and boy, did it deliver.
Both models were an instant hit with laborers and off-road enthusiasts alike. But those releases were years ago, and the specs for both machines have changed a bit since then. So how are the Viking and Wolverine looking these days, and how do they compare to one another? Let’s check it out.
Let’s start off by looking at the numbers. The 2020 Viking, which starts at $11,999, is Yamaha’s first utility-focused side-by-side. It took over for the Rhino as Yamaha’s leading workhorse. It’s also their most spacious UTV, with seating for three and an extended cab six-seater model available too.
Here are the numbers:
|Engine Type||686cc liquid cooled, 4 stroke, SOHC, 4 valve|
|Transmission||Ultramatic V-belt with all-wheel engine braking|
|Suspension||Independent double wishbone|
Front and rear: 8.1” travel
|Tires||Front: AT25 x 8-12|
Rear: AT25 x 10-12
|Wet Weight||1,420 lb.|
|Bed Capacity||600 lb.|
|Towing Capacity||1,500 lb.|
Although it was designed for use on farms and job sites, the Viking holds its own on the trails, too. That’s what riders love about machines like this. The Viking really shines if you’re hauling cargo with the crew or patrolling your property, but it’s just as comfortable on leisurely treks through the woods.
Now for the Wolverine. This machine has been impressing riders since its release in 2015. Riders love how capable the Wolverine is in extreme conditions—from steep hills to tight trails to thick mud, this thing does it all. One of the newest models, the 2021 Yamaha Wolverine X2 R-SPEC 850, starts at $14,699. Also available are the X2 XT-R 850 and a couple four-seater X4 models.
Check out the specs on Yamaha’s recreation UTV:
|Engine Type||847cc parallel twin, liquid cooled, 4 stroke, DOHC, 4 valve|
|Transmission||Ultramatic V-belt with all-wheel engine braking|
|Suspension||Independent double wishbone with anti-sway bar, fully adjustable KYB piggyback shocks|
Front: 8.8” travel
Rear: 9.3” travel
|Tires||Front: AT27 x 9-12 GBC Dirt Commander|
Rear: AT27 x 11-12 GBC Dirt Commander
|Wet Weight||1,675.5 lb.|
|Bed Capacity||600 lb.|
|Towing Capacity||2,000 lb.|
There’s a reason Yamaha classifies this particular Wolverine UTV as more of a race-focused machine. An agile build makes tearing through narrow trails and around tight turns a breeze. Throw in a new and improved throttle response and well-dampened suspension and you’ve got a thrilling speed machine that can hold its own at any ride park.
Now let’s do some comparing and contrasting. What’s the difference between the Yamaha Viking and Wolverine?
Both machines are equipped with Yamaha’s Ultramatic transmission, which is designed to deliver reduced belt wear and a smooth, quiet operation. They share the same bed capacity and practically the same amount of ground clearance (11.5” vs. 11.8”—that’s close enough to be deemed the same, right?).
But for the most part, the similarities end there—as to be expected with two machines intended for totally different applications.
Let’s take a look at how they stack up when you put them head to head:
At first glance, it might look like the Wolverine takes the gold here. But numbers aren’t everything when it comes to side-by-sides. Let’s take a closer look at what makes each machine stand out.
The Wolverine might be winning in terms of power, suspension, and tire size. But don’t count the Viking out just yet! There are plenty of features that would make any rider want to invest in one.
It’s hard to walk away from the Viking, especially if you’ve ever needed a side-by-side for any type of utility application. You can’t beat such a hardworking machine that also focuses so much on rider and passenger comfort.
And just because it’s not pre-wired for Adventure Pro, doesn’t mean you can’t install the navigation system in your Viking. You’ll just need to wire it yourself.
We’ve already covered some areas where the Wolverine shines, but there are several other advantages that are worth mentioning. Here are just a few more reasons why riders love the Yamaha Wolverine.
The price tag is really the only downside we can see when looking at the Wolverine—if you’re just comparing it to the Viking, that is. But a starting price of $14,699 actually isn’t that painful if you’re pitting that up against a new RZR XP 1000 or KRX.
It’s hard to say which Yamaha side-by-side is better when they share so many industry-leading features:
Both are solid machines in terms of performance, capability, and overall ride experience. Deciding which is better depends on your application.
If you need some for the farm or jobsite, you’ve gotta go with the Viking. This thing is built for utility. The enhanced dump bed comes in clutch for hauling, and the third seat (or sixth, if you go with the extended cab) makes it easier to bring the whole crew along. The extra seating makes the Viking a great family vehicle, too.
But if your main focus is on adventure, we’re going to push you in the Wolverine’s direction. It has more power and better suspension, making rough riding easier and more fun. And it still has the tilting dump bed and plenty of power, so there’s nothing stopping it from helping you around the farm. It’s pricier, but worth it if you want a machine that really packs a punch.
We’re all about cutting loose and having fun, so if you’re forcing us to pick, we’re #TeamWolverine.
Either way, the best part of any new rig is making it your own. Make these Yamaha machines even better by adding a windshield, replacing your stock suspension, or upgrading to a set of specialized tires.
And as always, we want to know what you think! Did we forget to mention anything in this comparison? Let us know below.
A (Somewhat Brief) History of the UTV Industry
What Is a Side-by-Side?
Yamaha RMAX 1000 Review—The Wolverine Family Grows
Honda Pioneer vs. Yamaha Viking: What Our Experts Think
The GPS Rundown—All You Need to Know about Off-Road Navigation
Can you please make a viking with a 1000cc engine with turf mode, tires that Wrangell from 28-30 without lift& forward a-arms that will run tire sizes 32-35.
Im with you. Yamaha needs to make same viking with either a 850cc engine or 1000cc. We been waited for a long time. Not just you and me the but the whole world. Only negative thing about wolverines are their damn small bed where we cant even pack anything on our hunting trip.
Small bed? What are you talking about? I have the 850 Wolverine and it has a decent size bed. If you’re talking small bed, go look at a Razor.
Thats the 850 you have there. Yes 850 have a decent size bed. Have you ever have a 700 wolverine? The bed can only fit a cooler. Razor is not in the same class as wolverine though. Razor are more compare to the yamaha yxz, although razor have a damn small bed, the yamaha yxz also have a damn small bed too. Im a yama owner. Have a grizzly, wolverine 700 and a viking 700. The viking is the best by far if youre using it for hunting. Right now, im trying to get into honda products. Heard great things about them.
The only Honda I would get is the Talon and they cost too much. I would love the Yamaha R-max but they cost to much too. I had a Rhino before my Wolverine. The Wolverine is much smoother (still a little underpowered for an 850 if you ask me) but nice and quiet. I just hope it lasts as long as the Rhino.
i am a Viking owner .Yes,I love it but it needs a 1,000 power plant and turf mode .this would make this a perfect ride .
I am 76 yrs old.
And spend a lot of time on mine .
My wife likes it too.she is 75.
Please make the changes before I am too old to enjoy .
How much leg room in inches does each side by side have?
Hey, Andrew! That’s an excellent question. We are actually out of commission right now with a ice storm, so I’m not able to get these measurements for you at the moment. However, I will plan for it once I’m able to get to these machines again. We appreciate you tuning in and hanging out with us!
The 850 will last you just as long. My favorite is also the rmax but that one is 30 grand. I wouldnt get it unless if im very desperate. I like the honda poineer 1000-5 but that is expensive too. Might as well stick my viking and wolverine.
THANK YOU VERY MUCH, IM IN THE MARKET FOR AN X4 AND THIS HELPED ME WITH GETTING RID OF MY VIKING FOR THE X4 THANKS AGAIN
For ever Viking !!!!!