5 Standout Features On The New Yamaha Viking

We spend a day riding the vehicle in northcentral Wyoming

September 2013 Powersport News By Lane Lindstrom

The new Yamaha Viking is easily one of the most anticipated side-by-sides this summer. When we were first introduced to the Viking back in late May, we were anticipating the opportunity to finally get some seat time.

That "finally" came yesterday near Ten Sleep, WY, in northcentral Wyoming. And Yamaha couldn't have picked a better place to test drive the Viking, using the spacious Red Reflet Ranch (an spectacular setting) as our base came. This place showed well the Viking's capabilities both in a ranch setting and on the trail up into the mountains.

We'll have a full report on the Viking in the near future but for now, here are five standout features on the newest side-by-side to hit the market.

1. "True" 3-Person Seating Okay, we admit, we were definitely skeptical on this one. We thought there was no way we wouldn't be squished when three grown men sat in the Viking's bucket seats. Turns out the cockpit is very spacious and you have plenty of room for all three. We tried it and found it was very comfortable sitting in the front, even with two other men in the seats next to us. Yamaha got this one right.

2. Electric Power Steering Yamaha has an excellent EPS system and a great turning radius. We were very impressed with how well the steering responded, even with the slightest turning of the steering wheel. And it especially worked well in the rocks and ruts we found on the mountain.

3. Improved Engine The horsepower isn't overwhelming or arm pulling-but it gets the job done. The power is adequate for what the vehicle is designed for-as a work side-by-side that you can also take off-roading in the backcountry. There were times when we had the Viking floored and while we weren't setting in land speed records, it got us up the mountain. Where we think it shined in the power department was when we had five bales of hay in the bed of the Viking and also had a small trailer with fencing equipment on it and were driving along the Red Reflet's ranch roads.

4. Engine Braking While we're talking about the engine, let's touch on another great feature of the Viking: engine braking. It works and it works well. We had to come down all the hills and mountains we climbed and the all-wheel engine braking-thanks to a Sprag clutch in the Ultramatic transmission-worked perfectly, slowing us down many times without having to even touch the brakes.

5. Vehicle Balance In no situation where we took the Viking-from the ranch roads to loading/working the vehicle to climbing mountain trails and going around tight, twisty trails-never did we feel like it was tippy or out-of-balance. That was true even when we had it loaded down with five bales of hay. The Viking's excellent balance gave us confidence on how the vehicle would respond in a variety of conditions.

Again, stay tuned for a full report.

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