For those of us geeks in the hunting and shooting sports media, the annual SHOT Show in Las Vegas is a little like Christmas. We get to see all the cool new guns and gear being unveiled for the year and get some hands-on time drooling over stuff. For those of us that dig power sports stuff, there’s usually quite a bit to wet our appetites too, and 2015 did not disappoint.
Yamaha’s new Wolverine R-Spec
Yamaha used SHOT to unveil their all-new 2016 Wolverine UTV. Not a revamped Viking (or even a refined Rhino), the Wolverine was designed from the ground up to be an entirely new machine. It fills that area of the market looking for something a little more aggressive and adventurous than the Viking models.
I was with a select group of media that went down to the Yamaha factory in Newnan, Georgia a few days before SHOT. We go to have a peek at the new machine, talk to the engineers, and take a look at the factory where the machine will be built. The factory was, as you’d expect, very impressive. While they weren’t building Wolverines just yet, we did see the process of building the Viking model from steel-frame tubing all the way through to testing and rolling off the production line. It was one of the cleanest factories I’ve ever been in, too.
If the Wolverine brand sounds familiar, it should. The company had a sporty 4×4 ATV that used that name back in the ’80s and ’90s. The new Wolverine is a whole different animal, however. It was built to fit a certain part of the power sports market—the sport-recreation segment. It’s geared toward the user looking for off-road performance and usability. Hunters and adventurous types were central to the design of the vehicle.
A key element in the design was the suspension. The new ride has 10.6 inches of wheel travel out back and 9.7 inches in the front. Yamaha used a remote-reservoir, piggyback shock, very similar to what can be found on their sport ATVs. They also looked at everything from the tire design to how much of the machine hangs out around the tires.
As a two-passenger machine, the Wolverine uses new high-back bucket seats for control and comfort. The bed doesn’t use a traditional tailgate, instead having a sliding bracket to hold your gear into the non-dumping box. Lots of accessories right from the factory let you tailor it to your needs and the aftermarket is going to have a field day with this thing.
The engine is a newer dual overhead cam, single-cylinder, 708cc four-stroke that builds on the company’s legendary torque and reliability. Add in their engine braking and proven clutching system and the Wolverine should be an absolute winner. The price will depend on whether you go with EPS and your color of choice, but it’ll be around $13,000. It comes in blue, green, and Realtree Xtra. They’ll be showing up at dealerships in April. Look for a review shortly when Yamaha lets us media goons take it through the paces.
Can-Am and Mossy Oak
SHOT Show attendees are used to seeing the lobbies filled with trucks from at least one company but this year there was something else there, too. Can-Am, the ATV division of BRP, entered into a new agreement with Mossy Oak to use the new Mossy Oak Break Up Country camo pattern on select ATVs and UTVs, namely the Outlander, Outlander L ATVs and the Commander UTV line. They had a Commander Max all decked out in the new pattern for folks to drool over in the lobby.
The new pattern looked really good on the ATVs and marks a significant partnership for Can-Am. It is currently the only ATV brand partnered with Mossy Oak and it is one of the first products available in the new pattern. They also had an Outlander L on-hand loaded in the back of a truck. Lots of people commented to the fact that they’d like to just drive the whole package on home with them (I was one of them). Besides the camo package, nothing else has changed for the ATVs. In fact, the Outlander L is the same vehicle that impressed me already.
But wait, there’s more
ATV Corp was present at Industry Day to show off their purpose-built tactical UTV, the Prowler. The basis for the machine, which is only available to government agencies, is a Can-Am UTV. ATV Corp then converts the frame into a modular design that can accommodate many uses on the battlefield. The entire roll cage folds down to allow the machine to fit into smaller helicopters for Special Forces use and it can be configured for everything from medical support to fast-attack use. It was pretty impressive.
Look for reviews and first rides on these vehicles and more in the months to come.