2004 Yamaha Rhino 660
|New For 2004,
Yamaha�s Side By Side
Rhino, What We Have All
Been Asking For!
This year�s Yamaha Dealer meeting gave us quite a surprise introducing us to the new 50cc Raptor, the 350cc Bruin, two new colors for the Grizzly (Metallic Red and Steel Blue), the long awaited new YFZ 450 and Yamaha�s biggest surprise The Rhino! The Rhino also has two simplified two-wheel drive siblings that are pretty cool but nothing can steal the show from the Rhino! This was something the dealers were excited about. They could hardly believe the news of the new YFZ 450 and then the Rhino made a grand entrance. After the introductions, we watched as dealers from every part of the North America surrounded the three decked-out Rhino units. Talk about hands on, people were sitting in the unit, looking under the hood and pulling on any attachment that wouldunravel the units many secrets! What an exciting time for Yamaha. We watched the faces of people like Mike Martinez (ATV Product Line manager), Terry Beal (ATV Press Relations) and Steve Nessl (ATV PR Manager) brightened and give a look of great accomplishment. The industry is the best it�s ever been and the dealers now have every tool needed to create a one stop sales extravaganza! Walking the floors, we noticed Robin Harfiel (Editor of Dealer News trade publication). We asked Robin his thoughts about the show. �I think Yamaha has done a great job this year and not only are they giving the consumer what they want, their giving the dealers a great product to sell!� Robin is a long time friend and he definitely has his master�s degree in the Powersports World! I�ve been an ATV journalist for eight years now and so far nothing has made a larger impact on me then the new Rhino 660 automatic 4×4! Yes, I love the Kawasaki Mule and the Polaris Ranger but this is different. The new Rhino is smaller, more of a true ATV in a sense. The others are large and able to haul hefty loads but lack the tight maneuverability that is found in the Rhino. The Rhino can still haul a respective 400lbs. but puts comfort and maneuverability over pay-load. Thinking back, I�d have to say it was ATV Television�s Doug Meyer who first planted the seed in my mind about how great it would be to put a regular or very close to regular size ATV into a side by side seating arrangement. Truthfully, I liked the idea from the first time Doug talked about how he enjoyed taking his young daughter along on rides. Don�t get me wrong. I like the Mule and the Ranger but this is different. The Rhino is a full blown-out extension of the masterful Yamaha Grizzly 660 4×4. Using the same engine, transmission, rear differential and front differential with in and out and locking four wheeldrive. Couple that with a chassis that closely resembles the Grizzly�s stance, boasting a fully independent front and rear suspension and you have a larger than life two seat ATV. Although, due to the weight issue, the unit can not be classified as a true ATV.
Yes, this could be one of Yamaha�s best pieces of the puzzle. The Rhino is powered by the same 660cc four-stroke single cylinder engine found in the Grizzly. This is the same high performance 5-valve cylinder head design also found in the 660 Raptor. The power-plant is fed through a 42mm Mikuni CV carburetor and uses a DC-CDI ignition system to ensure performance and reliability. Again, the Rhino uses the same fully automatic, ultramatic transmission with excellent engine braking. The cockpit has some of the best seating we have ever focused on and positioning gives easy access to the steering wheel. Optional, Grizzly style LCD instrument panel and automotive style console shifting handle. Shifting options include, park, reverse neutral, low and high range. That�s not all the Rhino boasts. The floor space has plenty of leg room. All you find on the floor panel is a gas and brake pedal, nothing uncomfortable. Easy access to the engine is gained by removing the center console cover. Wow, servicing has never been easier on any ATV! The handling is increased with a CAD-designed steel frame featuring strong, durable framework. The rear suspension uses a hefty sway-bar with extra attention being placed on control. Although, we have not driven the unit, features such as a rack and pinion steering, u-joint steering linkage and the low center of gravity give us the impression our expectations are going to be realistic. Don�t get the idea just because the unit is more condensed that it is not tough. A rugged steel cargo bed can be tilted to dump any load up to the 400lbs. rating. We also noticed a standard 2-inch heavy duty trailer hitch mounted low and to the rear of the vehicle. Mud protection looked good with huge front and rear fenders with inner mud guards. Let�s not forget the optional front window and roof. Ok, now we know the Rhino has all the necessary hard wear but what about ground clearance? How about 12.1 inches of rock clearing, stump crawling ground clearance! Not bad right? Now, consider full underbelly protection and all-new 25×8-12 aggressive tires front and 25×10-12 aggressive tires rear to help with that clearance. As if that�s not enough, the unit comes stock with a very tough front bumper and CV guards for extra protection.
Oh, there will be lots of little this and that�s we have forgot to mention, We will be adding more infomation as soon as we can get one of these for a test! Try imagining clawing through a deep swamp with a set of 27 inch ITP Mud-Lites on polished aluminum rims. That should set the wheels into motion!