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Social media has really changed the way we communicate with our viewers. Back in January we posted a press release for Yamaha’s all-new Wolverine. It was the most heavily viewed link on our Facebook page in more than a season!

Certainly, there was the usual group of outspoken haters immediately dismissing this new SxS, but outnumbering them were the genuinely intrigued off-roaders curious for more information. So here’s an overview of our first impressions after a comprehensive ride on the 2016 Yamaha Wolverine R-Spec.

Let’s first address the Wolverine’s 708cc single. What we have here is an incremental bump in power although perhaps not the 1000cc twin the Internet demanded. However, we will say this incremental bump in power is noticeable.

Our Wolverine tackled incredibly steep and slippery inclines with ease even loaded with two well-fed adult males and about 200 pounds of gear. It’s ability to accelerate out of tight corners and get a little sideways was enough to put a smile on any SxS enthusiast’s mug.

Does the Wolverine need more jam? We feel there’s always room for more horsepower and highly suspect Yamaha will tuck a bigger mill into this vehicle. However, there’s definitely a strong market for the Wolverine’s initial offering and, truthfully, there’s enough power on tap in this price range to keep you happy.

The front-end geometry of the Wolverine R-Spec along with its adjustable KYB nitrogen charged piggyback shocks put it in a premium category. Jarring hits from rocks and stumps are adequately softened and this inspires confidence in the driver and passenger.

Yamaha’s electrically assisted power steering (EPS) may just be the best in the industry. Our initial ride left us feeling this unit might just ride and handle better than its biggest competitor. Can you smell a shootout in the works?

A few other notables include the Wolverine’s phenomenal dual hydraulic disc front and rear brakes; cool, multi-combination rear bed storage options and its standard sun top.

Yamaha directly compared the Wolverine to Kawasaki’s Teryx, which is also available in a fully loaded LE version. This base Wolverine R-Spec was packaged a little light on extras as it lacked cool-looking wheels and tilt steering. We suspect we’ll see a Limited Edition Wolverine R-spec boasting some other cool features soon enough. Make no mistake, though, there’s a ton of value here right out of the crate.

We’re amped to get our press unit on the ground at DirtTrax World Headquarters for a proper evaluation on our own turf and perhaps see how it stacks up against other SxSs in our fleet.

One thing’s for sure though, Yamaha has put together a strong offering and we suspect the 2016 Wolverine R-Spec will be a big success that will lead to even bigger things for Yamaha in the future.

Mike Lester
Mike Lester
Mike Lester is Staff Photographer and Digital Content Manager for Dirt Trax TV. He is also a Contributing Editor and Guest Correspondent on the show.

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