Yamaha RMAX Sport: Best in Class?
The Japanese have a strong foothold in almost every segment of vehicles be it cars, motorcycles, trucks, or even UTVs. The UTV segment may not be as mainstream as cars and motorcycles but this hasn’t hindered the Japanese players from competing amongst themselves and against American competitors. Yamaha, being one of the top UTV makers, has consistently come up with up-to-date offerings to cater to its customer’s needs and feedback. The RMAX series, in some ways, spearheads Yamaha’s entire UTV portfolio in that it offers a variety of trims all distinct from one another both in form and function.
The newest addition to the RMAX family is the Sport model that, as the name suggests, boasts sportier specs and a tad more aggressive elements on its exterior. But, there’s much more to what meets the eye. So, without further ado, let’s get right into the details so you know exactly what RMAX’s newest family member has to offer.
Engine & Performance:
At its heart lies a 999cc, liquid-cooled, parallel-twin cylinder engine that pushes out a respectable 108 horses, an 8 hp lead from its main competitor the Polaris General XP, and slightly (4 hp to be more precise) ahead of the Honda Talon 1000. This lead from the competitors is quite apparent the moment you step your foot on the gas. As for the transmission, it is a CVT that is tucked high under the hood in order to provide ample clearance while traversing through water and mud. On the whole, the riding experience is promising, the CVT has come quite a way from the traditional lagging feedback of earlier CVTs. The riding experience feels engaging and responsive and without all the notorious elements of a typical CVT. Overall, our ride was fun, versatile, and exhilarating.
As for the drive system, it can be adjusted quite conveniently via the knob located just beside the steering. You can toggle between two-wheel-drive, four-wheel-drive, and four-wheel-drive with a differential lock within seconds. Adding more to the versatility is the digital throttle that offers the freedom for adjustment between sport, trail, and crawl mode all of which are distinctly different from one another in their feedback and working mechanism (the trail & crawl modes offer a varying degree of engine braking).
The chassis is often the most neglected part/component of any vehicle but its importance increases manifolds in the case of a UTV. Fortunately, RMAX’s 64-inch wide chassis has been designed as such to work well with riding modes and the overall driving dynamics. Ample protection has been provided on all sides, though you can always swap the front plastic skid shield with a metal plate for even better protection.
The suspension setup is just as rough and tough as the RMAX Sport’s looks. The Fox 2.0 shocks deliver an incredible 14-inch front suspension travel and almost 17-inch travel at the rear. The multi-step damping adjustment (25 low, 26 high) allows for a variety of customizations based on the payload and your desired driving dynamics.
The high-strength dual front and rear control arms perfectly integrate with the overall suspension geometry and thus allow for a ground clearance of almost 14 inches, perfect to climb through rocky terrains with ease. Not to forget the fact that the suspension has been tuned to deliver a sporty and controlled feeling out of tricky bends at higher speeds which is rather hard to come by in the UTV world. Last but not least are the 14-inch beadlock wheels that superbly accentuate the personality and characteristics of the Sport trim.
The Yamaha RMAX Sport may be rather compact in stature, but it has plenty of features to entice its prospective buyers. To begin with, the hydraulically assisted dump bed (600 lbs. capacity) is nicely tucked at the rear which can provide an additional layer of practicality. The tow hitch is capable of pulling a ton of payload even with the bed loaded to its top. The cabin too is just as well built. The seats firmly grab the occupants and the doors are sturdy. The upgraded shifter, parking lever, and interior lighting are like icing on the cake and help enhance an already joyful riding experience.
Reliability & Maintenance:
Barring a few, Japanese UTVs have traditionally been quite durable and low on maintenance. The Yamaha RMAX series has been designed for rough and tough usage, ease of access to critical components, and low maintenance cost. The air intake and the filter element are located just under the hood for ease of accessibility. The paper filter has good dust resistance and will easily last quite a while.
Despite being tested out on a chilly morning, the UTV started right up without any abnormal cranking sound. The Ultramatic CVT works with the wet clutch to optimize belt tension, which explains the outstanding 10-year belt warranty. We cannot really comment on the long term reliability as the RMAX Sport has been around us for just a while but considering Yamaha’s reliability track record, it is safe to assume that the RMAX Sport too will be your worthy partner for quite a while.
Yamaha’s RMAX Sport surprised us in many ways and suffice to say, it exceeded our expectations. The features, ride quality, and customization options all are plenty for everyone’s taste, and rest assured, the UTV has the potential to become the top contender in its segment. With the latest price of just under $26,000, the Yamaha RMAX Sport is worthy of your consideration.