2021 YAMAHA RMAX 1000
We don’t need to remind you 2020 has been a strange year for sure. Furthermore, it’s been relatively quiet on the new-model front. Sure, there have been updates and new colors, but as for all-new machines, only Robby Gordon had been stirring that pot—until Yamaha quietly surprised us late summer with the announcement of the all-new Wolverine RMAX 1000. Wolverine is Yamaha’s recreation machine brand, and the line is growing. From the original 700cc and R-Spec to the latest 850cc model with its parallel-twin engine to the 2021 Yamaha RMAX 1000 two- and four-seaters, they go from mild to pretty wild.
WHAT’S NEW ON THE 2021 YAMAHA RMAX 1000?
Everything. This is not a bored-out Wolverine X2/X4 with bigger tires and a new body. There’s a new frame, new engine, suspension and brakes under that more-aggressive bodywork. It’s interesting to note that the bodywork measures 66.1 inches wide, but the stance, measured at the outside edge of the tire, is 64. Those fenders should block a lot of mud. Furthermore, the cockpit has new features, including a removable Yamaha Adventure Pro GPS unit, new passenger grab-handle and a repositioned pedal assembly.
WHAT POWERS THE WOLVERINE RMAX?
Yamaha built an all-new parallel-twin powerplant for this machine. It’s similar to the 850 in the X2 and X4, but with some added strength and improvements. According to Yamaha, it has a 270-degree, cross-plane crankshaft that reduces vibration. A strong, aggressive exhaust note will let you hear all 108 horsepower moving this Wolverine down the trail.
New for any Yamaha SxS will be a three-position switch on the dash called D-Mode that will allow you to choose one of three power modes, similar to the system Polaris uses on its Ranger and Sportsman XPs. For the Wolverine RMAX, it goes like this:
Trail mode: Smooth acceleration, linear throttle response and full-engine braking for a fun, relaxed ride.
Sport mode: Powerful acceleration, quick throttle response and smooth engine braking for a sportier experience on wide-open trails, dunes, and more.
Crawl mode: Smooth acceleration, moderate throttle response and full engine braking to methodically traverse technical situations, such as rock-crawling or mud sections with ease.
This feature is available on RMAX SE and XT-R editions. Base models are preset in Trail mode, and top speed for all of them is right at 70 mph.
Furthermore, Yamaha’s Speed Management System (SMS) comes on all RMAX 4 1000 models and the RMAX 2 1000 LE. SMS seamlessly limits the vehicle’s top speed to 25 mph by simply turning a removable key, making it ideal for work sites and other specialized operating conditions.
HOW ABOUT THE TRANSMISSION?
It’s a CVT setup with a 10-year belt-life warranty. Yamaha’s proven Ultramatic system features a built-in centrifugal clutch behind the primary clutch that keeps the belt engaged while stopped, reducing wear. Engagement should be as smooth as on other SxS’ Yamaha makes. As far as gearing, there are low, high and reverse modes but no turf mode. Yamaha has targeted a more aggressive owner, and turf mode cannot handle high-impact abuse. Up front, there is a locking front differential, tied into a speed-sensitive EPS system that dramatically increases steering assist at slower speeds and when the positive-locking front differential is engaged.
WHAT ABOUT THE SUSPENSION?
As with the older Wolverines, A-arms are found on all four corners. Suspension travel is impressive at 14.2 inches up front and 13.3 inches in the back for the four-seater. The two-seater gets an additional 3.6 inches of travel in the rear. The shocks are huge, 2-inch Fox QS3s or on-the-fly adjustable iQS on the LE.
The braking and wheel-hub system off the YXZ has basically been duplicated and put under the RMAX, including the larger ball joints and 4/156 wheel-bolt pattern. The two-seater gets a choice of GBC Dirt Commanders on the base model or Maxxis Carnivores on the XT-R and LE. The four-seater base also gets the GBCs and the others get Maxxis Carnage tires. The other difference is that the two-seater has four 30×10-14 inch tires, while the RMAX 4 has a narrower and shorter 29×9-14 up front and wider 29×11-14s outback.
We love the styling and versatility of the new Wolverine. From reading the specs, the machine looks like it will be a strong contender against the Polaris General and several others. The new Wolverine has the same versatile, stowaway rear seating as the older model and a huge dumping bed for lots of gear at the rear of the two-seater. Both have a 600-pound cargo rating and a 2000-pound tow rating.
The cockpit is brand new, boasting a modern interior fitted with speaker pockets in the doors and an all-new space-age looking dash. The LE model will get an SSV Works audio system as well as the Adventure Pro GPS system. That system now has a lockable spot on the dash, and, of course, the base model is pre-wired to accept a unit if you already have one or want to buy it after the fact. Extra cubby holes for smaller items and a big glove box help store more things you may wish to bring on the trail. Yamaha’s 2021 Wolverine RMAX 2 or RMAX 4 is the adventure machine we, and many of you, have been waiting for. We can’t wait to drive it.
2021 YAMAHA WOLVERINE RMAX 2 1000 & RMAX 4 1000
Engine type Liquid cooled, 4-stroke, DOHC, 4-valve
Bore x Stroke 93.0mm × 73.5mm
Compression ratio 11.2:1
Fuel delivery Yamaha Fuel Injection (YFI);
dual 48mm throttle bodies
Drive system On-Command 3-way locking differential; 2WD, 4WD, full diff-lock 4WD
Front Dual A-arms w/ Fox iQS piggyback shocks;
Rear Dual A-arms w/ Fox iQS piggyback shocks;
16.9”, 13.3” (4-seat)
Brakes .Front & rear dual hydraulic discs w/
2 piston calipers.
Front 30 x 10-14, 29 x 9-14 (4-seat)
Rear 30 x 11-14, 29 x 11-14 (4-seat)
Wheelbase 86.7”, 90.2” (4-seat)
Turning radius , 236”, 236” (4-seat)
Fuel capacity 9.2 gal.
Wet weight 1845 lb., 1903lb. (4-seat)
Bed capacity 600lb, 500lb (4-seat)
Towing capacity 2000
Color Cobalt Metallic, Armor Gray, Alpine White,
Warranty 6 months (limited factory warranty),
Yamaha 10- year belt warranty
Price RMAX 2: $19,799, $21,999 (XT-R),
$23,299 (LE); RMAX 4: $21,299,
$23,999 (XT-R), $25,299 (LE)
See UTV Action’s full test of the Rmax’s competitor, the Polaris General here: https://utvactionmag.com/polaris-general-deluxe/