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SF Blog: Testing Yamaha’s Farmer-Friendly ATV, SxS Offerings

At the end of July, I hopped on a plane and landed in humid Atlanta, Georgia, to spend some time learning about Yamaha’s most popular ATV and SxS offerings for farmers and ranchers—the Kodiak 700, the Viking, and the Viking VI.

I had a blast touring Yamaha’s manufacturing plant sporting my headset and safety goggles. It was really incredible to see each Yamaha factory worker completing their list of tasks as the machines moved along the assembly line. There were clear and thorough safety checks, people carefully applying the flashy graphics you see on special edition UTVs, and even men and women welding the frames of the future SxS vehicles. The ATV product line – made up of 155 people – can produce 420 vehicles a day.

The whole experience was mind-blowing for someone who had never toured a full-blown factory before.

Even better, though? Testing the machines.

Armed with a helmet, safety goggles, gloves, boots, jeans, and long sleeves, I was more than ready to take on the trails of the Big Red Oak Plantation on the Kodiak 700. 

I loved how the ATV handled. It felt like a workhorse and could easily manuever through the trails and over different terrain. I could've sped around the plantation all day, but my thumb got tired, and we had to switch vehicles.

Notable Kodiak Features:
  • Full banks for my feet made me feel protected from anything I was driving over and didn't restrict where my feet had to be. 
  • Feeling the automatic braking kick in when I went down hills was helpful in controlling the ATV.
  • The whole ATV was created with the idea that operators shouldn't need tools to fix it, so there are no tools required when popping off the seat or accessing the air filter.
  • Switching to 4WD is truly as easy as flipping a switch. 
  • The sit-in seat makes riding feel natural and comfortable — especially with a lower handlebar.

In all honesty, I was very curious how the Viking VI would handle steep inclines. I was pleasantly surprised when I felt secure taking on some serious hills. I can say the same for the standard Viking since the models felt almost completely the same. You could easily forget about the back row of seats on the VI if riding alone. 

Notable Viking VI Features:
  • Three-point seatbelts will make you feel as though you're in an SUV.
  • Bucket seats (rather than a bench) allow each passenger to have their own space.
  • The cargo bed can hold a full pallet.
  • Speed. I got the Viking up to 41 mph and it felt safe and smooth, but the vehicle can manage up to 50 mph on flat ground. 
  • A smooth undercarriage makes it easy to manuever over rough terrain without snagging or getting stuck.

All in all, I was happy that each Yamaha offering was vibration-free whether flying across the plantation or sitting still with the engine running. The Kodiak still felt hot to ride, but overall I was comfortable all afternoon. Can't wait to hop on another ATV or SxS soon!

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