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Rhino Nation

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Good Article:

Rhino Nation

UTV's popularity came from a small, innovative off-road concept.

History is full of stories about products originally introduced for a limited audience that unexpectedly caught fire with larger markets. A prime example is when Apple I was built in the 1970s. It was intended as a gaming platform for computer nerds. Only later did the inventors—Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak—realize the impact their invention had on millions of consumers.

The story is repeated when Yamaha introduced the Rhino, a side-by-side whose instant popularity seems to have surpassed even the wildest expectations of its creators. Until the Rhino came along, UTVs emphasized utility and were intended primarily for work rather than play. Yamaha drew on its many years of off-road motorcycle and ATV expertise, infusing the new Rhino with healthy doses of sport and recreation capability and serious off-road prowess. The combination was magic and a new class of fun-to-drive, sporty compact utility vehicles was born.

The Rhino was an immediate hit and a hot commodity at Yamaha dealers, which shouldn't come as a surprise since it is the brainchild of the creative team at the Yamaha Motor Manufacturing facility in Newman, Georgia. "Every Rhino built comes out of our Georgia manufacturing plant," says Van Holmes, public relations manager for Yamaha ATV and side-by-sides. "The Rhino was conceived, created, tested and is still built in Newnan. Our facilities in Georgia are absolutely critical to the Rhino's success and development, because it's based on how we use the vehicles here in the United States. It's not only an asset for the North American market, but for Yamaha worldwide."

The original Rhino shared primary mechanical components with the muscular Grizzly 660 4x4 ATV, which is also manufactured at the plant in Newman. Powered by the Grizzly's liquid-cooled 660cc SOHC five-valve four-stroke engine featuring a V-belt "Ultramatic" transmission with high range, low range, and reverse, the 660 Rhino offered plenty of punch for off-road fun and adventures. Ultramatic maintains a constant belt tension, which delivers quick throttle response, reduces wear, and allows downhill compression braking. The fully-independent front and rear suspension with upper and lower A-arms is Grizzly inspired as well. Yamaha followed the highly successful Rhino 660 with a lower price-point and more fuel efficient 450 model in 2007 and a more powerful fuel-injected 700 FI in 2008.

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No problem, glad you like it. It was in an article from an auto newsletter that I get. Saw it this morning and thought it was interesting.

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