2008 Yamaha Rhino 700 F.I. 4x4

Killer looks and safer than ever!

Nov. 23, 2007 By Ricky Sosebee

Brimstone Ride Park,Huntsville Tennessee

Hitting the trail again and again is a blast, but having your buddies follow you turn after turn using mad driving skills (and never really being able to enjoy the atmosphere) has gotten old. This is where the new Rhino 700 FI comes into play. Family and friends can share in the excitement when you bring home this new Yamaha Rhino.

The Tennessee Mountains is where Yamaha decided to introduce their newest version of the Rhino. Brimstone Park has thousands of acres of trails, and we jumped into our Rhinos and headed out on the first one. Before we talk about the ride, however, I want to get to some of the newest features of this machine.


Yamaha has revamped the Rhino and it now boasts 686cc with a host of new safety features that are sure to bring confidence in every rider. Let's cover some mechanical items first.

New Power

The Rhinos engine was boosted up a few numbers but the totally new engine has more than that to be proud of. Great strides were taken to reduce engine mass and it starts with the valve train. The fifth valve is now extinct and the four others will remain to roll on under roller rockers that also help reduce friction and bring the engine to a higher revolution. Puns intended. They lowered the crank in the engine cases and increased the weight to make an easier-to-handle power range. With these two items getting in shape the engineers at Yamaha couldn't leave the camshaft out. Off with the extra ounces! This is sure to make more power and an overall smoother engine.

Yamaha also had to deal with the vibrations, which have plagued the Rhino since it came around in 2004. So the engine has been balanced and put on Yamaha's weight loss program, but what can they do about the remaining vibrations? Mounting the engine with rubber mounts was the next step.These cleverly placed rubber mounts help reduce Rhino-to-rider vibrations.

The guys back in Newnan, Georgia decided they needed to keep riders in the Rhino longer so noise and dust control were also concerns. The air box had long been a noisy little devil and when your engine is almost directly beside you it is hard not to notice. Relocating the air box under the front hood and as high as possible reduced the noise. Also, this put the most important intake area as high as possible to reduce the amount of water or debris that might be taken into the engine. This was a great idea and making it serviceable without tools was sweeter still. I want to point out that in spite of the stigma that Manufacturers are out for blood when you take your ride to the dealer for service, Yamaha has made this 2008 Rhino 700 F.I. "shade tree mechanic" friendly. It's easier to work on and it will tell on itself like a teenage smoker if you just ask it the right sequence of questions.

With the engine all slim and trim the engineers moved to the exhaust and it's good news here also. They used stainless steel piping with rubber mounts and a spherical type matting surface to get the exhaust airtight. Do you know why they mounted the exhaust with rubber instead of just bolting it to the frame?

When the exhaust is mounted directly to the frame (or in close proximity) the engine can transfer vibrations through the exhaust and eventually to the rider. Mount the tail pipe with rubber and you get absorbing effects from the mounts and problem is solved. There is a well-engineered piece of material that is mounted to the rear of the Rhino's cab and although it looks simple, it has dust and noise control features, and is a reason to keep seated with the throttled flailing.

So now we need to get the power out of the motor and to the tranny. Yamaha has made the Ultramatic Transmission stronger with a sixth clutch shoe configuration and bigger clutch all together. There is a stronger belt, built to take the extra abuse from the new engine. When the power leaves there, it is pushed along the new stronger and larger CV joints that give the strength to the wheels. A heavy new boot protects these CV joints and a thick new CV guard mounted on the lower control arm or A-Arm. This should keep any stray articles of forestry out of the driveline.

Now that we know the basics of the driveline and power plant of this Rhino let's get a close description of the controls. The dash panel is the other great feature. Yeah, it's just another digital dash right? Well, as I said before this thing will tell on itself if you just keep asking it what's wrong. The engineers have made this digital dash so if pressed in sequence the Rhino will tell you whats wrong and help you keep your Yamaha at home to be repaired instead of at the dealer. This is a great move on Yamaha's part because saving customers money after the expense of this thing is important. The 4x4 controls are mounted in the dash and it's really simple to change this baby from 4x2 to 4x4 and into diff lock. Easy as pie.

The seats seem a little forward for my liking. The best part of this 2008 Rhino 700 is the extra miles that Yamaha has gone to in order to make the ride safer. The handholds have grown in size and there is a new one for the passenger located right next to the passenger seat. It has a comfortable motorcycle style grip on it, and a large loop strap that can give the rider a little extra to hold on to. I found this particular handle useful as we climbed (what seemed to be) Mount Everest during the test ride.

The doors are the next best thing on the new Rhino. They give all the riders a great sense of security. The doors also keep out unwanted branches and your feet in the ride when the confidence level gets a bit higher than we like. Also, if you have a Yamaha Rhino, no matter if you bought it new or used, you can take it to your dealer and Yamaha will put doors on your ride for free! Is that cool or what? These guys are striving to make their flagship side by side the safest in the business and I think they did.

Well, I guess you want to know what we think and if this beast is really all its cracked up to be? On to the ride.

We started our ride in the Brimstone ride area in the very cold early morning, and our first stop was a huge river crossing. We paced ourselves to arrive at camp in the middle of the ride area in two hours. As I settled in I felt as if I was always falling forward. Could've just been me.

The power of the Rhino is quick and responsive. At first it seemed like the RPM's got there before the reaction of the wheels but I finally realized that it was spinning a lot. The Maxxis tires just couldn't hold the ground under them with the power available. The Rhino turned on a dime and this was great but sometimes too easy. It's not like it's crazy when you bump things, but it really could at least use a steering stabilizer of some kind.

The overall opinion is that this is a great way to share the outdoors with a friend or family member. The safety features also make me like it even more. The power is mild to wild depending on your confidence and for a cool way to see new things who would want anything else? The great new color schemes and special editions will fit any level of finance and with all the OEM items available for this Rhino in Yamahas hop-up shop you can build it to your personal liking.

You can find more on this 2008 Rhino and all of Yamahas outdoor adventure atv's on www.yamahaoutdoors.com


2008 Rhino 700 FI 4X4

Engine Type - 686cc, 4-Stroke Single, Liquid Cooled w/ Fan, SOHC

Bore x Stroke - 102mm x 84mm
Compression Ratio - 9.2:1

Carburetion - Yamaha Fuel Injection (YFI), 41mm

Ignition - 32 Bit ECU

Starting System - Electric

Transmission - Yamaha Ultramatic V-Belt / H,L,N,R

Engine Braking - All Wheel

Drive Train - Yamaha On-Command push button 3-way locking differential, 2WD, 4WD, locked 4WD; Shaft

Suspension/ Front - Independent Double Wishbone, 7.3" w/ 5-way Preload Adjustment.
Suspension/ Rear - Independent Double Wishbone, 7.3" w/ 5-way Preload Adjustment.

Brakes/ Front - Dual Hydraulic Disc, Twin Piston
Brake/ Rear - Dual Hydraulic Disc, Twin Piston

Tires/ Front - AT25x8-12 NHS
Tires/ Rear - AT25x10-12 NHS

LxWxH - 113.6"x54.5"x73"

Wheel Base - 75.2"

Turning Radius - 153.5"

Ground Clearance - 12.1"

Fuel Capacity - 7.9 Gal

Dry Weight - 1124 Lbs.
Bed Capacity - 400 Lbs

Towing Capacity - 1212 Lbs

Instrumentation - Digital LCD Multi-function display. Speedo, Odo, Dual Trip, Hour, Clock, Fuel, and Gear Position

Lighting - Dual 30W Krypton Multi-reflector Headlights & Dual 21/5W Brake light

Off-Road.com Newsletter
Join our Weekly Newsletter to get the latest off-road news, reviews, events, and alerts!