TESTED | 2011 YAMAHA VIKING | From The Vault | Tested
Equipped with a powerful 686cc engine the 2011 Yamaha Viking hit the market with a great bench seat, massive cockpit and sure-footed chassis.
Way back in 2011 we tested one of the first Yamaha Vikings and while it impressed we didn’t consider it as an essential piece of kit when ATVs were legally available. Ten years later and those ATVs are now outlawed unless fitted with a roll-over system. So jujst what were they like nearly a decade ago and have they changed that much?
The tech has changed but the basic premises hasn’t. Check out how the 2011 Viking faired in our farm challenge.
As expected this was the side-by-sides Achilles’ heel. With minimal clearance and a long wheelbase, getting over obstacles was tough. Still, it’s better than a golf buggy or a ute. We’d like to see another 200mm of ground clearance.
Chasing cattle or sheep is a daily exercise for farmers, so keeping up with them is essential.
The Viking surprised us here. Despite being long and wide, its turning circle was impressive. It could almost perform a full 360-degree without the inside rear wheel creeping forward. A surprisingly agile beast.
Chasing after livestock making a run for freedom requires quick reaction times and speed.
The Viking is faster than a golf cart but it’s certainly no turbocharged YZX1000. The 686cc is grunty and plenty big enough for the cattle farming. Compared with a modern Viking, this one wasn’t quite as smooth.
MAN’S BEST FRIEND
Space to carry working dogs is a must for most farmers with livestock.
Your best friend can either travel up front or in the tray. There’s plenty of room to fit at least six mutts in the back and it’s low enough for them to jump in. And, best of all, if they’re annoying you, you can flip the tipper tray and dump them quick smart!
UP, DOWN, UP, DOWN
Depending on where you farm, climbing hills and descending them can be difficult.
With a rollcage fitted, a wheelbase of 2135mm and a width of 1570mm, the Viking felt safer than any ATV but it felt a little scarier climbing out of short, steep gullies where an ATV would dominate, because the wheelbase is just too long. It has low-range and four-wheel-drive mode which worked excellently and crawled for pushing cattle up a road but these things are designed for cow cockies, not extreme four-wheel-driving.
The Viking runs the air filter roughly the same distance from the ground as a dirtbike. So, as a general rule of thumb, if your arse is getting wet you probably want to reverse out of whatever you’re getting into!
ON THE TOOLS
Carrying equipment will be one of the first things a farmer looks for when purchasing a farmer’s hand.
The only thing that can carry more gear than the Viking in this category behind the ute. Loads of room in the tipper tray, enough for a few 40-gallon drums sitting upright. It has a carrying capacity of 272kg.
GOING THE DISTANCE
If you work a large property, then a vehicle that can last all day without needing to be filled up is what you want. The Viking will do most of two day’s solid work without needing to refuel.