Trail Test: 2011 Yamaha RS Viking Professional

Heavy pulling is part of the skillset of the 2011 Yamaha RS Viking Professional.June 15, 2010

Remember that day you stole your first piece of heavy equipment? Whether it was a Bobcat, a long-haul semi or a school bus, you likely felt a cool wave of power rush over your body as you slipped into the seat, put your hand on the oversized shift lever and realized all the possibilities of driving such a massive, capable, heavy-duty vehicle.

Such is the experience behind the handlebars of the Titanic-sized 2011 Yamaha RS Viking Professional, a brut of a sled if there ever was one. It’s powered by a thunderous 973cc four-stroke triple. It’s liquid cooled, carbureted and includes electric starting, reverse, warmers, a tall windshield, mirrors, a backrest, rear carrier rack and a tow hitch mount all as standard equipment. Not bad for $11,499, all things considered!

2011 Yamaha RS Viking Professional: Popular, Professional

Yamaha calls the RS Viking the most reliable, most popular multi-purpose sled in the world. Out in the trails and off-trail areas outside of West Yellowstone, Montana, we set out to prove or disprove this claim in the greatest of conditions — one of those late-season days where you could ride in a T-shirt if you felt like being “that guy.” It was a nice day.

Out on vacation in Montana, or a “work trip” if you want to get technical about it, we didn’t exactly have a farm or large-acre property to work with. If I was at my parents’ home in northern Wisconsin with this sled, for example, I would’ve been put to work to haul downed trees, firewood that should’ve been dealt with in the fall, breaking trails in the woods, etc.

In Montana, we had to improvise and create our own work, as it were. We immediately went off trail to see how the big Viking handled the deep stuff. Flotation wasn’t a problem at all. The wide skis and 20-inch-wide Camoplast Rip Saw track kept us moving, and we were surprised we didn’t have to test our backs by digging this beast out of a hole. It just never happened in a full afternoon of, mostly, riding off-trail.

The real test came when we decided to relocate some downed trees in an off-trail play area. With a sturdy tow strap, we attempted to move several large logs and were generally successful. In retrospect, some things shouldn’t be attempted, even in the name of good testing.

It was amazing what the 2011 Yamaha RS Viking Professional could pull with its abundant torque. We killed the engine a few times, but generally it works very hard without ever complaining. It also makes work easy, with small and large storage all over the machine, including a very large cubby under the seat).

As a utility snowmobile, the 2011 Yamaha RS Viking Professional also makes for a comfortable trail sled.
Best of all? After all that “work” the RS Viking Professional can still boogey on the trail, and got up to 75 mph without breaking a sweat. This is a great sled for backcountry riders, dedicated utilitarian users and anyone who needs a lot of muscle, but also wants the ability to cover ground quickly.

— Tom Kaiser

2011 Yamaha RS Viking Professional Hits

  • Very solid build quality
  • Nice, big windshield
  • High top speed

2011 Yamaha RS Viking Professional Misses

  • H-R-Low switch needs explanatory label
  • Not as trail-friendly as other utility trail sleds

2011 Yamaha RS Viking Professional Specifications

  • $11,499
  • Engine: Make/Name: Yamaha Genesis 120
  • Layout: 973cc, liquid-cooled, triple
  • Type: Four-stroke
  • Bore/Stroke: 79mm x 66.2mm
  • Front Suspension: Independent double wishbone; 6.7 inches of travel; KYB gas cell
  • Rear Suspension: ProAction Plus; 11.5 inches of travel; KYB HPG
  • Track: Rip Saw; 20x156x1.25 inches

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