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 2008 Yamaha Wolverine 450

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Joined : 2008-01-15
Posts : 10981
Age : 54
Location : Knoxville, TN

PostSubject: 2008 Yamaha Wolverine 450   Tue Oct 28, 2008 10:36 pm

2008 Yamaha Wolverine 450

Posted: Oct 27th 2008 (Monday)Story: Don McNeilly

2008 Yamaha Wolverine 450 4X4 Review

The Wolverine 450 is a blast to ride with its sport tuned suspension.

With all the big bore ATVs getting the press, we thought it would be a good idea to take a look at a mid-size sport four wheel drive machine. Our choice was a Yamaha 450 Wolverine 4 wheel drive quad. Yamaha has always been known for making excellent quality products that are very durable. One of the things we always enjoy is finding a machine that makes riders smile for days after the ride. This machine is a perfect way to bridge the gap of a sport machine that has the capabilities of a 4 wheel drive ATV. It is perfect for some who wants to be able to ride at the dunes one week and on the more technical 4 wheel drive trails the next.
The Wolverine 450 comes with a fully automatic transmission. It’s a relatively lightweight quad with a sport-tuned adjustable suspension. With its Raptor-inspired styling, we couldn’t wait to take this baby out for a test ride. Before hitting the trails, though, let’s take a look at the layout of the Wolverine 450 to familiarize ourselves with this great-looking machine.

The Yamaha Wolverine 450 has Raptor inspired styling along with 4 wheel drive.
Engine and Transmission

The Wolverine is powered by a 421cc, liquid-cooled, single-overhead-cam, four-stroke, single-cylinder engine. It’s fed by a semi-oval slide 33mm BRS Mikuni carburetor for optimal throttle response, and its ignition is a high-output DC-CDI. The vehicle also has an automatic cam chain tensioner to help reduce maintenance requirements. To keep the engine cool, Yamaha uses a large-capacity aluminum radiator to provide maximum cooling. It’s tucked high into the frame to provide excellent protection.
The automatic transmission utilizes Yamaha’s On-Command gear selector system. It’s as simple as pushing a button on the right handlebar to go from 2WD to 4WD. We found this to be very easy to do; however, we would prefer to have integrated the full locking front differential lever on the 4WD system. The constantly variable transmission is designed to always have the rider in the proper gear, and Yamaha built in a constant belt-tensioning system to provide excellent downhill engine braking.

The type of terrain where a locker is needed.
Chassis and Suspension

Utilizing a lightweight, high-tensile steel frame, Yamaha combined an independent double-wishbone front suspension with five-way preload shocks as well as a five-way adjustable single rear shock--resulting in 6.3 inches of travel in the front and 7.1 inches in the rear. For stopping power, there are dual hydraulic disc front and a hydraulic disc in the rear. Underneath is a full plastic skid plate to protect the underbelly—helping with sliding over logs and rocks.
As we walk around the machine we notice there’s a shift lever on the left where the range selector lets you select forward, neutral or reverse. There’s a digital dash meter that lets you see what range you’re in as well as speed and a trip indicator. There are levers on the left that control the rear brake and on the right that control the front. There’s also a rear brake pedal on the right floorboard. To shift the ATV from one range to the other, you’ll need to have a brake applied for safety measures.
As we sit on the quad everything seems to fit very well, even for our larger test rider. The floorboards are flat so it’s easy to move around as needed.

Even large logs couldn’t stop the Wolverine.
Test Ride

For testing, we headed for the mountains in northern Arizona between Sedona and Flagstaff, at an elevation of between 7200 and 7800 feet. Despite the higher elevation and the machine being carbureted, we had no starting or power-loss problems. As we headed down the wooded, twisty trail we encountered the first of several fallen logs. A push of the four-wheel-drive button and we climbed over the logs with ease. We actually started to look forward to fallen trees along the trail just for the fun of climbing over them. The Wolverine went up and over with very few problems. Some of the logs were quite large, so the quad would get high-centered if you didn’t hit it just right. The key to avoiding that is to get the front tires over the log but being very careful not to hit the throttle too much, because when the rear wheels hit the log you’ll get pitched forward and could well wind up going over the bars. As much fun as it is climbing them, it’s recommended that you actually go around fallen logs if possible.
Some of the forest trails were smooth and twisty, which made you really appreciate the Wolverine’s fully automatic transmission. With the solid rear axle, it was a blast to slide around the corners. The shaft drive made the power output very smooth and predictable. There was more than enough power to pitch the quad sideways in the corners, and the Maxxis tires would dig hard for traction. Their wide, flat surface gave you stability during power slides.

When we first saw this boulder section of trail we thought there was no way this machine would make it through, but the Wolverine surprised us with its 4 wheel drive capabilities.
In the air.

We came across a trail that crossed a small creek. There was no water in it at this time of year, but it was still a good-sized ditch, making it a perfect place to see how the Wolverine balanced while getting air. There wasn’t much of a drop as you entered the ditch, but coming out the other side would launch you skyward. After a few runs to check out how the machine handled the jump, we went for some air. The balance felt perfect. The machine was very level in the air and didn’t nose-dive at all. Even though we were getting quite a bit of air, we never bottomed out the Wolverine or even felt out of balance--another test passed with flying colors.

The digital display was easy to read.
Climbing hills.

Next we went to an area where there are some hill climbs. This area is very loose terrain, somewhat rocky (though the rocks are small) and quite rutted. It was a great place to test the four-wheel-drive traction and power of the Wolverine 450. The result was summed up best by my test rider Art Nichols, he had attacked the hills more than 15 times: “It doesn’t matter how fast or slow I hit the hills. If I need more power all I have to do is hit the throttle. This quad always seems to be in the perfect range.” I have to agree. The back shifting on this machine is superb. We also tested the engine braking on the steep hills and found it to be excellent. The Maxxis tires always did a great job of hooking up no matter what kind of terrain we were in. They’re a great fit for this quad.

The Wolverine handled even this rocky section of the trail with ease.
Rock crawling.

Our last test for the day would be a section of trail strewn with large boulders. Although the Wolverine isn’t really a utility quad, it does (as previously noted) have a limited-slip four-wheel-drive system. Looking at this section of the trail, I frankly didn’t think this machine would do very well because of the large rocks strewn about. As it turned out, though, I was surprised at this quad’s ability to climb up and over almost everything we went at. The lighter weight really made a big difference when it came to clawing our way over some of the bigger obstacles. There were a couple of times where the limited-slip just wouldn’t get traction, but as long as you kept your momentum going and didn’t stop, it would keep right on climbing. If this quad had a locker, like the Grizzly, it would be tough to stop. Even though we like the idea of a full locker we really only found a couple of extreme places where we would have needed it. This Wolverine is one tough cookie!


Both my test rider and I really enjoyed this sporty four-wheel-drive machine. It has plenty of power and handles extremely well. The powerband seemed just right. If you were climbing hills, the transmission always kept you in the proper range. The machine’s lighter weight meant that you could easily throw it around and power-slide with it. This is a great crossover quad. It is very sporty, stylish and didn’t flinch no matter what kind of terrain we took it through. The more we drove it, the better we liked it. We rode it over a period of several days, and the only problem it caused was an ongoing battle between me and my test rider over who was going to ride it and for how long.

Test one out for yourself. You won’t be disappointed. This is an outstanding machine.
Specifications - 2008 Yamaha Wolverine 450 4x4

  • Engine Type-- 421cc liquid-cooled 4-stroke; SOHC, 2 valves
  • Bore x Stroke-- 84.5mm x 75.0mm
  • Compression Ratio-- 10:1
  • Carburetion-- Mikuni 33mm BSR
  • Ignition-- DC – CDI
  • Starting System-- Electric
  • Transmission-- Yamaha Ultramatic® V-Belt / F,N,R
  • Engine Braking-- Front & Rear Wheel
  • Drive Train-- Yamaha On-Command pushbutton 2WD, 4WD ; Shaft
  • Suspension/Front-- Independent double wishbone; 5-way preload-adjustable shocks, 6.3-in travel
  • Suspension/Rear-- Swingarm; 5-way preload-adjustable, 7.1-in travel
  • Brakes/Front-- Dual hydraulic disc
  • Brakes/Rear-- Hydraulic Disc
  • Tires/Front-- AT23 x 8-12 Radial
  • Tires/Rear-- AT23 x 10-12 Radial
  • L x W x H-- 77.9 x 41.9 x 43.1 in
  • Seat Height-- 33.1 in
  • Wheelbase-- 48.5 in
  • Turning Radius-- 118”
  • Ground Clearance-- 8.7 in
  • Fuel Capacity-- 3.8 gal
  • Dry Weight-- 516 lb
  • Towing Capacity-- 1,102 lb with optional hitch
  • Instrumentation-- Digital speedometer, odometer
  • Lighting-- Dual 30W Krypton multi-reflector headlights & 21/5W brakelight

    $5,499 (Blue)
    $5,999 (Gray/Red)
    $6,249 (Special Edition Black w/Red Accents)

2010 Ranger XP 800
PP Windshield F&B, EMP EXT Bumper, Warn 40XT, Kobalt Box, Backwoods Armor 2" Lift/Arched Forward A-Arms, ProArmor Doors, DJ Fab Heat Shield, KFI Front Hitch, UTV Tech Mud Guard & Grill Insert, Crow 4-point Harness, Hi Lift Jack, 27" Horns, SS108's, Garmin 76csx, IPOD 80GB w/Otter Box, ATV Trail Tunes Sounds, Dual Battery Setup,  2-way Radio, PWM Built Spare Tire/Gas Carrier, Diamond Back Top & Floor Mats, HID's, FlexSteel Seats

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