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Project 2008 Yamaha Rhino 700 - Project Rhino

Part 1: We Caved. Simply Too Much Fun To Ignore.

Robin StoverPhotographer, WriterGeorge WaltonPhotographer

The recent explosion in popularity surrounding the ever-growing side-by-side industry left our staff debating about the need to provide in-depth coverage. Would the likes of these mini-wheelers peak out and fade away in a few year's time? Or would the small utilitarian terrain-pounders catch on and carve out a permanent niche? We watched anxiously as new variants from all the major manufacturers came to market. First it was John Deere, then Polaris, next came Yamaha, then Kawasaki, and even Bobcat. Today it is Honda, and we've even heard whispers of Suzuki coming out with its own version of the popular two-seat platform.

Yes, it seems these overgrown golf carts are here to stay, and we couldn't find a reason not to delve into the hot new segment. After all, most of them have two-speed transfer cases, lockers, and a whole dedicated aftermarket that rivals that of the Jeep Wrangler. Did we forget to mention the fun factor? After a little investigative work, we came to the conclusion that the '08 Yamaha Rhino 700 with fuel injection was the most appropriate side-by-side for us. With plenty of cargo capacity for work around the ranch, and enough creature comforts for a day in the desert, plus more aftermarket support than a flatfender, the newly improved Rhino was the obvious choice. So, we approached the good folks at Yamaha about securing one for a project buildup. They replied with a brand-new Forest Green standard edition. Follow along now as we start the process of transforming our new Rhino into a capable trail machine with a hard-working "get-'er-done" serious side for activities such as hunting, pit support, and prerunning.

One of the first areas we wanted to improve on our Rhino was the area of safety. While the Yamaha engineers do an adequate job from the factory with the bolt-together safety cage included with every unit, we wanted an additional margin of safety for high-speed riding. For this reason we contacted the Rhino specialists at Rigid Industries of Mesa, Arizona, about their new radiused RAD4 rollcage. As you can see from the design of the Rigid Industries radiused rollcage, a significant increase in strength can be attributed to additional tubing, gussets in key areas, and the fact that the cage is a more robust welded-together design. We also liked the fact that the radius top tubes provide additional head-to-cage clearance. The RAD4 cage also allows Rhino owners to install a rear seat in the bed if desired.

More About Rigid Industries
Rigid Industries is comprised of dedicated individuals who share a passion for desert motorsports. Rigid manufactures and sells high-quality components for all of the utility vehicles, including the Yamaha Rhino, Polaris Ranger, Polaris RZR, Arctic Cat Prowler, Honda Big Red, and Kawasaki Teryx. Rigid's products are designed in-house and are manufactured using the latest in computerized design technology. The company's product portfolio is ever-expanding and we've even seen a few of the prototype products for the Jeep crowd, which we can confidently say are going to be highly sought-after by both TJ and JK owners in the near future. Rigid manufactures exclusively in the USA and provide customers with a money-back guarantee on all items.