|ONE-STOP SHOPPING FOR YOUR SIDE-BY-SIDE |
say that Yamaha’s Rhino has taken off in the ATV world is wildy
understating the case. There are now all manner of hop-up shops,
scattered all over the country, that cater to this highly popular
side-by-side off-road vehicle.
MTA, or Motorcycle Tires and
Accessories, is a huge tire and aftermarket product distributor that
has offices in both Louisiana (MTA East) and California (MTA West).
“We have been selling our wheel and tire kits for the Rhinos to various
shops for the last couple of years,” says MTA West’s Willy Musgrave.
“The majority of Rhinos sold have had customers that wanted to trick
them out. But they were not generally located in areas that had Rhino
specific hop-up shops to deal with,” claims Musgrave.
“Since we have
got so many requests to carry more Rhino products, we have put together
an assortment of accessories that every Yamaha dealer could order up
for their customers. We feel that this way, you could go to your local
Yamaha shop, order up one of our Rhino accessory kits, and have the
dealers service department bolt the stuff on for you. That way, you
would have a ready to drive, full accessorized, Rhino straight off the
showroom floor,” added Musgrave.
NOT BAD THINKING
one-stop shopping plan sounded good to us as well. We called MTA (West)
up and had them send us out one of their bolt-on accessory kits for the
Rhino. We then proceeded to bolt it onto one of our test units for
evaluation. Since we wanted to check the fit and see how everything
bolted together we installed MTA’s accessories ourselves, instead of
having our local Yamaha dealer do all the work. Here are the products
and companies that MTA uses for their Rhino hop-ups.
JStrong company is located in the American heartland, Kentucky. The
company specializes in building many unique products for the Rhino. For
our Project Rhino we had them send out one of their folding wind
shields, a set of Rhino doors, and a combination roof/cover with extra
lighting and a stereo.
stereo itself is a JVC CD changer with a CD-R/CD-RW, MP3 control, a
front AUX Input, two-line output (2.5V) with 20 Watts RMS X 4. It is
ready for iPod hook-up or a satellite radio, with two-120 Watt
They also offer several options with their
plastic Rhino roof covers, with either a top with lights only
($516.75) or a top with lights and full stereo ($1033.50). We opted for
the plastic roof top with four headlights and a deluxe stereo unit
The interior of the ABS plastic roof was designed with
stereo and speaker compartments integrated into the top. That way, it
allows you to keep your favorite high dollar accessories high, dry, and
protected. It comes complete with an easy to install, plug-n-play
wiring harness, which has its own fuse box with three extra auxilary
hook-ups. This allows for easy installation of the lights, stereo or
any other electronic component you may wish to add later.
also sent out one of their innovative folding windshields. The folding
design allows air ventilation to the cab on hot summer days. The
windshield is made from impact-resistant acrylic to prevent shattering
and potential injury. Strong informed us that it is also non-yellowing,
and non-cracking, as well as UV-resistant. The suggested retai price
(MSRP) on the windshield is $320.90.
also carries a half door set for the Yamaha Rhino that is a
“must-have” accessory. Being able to keep the driver’s and passenger’s
legs inside and protected from the elements is something every Rhino
owner should look into.
The doors are made of high impact,
paintable, ABS plastic. They are completely removable and reversible,
and appear very durable. We think the reversibility of the doors it a
good idea and it will extend the life cycle of them quite a bit. All
you have to do is flip the door and switch the hardware, to get that
brand new out-of-the-box look again. Neat.
These JStrong doors also
mount inside the Rhino’s stock roll cage, which is another added
benefit. It ensures that the width of the Rhino will remain the same,
which is a big issue for riders who ride on tight trails. The mounting
brackets and hardware are powdercoated for extreme off-road conditions.
The hinge pin, door latch and strike plate are also made of stainless
steel which will help increase the longevity of this hardware package.
MSRP on the Rhino half doors is $516.75. Note: the half doors will only
fit on the 2004-2006 Models. They do not currently fit the 2007 Rhino
at this time.
Beard Family started Beard Seats over 20 years ago. Using the
experience gained by their own off road racing, the Beards perfected
the Beard “Super Seat” and have continued to add options and
enhancements to make Beard Seats a premium, high quality, accessory
We had MTA send us a set of their Beard headrest covers
($71.91), a set of Beard Sport seats (very pricey at $395.95 each)
and, one of their black leather steering wheels ($109.95) with a billet
aluminum steering wheel adapter ($139.95).
The Beard seats are
designed as suspension-style seats, and offer one of the most
comfortable, lightweight seating options on the market. They feel more
like you’re sitting inside a comfortable hammock, instead of a hard
foam rubber seat, a la the stock Rhino seating.
Beard Seats start
with a powdercoated, steel tubular frame and have an inner liner that
is strung with military spec parachute cord. This allows the seat to
move with you and absorb energy. The inner liner is then wrapped in
high density foam and a CNC-cut cover is then sewn onto the unit.
TIRES & WHEELS
next items to get bolted onto our Project Rhino were a set of ITP Mud
Lite XTRs (27x11-14 fronts, $141.94 and 27x9-14 rears, $129.33).
These are a highly popular choice for the Rhinos, and work well and
hold up to abuse in both hard pack and muddy terrain conditions.
Orchard at OMF came up with a set of three-piece billet aluminum wheels
that were custom built for our Project machine. “These are extremely
trick wheels and you guys are getting only the second set we’ve ever
made for the Rhino,” stated Orchard. “They take an extraordinary amount
of time to custom build and we anodized them blue to complement the
blue plastic on the Rhino. We don’t expect to sell many of these units
at $429.95 a wheel, but for the Rhino driver wanting the very best
wheel on the market, this is it!” OMF also sent us one of their gravel
guard aluminum protector kits for the Rhinos which sell for a more
this phase of our Rhino Project we opted to concentrate on the look and
feel of the machine versus all-out performance. But we did want to perk
up the power somewhat for this first part of the Project story.
that end, we installed a DRD (Duback Racing Development) exhaust system
($329.95). It is an aluminum slip-on exhaust muffler with spark
arrester that meets USFS (United States Forest Service) requirements.
The spark arrestor screen can also be added or removed in minutes via
the removable endcap.
TESTING INSTEAD OF RESTING
absolutely loved the new Beard seats and headrests, the steering wheel
and our new JStrong Roof rack with stereo and lights, and the new
wheels and tires. The Beard seats offer up a sofa-like ride on the
Rhino. They go a long way to improving comfort, especially when
compared to the rock-hard, stock foam rubber seats. They are extremely
pricey, though, at $395.95 each. Then again, they look great, are
extremely durable, and provide a much improved ride, even with stock
The JStrong plastic roof does a good job of keeping
water off the driver and passenger and it was great to have access to
music on the trails, although when you wear a helmet, it is much harder
to hear, especially when driving. We think the stereo option is
designed moreto be listened to when you are stopped, versus riding. The
extra lights (four in all) mounted on top of the roof also help boost
the lighting output on the Rhino and provide better nighttime
The fold down windshield is a great idea, especially
for colder weather climite, but we would like to see them incorporate a
more secure lock down feature for the windscreen, should you opt to
ride with it in the “down” position.
Our “half-doors” opened and
closed securely and held up well. This should the rider’s legs end up
getting pushed hard against them in a high-speed turn.
wheel and tire side, the ITP Mud Lites hooked up in the hard pack
conditions we rode our Rhino in. They work well in a wide variety of
terrains and slide and turn predictably. The OMF beadlock rims got a
lot of admiring looks but only the biggest spenders can afford units of
this caliber on a limited budget. We also got a good increase in
overall usable power with our DRD exhaust system, although it was a bit
louder than stock, even with the spark arrester screens installed.
a Rhino owner wanting to accessorize his machine straight off the
dealer’s showroom floor, the MTA package is a smart move. That way you
can get your machine set up exactly how you want it. Whatever your
budget is, you will be able to start out with a Rhino that is ready to
go from the start.