Anyone watching the NFL much knows there’s been a lot of talk about players and whether or not they were a “BEAST!” Which was definitely viewed as a good thing! Pragmatically, these are hard working, tough, determined, passionate, players. In the snowmobile world, utility sleds fill that definition of “BEAST.”
All the sled maanufacturers try to make their utility beasts bold warriors too. This year is no exception as Yamaha gives its RS Viking Professional, commonly called the VK Pro, a new winter coat of dark metallic green paint and a new black tunnel and suspension to spiff it up a bit.
That’s the uniform, but it’s the functional stuff that makes the VK one of the most popular utility sleds on the market. Yamaha does some gussying up there too, to good effect.
From a performance standpoint the two key changes are taller lugs on the super-wide track and an improved rear suspension.
The VK Pro has a monster 20- by 156-inch track for excellent deep snow flotation, but enlarges the lugs from the former 1.25 inches to 1.375 inches. This further enhances the track’s performance off trail. Those deeper lugs dig harder to propel the VK when it launches into deeper snow.
While you’re accelerating across the frozen tundra in search of your traps and such, you’ll have a more comfortable ride this season. The VK upgrades to a dual shock torsion spring system that replaces the former ProAction suspension.
Yamaha drops 40mm shocks into the new system to help this brawny beast keep from bottoming out. These shocks are an upgrade from earlier shocks. Everything else was recalibrated too, aiming to give you a more comfortable ride, plus the suspension remains articulated, which helps the sled back up more easily, and over small changes in terrain and snow depth, something a utility machine likely would need to do.
One other change for 2013 is a new wider blow-molded ski. This aids flotation in powder, so coupled with the deep lugs on the track, this season’s VK becomes an even better off-trail performer and off-trail is where this workhorse excels.
Beyond those improvements, the VK is a reliable and strong performer with a 973cc carbureted triple 4-stroke that our independent dyno tests have put at 122.6 horsepower, so a bit stronger than some other utility units. Plus it only needs regular unleaded gas and doesn’t gulp 2-stroke injection oil.
This is a heavy sled, as most utility models are, so you’re not going to set any speed records, but the throttle response is good and the engine’s torque is strong. Couple that with its dual-range transmission and it’ll pull like a stubborn mule. Dropping it into the low gear gives the VK Pro extra grunt for pulling heavy loads at moderate speeds. You can shift it into high for normal trail, lake, or field riding, plus the gearshift also gives you reverse.
From a functional standpoint, the 2013 Viking adds a handsome tubular cargo rack out back. This is something you might have considered adding as an accessory. The rack is strong and sturdy and will no doubt serve utility sledders well. Storage is a good thing on such sleds and Yamaha continues to offer a cavernous cargo area beneath the flip-up seat.
Other goodies on the Viking include a tow hitch, electric start, heated bars with increased warmth, heated grips for the rear seat passenger, a fold-forward seatback that the driver can use if not carrying a passenger, and a ginormous windshield to break the wind as you’re breaking new trails.
The VK isn’t what you buy when you’re necessarily seeking eye candy, but it’s something that’ll help you work in the field and give you a comfortable ride home from the shanty, shed or barn.
2013 Yamaha RS Viking (VK) Professional
Engine: 973cc, carbureted 4-stroke HP: 122.6* Exhaust: 3-1-2, 2 valves, rear exhaust Drives: YVXC, variable ratio, H/L/R trans. Ski Stance: 40.2 in. Front Susp.: Ind. double wishbone w/hydraulic gas cell shocks (6.3 in. travel) Rear Susp.: ProComfort w/articulated rails w /C40 HPG shocks (13.4 in. travel) Track: 20x154x 1.375 in. RipSaw Brake: 4-piston hydraulic w/lightweight vented disc Fuel Tank: 10.6 gal. Rec. Fuel: 87 octane Dry Weight: NA Price: $12,199 US / $13,799 CA PLUSES: Major grunt for towing or pulling, giant skis and track great for deep snow work, plus big storage under the seat. *AmSnow tested