Harnessing your Rhino

Mar. 15, 2006 By Mike Martin

Within the past couple of years, the popularity of the side-by-side market has grown by leaps and bounds, creating an ever-rising demand for aftermarket products to fit these machines.   One popular model, the Yamaha Rhino, boasts versatility and reliability in a fun to drive package.   There are many upgrades and accessories available for this model, but for this segment we will be concentrating on occupant safety.   Remaining secure and comfortable inside the vehicle while in motion is definitely a desirable concept, so let’s begin there.

A great place to search for Yamaha Rhino accessories is Black Rhino Performance.   Black Rhino carries a large selection of aftermarket parts for the Yamaha Rhino including 4 and 5 point safety restraints.   These harnesses allow each occupant to individually adjust the level of restraint from four or five specific points.   With this system you will not experience the sudden shock of lock-ups common to the stock vehicle restraints.   Also available from Black Rhino is a harness bar option (with the loop end harnesses), which is a perfect idea for those who plan to keep their Rhino cages stock.

Each harness set comes separately in its own box with detailed instructions and colored photographs.   The instructions are clear and concise as they walk you through the steps of removing the stock restraint system.   Once the seats, center cowling, and rear panels are out of the way, it’s just a matter of removing the old hardware and installing the new restraints using the same existing holes.   The most difficult portion of the task that I found was removing the factory installed plastic Phillips head clips that secure the top portion of the panels behind the seats.   Even with the use of a short screwdriver, these clips seemed determined to stay in place until they were unwillingly lifted out.  

Note: Before unbolting the lap belts, take a look at the angle of the belt bracket so that you can duplicate it when installing the new belts.   This step should allow for proper belt tracking across the lower area.

Once the lap belts are bolted in place, installation of the harness bar can begin.   First you will need to remove the two bolts from the center bracket (where the headrest bars meet) just above the engine compartment.   Once those bolts are removed, you can slide the harness bar into position.   The holes at each end of the bar mate with the holes in the upper hanger brackets on the cage.   To secure each end of the harness bar to the cage, you will use the two bolts and locknuts that are left over from the lower stock belt removal.   Once the bolts are tight and secure, insert the plastic caps that came with the bar giving the install that factory look.  

To install the upper belts, simply loop each one around the bar and back through the buckle. Once the belts have been adjusted properly, the harnesses should have the ability to fit a large range of sizes from a child to an adult with a very minimal amount of adjustment.   A great feature that Black Rhino has included with this harness bar is a place to mount your whip that doesn’t interfere with the dump bed.

Once in the driver’s seat I discovered that if I tighten the lap belt first and then the upper belts, the upper section won’t have the tendency to creep up as much.   Personally, I prefer a little freedom in my belt so I can move around a little, but for those of you who like that real secure feeling, these belts will keep you glued to the seat.   The support is great, especially when I experience rough areas that in the past would have sent my body leaning forward while locking up the stock restraints.   Now, after just a couple of rides wearing the harnesses, it feels almost strange being in any vehicle that doesn’t offer that same support.  



If you’re concerned about color, don’t be, Black Rhino has the harness bars available in; black or silver, and the harnesses available in; red, blue, black, or grey, not to mention belt hooks in; red, black, and blue for securing your harnesses to the cage during cleaning and other duties.   So whether you have a completely stock ride, or you’ve spent some serious money to make it shine, one of these shades should easily fit into the color scheme of your machine.  

Due to the fact that these harnesses work so well in keeping you in your seat, I highly recommend a set of Black Rhino 3-inch round, adjustable side view mirrors for your ride.   These mirrors clamp right on your bars, and in a matter of seconds you’ll have a great view of what’s beside and behind you with just a quick glance of the eye.   Adjustment is simple, but these mirrors posses enough strength to stay put even through the roughest of terrain.

If you’ve already got your Rhino, or just thinking about getting one, go to a spot where you’ll quickly find yourself immersed in a barrage of Rhino products that will keep you coming back for more: www.BlackRhinoPerformance.com.   Whether its safety, performance, appearance, or attire, the folks at BRP have got you covered.

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