Yamaha brought a truck load of their sport ATVs to Glamis, and I was determined to ride them all. After a great day on the awesome Raptor 700, I really didn’t want to give up the easy riding dune monster, but I thought I should get in some quality time with YFZ 450R as well.
Riding Yamaha's Sand Rocket - The Mighty Raptor 700R
Every rider that loves the dunes needs a trip to the Mecca of dune riding at least once. Southern California’s Imperial Sand Dunes, a.k.a. Glamis, is to dune riders what Fenway Park is to baseball fans; it’s the heart and soul of their sport, and until you actually go there, it’s a little difficult to understand. The Glamis Dunes are 6 miles wide and 45 miles long, running right up to and beyond the Mexican border. We were determined to ride every bit of it and Yamaha had just the vehicle to do it; the new Raptor 700R.
To say the King of the Hammers event is a tough race but might be a fun challenge is a little like saying a Badger has a slightly intolerant disposition but would otherwise make a fine family pet. To even enter the event raises a whole host of questions, especially when you consider that almost 60% of those who start the race never finish, and in some classes the attrition rate is much higher than that!
If you read our coverage of the stock 2011 KFX450R, you probably know that we think quite highly of the Kawasaki. It doesn’t boast show-stopper numbers as far as horsepower or suspension travel, but its great feel, performance, and overall fun factor earned it great reviews from our test riders. It was a natural on the XC course, and we even put in some surprising finishes on the MX track in bone-stock form against many highly modified 450 sport quads.
Most riders use their ATVs for trail riding, for work, and even as a hunting buddy, but the best times are when out play riding with friends. For the simple joy of play riding on the trials or the dunes, we want an ATV that offers all-day comfort, a sporty look and nimble handling, and an excellent engine with enough power to conquer hills and provide plenty of thrills. Kawasaki’s KFX 450R fits the bill perfectly.
Maybe you’ve heard of the expression, “the whole is greater than the sum.” That’s the theory of synergy. It’s the idea that if you combine two or more components, the potential of their cooperation together is higher than that of their individual potential. One of my earliest personal experiences with synergy was around the age of 12 and involved two full boxes of those old red “caps” for toy cap guns, a brick, and a sledgehammer. Long story short… the brick disintegrated, and my ears finally quit ringing last week.
We Explore Yamaha’s Newest Raptor 700 and YFZ450R Models
There are, quite possible, many times in an editor’s daily duties, when one might pause in the midst of various editorial activities, look around at their surroundings and breathe a deep sigh, thinking to oneself “How did I ever get so lucky to have been given this job?”
The new Polaris RZR XP 900 features a new engine and a unique long travel suspension, and we just got done thrashing it in the desert. Look for a full article review and video Thursday at 10am! You'll love it!
The Kawasaki Teryx is one tough-as-nails UTV! It’s no wonder racers love it for its chassis. On our last jaunt across hundreds of miles of extreme desert, out of our group of eight Teryx mounted riders, we didn’t have a single failure or mechanical problem! We were extremely impressed! The Teryx isn’t limited to just high speed adventure, however. The term “Crossover Vehicle” applies perfectly to the Teryx for its ability to perform many different tasks extremely well.
Yamaha set the pace in the Hi-Performance ATV world with the introduction of their original YFZ 450, then upped the ante when they built a second generation racer, the YFZ 450R. The new ‘R came with a high tech aluminum chassis, fuel injection, a powerful engine, and racing quality, long travel suspension. Whether in the hands of a pro racer or an intermediate class rider, it made every rider better. Many riders hit the trails as well, however, and often that means a full width racer simply won’t fit between the trees.