For the past few years, whenever a new product launch from Yamaha was rumored, performance minded consumers and Yamaha enthusiasts stood at attention. After each new product unveiling (Viking and Wolverine) you could almost sense the disappointment from these consumer groups. Don’t get me wrong, the Viking and Wolverine are excellent recreational/utility vehicles, top in their respective segments. However the lingering question still remained, when will Yamaha release a sport SxS?
That prominent question, which seemed to haunt the off-road industry for years, was finally answered on Sept 1/2015 with the release of the all-new Yamaha YXZ1000R. The media buzz surrounding the official unveiling was overwhelming to say the least and we couldn’t wait to get some seat time. As our eagerness intensified to get behind the wheel, our itch would finally be scratched when Yamaha invited us to put the YXZ1000R to the test at the Imperial Sand dunes in Southern California.
Power comes from a 998cc inline-three cylinder engine featuring a DOHC twelve-valve head and high-tech dry-sump lubrication system. As the industry’s first sport 3-cylinder engine, it boasts an aggressive 11.3:1 compression ratio and 10,500 RPM redline to provide a true sport off-road experience. This engine platform is very responsive to the driver’s input with optimum power delivery throughout the RPM range. Although not verified in its stock form, this engine is claimed to produce 112 horsepower.
The YXZ1000R also features the industry’s first fully manual 5-speed sequential shift transmission. The 5-speed sequential shift is manually operated via a clutch foot-pedal and shift lever, similar to what you would find in a manual transmission automobile. First gear is engaged by pressing the clutch, then pushing the shift lever forward. The remaining gears (2-5) are engaged by pressing the clutch and pulling the shift lever rearward. The 5-speed sequential shift transmission unquestionably augments your drive experience as it ultimately delivers a direct bond between you (the driver) and the machine.
The first thing you notice when looking at the YXZ1000R is the front suspension, as it protrudes through the hood of the unit. The top ends of the shocks are clearly visible from the outside and from inside the cockpit. This unique design in my opinion definitely augments the unit’s aggressive appearance.
The front suspension boasts FOX 2.5 Podium RC2 shocks that offer up to 16-inches of front wheel travel. On the rear you will find a similar setup offering 17-inches of wheel travel and the same FOX 2.5 Podium RC2 Shocks. This setup gives the YXZ1000R 13-in. of ground clearance and we should also note that the front/rear shocks feature adjustable hi/low-speed compression, adjustable rebound, and adjustable preload settings. The rear shocks utilize FOX BOC (bottom out cup) technology which helps in maintaining comfort while reducing the risk of bottoming out under extreme conditions.
TIRES, WHEELS AND BRAKES
The Yamaha YXZ1000R sits on a set of 27-in Maxxis Bighorn tires (Front: 27 x 9-14 / Back: 27 x 11-14) mounted on 14-in alloy wheels. The SE model also gets beadlock rims for extra protection and added fit and finish. The unit is brought to a stop by twin piston caliper, 245mm rotor disc brakes.
COCKPIT AND ERGONOMICS
In Canada the YXZ1000R will be available in 2 distinct packages: Base package (blue and white coloration) and 60th anniversary SE package (yellow and black collaboration).
There is no doubt that the YXZ1000R offers a unique appearance with its high-performance styling and aggressive stance. No one can exclaim that the YXZ1000R resembles anything else that is available on the market today; it is visually stunning and a first in the industry without question.
The vehicle’s sharp lines and design are complemented by the unit’s sun-top (standard) with its seamless integration to the chassis. However for my personal taste, what makes this unit look so aggressive and scream performance is the massive front suspension, which is showcased as it projects through the hood.
Ingress and egress is made easy via the use of the unit’s full doors with automotive style latches. Once seated you will find that the contoured high back, cut-and-stitch seats are plush and confortable. For added comfort, the floorboards are positioned for maximum legroom and the driver’s seat is fully adjustable. We should also not forget to mention that to hence the driver experience the steering wheel is adjustable with a 147mm of vertical travel.
The dash ergonomics are good and feature a hybrid digital-analog meter that includes: speedometer, tachometer and shift light. The center console consist of parking brake handle, headlight switch, On-Command® dial, and the sequential manual shift lever. You will also find a convenient center-mounted 12V outlet and a latching glove box.
While on the subject of storage, the YXZ1000R also features a composite cargo bed with a 300-lbs. capacity. While at first glance storage solutions on the unit may look limited, I feel the YXZ1000R provides just enough storage for you to carry the recommended off-roading essentials.
As I mentioned earlier, the testing grounds that Yamaha selected for the YXZ1000R was the Imperial Sand Dunes, A.K.A Glamis. This area was selected as Yamaha considers dunes/desert environments are the prime habitat for this unit. I whole heartily agree, as I have a hard time seeing this unit being utilized to its full potential in a forested trail type environment.
For our test rides, Yamaha had setup a basic follow-the-leader type scenario. We were broken up in small groups and followed the lead car through different dune sections. As we set off, we immediately knew that this would be the type of ride that any “go-fast” enthusiast would appreciate and we would get the chance to experience what the YXZ1000R had to offer.
On the long open straights leading to the dunes, we got the long awaited chance to open up the unit. Response was instantaneous and most gratifying. However, we did notice that we were shifting prematurely and not getting the most power and response from the unit. We were shifting gears based on engine resonance and way before the YXZ1000R was in its optimal power range. Once we adapted our driving style, the experience intensified.
On the dunes themselves we faced steep climbs, huge bowls and tight technical sections. Being a Canadian editor with limited dune riding experience, the tight technical dunes were a handful. Many times we found ourselves on the wrong gear for the challenge that lay ahead. However with some quick gear changes – thanks to the YXZ1000R responsiveness – we were able to overcome the barriers we faced.
We also had the opportunity to play on the valley floor and hit some whoop sections. This playground is where we got to experience what the YXZ1000R truly had to offer. The unit is tight, precise and handles beautifully. The suspension provides for a plush ride in the chop and handles the whoops extremely well with great bottom out resistance. Mashing the pedal and winding up this engine will provide for strong sensations that will make the thrill seeker rejoice. For me, although the dunes provided for some exhilarating moments, I much preferred riding the valley floor.
SO DID WE LIKE IT?
Absolutely! The Yamaha YXZ1000R not only brings forth a strong aggressive styling but above all it offers a unit which is entirely oriented towards the hardcore driver. We realize that a manual 5-speed sequential shift vehicle may not be for everyone. However, if you are performance minded and like to be in control of your vehicle’s performance, the Yamaha YXZ1000R may be the unit you have been looking for.
We feel that due to the unit’s driver centric design, Yamaha has successfully managed to separate itself from the rest of the sport UTV industry with the introduction of this YXZ1000R. Good Job Yamaha!
The Yamaha YXZ1000R has started rolling out in Canada in limited supply, however that number will increase in 2016. If you are performance minded we strongly encourage you to try and get some seat time in this unit.
|Engine Type||998cc, 3-Cylinder, Liquid cooled, 4-stroke, DOHC|
|Bore x Stroke||80.0mm x 66.2mm|
|Fuel Delivery||Triple 41mm throttle bodies with 4-hole injectors|
|Ignition TCI||Transistor Controlled Ignition|
|Transmission||5-Speed Sequential Manual Transmission with Reverse; Hydraulic Clutch|
|Final Drive||On Command 2WD, 4WD with Diff-Lock|
|Front Suspension||Fully adjustable, FOX Podium RC2, Piggyback, Independent Double Wishbone with Anti-Sway Bar, 406mm (16″) of wheel travel|
|Rear Suspension||Fully adjustable, FOX Podium RC2, Piggyback, Independent Double Wishbone with Anti-Sway Bar, 432mm (17″) of wheel travel|
|Front Brakes||Twin Piston Caliper, 245mm Rotor Disc Brakes|
|Rear Brakes||Twin Piston Caliper, 245mm Rotor Disc Brakes|
|Front Tires||Maxxis Bighorn, 27 x 9-14, Cast Aluminum Wheels|
|Rear Tires||Maxxis Bighorn, 27 x 11-14, Cast Aluminum Wheels|
|L x W x H||3,121 mm (122.9”) x 1,626 mm (64”) x 1,834 mm (72.2”)|
|Wheelbase||2,300 mm (90.6”)|
|Turning Radius||6,000 mm (236.2”)|
|Ground Clearance||330 mm (13”)|
|Fuel Capacity||34 liters (8.98 US Gal)|
|Wet Weight||699 kg (1541 lbs.)|
|Bed Capacity||136 kg (300 lbs.)|
|Warranty||Private use – 1 year (unlimited mileage)
Commercial use – 6 months (unlimited mileage)
For more information on the Yamaha YXZ1000R, please visit www.yamaha-motor.ca