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TEST: YAMAHA YXZ1000R SS SPECIAL EDITION

May 8, 2017
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Yamaha rewrote the UTV rules with the 2016 YXZ1000R, the first three-cylinder, extreme-performance UTV with a five-speed, sequential-shift transmission and hydraulic manual clutch. For 2017, Yamaha created the YXZ1000R Sport Shift (SS) with an automatic clutch and paddle shifters, and we tested the Sport Shift model in the December 2016 issue at the Big Buck GNCC course. We also spent time in the YXZ1000R SS Special Edition at Sand Hollow State Park’s dunes and rock-crawling trails. At $1600 more than the blue-and-white YXZ SS, the Special Edition is worth another look with its industry-exclusive Fox 2.5 Podium X2 shocks, beadlock wheels, and black-painted bodywork with a red frame, suspension and beadlock rings.

Paddle shifters are a blast in dunes, and the mile-wide rev range lets you wind out each gear or cruise in SE comfort. The Fox X2 shocks can be adjusted for deep sand whoops or comfort on wheel-hop chop or rocks.
Paddle shifters are a blast in dunes, and the mile-wide rev range lets you wind out each gear or cruise in SE comfort. The Fox X2 shocks can be adjusted for deep sand whoops or comfort on wheel-hop chop or rocks.

 

WHAT’S NEW FOR 2017?

CV boot durability is increased with a new clamp, and CV size was reduced by 9mm. The L-shaped rear A-arms get a CV guard, like the front A-arms, to prevent boot pinpricks from cross roost. New console heat shields lower console heat by 15 percent. The Special Editions get an all-new Matte Black paint scheme with a red frame, cage, bumpers, shock springs and beadlock rings. The Special Editions also come with industry-exclusive Fox 2.5 Podium X2 shocks with separate high- and low-speed compression and rebound adjusters, plus adjustable preload and crossover rings for the dual shock springs. The X2 shocks have next-level technology, including Internal-ByPass (IBP) and Bottom-Out Control (BOC), which allows new levels of shock tuning to eliminate harsh wheel-hop chop and resist bottoming in the dunes and in short-course racing, all without having to re-valve. Massive amounts of shock oil are pushed by the piston, while dual ports on the piggyback meter compression and rebound. To offset the extra weight of the all-new X2 shocks, special-edition YXZ1000Rs and Sport Shifts get new aluminum rear knuckles that are 9 pounds lighter than standard steel knuckles.

The Sport Shift has the same engine and transmission as the manual-clutch YXZ1000R/SE, but has an automatic clutch and YCC-S with added shift modes. The 998cc triple has 80mm pistons, a 66.2mm stroke, 12 valves, three 41mm EFI throttle bodies and 11.3:1 compression.
The Sport Shift has the same engine and transmission as the manual-clutch YXZ1000R/SE, but has an automatic clutch and YCC-S with added shift modes. The 998cc triple has 80mm pistons, a 66.2mm stroke, 12 valves, three 41mm EFI throttle bodies and 11.3:1 compression.

 

HOW DOES COST COMPARE?

Yamaha’s brand-new YXZ1000R Sport Shift costs $20,599 (Blaze Orange), $20,799 (blue/white) and $22,399 (SE), while the manual-shift YXZs are $19,999 and $21,599 for the Special Edition. Arctic Cat’s Wildcat 1000X RG Pro is $18,499, while the RG Pro LTD is $19,499. Can-Am’s Maverick 1000R DPS is $17,599. The 1000X XC is $18,599, and the 1000R Turbo is $20,499. Maverick X3 Turbos are $20,999 to $26,899. The Polaris RZR XP 1000 EPS is $19,499.

Front travel is 16.2 inches, and the aggressive styling and quad headlights make the YXZ look mean. Despite having a lower seating position than a RZR, the YXZ’s hood is sloped to provide a better trail view for picking lines. Even the base YXZ1000RR and Sport Shift versions have a sun top.
Front travel is 16.2 inches, and the aggressive styling and quad headlights make the YXZ look mean. Despite having a lower seating position than a RZR, the YXZ’s hood is sloped to provide a better trail view for picking lines. Even the base YXZ1000RR and Sport Shift versions have a sun top.

 

HOW FAST IS THE YXZ1000R?

Super fast. The Yamaha Chip-Controlled Shift (YCC-S) program includes a launch mode that can have the average joe launching like Dustin Nelson does in a manual-shift YXZ. Winding out each gear makes serious speed in a hurry, and the YXZ tops out around 80 mph. Owners can also program the shift warning light to their desired rpm and hit the upshift paddle when the light says to maximize acceleration. Other YCC-S programs will downshift for you if you’re in too high a gear for conditions or come to a complete stop. With the paddle shifters, the YXZ1000R SS delivers the best of both worlds—top-level performance and ease-of-driving convenience.

Rear travel is 17 inches, and L-shaped lower suspension arms are linked by a heavy-duty torsion bar. You don’t have to remove body panels to install a dune safety whip, unlike with the RZR XP and Maverick 1000R. Ground clearance is 12.9 inches.
Rear travel is 17 inches, and L-shaped lower suspension arms are linked by a heavy-duty torsion bar. You don’t have to remove body panels to install a dune safety whip, unlike with the RZR XP and Maverick 1000R. Ground clearance is 12.9 inches.

 

HOW IS THE DELIVERY?

It’s top-shelf. YCC-S goes into a half-clutch mode below 5 mph and fully engages the hydraulic clutch above 5 mph via an electronic slave cylinder. It also provides engine braking with some slip for downhills. Full-throttle shifts are the norm with the ignition retarded for a millisecond when a paddle is engaged, so the pilot gets the direct-connection feeling like with a sport ATV. It even has a “spike clutch” mode for starting on technical uphills, and going to 4WD delivers four-wheel engine braking on downhills, unlike RZRs. The electronic D-N-R range selector is designed so it can’t be knocked out of gear and has to be purposely shifted into reverse, and the paddle shifters have a very light touch. The 2WD/4WD/diff-lock switch is very handy and carries out your wishes instantly. For a five-speed, the Sport Shift seems as seamless as a CVT-driven UTV.

The Sport Shift has a black-face analog speedometer, and the YXZ1000R SS is happiest between 5000 and 10,500 rpm. Temperature icons are new for 2017 on the YXZ1000R and SS, and the shift warning light is fully adjustable.
The Sport Shift has a black-face analog speedometer, and the YXZ1000R SS is happiest between 5000 and 10,500 rpm. Temperature icons are new for 2017 on the YXZ1000R and SS, and the shift warning light is fully adjustable.

 

WHAT ABOUT THE HIGH-END X2 SUSPENSION?

The Fox X2 shocks are awesome. Standard is two turns out (of four) on HSC, LSC, HSR and LSR, with 19.06 inches of preload (range 18.56-19.56 inch) in front and two turns out on HSC, LSC and HSR and 1.5 turns out on LSR with 16.36 inches of preload (range 15.86-16.86) and rear cross-overs set at 4.25 inches. For more comfort and plushness, go out 1.5 turns on HSC, 2.0 turns on LSC, in 1.0 turn on LSR up front, and out 1.0 turn on both LSC and HSC in back. Aggressive drivers will want to tighten rear action, going to 0.5 turns out on HSR and LSR, 2.0 turns out on HSC and 1.5 turns out on LSC. It may sound confusing, but the owner’s manual explains the adjustments.

HOW DOES THE YXZ1000R HANDLE?

Superbly. The Sport Shift turns in easily and powers out of corners predictably. There is very little push in 4WD, and it likes to be steered with either the front wheels or rear via aggressive downshifts and drifting into turns. Yamaha put a lot of work into keeping the chassis straight when the YXZ bucks in whoops, and the X2 shocks can be tuned to handle higher trail speeds with aggressive settings. The new Robby Gordon Wildcat also stays straight in whoops and delivers a smoother ride quality. The Sport Shift Special Edition is much more predictable and precise than a RZR XP in whoops and desert chop.

Creature comforts are high-end, with the Sport Shift and Special Edition only differing in color. The right paddle is upshift, he left paddle is downshift and the D-N-R lever is gated to prevent accidentally hitting reverse.
Creature comforts are high-end, with the Sport Shift and Special Edition only differing in color. The right paddle is upshift, he left paddle is downshift and the D-N-R lever is gated to prevent accidentally hitting reverse.

 

HOW IS IT IN ROCKS AND MUD?

The Sport Shift is a better choice than the manual-clutch YXZ for rock crawling, but it doesn’t accept the GYT-R torque-assist gear kit…yet. The Special Edition adds X2 shocks that can be easily tuned for a plush rock ride, and articulation is good, despite front and rear torsion bars. Mudders will want Yamaha’s accessory fender extensions ($259.99), which help the standard sunroof and half doors keep mud out of the cabin. Also, the X2 shocks can be firmed up to offset mud-weight buildup.

WHERE IS THE YXZ1000R HAPPIEST?

Up on the cam and pipe! While the Sport Shift can be cruised around all day long without having to downshift, it’s designed from the ground up to be flogged and wound out like a fighter jet on afterburners. We’ve experienced the Sport Shift in wide-open desert, dunes, tight woods and rocks, and we’re happy in either setting.

For those who don’t want a foot clutch, Yamaha introduces the YXZ1000R Sport Shift Special Edition with Yamaha Chip-Controlled Shift program to deliver a rider-connected experience without the fancy footwork.
For those who don’t want a foot clutch, Yamaha introduces the YXZ1000R Sport Shift Special Edition with Yamaha Chip-Controlled Shift program to deliver a rider-connected experience without the fancy footwork.

 

HOW STRONG ARE THE BRAKES?

Super strong. At all four corners, two-puck calipers squeeze 245mm rotors, and the feel at the pedal is crisp. Strong brakes are backed up by a full-on engine-braking system and a fifth e-brake on the rear drive shaft controlled by a lever on the console. We were impressed with the brakes on the GYT-R YXZ with 30-inch EFX Motoclaw tires too.

WHAT ABOUT CREATURE COMFORTS?

They’re so fine, we feel like extending our pinkies when pulling drinks out of the cup holders. The padded console, lined half doors and roof are limo-like, and all of the controls are light yet positive. The padded passenger bar is adjustable, as are the driver’s seat, tilt wheel and instrument pod, which includes a temperature readout. Seats are comfortable, and the shoulder belts can be adjusted to prevent neck chafing. The Sport Shift got 15 percent more efficient console shielding, but it still gets hot. There is an accessory padding kit ($69.99) for the console and doors that provide more insulation from heat.

The Fox 2.5 Podium X2 shocks have valving in the separate compression and rebound adjusters with high- and low-speed adjustability, Internal ByPass ports in the body and Bottom-Out Control. The main piston valving only flows fluid at bottoming, and “normal” shocks need a re-valve to approach the X2’s adjustment range.
The Fox 2.5 Podium X2 shocks have valving in the separate compression and rebound adjusters with high- and low-speed adjustability, Internal ByPass ports in the body and Bottom-Out Control. The main piston valving only flows fluid at bottoming, and “normal” shocks need a re-valve to approach the X2’s adjustment range.

 

WHAT’S OUR FINAL ANSWER?

Yamaha raises the performance bar even further with the YXZ1000R Sport Shift Special Edition. The Fox X2 shocks refine the ride and deliver performance to match the super-wide YXZ powerband and features of the Sport Shift YCC-S, auto-clutch, five-speed transmission. Ride quality can be tuned for a much wider range of conditions, so you can dune one day and rock-crawl the next without having to remove and re-valve the shocks. Combine this with the crisp handling, strong brakes, great creature comforts and riding position, and the YXZ1000R SS SE is a sure winner. Best yet, we like the auto downshift feature of the Yamaha Chip-Controlled Shift program; you can wind it out and paddle-shift like a rally racer or cruise it like a CVT-driven machine. 

YXZSSE9_AS3I1263

2017 YAMAHA YXZ1000R SS SE 4X4

ENGINE/TRANSMISSION

Engine type Liquid-cooled, 12-valve, DOHC 4-stroke

triple

Displacement 998cc

Bore x stroke 80.0.0 x 66.2.0mm (x3)

Compression ratio 11.3:1

Lubrication system Dry sump

Additional cooling Auto fan

Induction Yamaha EFI w/ 3 41mm bodies

Starting/back-up Electric/none

Starting procedure Turn ignition key

Choke location N/A

Air filter:

  Type Washable foam & wet paper

  Access Tool-less, remove 5 Dzus, lift center console

and unscrew cap

Transmission 5-speed sequential, auto clutch w/ reverse

Reverse procedure Brake, move range selector to

reverse

Drive system Selectable 2WD/4WD w/ diff-lock & EBS

Final drives Shafts

DIMENSIONS/CAPACITIES/WEIGHTS

Fuel capacity 9.0 gal.

Wheelbase 90.5”

Overall length/width/height 122.8”/64.0”/72.2”

Ground clearance 12.9”

Claimed wet weight 1,554 lb.

Bed weight limit 300 lb.

Hitch None

Towing limit 1,500 lb.

ROLLING CHASSIS

Frame Steel round tube

Suspension/wheel travel:

  Front Dual A-arms w/ prel./ hi-low comp./reb.

adj. shocks/16.2”

  Rear Dual A-arms w/ prel./hi-low comp./reb.

adj. shocks/17.0”

Brakes/actuation:

  Front Twin-piston hydraulic discs/center pedal

  Rear Twin-piston hydraulic discs/center pedal

Parking Lever on console

Tires:

  Front 27x9R14 Bighorn 2.0 6-ply

  Rear 27x11R14  Bighorn 2.0 6-ply

ELECTRICAL

DC outlet Console

Lighting:

  Front 4 LED headlights

  Rear Single LED brake/tail light

DETAILS

Instrumentation Digital speedo/fuel/gear/trip &

hour meters/temp/time, analog tach

Colors Racing Blue/White, SE Black Matte/Red

Minimum recommended operator age 16

Suggested retail price $20,799; SE, $22,399

Contact Yamaha Motor Corp., (800) 962-7926

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