— GBC Motorsports Project Machine —
With Yamaha’s Realize Your Adventure campaign now having 20 UTV-adventure franchises to highlight its pure-sport and recreation UTV models, Kory Ellis set out to convert a 2019 YXZ1000R Sport Shift Special Edition into the ultimate long-range adventure vehicle. Being a pro quad racer for many years, Ellis chose the YXZ Special Edition for its driver-connected performance and set out to tame the beast for long-range exploration. This project being a GBC Motorsports build, the first order of business was to replace the 29-inch Bighorns with 30x10R14 Kanati Terra Masters, mounted with the B-side out in front and A-side out in the rear for superior steering bite. The Terra Masters were mounted on Walker Evans Legend II 15×6 beadlock rims ($225 each) and set at 18 psi for added ride quality. With the groundwork laid, here’s the rest of the adventure-build story.
BUILDING FOR ALL ADVENTURES
First, the plastic and cage were removed, with the bodywork going to BITD specialist John Melvin at JM Collision Centers for paint. The new OE cage was replaced with a Desertworks cage with roof (starting at $2,800) and adventure rack that also protects the seven HC Hilites Pro-6 LED lights ($1,400.39). This lighting setup throws 13,800 lumens of light 4,700 feet in three different patterns for serious night riding and duning. The Pro-6 LEDs are backed by a KC Flex Dual-Pair Pack System ($446.99) mounted on the frontage tubes, with three more in the old radiator inlet. Each CREE LED is a 20-watt, producing 1,950 lumens with spot or spread beam and low 2-amp draw. The GBC Adventure Yamaha also has a rear LED bar for safety in dust, and two Kolpin gas cans attach to the aluminum roof for added range.
HANDLING ANY ADVENTURE
Inside the Desertworks cabin, the OEM steering wheel was replaced with a Hess Motorsports Flat six-bolt steering wheel ($80, hub $50), and Ellis went with the Hess 2:1-ratio Steering Quickener ($600) for crisper turning. Hess also makes the Double E Racing (E2R) YXZ rear torsion bar ($950) with 7075 billet-aluminum arms and 6061 billet links mounted in the third position. This greatly reduces body roll and enhances handling. Being a work in progress, the GBC YXZ will also get a LoneStar Racing suspension kit in the future and a re-valve for the Fox Podium RC2 Special Edition shocks. We also recommend the new Hess 360-watt EPS unit ($1,000) when using the steering quickener, as this system taxes the 170-watt OEM EPS.
LONG-DISTANCE CREATURE COMFORTS
To add further to ride quality, Ellis installed PRP GT SE heated seats ($1,463 a pair) with PRP 5.3 5-point, 3-inch harnesses ($139–$189 each). These seats can be custom ordered in many color combinations. Dust can impact any adventure, so Ellis went with the Rugged Radios variable-speed M3 extreme-air pump with two hoses ($486). This carbon fiber and billet-aluminum pump weighs 1.6 pounds and is claimed to produce five times the pressure and air volume of most clean-air systems. It can be tuned for optimum volume.
Technology adds to every adventure, so Ellis installed Yamaha’s Adventure Pro GPS unit powered by Magellan. This unit has GPS mapping and navigation (115,000 OHV trails!), online adventure planning, Yamaha’s exclusive Timing Mode, social sharing functionality, Yamaha Vehicle Integration, and portability for use outside your Yamaha UTV. It’s prewired for YXZs and Wolverines to show speed, rpm, coolant temps, drive mode and more on its 7-inch screen. It starts at $749 and has front/rear camera capabilities.
The GBC Adventure YXZ also got Rugged Radios’ RRP696 Intercom with a RM60-watt VHF radio and Alpha Audio Helmet kits ($1,508). This setup gives a 20-30 mile range and has built-in Bluetooth for music and cellphone streaming plus an auxiliary port. Ellis also installed a Rockford Fosgate PMX-2 YXZ stereo receiver with Pandora/Bluetooth and all necessary mounting hardware for $399.99. This Stage 1 kit is backed by Rockford’s add-on speaker kit ($559.99) with 6-inch marine-grade speakers. All the electronics and lights are controlled by an Assault YXZ switch plate, with the Rockford Fosgate receiver mounted on the YXZ center console by the Rugged M3 controller.
ADVENTURE ARMOR AND ADD-ONS
Assault also was chosen for its B2 Billet Side Mirrors ($299.99), Bomber convex rear-view mirror ($99.99) and quick-release fire-extinguisher mount ($169.99), all of which add adventure insurance. Factory UTV supplied the full UHMW YXZ skid plate with rock sliders, which adds undercarriage protection and slickness for $800.80. For night rides in the dunes, Whip Tech’s Lit 4-foot whips add visibility and safety ($115 each) , and they have GBC Motorsports flags for added advertising. Lastly, XTC Powersports was called on for its clean universal UTV turn signal Kit ($335) with horn for street legality.
PUTTING THE PACKAGE TOGETHER
Put all the upgrades together, and the GBC Motorsports Adventure YXZ1000R is an off-road limo with sports-car handling and magic-carpet ride quality. It smoothed out some of Moab’s roughest trails while providing clean air in some serious dust, and the electronics add to the adventure with been-there guidance plus crisp communications and tunes.
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