— 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.

Kory Ellis’ GBC Motorsports Yamaha YXZ1000R Sport Shift is ready for any adventure, from the 30x10R15 Kanati Terra Master tires on Walker Evans Racing Legend II bead-lock wheels to the Desertworks cage and adventure roof rack.
Seven KC Hilites Pro-6 LEDs and seven KC Flex mini LEDs light up the night on the adventure Yamaha, and the Factory UTV UMHW skid plate protects and slick-ens the underside for serious rock crawling. This machine is just as much at home in the dunes as in rocks or the desert.


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.

The 114-horsepower Yamaha triple was left stone stock for reliability and a quiet ride. The Terra Masters are 10-ply radials for flat prevention and added ride quality and handling, and they’re DOT-approved for this street-licensed build. Front-width rears are mounted with the A-side out for added drifting prowess.


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.

PRP GT seats have the heater option for winter adventures, and the seats and harnesses provide a lot of comfort and security in the cabin. Since we shot these photos, Hess has come out with a new EPS unit that more than doubles steering assist.


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.

Hess Motorsports’ 2:1 Steering Quickener and E2R rear torsion bar add even more agility to a great handling package, and the Terra Masters have much better turning traction and feel than the stock Bighorns. The GBC Adventure Yamaha is big fun to pitch into turns.

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.

While the rear turn signals are the 3/4-inch button LEDs from the XTC Power Products universal UTV turn signal kit, the fronts are new dirt bike signals. There are also 1.25-inch and 4-inch thin LED options ($6).

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.

The Sport Shift’s center console houses the Rockford Fosgate PMX-2 stereo receiver, Rugged M3’s variable-speed air-volume controller and light switches.


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.

The Rugged Radios M3 extreme air pump is a clean-looking, high-volume system, and the collapsible hoses also make for a clean install. Rockford Fosgate’s 6-inch marine-grade speakers have nice sound quality.


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.



5124 Holt Blvd.

Montclair, CA 91763

(909) 626-8899


202 N. Mesquite St.

Muenster, TX 76252

(940) 759-4597


222 S. Harbor Blvd., Suite 700

Anaheim, CA 92805

(800) 946-9412

Rugged Radios

951 E. Grand Ave.

Arroyo Grande, CA 93420

(805) 541-1696

(888) 541-7223

XTC Power Products

925 N. McQueen Rd., Suite 101

Gilbert, AZ 85233

(480) 558-8588



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