— Yamaha has had great success with the revolutionary YXZ1000R and Sport Shift, winning TORC and LOORRS UTV championships and WORCS races, and Yamaha celebrates with the introduction of the Sport Shift Special Edition 2 in matte grey and blue with aluminum pedals, a painted shift lever, cabin LED lights, a rear-view mirror, aluminum rear knuckles and a tough HMWPE skid plate. We got a chance to test the new SE 2 with its GYTR Torque Assist Gearing (TAG) kit, 30-inch EFX Motoclaw tires and more at Stony Lonesome OHV Park. Also new, Yamaha’s bLU cRU racing support and contingency program rewards YXZ racers for wins and championships in Lucas Oil National and Regional series, Best in the Desert, WORCS, GNCC and TORC.

Yamaha expands the YXZ1000R line with the mid-year release of the Sport Shift Special Edition 2 and GYTR Torque Assist Gearing kit for the Sport Shifts. Yamaha also introduces EFX 30-inch Motoclaw tires with a new KMC XD wheel option for hard-core trail riders and mud boggers.



The revolutionary Yamaha YXZ1000R got a few changes for 2017, most notably the Sport Shift version with an automatic smart clutch with Yamaha Chip-Controlled Shift program (YCC-S). We got to test the YXZ1000RSS at the Big Buck GNCC course for the December 2016 issue of UTV Action, and we were especially impressed with the electronically controlled hydraulic clutch and its many modes. YCC-S programming lets the clutch downshift automatically as needed for durability and ease of driving, and it has half-clutch, spike and Launch modes. Other than paddle shifters, a different D-N-R range selector, no clutch pedal and the YCC-S hardware, the Sport Shift is nearly identical to the YXZ1000R.

The Sport Shift Torque Assist Gear kit is $300 more than the YXZ1000R TAG kit, as it required a new MCU shift computer to work with the YCC-S shift-control programs. It uses the same gears to lower final gearing 30 percent and first gear another 40 percent, and it can be programmed to work with 26- to 31-inch tires.


On both YXZs, 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. Special Editions of both YXZ1000Rs sport revolutionary Fox Podium 2.5 X2 shocks with Internal Bypass (IBP) and Bottom-Out Control (BOC), plus separate high- and low-speed compression and rebound damping and dual-rate springs with adjustable cross-overs. We reported on the new Fox X2s on both Special Editions from Sand Hollow State Park in April 2017. Since then, Yamaha has perfected the new GYTR Torque Assist Gear kit for Sport Shifts to better serve rock crawlers, mud boggers and tight-trail enthusiasts. Yamaha also introduced a second YXZ1000R SS Special Edition, the matte grey and blue SE 2.

We got to try the GYTR-equipped YXZ1000R SS SE 2 at Stony Lonesome OHV Park, a longtime Ultra-4 venue in Alabama. The Sport Shift Torque Assist Gear kit ($1,299.99) has the same 30-percent-lower final drive and 40-percent-lower first ratios as the YXZ1000R TAG kit, but it has programming specific to the Sport Shift electronics. GYTR accessory 30-inch EFX Motoclaw tires ($225.99 each) add traction, durability and ride height over the stock 27-inch Bighorns, so top speed is almost identical to a stock YXZ SS (79 versus 80 mph). Our test units were also fitted with a GYTR comfort pad kit, winch, A-arm guards, brake lines, grab bars, a rear-view mirror and helmet hangers, adding about $4,250. Yamaha is also planning on KMC-XD wheel options.

With a 70-percent-lower first gear and four-wheel engine braking in full-time 4WD, the GYTR SE 2 crawls down steep descents at a snail’s pace, and the 30-inch EFX Motoclaw tires offset the TAG kit’s 30-percent-lower final gearing for “normal” speeds in the upper four gears.



Yamaha’s YXZ1000R is $19,999 to $21,599, while the YXZ1000R Sport Shift is $20,599 to $22,699. With the GYTR TAG kit, winch, comfort and armor add-ons, and 30-inch Motoclaw tires, the as-tested cost would be $26,949. While the standard White Lightning or Titanium Metallic 2017 RZR XP 1000 with EPS is $19,499, the fully equipped Gold Edition is $23,999. The High Lifter Edition is $22,699, and the Ride Command LE is $20,999 with front and rear cameras. The 2017 Can-Am Maverick 1000R X mr is $21,199, while the Maverick 1000 X xc is $18,599. The Maverick 1000R Turbo is $20,499, while new X3 Turbos are $20,999 to $26,899. Textron’s 2017 Wildcat 1000X RG Pro EPS is $18,499, and the Limited RG Pro 1000 is $19,499.

The Yamaha makes 112 horsepower with a redline some 2000 rpm above the Polaris XP1K. Three 80mm pistons ride on a short 66.2mm stroke with 12-valve head; 11.3:1 compression; three 41mm EFI throttle bodies; and a five-speed, sequential-shift transmission with paddle shifters and YCC-S programming.



Really fast. Rev the Sport Shift to 5000 rpm in launch mode and it leaps like a fighter jet on an aircraft-carrier catapult. It takes full-throttle shifts and accelerates hard, pinning your back to the seat. The jump from first to second is pretty wide with the TAG kit, and the 30-inch tires offset the TAG kit’s 30-percent-lower final gearing, so the GYTR SE 2 feels like any other YXZ1000R in the upper gears. We didn’t get anywhere near the 79-mph top speed on Stony Lonesome trails, as we were mostly in second and third.

Pure sport doesn’t mean discomfort with the Sport Shift SE 2, as the fully lined doors, padded tilt steering wheel and passenger grab bar, secure seats, user-friendly console controls, sunroof and paddle shifters add up to terrific trail comfort. Yamaha’s interior padding kit (not shown) adds even more comfort.



It’s excellent. The triple is super smooth, and the YCC-S auto-clutch engages smoothly and allows full-throttle upshifts. The paddle shifters have a very light touch and deliver quick shifts, although we sometimes had trouble shifting out of first at high revs on rough trails. Other than that, we have no complaints about the Sport Shift or TAG kit. It’s very easy to engage reverse with the D-N-R selector, and servos engage 2WD/4WD/4WD diff-lock commands instantly. We especially like the auto-downshift feature, which returns to first gear when the car stops. It’s like having a CVT for cruising and manual shift for ripping.


It’s awesome. The YXZ1000R Sport Shift has a great combination of turning prowess and straight-line stability, and the EFX Motoclaw 30-inch tires add to the great handling with better side bite than the OEM Bighorn 2.0s. The SE 2 snakes through the woods and twisty turns like it’s on rails, and it drifts predictably into faster turns, especially in 2WD. The Sport Shift’s servos quickly engage 2WD, 4WD and diff-lock, so we toggle between 2WD and 4WD for tight turns and trail obstacles to get the most turning (2WD) and traction (4WD) for obstacles and hills. We rarely had to use 4WD diff-lock. Also, the sloped hood helped us pick the best lines, especially over rises.

The Sport Shift SE 2 gets a full-length HMWPE skid plate at the factory, and our test units were fitted with GYTR A-arm guards, a Warn winch, braided-steel brake lines and EFX tires on OEM beadlock wheels. Front travel is 16.2 inches via super-tunable Fox Podium 2.5 X2 shocks.



Also awesome. Yamaha put a lot of development time into the L-shaped lower rear trailing arms and upper H-arms, and the front A-arms are as long as possible to deliver 16.2 inches of front travel. Rear travel is 17.0 inches, and the high-end Fox Podium 2.5 X2 shocks make it seem like more, thanks to IBP and Bottom-Out Control. Also, the 30-inch Motoclaw tires were run at 10 psi front and 12 psi rear for a softer ride over rocks, roots and ruts. We rode half the day with Yamaha’s recommended X2 settings for the high- and low-speed compression and rebound adjusters, and we were impressed with the overall ride quality and tight handling. Then we backed off to Yamaha’s comfort settings and saw a huge improvement in overall ride quality—at the cost of added body roll on off-camber trails.


Even stronger thanks to Yamaha’s accessory brake-line kits. All YXZs have 245mm rotors and dual-piston hydraulic calipers, plus a parking brake on the rear gearbox case and bona fide four-wheel engine braking. Downshifting adds even more stopping power for Stony Lonesome’s steep, slimy trails.

Rear travel is 17 inches, and the Fox Podium 2.5 X2 shocks offer four damping adjusters, dual-rate springs with adjustable cross-overs, Internal By-Pass (IBP) and a Bottom-Out Control (BOC) anti-bottoming system. Ground clearance is 14.4 inches with the taller tires, but the rear A-arm guards take away some clearance.



They’re tackled with ease with the Torque Assist Gearing kit and 30-inch Motoclaws on beadlock rims. Mud-covered rocks and logs wouldn’t stop the Sport Shift SE 2, and backing off shock settings helped the 1000R articulate over boulders, logs and bare roots. TAG and EFX tires also increase performance in deep mud, although we would want the Yamaha accessory over-fenders ($255.99) to keep roost out of the cab.


It’s next-level. The instrument panel and paddle shifters tilt with the padded steering wheel, and the cockpit feels like that of a race car or fighter jet. The Sport Shift has user-friendly controls on the console with extra heat shielding, and the glove box and padded passenger grab bar are very nice, as is the roof. The Special Edition 2 package adds aluminum foot pedals, LED lights in the air-intake/center-console junction and a painted D-N-R selector. Our test units also had the interior padding kit ($69.99) and helmet hangers ($39.99) for extra comfort, but the SE 2’s biggest advantage is the ride quality generated by the Fox X2 shocks and EFX Motoclaw tires.

We went deep with the SE 2 and stayed dry, but mud enthusiasts will want more protection from GYTR over-fenders. Yamaha’s accessory padding kit is well worth the money, and the plug is for the winch remote.



While some would prefer an even lower first gear for pure rock crawling, the YXZ1000R Sport Shift SE 2 with GYTR TAG gearing, 30-inch EFX tires and A-arm guards is an epic trail machine. It makes quick work of trail obstacles with little effort from the driver, and handling performance is excellent. The YCC-S programing for the automatic clutch delivers a driver-connected feel with clutch durability, and the auto-downshift feature makes the Sport Shift drive like a CVT-equipped machine, but without the hassles of a CVT belt. The Sport Shift SE 2 ride quality is as good as it gets; we’d also go with Yamaha’s GYTR accessory four-point harnesses ($299.99 a pair). 



2017 YAMAHA YXZ1000R SS SE 2


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


Displacement 998cc

Bore x stroke 80.0.0 x 66.2mm (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 Remove 5 Dzus and cover, unscrew cap

Transmission 5-speed sequential, auto clutch

w/ reverse

Reverse procedure Pull D-N-R range selector to “R”

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

Final drives Shafts


Fuel capacity 9.0 gal.

Wheelbase 90.6”

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 N/A


Frame Steel round tube

Suspension/wheel travel:

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

X-over adj. shocks/16.2”

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

X-over adj. shocks/17.0”


  Front Twin-piston hydraulic discs

  Rear Twin-piston hydraulic discs

Parking Lever on console


  Front 27x9R14 Bighorn 2.0 6-ply

  Rear 27x11R14  Bighorn 2.0 6-ply


DC outlet Console


  Front 4 LED headlights

  Rear Single LED brake/tail light


Instrumentation Digital speedo/fuel/gear/trip & hour

meters/temp/time, analog tach

Colors Blaze Orange, Racing Blue; SE, Matte Black/Red;

SE 2 Matte Grey/Blue

Minimum recommended operator age 16

Suggested retail price $20,599–$20,799;

SE, $22,399–$22,699

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

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