— 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.
WHAT’S NEW FOR 2017?
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.
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.
HOW DOES COST COMPARE?
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.
HOW FAST IS THE GYTR YXZ SS?
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.
HOW ABOUT THE DELIVERY?
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.
WHAT ABOUT HANDLING?
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.
WHAT ABOUT THE SUSPENSION & 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.
HOW STRONG ARE THE BRAKES?
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.
WHAT ABOUT MUD AND ROCKS?
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.
WHAT ABOUT TRAIL COMFORT?
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.
WHAT IS OUR FINAL ANSWER?
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
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 procedure Turn ignition key
Choke location N/A
Type Washable foam & wet paper
Access Remove 5 Dzus and cover, unscrew cap
Transmission 5-speed sequential, auto clutch
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.
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.
Towing limit N/A
Frame Steel round tube
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;
Contact Yamaha Motor Corp., (800) 962-7926