Yamaha reinvented the sport UTV with the YXZ1000R, the first 1000 to be powered by a triple-cylinder engine with a five-speed, sequential-shift transmission and hydraulic clutch. Standard and Special Edition YXZs also had the most adjustable shocks to hit the showroom floor, dunes and short-course races, but that was then and this is now. For 2017 Yamaha ups the UTV-performance ante with the YXZ1000R Special Edition, which gets all-new Fox 2.5 Podium X2 shocks with industry-first High-Speed Rebound (HSR) and Low-Speed Rebound (LSR) adjusters. We got to try out the YXZ1000R SE and Sport Shift SE (look for that test soon) models at Utah’s Sand Hollow State Park.
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. A new GYTR Torque-Assist Gear kit ($999.99, tested last month) is available for rock crawlers, as are 30-inch EFX Motoclaw tires ($225.99 each). Special Editions get an all-new Matte Black paint scheme with a red frame, cage, bumpers, shock springs and beadlock rings, plus industry-exclusive Fox 2.5 Podium X2 shocks with separate high- and low-speed compression and rebound adjusters, plus adjustable preload and cross-over rings for the dual shock springs. The X2 shocks have next-level technology, including Internal-ByPass (IBP) and Bottom-Out Control (BOC), that allow new levels of shock tuning to eliminate harsh wheel-hop chop or resist bottoming in the dunes or 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, the Special Edition YXZ1000Rs and Sport Shifts get new aluminum rear knuckles that are 9 pounds lighter than standard steel knuckles.
HOW DOES COST COMPARE?
The Blaze Orange YXZ1000R was dropped for 2017, while the ’17 Racing Blue and White is $19,999, and the Special Edition is $21,599. Yamaha’s brand-new YXZ1000R Sport Shift (tested December, 2016) is $20,599 (Blaze Orange), $20,799 (Blue/White) and $22,399 (SE). 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, and the RZR XP Turbo EPS is $24,999. All the YXZ’s competition have CVT belts to wear out, burn or break at around $200 a pop.
HOW FAST IS THE YXZ1000R?
It’s epic. Top speed bumps 80 mph in fifth, but you can get there in a variety of ways. With a 10,500-rpm redline and adjustable shift-warning light on the sporty digital instrument package, you can wind it out like a fighter jet or short-shift for torque and comfort. The sequential-shift five-speed has well-spaced gears, and you don’t have to use the clutch to shift if you don’t want to. Shifting is a blast with a little throttle blip, or full throttle with a quick stab on the left pedal. It pulls hard from turn to turn in lower gears too.
HOW IS THE DELIVERY?
Wide like an ear-to-ear grin. We lugged first down to crawling speed at Sand Hollow’s rocky edges, and it didn’t balk at gaining revs out of turns. It really comes to life at 5000 rpm and winds out hard to 10,500 rpm, or whatever you set on the adjustable shift light. That’s a 5500-rpm spread of speed and a Banshee-like wail from the exhaust. Feel at the hydraulically actuated clutch pedal is smooth and constant, but you really only need it when starting and stopping. Put your left foot on the dead pedal to prevent undue clutch usage and wear. The 2WD/4WD/diff-lock toggle on the console is also very user-friendly and fast with servo actuation. The GYTR Rekluse EXP accessory lets the YXZ drive like a CVT-equipped machine for those used to CVTs.
WHAT ABOUT THE HIGH-END X2 SUSPENSION?
It’s beyond incredible. We tested four different settings with the all-new X2 shocks. Standard is two turns out (of 4) on HSC, LSC, HSR and LSR and 19.06-inch preload (range 18.56-19.56 inch) in front and two turns out on HSC, LSC and HSR, 1.5 turns out on LSR, preload 16.36 inches (range 15.86-16.86) and crossovers set at 4.25 inches. This provided a great ride on all but wheel-hop chop in the dunes and prevented bottoming on G-outs while providing great cornering with little body roll. The Aggressive setting is three turns on HSC and LSC, two turns on HSR and one turn on LSR front and two turns HSC, 1.5 turns LSC and 0.5 turn HSR and LSR with the crossover at 3.875 inches. This setting is great for high-speed sand whoops and resisting bottoming on dune jumps, but it’s harsh on wheel-hop chop.
We also tried two Comfort settings, and X2 damping adjustments were 3.5 turns on HSC, four turns on LSC, two turns on HSR and one turn on LSR front and three turns on HSC, three turns on LSC, two turns on HSR and two turns on LSR rear with crossovers at 3.875 inches, with standard preload front and rear. Ride quality on chop was greatly improved, body roll in turns increased but was still manageable, and it still resisted bottoming on whoops and G-outs. The softest setting used the same X2 damping settings but softened (raised) spring preload and cross-overs by 13mm (0.5-inch). Ride quality on chop improved even more, but we bottomed the front on one G-out.
The point is that it would take a re-valve job to get this wide a range of adjustability on any other shock currently on the market. Travel is still 16.2 inches front and 17 inches rear, but it feels like more with the Fox X2 shocks using three IBP ports and BOC.
HOW DOES THE YXZ1000R HANDLE?
Like a long-travel Ferrari. The YXZ1000R has a great combination of turning prowess and straight-line stability. With a wheelbase of 90.5 inches, the Yamaha is close to a RZR XP, which has a 90-inch wheelbase, but Yamaha worked very hard on the YXZ staying straight when bucking in whoops. Our 2016 YXZ SE had a good 5-mph speed advantage over the XP1K in big whoops, and the 2017’s Fox X2 shocks will surely widen that gap. Even the 2017 RZR XP Turbo tested in this issue doesn’t stay as straight as the Yamaha on Sand Highway. The Special Edition also follows deep sand ruts better than it did last year.
HOW IS IT IN ROCKS AND MUD?
Better than the 2016. The X2 shocks allow for rock crawling with the wide adjustment range, but rock crawlers will definitely want the GYTR Torque-Assist Gear kit and 30-inch Motoclaw tires. The $800 Rekluse EXP clutch also makes crawling easier. The same goes for mud monsters, who will add preload for big mud tires and will also want over-fenders ($249.99) and the Warn Vantage 3000 winch ($349.99).
WHERE IS THE YXZ1000R SE HAPPIEST?
Above 5000 rpm. It wants to be wound out in each gear, and the Fox 2.5 Podium X2 shocks widen its range of comfort to any terrain.
HOW STRONG ARE THE BRAKES?
Super strong. The YXZ1000R has two-puck calipers squeezing 245mm rotors all around, and the feel at the pedal is excellent. GYTR braided-steel front and rear brake-line kits add a stiffer feel at the pedal. Downshifting and massive engine braking also made diving into turns easier while maintaining high cornering speeds. There is also a parking brake on the console for e-brakers.
WHAT ABOUT CREATURE COMFORTS?
Most are great. Yamaha’s seats are excellent and offer full support, and the padded, tilt steering wheel doesn’t flex like some UTVs on bumps. It’s easy to see terrain over the sloped hood, despite a lower seating position than a RZR, and the lined doors are super comfortable. So is the adjustable, padded passenger grab bar, and the sun roof is awesome. The driver’s seat is adjustable. New shielding lowers but does not eliminate console heat, so your drink gets warm via the radiator and tunnel. The tilting instrument panel is great and easy to read, and the textured floor and dead pedals are nice. Noise and vibration levels in the cabin are low, but the shoulder harnesses chafe some necks (see photo for fix). A tool kit rides under the passenger-seat cushion, and the glove box and lid latch are handy.
WHAT’S OUR FINAL ANSWER?
Yamaha’s 2016 YXZ1000R was a game-changer as the first high-output sport UTV with a 998cc, triple, sequential-shift manual transmission with hydraulic clutch and highly adjustable suspension. There is even more reason to go big for 2017, as the YXZ1000R Special Edition raises the performance bar even further with industry-exclusive Fox 2.5 Podium X2 shocks that have more adjustability and adjustment range than any other extreme-sport UTV. And handling, braking, creature comforts and overall performance are all as top-shelf as the Fox X2 shocks.
2017 YAMAHA YXZ1000R SE 4X4
Engine type Liquid-cooled, 12-valve, DOHC 4-stroke
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 procedure Turn ignition key
Choke location N/A
Type Washable foam & wet paper
Access Tool-less, remove 5 Dzus, lift center console and unscrew cap
Transmission 5-speed sequential manual clutch
Reverse procedure Pull paddle on console while
pushing shifter forward
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 1,560 lb.
Bed weight limit 300 lb.
Towing limit 1,500 lb.
Frame Steel round tube
Front Dual A-arms w/ prel./ hi-low comp./reb.
Rear Dual A-arms w/ prel./hi-low comp./reb.
Front Twin-piston hydraulic discs/center pedal
Rear Twin-piston hydraulic discs/center pedal
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 Racing Blue/White, SE Black Matte/Red
Minimum recommended operator age 16
Suggested retail price $19,999, SE $21,599
Contact Yamaha Motor Corp., (800) 962-7926