Yamaha Sport Quads
Yamaha is the only brand left making this classic style of sport quad. Others, like Polaris, still make fast machines like the 89 horsepower Sportsman XP 1000. However, if you want a classic sport ATV with a manual transmission, these two are your options.
Yamaha invited us out to Oregon to test both ATVs back to back so that we could compare.
Yamaha Raptor 700R
Yamaha’s Raptor is the bigger displacement sport quad in the lineup. Its 686cc engine is a simple SOHC unit, but torquey nonetheless. Hooked to a 5-speed manual transmission, the Raptor also offers a reverse gear to help you out of tricky spots.
The base Raptor 700 comes in at just $8,799 and features simple suspension with only preload adjustment. For $9,399, you can upgrade to the 700R and get high and low speed compression adjustments and rebound adjustability. Both front and rear shocks feature piggyback reservoirs and 9.1″ travel in front and 10.1″ rear.
The Special Edition Raptor 700R gets special graphics and a GYTR front grab bar. At $9,999, the 700R SE doesn’t get much extra equipment, but it stands out visually.
Despite the smaller displacement, Yamaha’s YFZ450R feels like the more extreme machine. 5 titanium valves per cylinder make the most of its 449cc DOHC engine. The 450 is also 3.3 inches wider than the Raptor and 17lbs lighter. Though, part of the weight savings is likely due to its lack of a reverse gear.
The $9,799 YFZ450R is the least expensive 450 model you can get. Unlike the Raptor, there is no reduced suspension package for a more entry level trim. Every version of the 450 has full adjustability and piggybacks like the Raptor 700R, but with even more travel. 9.8″ in the front and 11″ in the rear. The YFZ450R is also available in a Special Edition with unique graphics and front grab bar for $10,199.
So Which Yamaha Sport Quad Is Best?
The Raptor has torque no matter what gear you’re in. That makes it easier to get used to. The 700 power plant requires very little attention to produce a lot of thrust. The 450, on the other hand, has to be in the right gear at all times. It outright refuses to work hard at low RPM. Once you wring it out though, the YFZ is arguably even more satisfying than the Raptor.
The YFZ’s wide stance and extra travel make it easy to hustle around corners at any speed. Easier than the Raptor, though neither quad is a slouch by any stretch of the imagination.
Having a reverse gear makes the Raptor 700R the more versatile ATV, with an easier powertrain for exploring any terrain. The YFZ450R has the extra stability to go harder, and it constantly tugs at the leash like a true race machine. Their pricing is similar, but their temperaments are very different. Either way you go, you really can’t go wrong with a Yamaha sport quad.