The 2016 High Lifter Products ATV Mud Nationals is in the books and it seems this annual event is becoming a pilgrimage for the mud faithful. Year after year, for the last 14, the largest off road mud riding event held in the USA rolls into the sleepy little town of Jacksonville, Texas. It was a simple gathering started by High Lifter Products to get some friends for a fellowship ride. It was organized to experience the joys of riding together in the trails of Mud Creek Off Road Park.
Fuel injected ATVs are becoming the norm on showroom floors these days. We have to admit that it’s awful nice to not have to babysit a choke knob for the first few minutes of your morning warmup, and to know that our EFI equipped engines will always be running in their sweet spot regardless of temperature or elevation.
A Year in the Saddle of the Polaris Scrambler XP 1000
Holeshot Ace, Pete Bengel
I’ve often questioned the logic in large displacement ATVs - especially ones close to or north of 700lbs. on the scale. Yeah, we all like to have bragging rights when it comes to having the most horsepower, but when does it just become too much of a good thing? When Polaris released their Scrambler 1000, it was no exception to those thoughts. And even though initial ride impressions were that it was extremely nimble and forgiving for a one-liter titan of an ATV, it was still a heavy, extremely fast monster.
Yamaha Updates Our Favorite Sand Blaster, The Mighty Raptor 700R
As much as we enjoy climbing up a rocky trail or slogging through a muddy pond on a utility ATV, we’ll always be sport riders at heart. The challenge of shifting up through the gears, pitching your machine around a corner, or sailing off a jump is more intense on a sport machine, and we really like how a great sport machine can challenge your skills as much as the trail. Nothing else can match the power to weight ratio and acceleration, especially if you’re on a healthy 450cc machine, or better yet, Yamaha’s Raptor 700.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that Side-by-Sides are taking over the off road vehicle industry. Everywhere you look on the trails, the dunes, and even on the road, you see big, wide wheelbases and roll cages. In fact, SxS sales are carrying some manufacturers through tough financial times, and the manufacturers with the most going for them right now, not coincidentally, have at least one SxS model in their lineup.
As much as we like climbing over obstacles, exploring trails, and swimming through mud on a utility ATV, nothing gets us back to the roots of why we began riding in the first place like spending time on a great sport ATV. It’s riding just for the sport of it. There is no hitch for hauling around work or racks for toting hunting gear, but it is riding for no other purpose than to enjoy the moment. No company understands that better than Yamaha.
The Yamaha Raptor 250 is, hands down, one of the greatest ATVs available. It’s light, it’s reliable, it handles great, and whether it’s a teenager honing their skills or a highly experienced rider just out having fun, everyone comes back with a smile after a ride on the Raptor 250. For new sport riders, it’s perfect and the potential for this ATV is endless. Walk into any Yamaha dealership, like John Burr Cycles in Fontana, California, and for a very reasonable price, you can pick one up and have a great time tonight, tomorrow, all weekend, and for years to come.
Yamaha brought a truck load of their sport ATVs to Glamis, and I was determined to ride them all. After a great day on the awesome Raptor 700, I really didn’t want to give up the easy riding dune monster, but I thought I should get in some quality time with YFZ 450R as well.
Riding Yamaha's Sand Rocket - The Mighty Raptor 700R
Every rider that loves the dunes needs a trip to the Mecca of dune riding at least once. Southern California’s Imperial Sand Dunes, a.k.a. Glamis, is to dune riders what Fenway Park is to baseball fans; it’s the heart and soul of their sport, and until you actually go there, it’s a little difficult to understand. The Glamis Dunes are 6 miles wide and 45 miles long, running right up to and beyond the Mexican border. We were determined to ride every bit of it and Yamaha had just the vehicle to do it; the new Raptor 700R.
If you read our coverage of the stock 2011 KFX450R, you probably know that we think quite highly of the Kawasaki. It doesn’t boast show-stopper numbers as far as horsepower or suspension travel, but its great feel, performance, and overall fun factor earned it great reviews from our test riders. It was a natural on the XC course, and we even put in some surprising finishes on the MX track in bone-stock form against many highly modified 450 sport quads.