The defining trait of a great model is how well it does many different things. The sign of a great brand is the same, and nobody passes Yamaha. They continue to offer the broadest spectrum of ATVs and Side x Sides across all segments of the sport, and 2024 is a year of refinement, innovative new features, and new models, including one that is arguably the most important new model from any brand.
THE BASICS - BUILDING A FOLLOWING
It’s not about the high-end, high-dollar models some brands have concentrated practically all of their efforts on. They’re little more than the reality stars of the off-road world. The most important rule in any sport is; master the basics! Yamaha has done well to apply that concept to their off-road lineup, and in doing so they’ve appealed to the widest fan base.
No segment of the sport has introduced more new riders to off-roading than ATVs. While many ATVs are used solely for work and utility tasks, recreation is still a huge factor for ATV enthusiasts. They ride for the pure love of it. Yamaha’s ATV lineup fits the needs of both new and experienced riders perfectly, from the youngest in the family to the grandparents, and everyone in between. When creating a great riding experience Yamaha also builds a strong brand following.
THE 2024 YAMAHA ATVs – ALL HEART - PURE PERFORMANCE
The 2024 Yamaha ATV lineup is built on three primary segments, recreation & utility, sport, and youth.
HARD WORK – READY FOR PLAY - Yamaha Grizzly and Kodiak ATVs are both powerful and versatile machines that are well-suited for a variety of off-road riding conditions, and both feature 700-class, liquid-cooled, 4-stroke engines. The Kodiak lineup also features a 450cc machine which we’ve found to be extremely capable. The differences primarily come down to suspension, extra features, and overall size. The Grizzly generally gets the extra features and a suspension with more adjustment, and it’s slightly larger physically. The Kodiak addresses the work aspect of utility ATVs a little more strongly, with a simpler suspension, but it’s also a little nimbler on tight trails thanks to its overall size. Both models have comfortable seats, supremely reliable engines and CVT systems, good hauling and towing capacity, and suspension that handles rough trails easily. The Kodiak is usually priced slightly less than the Grizzly, but we recommend Yamaha’s Electronic Power Steering with both models. We’ve spent many days on both, and you really can’t go wrong with either a Kodiak or Grizzly.
PURE SPORTS - Yamahas Sport ATV Lineup is labeled under the RAPTOR name, and the mighty Raptor 700R is the flagship model. The Raptor 700 is an outstanding trail and dune machine, but we’ve raced them many times. Many of the features of the Raptor 700 come straight from the championship winning YFZ 450R, Yamaha’s racing machine. With a bigger engine the Raptor sets a little taller and with a more upright seating position for all day comfort, while the YFZ gets you into more of a charging position for attacking the track. Both the 700R and the YFZ 450R feature outstanding suspension, and the engines and chassis bristle with features all designed to deliver maximum performance and a thrilling ride. They’re the best track and trail ATVs ever built.
SOMETHING NEW – YOUTH MODELS - We mentioned Yamaha has introduced probably the most important new model of 2024. While many would argue that a new Grizzly, Raptor 250, performance Side x Side, or heavy-duty UTV would likely seem the logical choice based on technological innovation, key features, capability, or comfort, we believe the far more important characteristic would be introducing new riders to the sport. Nothing will do that more effectively than the all-new Raptor 110. Remember, it’s not the one person who will blow $50k on a flashy new model, then be out of the sport when his next distraction comes along that counts. It’s the young rider that learns a lifelong love of riding and weekends with the family that is the important one. They’ll be patrons of the sport forever. That’s the group Yamaha has tapped into with the new Raptor 110.
The Raptor 110 features the sporty styling of the Raptor 700 but in a smaller package. Designed for riders 10 years old and up, the newest Raptor features a 112cc, fuel injected, four stroke engine mated to a CVT transmission. We’re happy to see Yamaha gave the new Raptor EFI as it greatly improves starting, and electric start makes it even easier. The shocks at both ends are adjustable but because of the short A-arms travel is limited to approximately 5 inches in the front, and 5.7 inches in the rear. Still, the Raptor 110 has everything it needs to keep kids thrilled. It’s an adventure machine. The Raptor 110 isn’t the only youth model in the Yamaha lineup, however. It joins the Grizzly 90 and YFZ50 youth models. There is a miniature Yamaha for every age.
THE 2024 YXZ1000R SS – A NEW GEARBOX, AUTOSHIFT TRANSMISSION, CLUTCH and UPGRADED ELECTRONICS
Building on the already outstanding performance of the YXZ1000R and YXZ1000R SS (Sport Shift) models, Yamaha is introducing a new gearbox aimed at harnessing the power from the hi-revving, triple cylinder 999-cc engine. Designed to keep the engine in the heart of the powerband, the new 6-gear, close-ratio transmission features a gear ratio that is 40% lower in first gear while retaining all the high-speed performance we’ve come to know and love. This will be excellent for crawling through rocky sections, but equally capable of flying across open terrain. We think this will be ideal at ride areas like Utah’s Sand Hollow or any place that is a mix of terrain.
The new gearbox needed a clutch to match it and Yamahas clutch gets more efficient lubrication ports, additional cooling, and optimized YCC-S programming for smoother and faster shifting with less noise. It all makes for quicker shifting with long-term durability.
While shifting through the gears manually is a lot of fun, there are only a handful of riders on the planet who can do it as efficiently as the new automatic system on the YXZ1000R SS. Yamaha calls it their Auto-Shift Technology. It lets you concentrate on the trail while the clutch and transmission make sure you’re in the right gear for the terrain, speed, and RPMs. You can slip the transmission into one of three modes: Auto, Sport Auto, and Sport Shift on the fly from a dial on the dash. The performance characteristics of each mode are:
- Auto: This takes care of all transmission functions and provides a more recreational style of power delivery, with lower engine RPMS and higher gear selection.
- Sport Auto: As expected, this kicks up the RPMs, allowing for quick downshifts to brake heavily and then power out of corners.
- Sport Shift: This puts the transmission in full-manual mode for complete driver control. Shifting is activated through paddle shifters behind the steering wheel.
Yamaha recognized accessories such as extra lights and sound systems make considerable demand on a vehicles electrical system. To insure you don’t run out of juice the electrical system has been upgraded to provide a full 1000W on demand. If you need more than that, call the power company.
Every YXZ1000R models feature refined body styling, comfortable interiors, and Yamaha’s On-Command drive system with 2WD, 4WD limited slip, and 4WD full-differential. Electronic Power Steering delivers a good balance between feel for the terrain, precise handling, and ease of steering. All YXZ models roll out of the Newnan, Georgia factory well equipped, but the 1000R/SS comes with 29-inch, eight-ply Maxxis Bighorn tires and FOX RC2 suspension with 16.2 inches of front travel, and 17 inches in the rear from massive 32-inch-long shocks.
THE 2024 WOLVERINE X2 1000
The Wolverine has proven to be an excellent crossover machine from Yamaha, seamlessly blending a sporty ride and highly durable chassis with the ability to get a little work done around the cabin or yard. It’s Yamaha’s do-it-all Side x Side platform. For 2024 Yamaha is offering it with a long list of major upgrades all designed to enhance performance, capability, and comfort. Highlights of the new Wolverine X2 1000 include:
- A NEW ENGINE – The reliable 999cc DOHC, eight-valve, parallel-twin engine from the RMAX is used on the Wolverine X2 as well.
- All-NEW SUSPENSION - Piggyback shocks with high/low speed compression and preload adjustment feature 13.3-inches of front and 15.5-inches of rear wheel travel. Front and rear sway bars help keep the Wolverine planted and precise during aggressive cornering.
- NEW TIRES - 28-inch Maxxis Bighorn tires in a "square" setup, mounted on all-new 14-inch aluminum wheels.
- CVT RELIABILITY - Yamaha's Ultramatic CVT Transmission delivers instant power and includes their legendary 10-Year Belt Warranty.
- EPS – We love Yamaha’s power steering. It’s an excellent combination of feel for the trail with just enough input to make all day rides a breeze.
- SELECTABLE DRIVE MODES – Optional RMAX 1000-derived D-Mode can be added, providing three optimized power delivery settings (Crawl, Trail, and Sport). 2WD, 4WD limited slip, and 4WD full lock are standard on all models
- COMFORT UPGRADES – Automotive quality interior features such as soft touchpoints, LED interior lights, accessory switch and speaker cutouts, and center console storage.
- THE DUMP BED – It’s still a working Wolverine and a 600lb dump bed is ready for hauling
Every Wolverine is all about versatility. They’re made to do many jobs well but also to be comfortable for the driver and passenger. The new Wolverine X2 1000 builds on that with features derived from both the RMAX platform and strong design elements common to the automotive world. Interior spaces and surfaces have been upgraded with features like RMAX inspired throttle and brake pedals, soft padding for hands and knees, a rubber over-molded steering wheel with 17-degrees of tilt adjustment, a six-way adjustable seatbelt, and center console storage. An open gate shifter makes gear selection easy, and switches controlling various functions and accessories are placed in the center of the dash. Just ahead of the steering wheel is the digital display. As there should be, the Wolverine X2 1000 comes with plenty of storage, but accessory sealed storage can be easily added. Yamaha has a long list of accessories ready to join any of your adventures.
Thanks to its slightly compact size and relatively short wheelbase, the Wolverine X2 1000 is a natural at carving it’s way through the woods. It feels nimble but also stable and confidence inspiring, and we appreciate how easy it is to see over the hood for a great view of the trail ahead. Throttle response is crisp, with no jerky feeling through the RPM range or when the clutch backshifts, and top speed is just under 70mph. It’s plenty quick enough for a crossover machine. We expect it to be supremely durable as well. After all, it’s a Yamaha!
CAPABLE, RELIABLE, and AFFORDABLE. YAMAHA GETS IT RIGHT
Yamaha gets it. They continue to offer models with outstanding performance, excellent design and innovative features, and supreme reliability. They also realize new riders are important to the sport and continue to offer models designed to be easy to operate that instill a sense of exploration along with the thrills that the sport is all about. And did we mention affordability? They won’t require a second mortgage on your house. There is most definitely a Yamaha for all riders. Yes, Yamaha gets it. They always have.