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.
Triumph Raptor 250 on the Track
Like everything ever built, there are ways to customize your Raptor and make it even better, and one company that has done a fantastic job with the Raptor 250 is Triumph Motorsports, out of Corona, California. With top local Raptor 250 racers, Jerry, and Christian Maldonado, Triumph has educated itself
on the Raptor 250, and whether you are looking for a few simple bolt-on parts or a full build, Triumph has you covered. All build projects start with a base machine, but rather than doing everything at once, most riders prefer to build in stages, adding parts as their skills progress.
Years of National Championships and "Motor Builder of the Year" awards make Curtis Sparks a household name in the ATV industry, and adding a few things at a time, like a pipe from Curtis Sparks, UNI air filter, Dyno jet kit and removing the air box lid, are the first steps in Triumph’s Raptor 250 build project. These give the Raptor 250 more power to get over bigger jumps and roost out of corners. The shorter and smoother pipes from Sparks create less air turbulence and let the motor breath better.
Next up were normal ATV frame and chassis upgrades. This meant extended travel A-Arms and a longer axle from Lonestar Racing, Shocks from Fox Racing, and a gusset kit from Texiera Racing. These products give the Raptor 250 added frame strength, more width, better travel and improved handling. Triumph chose Fox and LSR for the knowledge and years of experience they bring to the table. Front Fox Evols are perfect for kids because they are sprung by air, so there is no need to send your shocks back should your kids have a growth spurt. They are also some of the lightest shocks on the market which means there is no power loss from dragging around a much heavier set of oil-filled shocks. Checking the air pressure in the FOX shocks is simple and easy; all you need for adjustment is a pump and an air gauge. Both Jerry and Christian check shock air pressure before each race.
LONE STAR RACING has been in the ATV racing game forever, and they make a long travel DC4 set up for the Raptor 250 that not only helps with overall stability, but it offers more wheel travel as well. Combined with the FOX shocks, the DC4 A-arms offer a more comfortable and forgiving ride. At the rear, a LSR Axcaliber extended axle increases stability in the corners and lets the Raptor 250 turn like it is on rails.
To help with control and arm fatigue, the Triumph boys run Fasst Flexx bars to help with any sudden jarring. Rubber cushions in the FASST FLEXX bars help isolate vibration rather than transmitting the shock into the rider’s hands and wrists. They also run a PRECISION steering stabilizer. Precision stabilizers can save you from "snap back" from the bars or even a high speed wobble in the handlebars that can lead to a nasty swap or even a crash. The stabilizer from Precision will keep your bars where they belong, in your hands. Finally, Triumph also uses an Anti-vibe stem from LONESTAR RACING. It’s a little more costly, but when arm fatigue stops you from continuing the race, it will seem priceless! To keep you on the seat, Triumph went with Quad Tech's non slip top and rubber grip on the side.
Triumph has developed a few low cost, but highly effective mods of their own. The first is installing a chain guide to the stock swing arm. Triumph marks the required spot for the guide and drills two holes big enough for 8mm nuts to be welded on, then mounts a TRX450 TM design works chain guide. The reason for this is the Raptor has a bad leverage point in the swing arm design. In stock condition, at full extension the chain loosens up, while at full compression, the chain gets very tight; it’s often tight enough to break the motor mounts. When adjusting the chain on the Raptor 250, you must set the adjustment with the rear suspension compressed so that the swingarm is parallel to the ground. At a compressed state, you want 3/4" of movement in the chain. Without the chain guide, this type of adjustment will leave the chain extremely loose and have the potential to come off during riding.
One of the worst things to happen during a ride or a race is to lose a chain and Blingstar's Sprocket and rotor guards are a must for WORCS racing, or for practically any off-road riding. The guards from Blingstar are a lighter, stronger and more efficient way to guard your rotor or sprocket from damage. They’ll keep going after an impact that would likely bend a skid plate.
Now that the Raptor 250 is seeing faster lap times, it's time to get better tires and wheels. Triumph went with STI tires and wheels. The newly designed Tech 4 tires hook up great for these mid-size ATVs. The STI beadlock wheels are overkill for normal riding, but you must finish a race to win, and at WORCs races with 50 minute laps, reliability is critical. Your tire may go flat, but it will still be on the bead and you’ll still be going forward.
For a unique look, graphics and sticker kits can take your machine from plain Jane to Joe Racer in an instant. No doubt the Triumph Raptors look great! For their machines, Triumph uses SSI decals which are fast, reliable, and VERY affordable!
As a final part of the build project, Triumph went into the motor with porting from NGR, a CP high compression piston, and an aftermarket cam. The motor additions make the Raptor 250 get up and sing, peaking at about 30HP. Another trick Triumph uses is a 33mm FCR carb. The FCR opens the air flow, forcing more fuel into the motor, which causes quicker and faster throttle response. This carb can be found on a CRF150 motorcycle and is a huge asset to the motor. There are required mods to make this carb fit in the Raptor, but for $149, Triumph will get it done for you.
Before Triumph sends any rider out onto the track, they make sure they’re fitted and equipped with proper safety equipment. We’ve been wearing quite a bit of FLY RACING gear for our riding this year, regardless of the machine, and Triumph really likes the FLY gear as well. FLY makes some excellent helmets that not only look great but, more importantly, protect your nugget, and they’ve got you covered from head to toe with everything else you need. Excellent vision is a must so Triumph trusts EKS Brand goggles to keep all the dirt out of your eyes and focused on the terrain, but there is one piece of gear that is relatively new to the market, but a very welcome added level of protection.
The LEATT Brace was designed to prevent neck injuries. LEATT likes to say it is, "The helmet for your neck." While the braces aren’t cheap, it is far, far better than any neck injury or physical therapy. Check out Leatt's website for more information and instructional videos on the brace. In our opinion, they’re worth every penny.
JERRY and CHRISTIAN - The Raptor Pilots
Jerry and Christian Maldonado are the ideal riders for the Yamaha Raptor 250. They’re young (14 and 12), it fits them perfectly, and both are honing their skills on a sporty machine they can handle rather than being perched unsafely on a larger, more powerful machine. Jerry and Christian aren’t just trail rides though; they’re also highly experienced racers. In fact, Jerry currently leads points in the Production 250 Sport class, and is top 3 in the Production 250 class at the WORCS series.
Christian Maldonado has worked his way onto the Podium at WORCS events also this season, often times against riders twice his age. Coming off mini racing machines that required four times the maintenance and were only half as reliable, the Raptor 250 has been a welcome change. Less time in the shop means more track time for the Maldonado boys, and both are aiming for the top. A big part of that reliability has been through TRIUMPH.
Both of the Maldonado boys take their racing seriously, and that extends to off the track as well. They even have a fitness routine with resistance training, proper diet, and exercises to improve reaction time, endurance, and hand strength. Lots of riding time is included (sometimes riding 8 motos a day)! We’re also very happy to report that as a condition of their riding privileges, Jerry and Christian are not allowed to lag behind in school and both are honor roll students. They are also required to maintain their machines and the pair eagerly service, maintain and rebuild their own quads throughout the year. So far there have been no DNF's due to lack of preparation. Thankfully, the Raptor 250 is easy to maintain as well. The boys also clean, prep, and load the trailer before every race, and the pair are very hard working and dedicated young men learning not only how to ride, but many of life’s valuable lessons along the way. They make us and Triumph Motorsport proud!
A New Raptor
The Raptor 250 turns, jumps, and handles like a dream, largely due to the ergonomics and suspension. Four stroke engine technology means there is no guessing with fuel either; just put in the gas and go. With minor servicing of the air filter and oil changes, this recreation based 4 stroke motor can last for years and probably decades. We can’t wait to see where Jerry and Christian go with theirs!
Where to go for Parts
All of the parts and services used on this Yamaha Raptor 250 build project, and on Jerry and Christian’s machine can be obtained through Triumph Motorsports. They’ve got tons of experience building Yamaha Raptors, and whether you are a casual, weekend trail rider or a hard core racer, they can get you headed in the right direction. They can even offer sponsorship advice and help with parts discounts.
Fox Shock front and rear: $2299
LSR Long Travel Arms: $520
LSR Steering Stem: $349
LSR Axle :$410
Fasst Flexx handle bars: $349
Bling Star Nerfs/Heal Guards: $349
Bling Star Sprocket & Rotor Guard: $349
STI Tires/Wheels: $799
Precision Stabilizer: $549
SSI graphics: $149
For more info on the Raptor 250 built or any other products, call:
Triumph Motorsports 951-898-0272 Triumphmotorsports.com