PROJECT ATV: Fast Yamaha Raptor 700
We believe the R&D department at Yamaha sent a team of scientists back in time to capture one of the most ferocious dinosaurs around, the Raptor. It was fast, powerful and aggressive, just like the Raptor 700R, so it would make sense that they somehow mechanically enhanced the dinosaur with four wheels and produced it as one of the most iconic sport ATVs around. In terms of power and performance, you can’t easily beat a Yamaha Raptor 700R. The only way to do so is, well, to make it better by bolting on aftermarket performance parts, which is exactly what we did to our 2015 Yamaha Raptor 700R Special Edition.
We feel most riders will agree that bigger power means better fun, so that was the first step in making this Raptor even more ferocious. There are many good manufacturers to choose from, and we went with Barker’s full dual-exhaust system that has a mean grunt behind it. It isn’t too difficult to install and comes in different color choices, like the silver and blue options we picked. We also purchased some heat wrap to put on the Barker’s system near the rear suspension so the shock wouldn’t get too hot and weaken its performance. Having a higher-flowing exhaust means the engine wants more air and fuel. To increase fuel to the engine, we paired the Barker’s system with a Power Commander PC5 power programmer that lets you adjust the air-to-fuel-ratio mapping through an application on your computer.
To round out the air-to-fuel ratio, we installed a Twin Air intake kit that replaces the stock air filter and mesh filter cone with a free-flowing reusable Twin Air filter. To install the Twin Air kit you will need to drill the rivets out of the stock mesh filter cone. On top of that, we went to ProTec to get a high-flow filter airbox lid that lets in a lot of air, but helps keep dirt and dust out of the air filter. All that was needed to gain the power out of the intake and exhaust to adjust the air to-fuel mapping of the Raptor 700R engine through the Power Commander, and now the dinosaur could really stretch its powerful legs.
CONTROLLING THE 700R
When you add more horsepower to a machine, having control over it is important. We installed bolt-on parts from the top down to keep the Raptor manageable in all types of riding. For starters we hit up the guys at Renthal for a set of their ATV Racer bars, paired with their dual-compound grips. The new handlebars have a flatter feel that makes them better for more aggressive riding and gives the machine a better feel in a standing riding position. The ATV Racer bar fits in the stock bar clamp. To deflect roost and debris along the trails, we installed a set of Renthal’s handguards as well. We then picked up a set of Torc 1’s stock replacement clutch and brake levers that provide a better lever-control feel. Hand controls aren’t the only important factor in controlling an ATV. A great set of footpegs will help keep your feet planted where you need them to be, and that’s where Tusk came in. We installed a set of Tusk’s footpeg nerf bars with heel guards. The footpegs that come attached to the nerf bars extend further out than the stockers, with a kickup at the end, and the built-in aluminum heel guards stop your feet from slipping too far back off the pegs. The nerf bars also protect the Raptor from other riders’ wheels, and trail debris that can get lodged in between the feet controls. Installation on the nerfs is pretty straightforward, and the kit comes with all the hardware needed. The only difficult part was switching the rear-brake mechanism to the nerf bars. We also picked up a full-chassis skid plate from Tusk to protect the bottom of our machine from big rocks and other rough terrain. After a few hard rides we noticed the stock skid plate took some heavy damage and one of the frame mounts broke off, so a more protective skid plate was needed. Traction is key for putting the power to the ground, and Arisun XC Plus tires mounted on STI Pro-Lite Alloy rims handle that department. The front tires are 21×7-10 inches, which is a good all-around size, while the rears are 20×11-9-inch tires. They slide well in corners and grip in hardpack and softer terrain as well. You can pick up a set of STI rims at your nearest MTA dealer. The wheels we used are sized 10×5 inches up front and 9×8 inches in the rear.
RIDING THE RAPTOR
For starters, the power increase is big through the whole range, with major adds in the torque department. It’s easy to pull a power wheelie up to third gear, and you can feel and hear the grunt of the Barker’s dual-exhaust system. The Arisun tires bite well in corners and put the power to the ground in sand, dirt, mud and have solid traction over rocky desert terrain. All the parts we installed from Renthal help keep the dinosaur running in the right direction. The dual-compound grips are soft and comfortable for hours of riding, but don’t wear down quickly, and the flatter bend of the ATV Racer bars provide a better feel when attacking all types of terrain. We kept the suspension stock on our 2015 Yamaha Raptor 700R because it didn’t need upgrades. In stock form the shocks have spring preload, high- and low-speed compression, as well as rebound adjustments. We set the suspension to factory settings first, and then upped the high- and low-speed compression settings a few clicks in the front. Before, the Raptor felt like it would dive into turns and blow through the shock travel over highspeed rough sections. We left the rest of the settings alone, and the 700 maintained a plush feel over the rough stuff, yet didn’t bottom out easily with jumps and hard landings. We like to ride all year round and do a lot of nighttime adventures during the hot months of the year. Being able to see properly at night is a must for us, so we went to Lazer Star Lights to pick up a 10-watt, 4000lumen, 10-inch spot LED light bar with a 2.5-inch drop plate to mount onto the handlebars of the Raptor. It is very bright, with a beam that extends a few hundred feet into the dark. We paired the spotlight bar with two 4-LED, 3-watt floodlights that we mounted into the stock Yamaha lights position. This gave us a good spread of light to the sides of the trail that the spotlight wasn’t pointing at. The Lazer Star lights cut right through the dark and gave us excellent visibility. We tapped into the light connectors from the stock headlights to run the Lazer Star lights, which made it so we could use the original light switch.
ROUND IT OUT
Even though dinosaurs are extinct, the Velociraptor lives on today through Yamaha’s Raptor 700R. Our upgraded machine is faster, more powerful and handles better with easy-to-install aftermarket parts. The last order of business we tended to was installing a custom-made graphics kit to our Raptor 700R Special Edition that matched the black, red and white colors of the frame and plastics. Redlabel Graphics added a Yamaha blue twist that we continued on with the accent colors of the parts we installed. If you want to bring out more of your machine’s potential, these companies make great products for your ride at reasonable prices.
ARISUN TIRES: www.psatireandwheel.com; (714) 893-3311; XC Plus front: $76.95 each. XC Plus rear:$95.95 each
www.barkersexhaust.com; (989) 269-6921; Big-bore dual exhaust: $895.00
LAZER STAR: www.lazerstarlights.com; (800) 624-6234. Ten-inch 10W spot 4-LED handlebar kit 2.5-inch drop: $419.99 per pair. Four-inch Endeavor 3W flood 4 LED: $189.99
POWER COMMANDER: www.powercommander.com; (800) 992-4993; PCV fuel and ignition: $399.95
PRO-TEC: www.pro-tec.us; (951) 698-8988; MoFlow airbox lid: $85.95
REDLABEL GRAPHICS: www.redlabel.mx; (951) 852-7185; custom kit
RENTHAL: www.renthal.com; (877) 736-842; ATV Racer bar: $79.95. Handguards: $39.95. ATV dual-compound grip: $15.95
STI: www.stitireandwheel.com; Pro-Lite Alloy front: $70.04 each. Pro-Lite Alloy rear: $67.03 each
TORC 1: www.torc1racing.com; (661) 505-7114; ATV brake lever: $21.99. ATV clutch lever: $9.99
TWIN AIR: www.twinairusa.com; (800) 749-2890; PowerFlow kit: $99.95
TUSK: www.rockymountainatvmc.com; (800) 336-5437; footpeg nerfbar with heel guard: $179.99/ Full chassis skid plate: $74.99