— Grizzlies, Raptors, Wolverines, YXZs, Kodiaks & more! — 

By the staff of Dirt Wheels

Yamaha’s potent YXZ1000R and YXZ1000R SS have proven themselves in racing, and they are embraced by drivers who like to run hard and fast. Trail drivers have been less enthusiastic, but that could change in 2019. Both machines are essentially new. In terms of performance, the engine is the same, but internally, it has new connecting rods. Adding a turbo or supercharger to the Yamaha has required new, stronger connecting rods. To make installation of the new CARB-certified GYTR turbo kit easier, the engine comes stock with the upgraded rods.

There are changes to the bodywork and styling, but most were needed for Yamaha relocating the radiator to the rear of the machine to keep the radiator away from mud and debris. Yamaha adopted a lower seat-mounting location to add room for the driver and drop the car’s center of gravity.


While engine performance is not changed, the gear ratios are. First gear is 24 percent lower, and the remaining four gears are 7 percent lower. For the SS (Sport Shift) auto-clutch version, the half-clutch engagement time is shortened to minimize heat and wear on the clutch. Yamaha also changed from 27-inch tires to 29-inch ones, so the net change for the top four gears could be about even.

To control those tires, Yamaha completely upgraded the suspension. Spring rates, shock internals and shock valving are all changed. The threads on the shock bodies have spring protectors as well. The goal was adding ride comfort without compromising high-speed handling. Other enhancements are larger wheel bearings, bigger brake calipers, larger rotors, a larger master cylinder and stainless steel brake lines.

All of Yamaha’s changes to the YXZ are welcome, though we worry that the gearing changes are not great enough. We tested a 2018 YXZ with Yamaha’s GYTR gear kit that was 70 percent lower in first and 30 percent lower in all other gears. It worked extremely well with 30-inch tires. It appears Yamaha was committed to keeping the same top speed, so they did not opt for the lower gearing.

Dune running is a blast with the YXZ1000R. It should be even better with lower gearing and 29-inch tires.


All 2019 Yamaha sport UTVs, like the YXZ1000Rs and Wolverine X2 and X4, accept (and the Wolverine X2 R-Spec SE comes pre-wired for) Yamaha’s exclusive Adventure Pro GPS system, unlocking the next level of trail-ready navigation. Combining high-precision GPS with social integration and vehicle information, the Adventure Pro system redefines “state of the art.” Magellan sells a similar GPS for all models, but only the Yamaha version has a mode that lets you establish a “lap.” Once you set the starting point, you can repeat the course. The Adventure Pro will track the times, speed and all engine specs. This is an amazing tool for testing settings or new equipment.

The new-for-2018 Wolverine X4 is back. It remains a quiet, comfortable four-seater that crushes tight trails.


The all-new Yamaha Wolverine X2 has all the occupant-friendly features of the new-in-2018 Wolverine X4. Look for a full test of the X2 on page 30 Available immediately, the Wolverine X2 starts at $12,699. The Wolverine X2 R-Spec with KYB piggyback shocks, hard suntop, over-fenders and cast-aluminum wheels is $14,499. The camouflage model is available in a new Realtree Edge pattern for $14,949. Wolverine X2 R-Spec Special Edition (SE) models are $15,299.

The 2019 Wolverine X4 is designed to conquer tight, technical trails. Smooth, ultra-quiet power comes from a 847cc twin-cylinder engine, while a compact, nimble chassis cradles a versatile cab with stow-away full-size rear seats for expanded cargo capacity when needed.

In addition to seating up to four adults, the Wolverine X4 is rated for a full 2000 pounds of towing. Tech features include On-Command 4WD, Ultramatic CVT and speed-sensitive EPS. Self-leveling rear shocks provide a plush ride as well as help maintain ground clearance. There is a true full-hard-cab option.

All Wolverine X4 models include over-fenders and cast-aluminum wheels. Standard color options include Ridge Red ($16,449) and Realtree Edge ($16,899). Special Edition models are $17,249.

It takes a big dune to stop a Raptor 700. It is fast without demanding high revs.


Yamaha’s lineup also includes the Viking and Viking VI utility vehicles with three- and six-seat cabins, a 600-pound dump bed and a 1500-pound towing capacity. Viking models feature an Ultramatic fully automatic transmission, On-Command 2WD/4WD with full diff-lock and EPS. Motivation is from a 686cc single-cylinder engine.

All three-seat Viking models come with a hard suntop. The standard Viking is $11,999 without EPS, with EPS it’s $12,999, and EPS plus Realtree Edge is $13,899. The Special Edition is $13,999 and a Ranch Edition $14,199.

The standard Viking VI is $13,999, and Realtree Edge is $14,899. The Viking VI Ranch Edition runs for $15,599.

Yamaha has introduced the most radically changed YXZ1000R ever. It gets stronger connecting rods, improved suspension, lower gearing and a rear-mounted radiator.


Changes are minimal for the popular Grizzly 700 4×4 quad. It gets cast-aluminum wheels, and it is available in Ridge Red and Alpine White for $9899, an all-new Realtree Edge Camo pattern jumps to $10,299, and an SE sells for $10,499.

Yamaha’s 2019 Kodiak 700 offers performance, comfort and utility at a really great price. It is powered by Yamaha’s legendary 700-class, single-cylinder, liquid-cooled engine, so it has more than 1300 pounds of towing capacity, a 110-pound front-rack capacity and 198-pound rear-rack capacity.

Yamaha’s Grizzly is a great sport 4×4. For 2019, it gets new colors, wheels and tires.

The Kodiak 700 is $6999, and Fall Beige with Realtree Edge runs for $7299. Kodiak 700 models equipped with EPS are $8599, $8799 with aluminum wheels, $9199 in Realtree Edge with aluminum wheels and an SE is $9299.

The new-in-2018 Kodiak 450 mid-size utility ATV returns for 2019. The Kodiak 450 combines Yamaha’s durability and reliability with accurate handling. Powered by a 421cc fuel-injected engine, it features a compact-chassis mid-size ATV customers will appreciate, along with a roomy riding position to comfortably accommodate even larger riders. Yamaha lists no changes.

The Kodiak 450 is $5999, and Fall Beige with Realtree Edge Camo is $6299. EPS 450 models are $6999 to the SE at $7599.

Yamaha’s Raptor 700 versions remain the hottest-selling sport quads. It is fast and easy to ride.


The Raptor 700 and Raptor 700R’s combination of power, handling and trail/dune-conquering performance keep it a favorite in sport ATV circles. The Raptor’s hybrid steel-aluminum frame is complemented by Yamaha’s YZ-style fully adjustable piggyback shocks.

The Raptor 700 is $7999, but we think the Raptor 700R with better suspension is worth the additional cost at $8599 or even the Raptor 700R SE (MSRP $9199).

The YFZ450R is the most technologically advanced sport ATV in the market, and it most likely would be even if it was not the only surviving production sport 450 quad. It combines a high-tech, quick-revving, titanium-valve, 449cc fuel-injected engine with a lightweight, professional-caliber cast-aluminum/steel chassis.

Yamaha’s Raptor 700 versions remain the hottest-selling sport quads. It is fast and easy to ride.

Suspension components and settings reduce weight while providing agile, performance-pointed handling and rider comfort. An assist-and-slipper clutch reduces clutch lever effort for less fatigue. This clutch system also reduces engine-braking effect, particularly when downshifting.

Yamaha’s Grizzly 700 looks great, has compliant suspension and the engine has plenty of juice.

The YFZ450R is $8999. The YFZ450R SE with a GYTR front grab bar is $9399.

The Raptor 90 brings the world of sport ATVs to riders ages 10 and up. It is equipped with an 89.9cc engine and CVT transmission, providing versatility on the trails. Additional features include single-A-arm front suspension, mono-shock swingarm rear suspension and 18-inch tires. The 2019 Raptor 90 runs for $2899.

Yamaha’s Kodiak 450 4×4 manages to combine a compact size with a roomy riding position.

The $2099 YFZ50 introduces the fun and exciting world of sport ATVs to riders ages 6 and up. Designed to meet Yamaha’s style and industry-leading performance standards, the electric-start YFZ50 mounts a 49.4cc engine and CVT transmission on a lightweight chassis. Supervisory controls include adjustable rpm and throttle limiters, as well as a tether switch capable of shutting off the engine with a pull-string.

Youth have not been forgotten. The Raptor 50 and 90 should please any budding off-road enthusiast.

For more information on Yamaha UTVs and quads, go to www.yamahamotorsports.com or search “Yamaha Outdoors” on social media channels.

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