We haven’t made much of a secret about the fact that the Yamaha Raptor 250 is about as much fun as humans should be allowed to have. Get them in multiples and hilarity can ensue. Two is almost a minimum, but three or more is ideal. As fun as the little Raptor is for the man-size staffers, for the youth and lady riders it is actually designed for, the suspension can be choppy. Light riders are looking for something that will make the front of the machine soak up the terrain a little better.
DON’T MESS UP THE PRICE
One of the joys of the Raptor is the reasonable price, and we didn’t want to inflate that too much, so we shopped around for a budget option. We found that there isn’t any cheap option but the Works Performance A-T Steelers S1 steel-bodied shocks, which are $559 a pair. Works claims that the A-T-series shocks are the best-selling ATV shocks, and no doubt the reasonable price and custom quality are the reason for that. These shocks use a billet steel body with dual-rate, preload-adjustable springs. There are no reservoirs or damping adjusters. You have to trust that the magic formulas that Works uses to build custom shocks are on the money. For us, the install was a slam dunk. With no reservoirs or lines to deal with, they went right on. The difference was simply amazing. You just don’t feel the chop any longer. Rock litter might as well be pavement. As plush as the action is, you would think they would bottom easily, but that wasn’t the case.
SAFETY AND BUILD
Just the look of the shocks gave some of the riders a confidence boost, but for lighter riders, the action made all the difference. The closest riding area to our office is crazy with rocks, ruts and hard clay dirt—hardly the best terrain for a sport quad. With the Works shocks, the little Raptor was magic. The front end eats the terrain junk, and the bar never wants to tear at your grip. Youth riders had to get used to a little more weight transfer on cambers, but we dialed that in with the preload wrench that comes with the shocks. In the interest of conserving the value nature of the machine, we changed only the front shocks. The difference was so instant and the praise so unanimous that we can only imagine if we had a matching rear shock.
Works doesn’t keep ATV shocks on the shelf. You order them, and they build the shock exactly to suit your needs. If the rider grows or gets faster, Works can upgrade the settings. The shocks have a lot of time on them now, and they are still working great. Naturally, Works has shocks for almost all ATVs and UTVs if you don’t have a Raptor.
It is a shame that more youth riders do not get the chance to experience good suspension. We had riders who vastly improved their riding after we installed the shocks. They were not just faster, but more in control. That is money well-spent. You can call Works Performance at (818) 701-1010 or order from the website at www.worksperformance.com.