Yamaha Raptor 250

A full-face helmet is a must on a Yamaha Raptor 250; otherwise, you will get bugs and mud in your teeth because you won’t be able to stop smiling, grinning, giggling, snickering or just plain hooting at the moon. But fun is totally addicting, and we always want more. For this first stage in modifying the little monster, we didn’t want to go crazy. One of the things that makes us smile about the baby Raptor is the price, so it doesn’t make sense to spend a Rhino-bed full of bucks on it. We were looking for more performance without making the bike harder to ride or to love.

Yamaha Raptor 250


This all sort of started with tires. The stock Duro tires slide super easy and predictably, but they are on the slippery side. And as we found out, if you have kids on the bike (of all ages) that find every possible excuse to throw it sideways, you can fry the rear tires off before you need to clean the air filter. Yamaha chose a rear tire that is low profile and 19 inches tall rather than the standard 20-inch rear used on most sport quads. Those aren’t that easy to find, so we mounted Maxxis Razr Xc 20×11-9 cross-country competition tires on the rear. We used the same brand and model on the front, but went with 21×7-10s. The fronts are directional. These are high-end tires developed for racing, and the suggested retail price of $169.99 for the rears and $173.99 for the fronts reflects that. The street price can be a little lower, and we saw them on the Rocky Mountain ATV/MC site for around $110 each. The tires had the desired effect—the traction was awesome in every terrain condition, and they are wearing great as well. It is a little harder to break the rear end loose, and the gearing seemed a little tall, so we decided that instead of changing the gearing, we would look for more power.

Yamaha Raptor 250


We hated to lose the quiet of the stock exhaust, but knew that was where the easiest power increase would come from. We opted for a Looney Tuned exhaust and were impressed with the stainless and aluminum design. Rather than a straight or even a stepped header, the mid-section is welded up from stampings, and it tapers like a baby megaphone until it reaches the muffler canister. The pipe mounted easily, and all of the hardware fit perfectly. Unfortunately, to work well, the carburetor needs to be rejetted. Looney Tuned includes a main jet, but we wanted to go with a more complete jetting scenario. We opted for a Dynojet jet kit and chose a Stage 2 setting that would allow removing the airbox lid for better breathing. The directions were great, and the kit was super complete with quality parts. The problem is that the Raptor is a tightly packed, little unit, and by the time you get the carb out to remove the float bowl, you are down to the frame, engine, wheels and suspension. Trust us and take pictures as you go so you remember which of the five or six types of bolts and rivets go where. The good thing is that the kit let us hit a clean and responsive setting the first time. Sweet! We did not want to do that again right away.


We wanted a little more grip traction, so we slipped on, literally, a set of A’ME bolt-on quad grips. Nothing could be easier. Cut off the old grips and slide on the new ones. A single Allen bolt locks them to the bar, and the wrench is included. We were ride-ready in two minutes. Finally, in case we did some track riding, we added a front bumper from PRM Products. We have rarely had an aftermarket part fit more perfectly. The install was instant and effortless, but now it will be tougher to tangle wheels with another quad.

Yamaha Raptor 250


Even though we had a pretty good idea of how the bike would work, it was satisfying to find that everything worked as advertised. The engine starts easily and runs cleanly without generating heat. The pipe and open airbox keep the response snappy down low like stock, but it pulls harder in the mid and top rpm ranges. Since the engine revs quicker, you do hit the rev limiter easier, and, of course, you notice the cut-out sound with the pipe. When we chose the jetting specs from the Dynojet worksheet, we selected a setting for no airbox cover. For fun, we tried riding the machine with the cover in place. It was still fast, but the jetting was far too rich. Removing the cover transformed the quad. There is no need to change gearing for the tires. The engine pulls the tires fine and spins them when needed.

Yamaha Raptor 250

What has always been a fun machine is now generating even wider grins. Even though we ordered the pipe with the quiet core and the spark arrestor, our backyard riding sessions are over, but the sound level is reasonable, and we remain spark legal. We’ll just have to keep trying to wear these Maxxis Razr Xc tires out. Maybe then we will go to the next level!

Parts List
A’ME:, (702) 690-2993
Clamp-on ATV 1.2 Tri grips    $24.95

PRM Products:, (541) 665-3808
Front bumper    $99.95

Looney Tuned Exhaust: www.lte, (707) 485-7438
Stainless/aluminum full system w/quiet core and SA    N/A

Maxxis Tires: or see your dealer
Razr Xc tires    $440

See our shootout between a Raptor 250, Honda 250x and a Polaris Trailblazer 330 HERE.

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