Yamaha YXZ1000R SS – The West Coast Sequel
Just to be sure we weren’t jumping the gun declaring our high praise for the 2019 Yamaha YXZ1000R SS, we thought we should put the industry’s newest Sport SxS to the test in a completely different environment… in the desert. It was actually Yamaha’s idea to bring us out West to see just how versatile the new YXZ was and to demonstrate how it performs in a variety of situations and terrain.
In our recent review of the YXZ SS, after beating it up on the arduous Alabama red clay trails, you’ll recall we put the Yammer “through its paces and pretty much beat the crap out of it”. This was not an understatement. However, as tough as the conditions were in Alabama, the terrain at Johnson Valley OHV in southern California where the infamous “King of the Hammers” off-road race takes place, is in a league of its own. Johnson Valley OHV has some of the gnarliest terrain imaginable while mixing in sandy dune areas, massive inclines, aggressive whoops and hard packed wide-open stretches. In terms of testing an off-road vehicle, you really can’t find a better place to see what it’s made of.
Rubber Meats the Road
As mentioned in the previous article, Yamaha upgraded the 2019 YXZ SS with specially designed 29-inch Bighorn Original tires. We found they worked just as well in the desert, especially when we needed extra ground clearance navigating over some of the ridiculously big rocks and ruts.
In combination with top-notch FOX gas shocks, the Bighorn Originals deserve serious kudos as there wasn’t a single sidewall puncture or issue among the dozen or so riders pounding rubber into dagger-like, rock edges all day long.
Yamaha also let us ride a YXZ equipped with EFX Moto Hammer tires on KMC wheels. These slightly larger and squarer, 8-ply beauties with bead locks offer even more durability and work nicely with stock gearing. Although there was a noticeable difference in feel between the two types of tires in this terrain (not better, just different), for the significant price bump to purchase the Moto Hammers and rims, our recommendation is to save the cash and stick with the Bighorn Originals the YXZ SS comes with.
Just like our testing in Alabama, we were tickled with the SS’s low-end torque for traversing the more challenging terrain and when the path was clear to let ‘er rip, flicking the paddle through the gears was silky smooth and provided white-knuckled acceleration.
As promised, we were able to wind it out on a short stretch of smoother, hard-packed soil and it didn’t take long to get to 70-mph! If there had been more room on the horizon, we can confidently say 80-mph would have easily been reachable. However, the sandy composition of the terrain and regular jarring surprises in the sand left this test pilot a little uneasy at that velocity.
We’ve already discussed the changes to the 2019 YXZ SS: A new gauge cluster relocation, reduced cabin heat and the relocation of the radiator to the rear of the vehicle.
Another thing we appreciated after putting in some serious seat time is the overall roominess of the interior. This YXZ can comfortably accommodate larger and taller riders as there is plenty of legroom even with the seat moved just half way back. Feeling cramped or pinned-in during a long haul can take away from the riding experience, especially when the landscape is as challenging as this and the climate so unforgiving.
You’ll also appreciate improved visibility over the front end of the YXZ SS. When you can see the ground in front of you clearly, you ride with more confidence and experience less fatigue.
Riding the Yamaha YXZ1000R SS on both sides of the United States not only gave us the chance to test the vehicle in two very different environments but it further demonstrated the exceptional ruggedness of this Yamaha. Riding the King of the Hammers route aggressively for hours at a time in a fleet of stock YXZ1000R SS’s without a single mechanical issue speaks volumes. Durability is just one more area Yamaha claims the advantage in the Sport SxS market. When you’re dishing out big dollars, knowing you’ll be spending more time in the seat and less time wrenching should be music to your ears.
More Like This
UPCOMING DIRTTRAX AIRTIMES
LATEST VIDEOS View All
Closer Look at the 2020 Defender 6x6 and Pro
January 2, 2020
In a special edition of TEST RIDE, Luke does a deep dive into Can-Am’s 2020 Defender line-up ...
ITP Tenacity XSR & XNR Tire Overview
January 1, 2020
AJ's in the TRAIL TECH shop giving you an overview of ITP’s newest premier high-performance ...
First Ride on The 2020 CFMOTO CForce 1000 2-Passenger ATV
December 31, 2019
Thanks to an early snowfall at home, Luke loads up the trailer and heads to Gopher Dunes riding ...
Dirt Trax TV 2019 - Episode 19 Preview
December 23, 2019
Coming up on the next episode of Dirt Trax TV...
Marlon's Explore Pro II Deck For Hauling Your SXS
December 26, 2019
AJ shows-off Marlon’s Explore Pro II sled deck equipped with the SxS Riser kit. It’s a marriage ...
Top Gear View All
December 23, 2019
New Mirror for Yamaha Wolverine & YXZ1000R
A new Yamaha center mirror and mounting bracket are available for Wolverine X2/X4 and YXZ1000R and SS models, providing superior optical ...
Ask Motorhead View All
April 18, 2017
WILDCAT TRAIL VS. WILDCAT SPORT
Would you be happier with a Wildcat Trail or would you go for a Wildcat Sport if you had your choice?
Headlines View All
February 5, 2020
Can-Am Rules the 2020 King of the Hammers
Can-Am Maverick X3 Racers Swept the Podium in what’s considered the world’s most grueling one-day race
Tourism View All
November 17, 2017
WIN AN OFF-ROAD FAMILY ADVENTURE GETAWAY
Win an Off-Road Family Adventure Getaway at Spearhead Trails in beautiful Southwest Virginia.