With the growing poularity of side-x-sides and the versatility of a sport utility ATV, the pure sport market just isn’t as red-hot as it used to be.
These ATVs are still a ton of fun though and if you’re not a racer or not interested in throwing down full pop for the latest and greatest, here’s a look at three late models that you might come across if you’re in the market for used iron.
2009 Yamaha YFZ450R
EFI was added to Yamaha’s 450R mill in 2009, which was a warmly welcomed update. We’re big fans of EFI and all the benefits that come along with it.
When riding the YFZ in first gear though, its EFI seems to stumble a little and feels like it’s starving for fuel. However, as soon as you rev it up and dump the clutch, everything changes.
The YFZ hits hard down low and propels you forward blindingly fast, spinning the tires like dynamos while trying to grip earth. The tires are oversized compared to the others in this class and model year and don’t leave a particularly good impression. A more aggressive tread pattern and stiffer sidewall would be better for racing so you might need a different set of tires to be competitive.
Mid range on the YFZ is where things really start to gleam. The EFI system seems to be happiest in third gear where it makes buttery smooth power at any throttle position. The shift to fourth doesn’t cause the motor to stumble or feel sluggish and as long as you keep on the throttle, it continues strong through fifth.
While we typically only use third or fourth gear on the track, we were impressed with the quality of the power produced in these gears; no stumbling or fat fuel blubbering and as far as power goes, we never found ourselves looking for more.
The Yamaha’s seating position is very tall and gives you an attack style view of what’s ahead. The roomy foot pegs and long seat mean you can crowd the gas tank in a hard corner or slide way back when getting some air.
While the seated position is near perfect for taller riders, the standing position leaves you hunched over. A set of bar risers will fix this but it would be nice if the bars were a little taller.
Entering and apexing sharp berms is comfortable but a little squishy thanks to the bigger balloon-like tires on the YFZ. Not to sound like a broken record, but again a smaller set of race rubber would really help cut under and get through tight twisties with ease and truthfully, new rubber is probably one of the first things you’d buy after picking up a used ATV anyways.
Getting the YFZ airborne is easy and confidence inspiring. Once in the air, the slightest turn of the bars and pushing with your feet will tweak the pitch and move the YFZ around.
When re-entering the atmosphere crooked or when landing off-camber, inputs are smooth and don’t produce a pitchy feeling. While this all sounds good, it’s very likely that with a smaller set of stiffer race tires, the YFZ would feel more aggressive on tweaked landings.
The Yamaha features piggybacks with both high and low speed compression adjustability plus rebound clicker knobs offering the highest level of adjustability and performance. The rear end works great through the bumps.
High speed and low speed compression adjusters plus rebound clickers and a dual rate spring put these shocks right up there with the very best aftermarket stuff.
The 2009 Yamaha SE, although a refined piece of artillery, probably still fetches a good buck on the used market. That said though, Yamaha’s reputation for bulletproof reliability is legendary and since this is one of the few remaining pure sport ATVs still avaialbe new you’ll be able to find just about anything you’d want to add for aftermarket parts and accessories directly through Yamaha.
In our books, that’s justification enough for shelling out a little extra dough.