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With the ongoing growth of the sport side-x-side market it’s easy for someone to lose sight of the sport ATV market. After all, there’s really only one OEM still committed to its existence and speaking on behalf of the entire crew of Dirt Trax and all those that love sport ATV’s, we’re grateful to Yamaha for doing so.

Sport ATV’s have played a pivotal role in shaping off-road recreation as we know it today. Even the characteristics of today’s highest performing sport side-x-sides mimic the qualities associated with Pure Sport ATVs, such as quick reacting agility, ultimate control, and rider inspired performance.

As attractive as a pure sport side x side like the YXZ 1000 R may be, it’s often outside the budget of those new to the sport. However, pure sport ATVs like the Raptor 700 and the YFZ450 offer a unique option to get onto the trails without breaking your wallet.

Up first this in two-part series is a closer look at the Yamaha Raptor…

Yamaha Raptor 700 – Affordable Big Bore Fun!

In the pure sport ATV market, Yamaha’s Raptor has proven its domination by becoming the best-selling sport ATV of all time. The success of the Raptor can largely be attributed to “do-it-all” persona. Whether you’re into railing berms in the desert or riding twisty trails through the woods, the Raptor has an uncanny ability to adapt to just about any terrain.

The heart of the Raptor is its 686cc single fed by a 44mm throttle body and Yamaha fuel injection. The torque rich 4-stroke power combined with its 5-speed manual transmission is what truly keeps you coming back for more.

Out of the hole the Raptor transfers its power to the rear wheels with authority. Clutch engagement remains positive and precise as you pound through the gears. Get up to third and let the wide power band do its magic as you weave around tighter corners without fail as the Raptor is able to recover from almost any low rpm situation.

These traits also make it great choice for a newbie just learning to use a manual transmission and while its reverse gear is a little finicky at times, you don’t realize how much you value it until you ride a Pure Sport without it.

The Raptor’s hybrid steel aluminum frame combined with a YZ-style swing arm and solid rear axle produces a strong structure while remaining the lightest ATV in its class. Both the rigidity and flex of this chassis remain a hallmark of this machine for good reason. The Raptor has found a sweet spot between the quick reacting traits of the YZF450 and a forgiving nature that keeps the chassis settled and in control when pushing the envelope.

The Raptor’s versatility can also be attributed to its high quality, fully adjustable shock package. All three of the YZ-Style shocks on the Raptor are fully adjustable with high and low speed compression along with rebound adjustment. Threaded preload also gives you considerable control over the 9.1 inches of suspension travel up front and 10.1 inches out back.

Choose to ride it aggressively and its nimble chassis is quick to respond to some of the most challenging terrain. Whether in the dunes or in the woods, the Raptor is fun, flickable and sporty. You instinctively become one with the ATV thanks to its superb sport-riding ergonomics.

Body movements are dynamically connected to the chassis, further enhancing the handling of the Raptor. It’s a feeling uniquely attributed to the pure sport ATV category and something you’ll never experience while buckled into a side-x-side.

When you want to take it easy, simply let your elbows drop from attack position to a more relaxed posture; the suspension and comfortable seat will soak up the rough stuff as you cruise around looking for new terrain to conquer.

The Raptor 700 delivers big on fun and gets you in the sport at an affordable price. In Canada the Raptor is only available in 700R trim and starts at $12,599 CAD before adding accessories. Options increase to 3 models in the U.S starting with the base Raptor 700 with basic pre-load adjustable shocks retailing at $9,399 USD; the 700R at $9,999 USD and then the Raptor 700R SE priced at $10,599 which comes with added features like a dealer installed GYTR front grab bar and heel guards to match its unique graphics package.

The Raptor inspires confidence and injects a ton of fun into any riding experience. Its versatility across differing types of terrain, whether on the track, trail or dunes make it a great choice for someone interested in getting the most fun from a day in the dirt.

Vern Putzer
Vern Putzer
Vern Putzer is the Producer of Dirt Trax TV and is also a Contributing Editor and Guest Correspondent on the show.

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