2003 Yamaha Limited Editon Banshee ATV - Reviews by Off-Road.com

It Screams!

Jan. 01, 2003 By ORC STAFF
Can you think of a better ride for sand dune season? A limited-edition 2003 Yamaha Banshee with yellow and black plastic, black flames, yellow front shock springs, and all black chassis and chassis components. The Banshee is relatively unchanged for 2003 but does sport some new Raptor-style handlebars, and you can get the stylin' new colors on the Limited Edition model for only $200 more than the Team Yamaha blue. With all the excitement in the industry around the new 4-stroke quads, it may seem hard to get excited about a 10+ year old 2-stroke design. But fire up a new Banshee and the sound alone of the twin cylinder two stroke will get the blood pumping. It is not just me that loves the sound of a Banshee, is it?



To try out the Limited Edition Banshee we headed out to Dumont Dunes, California. After a quick test ride and a jetting adjustment on the twin Mikuni carbs (having to jet TWO carbs is a pain) we had the Banshee ready for some serious roosting. The new Raptor-style handlebars are very comfortable and the low seat height and center of gravity really makes you feel in control.




The powerband takes some getting used to, especially if you have been spending a lot of time on a 4-stroke, but as soon as you adjust it is an awesome rush when the power kicks in. The peaky powerband requires that you stay in the right gear and keep the Banshee revved. Miss a gear and you may find yourself stuck in a hurry. Like to drag race? The Banshee is one of the fastest production quads you can own.


The Banshee suspension works well in the sand dunes, especially if you keep the speed up. In fact, a Banshee is just not designed to go slow and the motor doesn't sound right if you do. The Banshee suspension is less forgiving out in the desert but works well for a long day of roosting some sand with your buddies.


We found that the brakes worked well and could stop the Banshee as needed. The clutch worked good but could be a little smoother. The transmission is a little notchy and could use a Shift Pro shift kit to ensure that you don't miss a gear on competition hill. It would be nice if Yamaha could put a slightly larger fuel tank on the Banshee, stock is only 3.2 gallons, as we found ourselves needing to head back to camp for refills quite often. Pre-mixing of your gas and oil is required as in most two strokes. Oh yeah, and make sure you are working on your thumb muscles, as the thumb throttle on the Banshee is very stiff with the dual carbs and will wear you out in a hurry. Reviewer # 2 - for a not-very-advanced rider, the Banshee is scary fast and hard to get the hang of having to start at high revs. However it feels stable and the suspension seems to soak up whoops better than the Suzuki Z400 - and it's just plain more fun to go FAST on. Head-to-head on a drag, it was repeatedly faster than the stock Z - both acceleration and top speed.

Reviewer # 3 - Rigid; we are not impressed.

Even with the long wheelbase, the Banshee is a great wheelie machine

Making new tracks in the wet sand


If you spend a lot of time at the sand dunes we think you should take a close look at the 2003 Limited-Edition Yamaha Banshee. It does not have the lug-around capabilities like the new 4-strokes, but it is an absolute blast to ride in the sand. If asked to pick any production quad for our next trip to the sand dunes the Limited Edition Banshee would be at the top of our list.

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