2006 Yamaha Raptor 700R, First Ride for Off-Road.com
The Most Versatile Sport Quad Ever?
The dictionary says that Raptor means "one who seizes". After our first ride on the new 2006 Yamaha Raptor 700R we think that the new Raptor may seize the number 1 position from the YFZ450, and become the best selling sport quad in 2006.
Why? Because the 2006 Raptor 700R is an all-around performance sport quad that most anyone will love to ride. No, it is not going to replace the YFZ450 on the race track, although it may have more potential for long distance desert racing. But put the 700R in just about any other environment and I believe it will be hard to beat.
To ride the Yamaha Raptor we went to the East Fort Rock OHV trail system in Central Oregon. Located just East of Bend in the Dechutes National Forest, the East Fort Rock trail system has over 300 miles of trail covering 110,000 acres. There was a good variety of trails to test the new Raptor, from tight and twisty trails through the trees to open gravel pit areas for just playing.
First of all you need to remember this is NOT the old 660 Raptor engine with a few additional cc's. This is a brand new fuel-injected 686cc engine. We have hopes that by starting completely over, this engine will not have the reliability issues that the previous engine had when used in extreme situations.
The engine felt very strong and had plenty of power in all situations. The nature of the riding area was that most riding was 2nd and 3rd gear with a some short stretches where you could open it up and let 'er rip. We did not have anything else to compare it with on our first ride but the new Raptor should have no problem running with (or leaving behind) any of the other big bore sport quads.
The interesting thing about the performance is that it was VERY rider friendly - the old Raptor was NOT. At least not for entry level riders. The new Raptor has performance to satisfy experienced riders yet is friendly enough for a more inexperienced rider to just putt around on.
The fuel injection worked perfectly and should adjust for altitude changes anywhere from -600 feet to over 15,000 feet. Yes, you're going to lose some performance at altitude but at least you won't be coughing, sputtering, and fouling plugs. We like fuel injection and expect it is only a matter of time before you will find it on most every quad.
Need a little more performance? Yamaha has designed it so that you can pop off the air box, slide on a new silencer, and be off and running with no additional mods. Want even more? We expect that Dynojet will have a commnader unit out for the new Raptor very shortly. This unit should allow you to adjust the fuel injection system for other mods.
With the previous Raptor there were several very
obvious problems when riding it:
1) It was narrow and tended to be tippy.
2) It had a fairly high center of gravity and seat height that contributed to the tippy problem.
3) The front end liked to come up.
The new Yamaha Raptor uses a-arms and steering right off the YFZ450 which makes it 2" wider than the previous Raptor. The 2006 Raptor also has a 32" seat height which is 1.9 inches lower than before. This Raptor is well planted to the ground and much more stable. It is still narrow enough for woods riding but wide enough to help you keep the rubber side down.
The front end likes to stay on the ground where it should be. Sure, wheelies can be fun and if you are an experienced rider you will still be able to wheelie this machine. But you have to coax it - it is NOT going to wheelie at random. I never felt comfortable when inexperienced riders got on the first generation Raptor, due to its light front end. The 700R is well-balanced for an experienced or a beginning rider.
Overall we were very impressed with the handling of this machine. It is very well balanced and user friendly. The suspension worked good and the steering was precise.
Want more? You surely know a buddy who is racing a YFZ450 and has replaced the stock piggy back reservoir shocks with after market performance shocks. The stock front shocks off the YFZ450 will bolt right on the new Raptor.
As development was finishing, the GYT-R accessory engineers stepped in and went to work. They designed a whole host of trick products to fit the new 700R, from billet parts to awesome graphics. At the Press ride, Yamaha rolled out a new white 700R with all the GYT-R products bolted on. This was one of the best looking quads I we have seen in some time. Take this GYT-R equipped machine to the dunes and you will be sure to attract attention.
We can't wait to spend some more time on the 2006 Raptor 700R. We spent a a full day riding this machine and couldn't find anything that we didn't like. A stable platform with an engine that will take you anywhere you want to go. Fuel injection to make sure you don't have to mess with jets. Rider friendly. This is one of the most balanced and versatile sport ATV's yet.
We think the Raptor is sure to seize the number 1 spot, at a very rapid pace.