Riding Impression: Yamaha YXZ1000R Torque Assist Gearing
There are a lot of great all-around SXS models available in the current market, but not any one vehicle can cater to every customer, and there’s always someone who may like a particular vehicle but still wishes it would work better for their type of riding style or terrain. Sometimes people are drawn to the newest “go fast” machine even though the vehicle doesn’t fit their “not so fast” lifestyle. People complain everyday with statements like, “They just forgot us old hill climbers when they decided this SXS,” or What about the tight woods drivers?” People will complain even though the machine they want to fit them so bad was never intended to do so.
One company that wants everyone to enjoy the fruits of their labor is Yamaha. The Yamaha YXZ1000R was possibly the most anticipated release for a pure sport SXS, and it has been ever-evolving since its release date back on September 1, 2015. The manually shifted five-speed sequential gearbox paired with a clutch pedal on the floor of the YXZ added a new dynamic to the off-road scene that was something never seen before, and quite frankly it was a breath of fresh air and fun as hell to drive!
Just a few months back Yamaha released the SS, or Sport Shift, version of their YXZ1000R. This machine would further broaden the customer base by simplifying the shifting process for those who may not be accustomed to driving with a clutch. The paddles behind the steering wheel also added a new fun factor as well. What most wrote off as an afterthought was actually well within the Yamaha plan all along, as the SS version was been in development for more than two years before it recently was unveiled.
Let’s fast forward just a few months and we see that paddle shifting wasn’t the only additional engineering that Yamaha had in mind though. Yamaha has now given the tight woods and mountainous terrain drivers something to consider in the form of an accessory kit that lowers the overall gearing in the transmission without really hurting overall performance. The GYTR Torque Assist Gearing kit drops first gear into a lower low ratio with a 40 percent reduction, and it brings the rest of the cogs down into the same playground with a balanced close ratio reduction of 30 percent. This means that you cannot only add a little larger tire without sacrificing performance on the manual-shift YXZ, but getting in and out of mud bogs and climbing over extremely rocky terrain is not an issue.
The new GYTR kit comes with a CNC-machined OEM transmission case fitted with lower gearing to improve low-speed crawling in tight off-road terrain, as opposed to the wide-open desert or dune riding the YXZ is almost most at home in. The kit includes a speedometer calibrator to get your gauges up to date, and all the necessary hardware for installation is included, such as bearing, gear, and gaskets (although Yamaha does suggest having a dealer install the kit).
So what does this new kit feel like in the YXZ1000R, you ask? Just a few weekends ago at the Brimstone Recreations Paragon event in the mountains of Huntsville Tennessee we had a chance to drive an accessorized version of the latest in Yamaha’s bag of surprises. Here is how it went down.
It is very apparent when you let out the clutch of a YXZ1000R fitted with the Torque Assist Gear Kit that there is a dramatic change. The low gear is really low, and for the parade style riding that goes on at these mountainous events it fit very well. Cruising around in first gear or even second gear most of the time we not only had plenty of power and torque on tap for any of the extreme obstacles at Brimstone, but in the short bursts of long trail a quick flip up to third or fourth revealed the intense power from Yamaha’s triple-cylinder powerhouse. This kit takes some of the top end speed away, but to fit into these mountains and any tighter trails I am not sure you would ever miss it.
We only had about three hours in the rigs and it was filled with crawling through tight wooded trails up gnarly hill climbs filled with crazy rock ledges and roots protruding into the trails. Going uphill we simply locked the YXZ into first and slowly crawled up the sections, and the downhills revealed intense engine braking from the lower gearing. There was no question that the gearing kit works, and it is as simple as that. It takes the machine that I first met in the heat of the wide-open Glamis dunes and fits it perfectly in the mountains of the eastern United States.
There was even a rescue mission for a competing manufacturer’s machine that had gotten stuck on the side of an incredibly slick, steep hill. Dropping the YXZ1000R in first the driver of the Torque Assist Geared YXZ1000R slowly crawled up the exit end of the trail and winched the other brand right up and out of its predicament. This was pretty impressive to everyone who stopped to watch the excitement, and I think it really opened some eyes to this newfound ability of the YXZ1000R.
As noted, this kit comes with gears, gaskets, speedo stuff to get the speedometer correct and a machined case half for the larger gears. This kit retails for $999 plus installation, which could get pricey itself. For now the kit is an accessory and is not included in the machine on any trim level. This is where we hope Yamaha will decide to build a version of the YXZ1000R with this kit already installed so that customers do not have to deal with opening up their transmissions or have spare transmission parts laying around. As of our meeting with Yamaha they had no formal plan to credit customers for their stock case half or stock gears, but I think it may behoove them to take those parts and reuse the stock case halves to give the consumers a little cash back on the swap. It’s just a thought anyway. I’ve always been told “waste not want not,” and if I went through the trouble to change out the gearing I doubt I would change it back so I’d have a spare case half sitting in my garage.
The new Genuine Yamaha Technology Racing Torque Assist Gear Kit will fit 2016-17 YXZ1000Rs, and the kit will be available in October of this year. For more information, heave over to ShopYamaha.com.