Yamaha is not Polaris and that’s a good thing. When they launched the YXZ they took an entirely different approach. They focused on a “Performance Sport” market that really did not exist yet. They are basically the Porsche of UTV’s. Yamaha’s approach paid off creating a fantactal user base, especially in short course racing where they dominate.  The simple ability to shift gears and stay in the power band gives them a huge advantage with car control. If you like to drive and have control over your car then this is the UTV for you. Yamaha has made a lot of improvements on the new YXZ XT-R, making this car a blast to drive!

I love being from Michigan and living in California, it gives me a unique perspective. Living in San Diego we have the luxury of tons of open desert riding and Baja as our backyard, but clearly there is more trail riding in the U.S. than deserts and this car is surely the “King of the Trails”! When we talk about off-roading, a lot of people forget that means everything off-road including mud and rocks which most of the trails in the midwest and east coast are comprised of. Yamaha invited me out to Top Trails in Alabama to test the new YXZ XT-R. We started our day in the the new 2020 Wolverine X2 XT-R, which for a utility vehicle is totally capable of quick paced trail riding. It’s basically the best of both worlds, a vehicle you can work in and then go have fun with. The Wolverine has great handling, plenty of power and GBC Dirt Commander tires. Yamaha also teamed up with WARN winches to include a new and improved winch on the XT‑R Edition models.

More details here:

Yamaha Unveils New 2020 XT-R Edition Side-by-Side Models

After a couple hours of super fun tight rocky and muddy trail riding, I switched over to the YXZ XT-R. One of the things I really wanted to highlight is the clutch + transmission package. Basically the Yamaha Sport Shift allows you to shift up or down without using a foot clutch, similar to a dog box or sequential transmissions we use in off-road racing, but with one big added bonus. It down shifts for you! Let me say that again louder – the transmission automatically downshifts for you when you slow down or come to a stop! You can’t stall it! So for all of you out there who are intimidated by manual shifting, don’t be. This car is so easy to drive, even your grandmother can rip in it! You shift either up or down with the paddle shifters on the steering column. It’s simple and easy, and loads of fun. Who doesn’t like to bang through gears? With a 5-speed sequential gearbox this car has lots of torque from 0-40, where you need it the most in a UTV. If you want more power, Yamaha sells an aftermarket turbo kit that nearly doubles the horsepower, but most people won’t need it.

Ripping the trails of Alabama with Yamaha YXZ XT-R

Shifting = car control, and for drivers like me this car is a blast to drive. We spent a few hours ripping through tight technical trails and I was amazed at the overall performance of this car. We tackled mud, rocks, graded roads, steep rocky climbs, sketchy ruted downhills, and tight technical switchbacks. The steering was quick and responsive, the stock suspension was solid. With fully adjustable FOX® 2.5 Podium® RC2 Dual Spring shocks with adjustable crossover shocks it’s easy to customize your set up. The independent double wishbone suspension with anti-sway bar gives you great suspension without the body roll of some of the other UTV’s in the market. The dual hydraulic disc brakes give you plenty of braking power for quick stops. The car comes stock with 29 x 9.00R-14 Maxxis® Carnage tires which don’t overload the corners. With the advent of bigger UTV tires many people add heavy oversized tires that not only are unnecessary, but it ruins the performance of their vehicle. The unsprung weight of the tires and wheels out on the corners affect the overall performance and handling of a vehicle, so the balance is crucial. The Yamaha YXZ XT-R feels great with the 29’s it comes with. The XT-R model also includes a front locking differential for steep technical climbs and if you get too deep over you head you can use the custom WARN winch to pull you out of anything.

Overall I was impressed with the Yamaha YXZ XT-R, especially with the evolutionary changes Yamaha has made. They are paying attention to what their customers are asking for and the XT-R models are proof. Go out and drive one for yourself and decide what UTV is best for you! Regardless, you will have a blast test driving!

Ripping the trails of Alabama with Yamaha YXZ XT-R

I can’t wait to get my hands on one of these with the Turbo kit and see how that affects the overall vehicle performance.

More details here:

Yamaha Unveils New 2020 XT-R Edition Side-by-Side Models

Discuss and ask questions here:

https://www.utvunderground.com/forum/index.php?threads/trail-riding-in-the-new-yamaha-yxz-xt-r.21880/

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