Since the release of the 2016 Yamaha YXZ1000R, we have tested the machine to it’s limits and found out its strong and weak points. A UTV equipped with a five-speed sequentially shifted gear box and a foot operated clutch was exactly what we wanted to see. Slamming through the gears while shredding awesome trails put a huge grin on our faces, until we started driving the machine in rocky and wooded terrain.
The Yamaha’s triple-cylinder engine produces power in the higher end of the RPM range, which means when ever you drive the machine in technically slow trails, you are operating the clutch a lot and wearing it out. Fortunately, for 2017 Yamaha provided an answer to our shifting prayers, the 2017 YXZ1000R SS (sport shift).
The introduction of the YXZ1000R SS brought even more excitement over the Yamaha than the manually clutched model. Paddle shifters mounted to the steering column and the absence of a foot clutch is exactly what Yamaha needed to produce. With this UTV you now get the great sensation that shifting gears brings without stressing over clutching properly. The YXZ1000R SS model was actually designed before the regular YXZ, which we found quite interesting.
Piloting the Yamaha became much easier, yet still kept the fun factor alive. There is a three position shifter on the dash of the Yamaha that switches between drive, neutral and reverse. Once you put it in drive and release the parking brake, all you have to do is have a blast shifting through the ergonomically mounted paddles. You can shift the YXZ1000R SS at full throttle if you want to and the electronically actuated clutch will allow shifting at any speed.
While driving the Yamaha, if you slow down enough to close to a stop the machine will automatically shift you back into first gear. This only happens if the vehicle is going at a slow enough speed, if you lock of the brakes and release them at higher speeds it wont shift down to first which is a plus.
Some drivers want to be competitive while driving their UTV and the one thing that an electronically actuated clutch wont do is let you ramp up the RPM and drop it to grab the hole shot against your buddies or other racers. Yamaha knew this would be an issue so they programed a Launch Mode into the YXZ.
At a dead stop, if you hold the brake, pull in both paddles and hold them until the light turns on, let go of the brake, give it full throttle and release the paddles, the Yamaha will launch off the line like a rocket. The system takes time to get used to but its a great feature and a lot of fun.
Yamaha added a few new parts to better their machine. The digital meter of the YXZ has a black background and now has a coolant temperature gauge included. The CV boots of the axles were prone to getting holes in them at the rear of the machine, so Yamaha designed protective plates to keep rocks from puncturing them. Thankfully, increased heat shielding has been added to the YXZ to reduce heat in the cabin.
Everything about the Yamaha YXZ1000R SS is the same as the YXZ1000R, minus a few upgrades and the Sport Shift system. The suspension remains unchanged and as does the interior of the machine. However, we like how the Yamaha drives even though it could use shocks that are set up more for slow speed driving as well as its great handling at higher speeds. The Sport Shift function takes the cake in all forms of slower speed driving and especially in wooded terrain. Driving the YXZ is much easier without worrying about manually clutching the machine and yet it’s still just as fun, if not more enjoyable than the original. The orange base model of the SS starts at $20,599, the blue and while model goes for $20,799 and the SS SE model comes in matte black and red with better suspension for $22,399.
Stay tuned with us for info on Yamaha’s YXZ line up!