GPR Stabilizer has a long history with performance quad racers and riders. Owner Randy Norman has a long history going fast on dirt bikes. He was something of a specialist at highspeed, Grand Prix-loop, cross-country events. GPR grew out of his desire for a better damper. Now, he has entered the world of UTVs, and after seeing his friends have trouble with CVT belts, he knew he wanted a Yamaha YXZ1000R with a foot clutch. In other words, a car he could drive hard.
WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM FRIENDS
Naturally, Norman had friends and customers racing the new Yamaha. "They started talking, and I started making a list." He was looking for a good-running, fun and fast car that was reliable. It is just Norman and his wife, so a two-seater is fine. He wasn’t really interested in racing or even playing in the dunes much. Mostly, he was looking for a machine that would allow long loops exploring fun two-track in the desert and mountains.
Yamaha’s YXZ1000R doesn’t respond well to tall tires, so Norman stuck with STI Chicane RX eight-ply desert tires in 28×10R14 for all four corners in spite of running wider rear rims. The beadlock STI HD5 rims are 14-inchers, but 7 inches wide in front and 10 inches wide in the rear. He sprung extra cash for the orange locking rings to complement the graphics. Wheel control was boosted with Elka Stage Five shocks at all four corners. For now they are set just as they were delivered, but plans are afoot to meet with Doug Roll to get them dialed specifically to this machine.
He took warnings that the stock cage could crack seriously, so TB Metal Worx made the cage, spare-tire carrier and aluminum roof, and each piece was powdercoated. Cargo carrying is seriously limited with the tire mounted as low over the bed and forward as possible to maintain good handling and suspension action. While the cage was being constructed, Norman opted for PRP seats and belts. He rides with a regular group, so the interior sports a PCI Race Radio with helmet-to-helmet and car-to-car communication. There is a Lowrance GPS to help with those explorations. A stereo system is installed for when conversation and exhaust music isn’t enough.
A large GGLighting LED light bar on the roof makes sure that the fun can go on until all hours. A GYTR alternator kit makes sure there is ample juice for these accessories. Norman wants convenience, and safety is also important, so the machine has a center and side mirror, as well as a cage-mount fire extinguisher.
QUEST FOR FIRE
With his insistence on reliability, Norman didn’t want to go crazy with engine mods. "I upgraded from a Polaris Ranger 700," Norman joked, "so I am jumping from a buggy to a race car." He did ask for Duncan to install a Fat Boy exhaust and an AFR+ tuning kit that included a gauge, a control module and a Bosch oxygen sensor. An S&B particle separator makes sure it breathes clean air. In further search of reliability, a Weller Racing waterpump housing with a built-in temperature gauge keeps track of the engine heat.
Even though he likes a manual transmission, Norman found the YXZ too easy to stall, so he added an Alba Heavy Hitter flywheel that is over twice as heavy as the stock one and with greater outside diameter. "Now you can just let the clutch out in first gear and it will idle up into the trailer without stalling," claims Norman. Starting with a YXZ in orange helped begin the look of this machine, but the D’Cor graphics from Duncan and the wheel rings add some clear style to this machine.
IN THE DIRT
We were ready to drive as soon as this machine rolled up, but we suffered through the photos first. When we did get our turn behind the wheel, we saw that Norman had a machine that suited his vision of ripping fast two-track. Like other opportunities we’ve had to pilot a YXZ1000R with Elka shocks, the ride creates an instant impression. The entire ride is smoother with better control. Being a base model, there was room for suspension improvement, and the Elkas did not disappoint. The rear shocks didn’t buck over jumps, which is great compared to a stocker.
With the current state of tune, Norman’s YXZ has massive boost in the top half of the powerband. It really screams when it gets the rpm up. As always with manual-clutch Yamahas, we had to resist the urge to shift earlier than necessary. Power at low rpm is manageable with the flywheel weight, but response is soft until the tach is halfway up the dial. Even though we were in open desert, we had to get a feel for the trail routes before we took the machine over third gear. Our driving was a mixture of desert and dunes, and there was never a lack of power or speed. The Chicane tires are best suited for packed and rocky desert with the DOT-rated, flat-resisting, eight-plyrating and closely spaced tread lugs.
We can tell you that we won’t be calling Norman to borrow this baby if we have slow-speed, technical rock crawling in mind. Not that it matters, it is unlikely that he would part with it now that he has it dialed in to his liking. After all, the Ranger 700 is already down the road. He likes that the YXZ fits in the trailer in the spot that the Ranger occupied. That was so that he can take the YXZ when he is doing race support. That should allow time to explore some new riding areas. With a spare tire, a GPS and a rugged car to explore with, that sounds like a good plan. GPR could easily stand for "gone play riding."
Article Courtesy of DirtWheelsMag August 2017 Issue, pg. 24-28.