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2016 Yamaha Raptor 700R Track and Trail Test

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A great rider can ride any sport ATV well, but few machines make almost any rider or riding experience better. In our 2014 in-depth review of the Raptor 700R, we found it to lend itself beautifully to virtually any adult size rider with a little off-road experience. The Raptor’s phenomenal performance and handling thrills the highly experienced while its ride-ability provides a novice with the confidence to relax.

In 2015, Yamaha added 10% more horsepower focused on the bottom-end and midrange, making the engine feel even more unstoppable under load. New suspension settings featured slightly firmer spring rates front, with softer initial compression damping, reduced rebound damping, and travel was increased 2mm. The rear shock received 5mm more preload, plus slightly increased compression and rebound damping. New, taller front Maxxis tires were designed to roll more smoothly through bumps, while improving directional control in sand or loose dirt. Based in Ohio and testing in the sand of the gorgeous Oregon dunes, while the engine updates were apparent, the other changes were a little harder to fully evaluate.

With that in mind, we acquired a 2016 Yamaha 700R to put to the test on the trails, and even a motocross track in our neck of the woods, for further evaluation.

There are a number of us out here who already own the mighty Raptor 700R and a number of others who are simply missing out. In its decade of existence, the Raptor has seen a number of improvements, perhaps most significantly its early upgrade to higher-end adjustable shocks, and most recently, its notable improvement in engine performance. Going forward, we’d like to see a 49 or 50” side version of the machine, making the Raptor even better for the dunes, the desert, the track, and all of the 60” wide trails being cut for UTVs. We manage to have a great time on the trail with a 48.9” wide YFZ450R, so why should the Raptor be any different? Such a machine would make the decision between rebuilding your old Raptor and trading up to a shiny new one even more enticing for some.

If taken care of, the Raptor is a very reliable machine. Its engine will last longer with less frequent oil changes than the typical 450. Just keep your air filter clean. Nimble handling, very adjustable, high-performance suspension, all-day comfort and a blisteringly fast, easy-to-manage engine make the Raptor 700R the ultimate ride- where you like, as fast as you like- Sport ATV. In our opinion, no other four-wheeled machine delivers the fun and thrills of a fast, light, nimble handling sport ATV, and very few sport ATVs past or present can compete with the overall performance of the 2016 Yamaha Raptor 700R.
Category
Racing

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